Meet Amy and Athina, the dynamic design duo behind the virtual interior design company and style blog, Topology London. Inspired by the ethos that interior design should be accessible and affordable for all, the twosome dedicate their days to helping anyone achieve the look they want in their space, no matter their budget. With a rapidly growing following, the award winning blog they launched only two years ago boasts installments of 'The Style Files' house tours (that we're totally addicted to) as well as bargain homeware secrets and expert interior design advice.
With a passion for contemporary art, Athina, Topology's Director, ceased the chance to curate a selection of her favourite Rise Art works to hang in her London living room. She created a chic salon-style wall, and we popped by to check out the final hang and interview both Amy and Athina. Read on to hear all about why they believe art is so integral to interior design, and why eclectic is in, and minimal is out.
Tell us about you & what you do
We're Amy and Athina, the team behind Topology. For those of you who don't know us, we're a virtual interior design service offering everything from mood boards to 3D renders and personalised furniture shopping lists. We’re all about providing great design at affordable prices, so our packages start at £75. We also have an interiors blog where we write helpful design guides, show you our favourite homeware brands and have a weekly feature called ‘The Style Files’ where we feature someone’s beautiful home, which is our most popular section.
What inspires you in your work and life?
Other creative people. We love reading about other people’s business ventures, especially all the amazing things that people are doing in the interiors industry at the moment - it inspires us to work harder. Instagram is also so inspiring, whether you’re looking pictures of stunning out-of-this-world interiors or someone showing you the renovation process of their 1930s semi in the suburbs.
Is art & design important to you and why?
Art and design is hugely important to both of us not only because we are creative individuals, but because it is a hugely powerful tool for creating a home with personality. The art that someone has in their home is almost always a projection of themselves because you have connected with your chosen piece in some way. You’re essentially displaying, for others to see, your personal taste and likes - so it's incredibly important for us to use art as a way of creating a well designed, personal space for the client (or ourselves!).
What inspired you both to start Topology?
When I (Athina) was working for Kelly Hoppen in 2015, we saw a huge amount of people come into her studio and get inspiration from Kelly's designs and homeware range. People loved the idea of having a designer look but were stuck on how to put it together and often didn’t want to commit to buying because it was too expensive. I chatted to lots of people about their homes for around a year and eventually people started asking for my email address to keep in contact, so I could offer advice and suggest products. It was at this point I thought, hey maybe I can make this into something... I saw that there was definitely a gap in the market for virtual interior design, offering people a laidback approach to interior design - no house visits, no consultation fees, no pressure to buy something you don't want to. At the time, no one was doing it (only one small company in America) and it made me question whether it was feasible as a business, however 2 years on we are growing rapidly!
Do you have a favourite artist and / or museum?
Amy: One of my favourite artists of all time is Jenny Saville. Her work is unbelievably powerful. I remember when I first saw one of her paintings – it was ‘Red Stare Head’ and it was in one of the huge rooms at the RA. Its size and colour palette stopped me in my tracks. My favourite museum is the CO Amerika Haus in Berlin because it always has incredible film and photography exhibitions.
Athina: I really like Jean-Michel Basquiat. I like how his work appears very chaotic, but comes together as a beautiful piece of art, and I love the scribbled elements that are almost childlike. My favourite gallery would probably have to be the National Portrait Gallery.
How integral do you think art is to interior design?
Art is so important in the home! Some people use art as the finishing touch to a room, others will base the interior design of a room on a single piece of art by bringing out the colours and shapes in their furniture and accessories. Art around the house also makes you feel at home – ornaments and accessories are essentially small artworks that show your personality. You should find art that empowers you and makes you feel good, whether that’s something you splash out on or something you find at a flea market. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
Do you collect art or anything else? If so what do you collect, and when and how did you start?
It may sound weird but the moment I’m (Amy) collecting circular objects. So far I have an oversized floor lamp with a spherical head, a huge green glass ball ornament, a smaller glass ball ornament, a circular mirror and one of those classic ball lights as a bedside lamp. I read somewhere that repeating shapes around a room gives it individuality and makes it memorable and it’s true! It all started when I cleaned up a dusty old ball pendant light I found in my parents’ loft and displayed it upside down on the mantle piece. I loved the Bauhaus look of it.
How do you think online art galleries have changed the way we access art for our homes?
It's a game changer. There is a huge trend for gallery walls at the moment to show off big art displays, so to have a wealth of choice online makes it so easy for us to scroll through and find multiple pieces we like. Art is very personal so the more choice to have to choose from, the better we say! On a different level, it also opens up huge opportunities for artists who are emerging and want to get their work seen - so online galleries are a thumbs up from us, as we endeavour to support all creative individuals.
Where's your favourite place to travel to?
I'm (Athina) a little bit obsessed with Asia. Having been a few times the culture never ceases to amaze me. I love every aspect from the weather, to the people, the colours, the art, the food - everything. Next on my list is Canada…
Favourite inpso quote?
"Better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all."
Do you Instagram or Pinterest? Who do you follow?
Yes, we have both. We’re keen Instagrammers but Pinterest is very new to us. We love to follow anyone with an inspiring home, in particular those with a renovation Instagram account. Perhaps you could say we're nosy? Also a lot of undiscovered homeware brands we want to shout about and of course the big dogs like Design Milk, Apartment Therapy & Elle Decor etc.
Are there any interior design trends you've spotted emerging in 2017?
Interestingly we seem to be erring away from the days of ultra modern sleek furniture and modern minimalism - the everyday homeowner is now flocking towards eclectic designs with lots of items and areas of intrigue that reflect their personality. Think wacky bits of art, funny ornaments and statement pieces. That’s why we love doing 'The Style Files' – we look at how people are gaining confidence in having boundary-pushing design in their homes.
Topology's Top Picks
I’ve always been a sucker for mixed media art and this is a great mix-mash of artistic elements.
Being born and bred in London, the city has a very special place in my heart so it comes as no surprise that a top pick is this typographical city map with a hint of pink (my favourite colour!)
I love the clean lines of modernist architecture and design, so I like abstract pieces like this that reflect that. Plus there’s a lovely colour combination here.
I’ve always been obsessed with art that features water, how bodies look under water and reflections in water. I love the deep green tones used in this.
I like this because it’s so serene the way the leaves are just poking out of the corner. I think if it was in my room it would relax me.