Aesthetic Adventures: Interior Design Inspired by Positano, Oslo and Mumbai

After months of lockdown, we’re revamping our homes in a bid to transport ourselves anywhere but. In the absence of globetrotting, we’ve picked out the interior design pieces and homewares that will spirit you to Positano, Oslo and Mumbai without needing to leave home.

Having spent the last few months housebound, I've become increasingly aware of the character and contours of my home. As I deliberately became reacquainted with each room, I noticed just how easily certain interior design elements, be it a piece of furniture or work of art, transported me back to the cities that had inspired the purchase.

Some treasures were acquired during my travels, while others echo the aesthetic qualities of the places that continue to inspire me. During a soirée at my home, a new acquaintance remarked: "Well I guess there's no need for me to travel; I can just come and explore your place. It'll save me the airfare."

His comment, while clearly meant in jest, left me wondering (in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice): can we travel through interior design? In the absence of globetrotting, I believe that - like souvenirs or personal photographs - design can conjure the spirit of specific continents, countries and cities. It can go so far as to teach you about a culture or make a new location shoot to the top of your travel wish list.

With this in mind, I've curated a selection of expertly crafted decor that will take you on an aesthetic journey to the arresting seaside cities of Positano, Oslo, and Mumbai. Bon voyage!

Travel-inspired interiors: 12 homewares to transport you around the world

Oslo, Norway

Once the home of expressionist painter Edvard Munch - and likely a few Vikings before him - Oslo has long been seen as an enigmatic city; a coastal stronghold balancing between cool, modernist functionality and a romantic reverence for both nature and mythology. Imbued with the Norse spirit of endeavour, Norway's capital city plays host to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony every December. Throughout the year, travellers come from across the globe to decompress while sipping coffee, admire its breathtaking glass Opera House and feel closer to nature in one of the world's happiest countries. Nestled on the shores of the Oslofjord and encompassing several small islands, Oslo is defined by crisp salt-air, granite sidewalks, towering pines and the Scandinavian concept of hygge.

Scandinavian wool rug

Hygge, roughly defined as "a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being", features prominently in quintessential Norwegian interiors. Nordic Knots weaves luxurious rugs that embellish any space with a boost of hygge. This cerulean-and-cream rug is wonderfully evocative of a traditional Oslovian colour palette, inspired by the indigo depths of the Oslofjord and the white mist that cloaks it.

Butterfly Chair

Oslo prides itself on being an elegant hybrid of futuristic and rustic design. Created with industrial metal, heavyweight black leather and modernist lines, this leather Butterfly Chair presented by Nordic House typifies the city's mixed aesthetic. Since leather is ever-present in the cottages that dot Oslo's islands, it's easy to imagine styling this sumptuous chair with a cosy sheepskin throw and curling up to watch the setting sun kiss the watery horizon.

The Milky Way by Liesl Pfeffer

With its cultural heritage steeped in Norse mythology, Oslo is filled with visual references to the celestial realm. By far the most widely represented astral entity is the Milky Way, believed to be the fabled Bifröst, a blazing rainbow bridge that connects Earth and Asgard, the realm of the gods. Liesl Pfeffer's fine-art print The Milky Way, presented by Lumitrix, pays tribute to the spiral galaxy and brings the majesty of Norse mythology into your home effortlessly.

Fossil Ceramic Bowl by Florence St George

Along Oslo's winding Akerselva river you'll find Grünerløkka. Home to the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, its narrow streets are ideal for window-gazing thanks to the earthenware you often spot within. Florence St George has expertly captured the essence of Oslovian ceramics with her penchant for neutral tones accented by gestural strokes of aquamarine glaze. An ideal gift for the Scandi-loving minimalist in your life.


As my home city and the epicentre of Bollywood, I'm hopelessly in love with Mumbai; colloquially known as Bombay. Upon landing in India's cultural capital, you're immediately struck by the city's luscious outcroppings of palm trees, its pearlescent beaches, pastel facades and the scenic "Queen's Necklace" boardwalk framing its deep-water bay. Having been occupied by the Mughal, Portuguese and English empires, Mumbai has a spectacular collection of rare Indo-Gothic architecture, including the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and the Gateway of India. In compelling contrast to its modern high-rises and sleek bridges, the city is also home to three Unesco World Heritage Sites, while its dense mangroves provide a bountiful habitat for thousands of dazzling pink flamingos. Once you lose your heart to Mumbai, there's no getting it back.

