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Maddux Creative

Meet the playful, sophisticated interiors of design duo Maddux Creative

London-based international design firm Maddux Creative talk to Effect Magazine about creating beautiful spaces infused with the personality of their owners

It’s unusual for a creative of any description not to want to put their own stamp on their work; but for Scott Maddux and Jo Le Gleud, aka design duo Maddux Creative, the absence of a recognisable design signature is a badge of honour, and fundamental to their approach. “I don’t think our style is particularly recognisable or formulaic,” says Maddux. “You don’t look at an interior and think: ‘That’s a Maddux project.’” Instead, their objective is to create a home that reflects and resonates with those who live in it – a goal that can only be achieved by revealing the personal and individual narrative that lies at the heart of each interior.

“It’s usually a mix,” says Maddux, “not just one thing, but all the different elements that work for this family, or that couple, and then you start weaving all those things together, so that every space has a little bit of all of them in it.” Their job, as he sees it, is to identify what makes their clients tick, and visualise it in the form of expertly executed rooms. “What we do is allow people’s visions to come to reality, and help them to create that. They may have never had the time or the inclination to sit down and spend the time to make that happen, so we facilitate it.”

As a modus operandi, it’s one that involves a whole lot of research – “We ask a lot of questions, probably more than most,” says Maddux – and it’s also one that requires a degree of openness on the part of the client – a willingness to reveal the essential part of themselves that will spark and shape a scheme.

I always pay attention to what someone’s wearing, because the colours they wear tend to be the colours that make them happy, and that they feel comfortable in

Scott Maddux

Still, when it comes to defining their taste, a certain amount of information can be gleaned from the very first meeting, and each one thereafter. “I always pay attention to what someone’s wearing, because the colours they wear tend to be the colours that make them happy, and that they feel comfortable in,” says Maddux. “You’ll start to see if someone has a palette they always stick to, or if they like to follow fashion, and are influenced by what’s happening around them. Different clients are affected differently by that; some care, some don’t.”

The design process always starts with the function and layout of a room, with to-scale plans hand-drawn by Maddux, who likes to push his clients a little, and present them with a variety of options for each room – what he describes as an extreme idea, a middle-of-the-road idea and a very conservative idea. “Sometimes, you offer the left-field option just to see how far you could go, but you have to be able to justify why you put it in there – it can’t be there for no reason,” he says. “I would say more times than not, people go somewhere between the middle-of-the-road and the super-left-field idea. That’s a nice side of the road to be on.”

I would say more times than not, people go somewhere between the middle-of-the-road and the super-leftfield idea. That’s a nice side of the road to be on.

Scott Maddux

In the case of one project, a family home in Holland Park, London, owned by a couple with an extensive collection of art and design, the brief was for the unexpected: an interior with elements that the owners had never seen before, and also a frivolous use of colour. Maddux and Le Gleud’s response was to balance the serious artworks and objects with a playful edge.

“The house dips in and out of classic, but it has contemporary moments, and in every room there’s something that makes it special,” says Maddux, giving as examples the modern fresco on the dining room ceiling, the sculptural plaster wallcovering in the library, and the curved, pistachio-silk sofa in the drawing room.  

At another project, a bachelor pad in London’s Bayswater, Maddux and Le Gleud were tasked with transforming a newly built white box into a warm, textural interior that referenced their client’s love of skiing. They responded by wrapping the ground floor rooms in chalet-style wood, brick and slate, and applying an earthy paint palette, which gradually lightens as you move up through the house to tones of pale blue on the top floor, evoking the clear sky at the top of a mountain.

As these and more projects demonstrate, there may not be a signature Maddux style, but there is always a dose of wit, an inspired use of colour, pattern and texture, and a carefully curated mix of furniture. Maddux describes the ratio of furniture as 40:40:20 in terms of antiques, bespoke designs, and pieces available to order. “We’re not very good at repeating things,” says Maddux, “but there are a very few people that we go back to: Bruno Triplet, who does the most amazing silks; the French designer Pierre Augustin Rose, who makes these coffee tables that just work everywhere; and Fromental – there’s usually one of their wallcoverings somewhere.”

But also, there is always space for a moment of serendipity to feed into the design. Maddux believes in the importance of face-to-face meetings, and also designer-and-client shopping trips. “When you’re with someone at a Paris flea market and they spot something that speaks to them, and you see their eyes light up… that kind of reaction is gold dust. It means you might have to change everything at the last minute, but that’s OK. We keep questioning ourselves, too, throughout the process, just to make sure that we’re certain of that essential quality.”

What results from this highly creative process – essentially, a deep-dive into the character of the home and the passions of its inhabitants – is an interior that is unique and full of personality, and that might have taken its owners in a direction they hadn’t quite expected. “It’s the reason I do this job,” says Maddux. “There’s something that is just extremely satisfying about finding what the essence of your client is, discovering what makes them happy, and then being able to create an environment that is specifically about that.”

Effect Magazine is brought to you by Effetto