Interior designer Peter Mikic – who has kitted out luxury homes, yachts and private jets for a raft of high profile international clients that include Elizabeth Murdoch, Matthew Freud and the Candy brothers – brings a diverse array of global influences to his projects with striking results
Words: Jacky Parker
Globalisation gets a bad rap – after all, who wants to see the same identikit coffee chains and fast food outlets in every town and city across the globe? One area where it can work, however, is in interior design. Here, rather than one culture imposing itself or its brands on another, different cultural references can collide to beautiful effect, resulting in unique spaces, often suiting an ever-increasing number of global nomads who are never in the same place for too long.
Someone who recognises this is designer, Peter Mikic, who has kitted out luxury homes, yachts and private jets for a raft of high profile international clients that include Elizabeth Murdoch, Matthew Freud and the Candy brothers.
‘I love being able to push my creativity,’ says Mikic. ‘I would always consider the location and style of property as much as the client’s wishes, but the world has become so small as we all travel so much. It’s wonderful to be able to combine a mix of styles and eras, whether it’s bringing in elements from the client’s background or lifestyle or introducing interesting pieces from a local antiques market and playing with colours and textures to make it work together.’
Starting out as a fashion designer in Melbourne in Australia – and winning Victoria’s Womenswear Designer for the Australian Wool Corporation in 1990 before he had even graduated from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology – Peter Mikic soon hotfooted it to London to explore the world of design. After working for independent women’s fashion brand Guarani Strock, he set up his own menswear label, Stonewood and Bryce, which sold through Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in London and Barneys in New York and Japan.
‘We sold across the world,’ he says. ‘It was fun doing the catwalk shows at Milan Fashion Week, when our little label would be sandwiched between the likes of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.’
It was fun doing the catwalk shows at Milan Fashion Week, when our little label would be sandwiched between the likes of Prada and Dolce & Gabbana
It was through a mutual acquaintance that the designer’s work caught the eye of property developers, Nick & Christian Candy of Candy & Candy, who commissioned him to create the uniforms for the staff on their super-yacht Candyscape I in 2006. Working with Alasdhair Willis, husband of Stella McCartney and Creative Director of Candy & Candy at the time, Mikic came up with a striking design for the outfits.
‘We went wild with the women’s cocktail uniform, and created kimonos in black silk-linen mix with multi-coloured hand embroidered cranes on the back,’ he says. ‘Nick and Christian absolutely loved them and then asked me to create a complementary design for the cushions and curtains.’
Another project soon followed, this time it was La Belle Epoque, the Candy brothers’ own lavish penthouse in Monaco, where Mikic worked alongside their senior designers to create luxurious soft furnishings for the palatial pad. ‘It was embroidery galore, it was absolutely spectacular,’ he says. The property later earned the title of the world’s most expensive private residential home when the brothers sold it to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid El Maktoum of the Dubai Royal family for the record-breaking price of £200 million in 2010.
You can really have fun with a boat. There is a sense of playfulness that you don’t have with a home. They’re usually party boats so you can go to town with bold colours and prints
A solo commission for the designer, of a 53-metre super-yacht called Elizabeth F, went on to win best refit at the Showboats Award in 2007, as well as receiving ‘Highly Commended’ at the World Super Yacht Awards. ‘You can really have fun with a boat,’ says Mikic. ‘There is a sense of playfulness that you don’t necessarily have with a home. They’re usually party boats so you can go to town with bold colours and prints. In my experience, it’s always better to go one step further than one step back.’
Since then Peter Mikic Interiors has increased to a design team of nine, working across up to twelve projects at any one time. ‘They are all at different stages and they vary in size,’ says Mikic. ‘But I like to manage each one.’
Working with artisans and craftspeople is one of the designer’s favourite parts of the process, whether it’s commissioning hand-painted wallpapers, elaborate glass panels or discussing the construction and detailed finishing on a hand-made sofa. ‘It’s about noticing things and layering, and I love working with people who understand what I want to achieve,’ says Mikic. ‘We have some of the best furniture makers in the world here in the UK and they have such an appreciation for what they do.’
One of his latest projects is the penthouse at The Glebe, a luxury property development in Chelsea, that’s rumoured to become one of the capital’s most prestigious addresses once it’s finished later this year. With its double-height ceilings and 360-degree panorama across the capital, the volumous property has been a dream for Mikic to design. ‘I’ve created it with an imaginary client in mind,’ he says. ‘A glamorous globe-hopping couple with kids and highly-charged careers, who want to come back and relax in a beautiful sanctuary.’
Drawing on his huge repertoire of images and ideas collected on his travels, Mikic is creating a spectacular interior, with a grand entrance hall and staircase, exquisite textured walls, beautiful marble flooring and stunning bespoke pieces that take their cue from a range of international influences. Whether it’s the intricate pattern of over-lapping banana leaves that the designer noticed whilst climbing hills in Ecuador, unusual artworks admired in New York, or vintage lamps seen in Milan, in Mikic’s hands there is an alchemy that makes these diverse inspirations work together.
‘I like to encourage my clients to be brave in their choices and they are always along for the ride. So I expect the people who buy this home will be just as adventurous and open-minded.’