Meet The Maker: Chris McCue, Managing Director at Carr
Creating timeless interiors comes naturally to Chris McCue, Managing Director at Carr, and interior designer at Seafarers. His knowledge of how we live in and use spaces, from a residence, to the finer grain details, comes to life at Seafarers, with the river’s tranquillity echoed inside.
Get to know our maker Chris as he discusses how luxury, excellence in design and the Carr difference entwine, in this Q+A.
Q: Carr has designed so many high-end spaces but what makes a luxury residence to you?
A: Luxury can mean so much in terms of spatial and service amenity and is where Seafarers achieves luxury in many ways. From a service inclusion and connection to 1 Hotels, to the kitchen joinery and fixtures inclusions, to the inclusion of generous and highly-functional storage. Carr also understands that luxury is achieved by a considered and cohesive whole. From services integration where the same design rigour and dedication to detail extends, to project coordination that achieves the calmness of space we search for in our architecture and interiors.
The partnership with 1 Hotels, who bring a much softer design aesthetic, marries beautifully with ours, which is much more streamlined. And so, there’s this fantastic duality between our bold interior architecture and that of the softness of 1 Hotels.
Q: What elements do you look for in great architecture and design? Do you have any examples of projects that you personally feel stand out/are a favourite of yours?
A: In all our projects we strive for coordination of all involved parties to arrive at a singular design language across architecture, interiors, art integration, landscape and building services. The strength and conviction applied to a singular architectural key move or idea is what drives me and that of the Carr team – both in our own work and that of others we admire. Across different typologies there are favourites for similar reasons, where the power of the single idea to capture light, eliciting emotion and varied emotion throughout the day/seasons. For me this is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim stair, Herzog De Meuron’s turbine hall at Tate Modern, Caruso St John’s Nottingham gallery, McGlashan Everest’s Heide II, to name a few.
Q: What are the signature elements of Carr’s residential interior design?
A: Our signature residential interior design elements really exist in the planning and clarity of the spatial diagram. This often includes prioritising aspect to view, considering the tension between the man-made and natural materials, and incorporating subtlety expressed materiality through colour, texture, shade and light. Our design will always strive to achieve a reductionist response, but one that is emotive, moving and holistic.
Fundamentally we consider interiors and architecture as a whole. If you look at Carr’s body of work, we’re all about timeless, quality interior design and architecture. We want to create longevity and design concepts that are robust, entirely liveable and long-lasting.
It’s important for us at the start of every project to get to the core brief. This is usually the power of a singular idea that drives a lot of our design thinking, which can permeate through the spatial planning, the detail, and the execution of all joinery elements. There must be a fundamental core principle, and in the case of Seafarers, it was working towards the beautiful interaction between the city and the river.
Our ethos is always about a reductionist aesthetic. This enables a pure architectural form that is long-lasting and timeless in its delivery and quality. Our aim is that in 20 years’ time the design still feels current.
Q: How do you evoke indoor/outdoor living in multi residential interior design?
A: For our core sectors – bespoke residential architecture and interiors, and multi-residential– we’re always trying to bring a quality that can be difficult to capture. This can relate to its sense of respite or retreat, be that in a single house or in an apartment.
There are a lot of qualities in terms of spatial amenity that we strive to bring to our multi-residential projects. For Seafarers, there was a lot of consideration around house-like storage amenity, as well as spatial amenity and flow through spaces and connection.
Our key spatial thinking and beliefs include connected indoor and outdoor living spaces, controlled and extended aspects, extended views that are aligned with internal planning throughout the depth of the apartment space, and a home entry that opens up to external views.
Q: How has sustainability changed in design over the years and how has it impacted the design process (sourcing materials, resources, textures, retention)?
A: Sustainability across both passive and active measures, material specification and life-cycle assessment are all considerations we prioritise throughout each project.
Inherent in everything that we do is the belief that responsible specification throughout the design and detail enables efficiency, buildability and longevity. We apply this approach to the products, finishes and details we execute, all which equally contribute to a holistic and sustainable project vision.