Greek Gods and Lobsters: Travel Meets Design with Luke Edward Hall

A man with a global remit and an eye for the elusive, we spoke to Rubinger about the novel and the notable in luxury and travel.

With a predilection for the historical, artist and interior decorator, Luke Edward Hall is a compelling individual. Influenced by the likes of Cecil Beaton, William Morris and Andy Warhol, his creations are a hybrid of pop-art, abstractionism and maximalism. Working primarily as an illustrator, Hall's dreamy renderings - scored with an arsenal of watercolours, oil pastels and coloured pencils - are notably subdued in contrast to his eccentric interiors.

His colourful aesthetic is informed by a love of history, an appreciation of beauty and a sense of playfulness. A firm believer in the phrase "a change is as good as a rest", Hall's painterly eye is always in sharp focus. With a susceptibility to souvenirs and a penchant for travel, for Hall a trip is made by the presence of boyfriend Duncan Campbell, good food and interesting things to see. A hotel notepad for doodling is also desirable.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I often describe it as being informed by a love of history, an appreciation of beauty and a sense of playfulness. My world is colourful, romantic and a bit nostalgic.

Where's your next adventure?

India, in only a couple of weeks! I can't wait; I've been wanting to visit for years. We're going to Rajasthan this time - Udaipur and Jaipur. I'm hoping for the full Darjeeling Limited experience.

What's the biggest adventure you've been on?

At the beginning of this year we spent almost two weeks driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, staying at various places along the way, including Big Sur, which I fell in love with. It felt like a real adventure I suppose in part because it was a road trip but also because Big Sur felt so remote and magical.

If there was one destination you could go back to immediately, which one would it be?

Probably the Amalfi Coast - we've been going every year for the past four years or so and we've grown really fond of the area and its restaurants, hotels and people.

One piece of travel advice…

Do your research before you go. I adore restaurants and I'm big on finding the right places to eat - not the most expensive, but the right places. I want to eat the local food - nothing touristy. It can be fun stumbling across a restaurant, but I hate wasting an opportunity on a bad meal.

Which destinations are on your travel hit list?

A lovely Greek island because I've never been to Greece. Also Seville, Brittany, Bavaria, Marrakech and Tangier.

Based on your etchings it would seem that you are pretty infatuated with Greece; what's the allure?

I've been fascinated with Ancient Greek and Roman history since childhood - the myths and legends, the art and architecture. I use motifs inspired by these cultures in my work a lot as there is so much wonderful imagery to draw upon. When I first started painting ceramics, I created a whole set of plates and platters inspired by the Ancient Greek heroes. I suppose it's the romance, magic and mystery of it all that gets me.

What's your take on souvenirs?

I love a souvenir. We go to Italy often and usually end up bringing colourful ceramics home from Venice and Capri. Wherever I go I'll always bring something back with me - even if it's just a book or a postcard for my scrapbook. My souvenirs tell the stories of my favourite holidays and trips - they hold so many good memories.

What destinations inspire your creativity?

Italy! I've always found the country extremely inspirational. I've still got lots of Italy left to visit but I love how each city or area feels completely different from each other - Milan and Rome for example are poles apart. Ah, Italy… I love the cities, the countryside, the coast, the food, the people, the architecture, the history and the culture.

What have been some of your favourite projects to date?

I've loved putting my drawings onto products - I've made key rings with Burberry, embroidered slippers with Stubbs & Wootton and tablecloths with Summerill & Bishop. I'm launching some jewellery this year and a small line of men's clothes and accessories. Drawing is my number one passion and I'm really excited about putting on an exhibition in London this spring/summer.

Does travel breed creativity?

Absolutely - I love the phrase "a change is as good as a rest". Visiting a new place, seeing new things or even visiting an old place that you love - there's really nothing better. Travelling keeps my creativity levels topped up.

You seem to enjoy doodling on hotel notepaper - have you always done this?

I guess so - I'm always sketching on whatever's available including napkins and notepaper. Although saying that I've always loved Picasso's drawings on hotel notepaper and if I find particularly nice notepaper in a hotel I'll draw on it or bring it home to draw on. Sometimes I'll frame it - another souvenir.

What do you look for in a hotel?

As someone who dabbles in interior design and makes things for the home, the interior is naturally very important to me. It should reflect the location it's in; I despise that bland international look and I'm not a fan of chains unless they're small and done well, like The Pig hotels. When it comes to interiors, I like an eclectic collection of things and a mix of old and new. I love that special atmosphere you often come across when staying in an individual hotel - a place that's looked after by owners who really care. Le Sirenuse in Positano springs to mind - the whole place fizzes with personality and life. I'm usually drawn to European hotels with an interesting history and a faded sense of grandeur, like L'Hotel in Paris or Hotel Locarno in Rome.

And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?

At least three books and usually a mix of genres - a biography maybe and a couple of novels, headphones, a Polaroid or disposable camera, sketchbooks and colouring pencils.

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