Linda Boronkay is a London-based interior designer. She is the founder and creative director of the multi-award winning Linda Boronkay Design Studio, which has worked on hotels, restaurants, bars and members’ clubs around the world.

What attracted you to interior design?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was little, and dreamt of being a fashion designer. When I turned 16 I got discovered as a model and that’s how I got into fashion. I lived in Paris at first but then moved to Milan, Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. That platform really allowed me to get inside incredible restaurants, hotels, bars and members clubs. I was completely swept away by this world.

At the same time, I got disillusioned by fashion and didn’t think I’d enjoy it in the long run. I wanted to continue drawing and being creative, but with objects and interiors instead of clothing.

I also grew up in a household where my father was an architect and my mum was a vintage and antique collector. My mum was very brave with her colour choices, and pairing contemporary with vintage – that was very inspiring for me growing up. I didn’t realise the effect it had on me until recently. I had never joined the dots.

What are the most important considerations for interior design?

We start with a client brief and then look at the neighbourhood, country, culture and architecture. Most of our projects are around the world. We start with a kick-off meeting on site, taking lots of pictures and taking it all in.

I try to convince the client to allow us to stay for an extra couple of days to walk around and get to know the area. Lots of ideas come during those trips. You can’t get that on the internet. 

What are your main sources of inspiration?

I look at fashion a lot – fabric and texture combinations – and get a lot of inspiration
from fashion show set design, music, colours and lighting. 

I also love old movies or those that are relevant to the location of the project. We looked at a lot of Federico Fellini movies for a forthcoming project in Rome as it’s set within a 1950s building. There’s definitely a theatrical element to our design.

How important is ethical sourcing?

Our speciality is finding vintage pieces that have provenance, character and a story. We are also very good at designing things bespoke and this adds a lot of value to the projects. 

When we go to vintage markets it’s always a bit of a risk, but it’s part of the treasure hunt. Even if you don’t find anything, it’s beneficial to see how furniture used to
be done back in the day when they had amazing craftspeople and money wasn’t necessarily the main objective of what things look like.

I have a restaurant project in Paris and am making sure that we take an extra day to go to Les Puces [flea market].

How can travellers make a hotel room feel homely? 

At the end of the day, I think it’s all very visceral. It comes down to scent and touch. Those are the things that trigger memories and a sense of comfort. Take your pyjamas, your favourite reads, shower gel and pillow mist that reminds you of home. 

What’s your favourite venue to design?

At the moment we have 14 projects split across restaurant and hospitality. They are all so different and that’s the beauty of it.

The dream jobs are when someone asks you to be involved in every single touchpoint – the branding as well as the glassware, tableware, cutlery etc. 

Tell us some of your favourite interiors?

I love places that take your breath away and are very transportive. I remember the first time I went to the Boom Boom Room at The Standard, High Line hotel in New York. It’s a stunning bar because of the view of Manhattan and the very strong monochrome aesthetic. It’s like you’ve stepped into a different world. It’s not just the interiors, it’s also the smell, the uniforms and the music. 

I’m also a big fan of Roman and Williams work, such as The NoMad London, and I think what the Big Mamma group is doing is so much fun – when you step into one of their sites, you know you’re about to have a great time.

Do you like biophilic design?

I feel much better at home when I have my plants around. They create so much magic and a lot of atmosphere – especially when you start lighting them up. The Midland Grand Dining Room Restaurant [at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross], for example, is stunning and the fake palm trees add that level of warmth and life. There’s a huge power of bringing plants into the concept.

Which project are you most proud of?

Osborn House hotel in Australia’s Southern Highlands. I completely fell in love with it. We picked everything – from the little pen and notebook in the room to the towel design, branding and colour scheme. Everything was in harmony. That was such a passion project. 

What has been your most rewarding travel experience?

Visiting Beirut for a project. It completely over exceeded every expectation I had. There are so many talented craftspeople in Lebanon. It’s a real treasure trove for a designer like me. We met people doing straw marquetry, sculpture, lace, block printing, woodwork – you name it. They take so much pride in it. 

And most challenging projects?

It’s amazing to work with historical buildings, but getting them to work is sometimes a bit of a nightmare. We’re working on two heritage hotels at the moment and it’s tricky to come up with a room category as no two rooms are the same. 

What’s your dream destination?

Mexico City. I have so many restaurants and bars that I’m constantly looking at and already have a fantasy list in my head. 

What’s your inflight entertainment pick?

Working or watching movies. 

What’s your indispensable travel gadget?

My headphones to listen to podcasts and music.