When an architect opens an interiors shop you expect minimalist style with 20th century design classics. In contrast, Ben Pentreath's shops, online and bricks & mortar in literary Bloomsbury, look like they stock the artefacts and possessions of a collector. The result is a shop that looks different from many contemporary interiors retailers and might remind visitors of the Victorians who travelled the world to bring home curiosities and treasured items. When you learn that David Hicks is his design inspiration it starts to make sense.
Ben's architecture practice, Working Group, has an unusual portfolio which includes the Prince of Wales' Poundbury Estate, the urban extension to Dorchester and the Prince's more recent development at Dumfries House in Scotland. Underpinning the practice is a belief in the relevance of classicism in the modern world. In fact, it was sitting looking out at the empty store front while he was working on drawings, along with Camden Council's desire to keep retail space for retail, that inspired Ben to open the shop.
Above, slate pencil sea urchin, £38. The shop has a range of prints and cards by British artists including Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious. Below, Royal Pavillion, Brighton, 1956 by Edward Bawden.
Below, Brighton Pier by Edward Bawden, print £130.
Just to complete the picture of the perfect Victorian gentleman, Ben's blog has a rural focus and writes about the restoration of his 19th century parsonage in Dorset complete with overflowing cottage garden.
Above: Tea in the Garden by Eric Ravilious, 1936, greetings card, £2.50. Below: Train Landscape by Eric Ravilious, Greetings card, £2.50