Interview: Tara Ashe, designer at Block

Life in colour are three words that sum up contemporary interior design brand Block. As the Block range comes to ACHICA, we find out a little more about the founder and lead designer Tara Ashe, including her fascination with Japanese maneki-neko cats...

1. How did the idea of Block come about?

A fusion of an engineering and applied arts background. I had a desire to create simple design solutions with an emphasis on colour.

2. What makes Block so different from other brands?

Our devotion to colour within design - it is a fantastic way to express yourself within your home. It is integral to each of our designs.

3. What’s the best thing about being a designer?

The opportunity to be creative every single day and to be surrounded by other designers in the Block team. The heated debates over every product detail proves the passion behind each design!

4. What would you have loved to design?

We have a Pinterest board dedicated to ‘design envy’ for those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ moments. Most recently we added the beautiful lighting pieces by David Trubridge, which we discovered on a trip to this year’s fantastic Clerkenwell Design Week.

5. Favourite designer?

I love Normann Copenhagen’s collection. They carefully select designs to create a beautifully accessible yet aspirational range.

6. Where do you like to go for a little Tara time?

As we are lucky enough to live beside a beautiful river we have a boat to make the most of it. You’ll find me there armed with the latest Elle Deco and a cup of tea!

7. If you could be spend the night in any building - which one would it be?

I would love to camp out in the V&A for the night. It would be great to have it all to myself and take in every last detail and exhibit.

8. Who would you ultimately love to design for?

We are constantly inspired by fashion and colour trends that emerge each season. They are always a good prediction of what will be seeing in interiors the following season. We would love to design a home diffusion line with a British Fashion great such as Stella McCartney.

9. What are you working on at the moment?

We are currently working on a lighting piece in anticipation of Autumn/Winter, which seems unthinkable in this glorious weather.

10. What is your karaoke song?

My two-year-old is currently obsessed with Jake Bugg so it would have to be something from the album to keep him happy.

11. What can you not leave the house without?

My iPhone, I really don’t know how I did without it!

12. What do you collect?

I collect maneki-neko (Japanese beckoning cats). The fascination started on a business trip I took to Japan just over 6 years ago. They are fun kitsch addition to each room and remind me of an inspirational time.

13. What’s your bad habit?

I share a bad chocolate habit with the rest of the team at Block. Tunnock’s Teacakes are the treat of choice at the moment, luckily Gillian Kyle is busy turning them into a design icon!

14. Most treasured possession?

I have a yellow vase (see below) that was my Grandma’s, it has huge sentimental value and is a timeless piece. It could also have been plucked from the Block range.


15. Last thing you bought for your home?

I love to have fresh flowers in my home. I found some beautiful antique pink roses that seemed to get better with age. There is something about their temporary nature that makes you appreciate them all the more while they’re there.

16. The last person you tweeted?

@chrishaughton – we featured his gorgeous illustrations on our colour blog this week.

17. Who or what inspires you?

Most recently I was inspired by the Gary Hume exhibition at Tate Britain.

18. Dream design object?

A time machine so that I can be in 3 places at once would come in handy...

19. Favourite dish?

So quick and simple but never disappoints – pasta with olive oil, garlic and chilli.

20. What piece are you most proud of?

It has to be our Letter and Magazine Rack. The product has one colour, one component. It is highly functional yet looks great when not in use. It expresses our brand in its purest form.

See the Block promotion at ACHICA here

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shop at ACHICA.

Keya Modessa, ACHICA Features Writer

View all posts by Keya Modessa, ACHICA Features Writer