the london discoveries – part 1: squint

I love doing things on foot, I think it’s the best way to discover any particular city. Whether it’s the off-the-tourist-track side streets in Jakarta, Ninh Binh, Tallinn, Havana or Budapest, as long as you keep your mind and eyes open, the effort is rewarded with either meeting someone fascinating, seeing something unique, discovering something new, or all three. Walking around London, a city with well over 25’000 streets, it’s easy to discover exciting things every time you set off.

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Walking through Shoreditch this morning, London’s more and more fashionable East End, I didn’t even have to dip into a side street to make a colorful discovery. What at first glance looked like a funky upholstery & furniture shop turned out to be much more: welcome to Squint.

Calling Squint a furniture shop is like calling Christian Louboutin a simple shoemaker; both are much more and as I entered the shop and descended into the basement I realized just how much more. The underground space is a mix of gallery, fabric warehouse and furniture workshop, filled with colorfully upholstered patchwork sofas, chairs, bed boards, dining chairs, mirrors, cushions, cabinets, bedside tables, mirrors, chaises… each one different from the other.

So what is Squint then?

Squint is a unique design company producing bespoke furniture and home accessories, all with the company’s signature patchwork fabric applications. Founder Lisa Whatmough combined her passion for textiles and British design sensibility to create a world of richly decorative home wares, fusing fashion with the decorative Arts. Each item is made to order in the UK and rather than being just a piece of furniture, each one is like a contemporary work of art.


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What I like most is that Squint works with a number of long-established workshops, all independently family owned specialist manufacturing businesses of classical and contemporary upholstered furniture, textiles and accessories – most of them second or third generation.

The high quality and unique design is not only appreciated by locals but clients around the world; Squint ships internationally and you’ll find pieces in some of the world’s top design and fashion stores. Christian Louboutin is among Squint’s biggest fans and I see one of the pieces made for him being packed up for shipping to Paris.

If you are visiting London and want to see more of Squint, why not spend the night at the nearby Boundary Hotel, particularly in their British Room (no. 22), decorated with a Squint bed board and arm chair.

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And if you’re a local and don’t want to stay overnight, you must at least have drinks and dinner on the Boundary’s über-cool roof top terrace.

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The Boundary is just a short walk away, and who knows what you may find on the way…

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