The End of the Hunt by Karen Knorr

As a creative centre and haven for innovative artists, Mumbai is a city teeming with fine-art. The End of the Hunt by photographer Karen Knorr features Indo-Gothic architecture, soft hues, historical imagery and a regal flamingo - all elements evocative of Mumbai. For me, this limited-edition print, presented by Danziger Gallery, is an ethereal representation of Mumbai's aesthetic, cultural heritage and affinity for contemporary art.

Pilar Coffee Table

Designed by the renowned Indian contemporary furniture studio INDO-, the Pilar Coffee Table is delightfully similar to pieces in my home on Mumbai's Juhu Beach. Its bleached-oak panels speak to the city's abundance of light-coloured wood, while its ombre cobalt finish echoes the rise and fall of the tide. Like the city itself, this table is cosmopolitan, warm and invites you to come hither.

Jade Green Mirror with Floral Bone Inlay

From the opulent interiors of the famous Trident Hotel to the Horniman Circle Gardens, Mumbai is synonymous with vivid shades of green and intricate mosaic-style detailing. Superbly crafted by skilled Indian artisans, this striking jade-green mirror embellished with floral bone inlay imbues any space with Mumbai's tropical spirit and verdant aesthetic. Graham & Green's Jade Green Mirror with Floral Bone Inlay is a real statement piece.

Hammered copper tumblers

If you order cold water in Mumbai, it will likely be served in a copper tumbler. Common in restaurants and homes, these particular vessels are a hammered locally by TAMRA coppersmiths trained in this centuries-old craft. According to Ayurvedic medicine, when used to store water, the tumbler's detoxifying properties are absorbed, creating the therapeutic drink tamba pani or "copper water." Embrace Mumbai's best-kept wellness secret.

Positano, Italy

If you've ever watched the 1994 cult-classic film Only You with Robert Downey Jr and Marisa Tomei, then you've had a tantalising glimpse of just how idyllic this famed seaside town truly is. With its ultramarine waters, fragrant lemon trees and breezy panoramic views, Positano is a welcome oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the neighbouring island of Capri. Supposedly named after Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, Positano has attracted creatives to its shores for decades, including the great American writer John Steinbeck. Steinbeck, the author of The Grapes of Wrath and recipient of the 1940 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, described Positano as a "dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." I heartily agree.

Ceramic table and chairs

Lovers of ceramics travel to Positano to visit Ceramiche Casola, the family-owned fine-ceramics company founded in 1925 which produces furniture and traditional Amalfi-style jugs. You can often spot them sprinkled throughout the town. Its iconic circular table and chairs are handcrafted and painted with lemon motifs by local artisans. Designed for your patio, these pieces let you embrace Positano's affinity for outdoor living.

Antique shell lamps

As a coastal town abutting the Mediterranean, Positano enjoys a romantic seaside aesthetic, perfectly encapsulated by these antique Italian shell lamps from Edition 94. When switched on, the pearl orbs within the ceramic shells cast a twinkling glow, reminiscent of the candlelight that illuminates Positano's famous Marina Grande Beach after dark. A rare find.

Arles 18.05.20 by Francois Halard

You can't take a step in Positano without being reminded of the lemon groves which grow along its cliffs. All things lemon are celebrated, particularly the local production of limoncello, a divine lemon liqueur. Presented by curator Oscar Humphries, photographer François Harlard's recent polaroid Arles 18.05.20 is a delicate study of the fruit and a nod to artist Cy Twombly who kept lemons in his Italian villa. The perfect homage to the town of lemons.

Citrus chaise lounge

The most famous hotel in Positano is undoubtedly Le Sirenuse, named after the Amalfi islands and the sirens believed to swim along their shores. The exquisite canary-coloured Couch 775, designed initially by Josef Frank in 1938, is remarkably similar to the well-known chaises which adorn the illustrious lobby featured in the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun.

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