W.A.Green's Guide to London's Most Colourful Places
It’s a well known fact that every inch of space in London is worth its square footage in gold. Why do we insist on living here? Simple. There is just something so incredible about this city that makes the gray days, and the tiny apartments so worth it. So when Zoe Anderson opened the doors to W.A. Green on Charlotte Road, with the promise of ‘adding a hit of dopamine for our homes’ — you can bet that we were all over it.
W.A. Green is a design destination that invites us to add a bit of whimsy into our lives, and Zoe Anderson is at the heart of it all. We caught up with Zoe and chat all things colour. An expert on all things chromatic - Zoe gives us some top tips on inventive interiors, this year’s most important colour trends, and all of the Less Ordinary places that have executed these bright hues ‘with flying colours’. Because let’s face it — these days, we all need a little bit more dopamine in our lives.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and W.A.Green. How is W.A.Green bringing a ‘hit of dopamine for the home?’  
The idea for W.A.Green started with my friend Becky’s birthday present. She has great taste and I wanted my gift to be unusual — something she’d love but never seen before. When I visited California and saw how they embraced local crafts that were created with a positive vibe, (one that only comes with living with sunshine) I knew there was an opportunity to bring that ethos to the UK. I ditched the day job and away we went.
Now let’s talk about colour. What are a few top line tips you have on how to add colour to a space? 
Don’t be scared of colour, it can be your best friend. It feels like we’ve replaced magnolia with 50 shades of grey, but I think we’re starting to see a move away from this. It’s really important to think about how you’re going to spend time in a place. I’m all about positivity and energy, and I want my home to be restorative but equally energise me for the day ahead.
Accessorising with colour is also an instant mood enhancer. Start with adding a richer colour like orange with a jug or a bowl. If you enjoy how that pop of colour makes you feel then introducing some contrasting colours might be good for you too. I have bright pink inside my walnut wardrobes so I start the day with a little wink of encouragement!
W.A. Green stocks some of the design world’s most exciting brands. Could you give us a quick shortlist of some of your favourite items in the store? 
It’s wonderful being surrounded by beautiful products. I’m really excited by these amazing beaded wooden heads we have that were made by a small tribe in Cameroon. We’ve also got 3 new designs by Slowdown Studio - the orange and blue Bradford Throw is definitely the one for me. We’ve also just started working with Louise Madzia and her gorgeous and cheeky illustrated monochrome pots. One of our favourite new independent designers is Sarah from Concrete Candy, her mix of dark moody concrete with rainbow coloured resin is so exciting. And finally, who could ignore the giant acid yellow smiley face dish? So much fun and a real conversation starter for your table.
As a lover of colour, are there any colourful London spots that you often visit? 
Just walking through the colourful street art of Shoreditch every day makes me happy, and the constantly changing environment is incredibly inspiring. The Victoria Miro Gallery in Old Street is a must — their exhibitions are always fabulous. At the other end of town, I enjoy walking down New Bond Street to gawk at the stunning creative window displays. Some of the most creative people in the world have put these together; and to think about the scale of these installations across multiple cities blows my mind. Fashion also fascinates me and Somerset House is a must. For other stores, it has to be Koi Bird. They’re motto ‘Never Boring’ fits so well with our own ‘Dopamine for the Home’. For opulent restaurants, the Ivy Soho Brasserie and Bob Bob Ricard are stalwarts for when you fancy a bit of glamour.
Olando Yellow, Aria Blue, and Ida Pink - are the colours that you have highlighted for 2019. Are there any London spots you know of that uses these colours? 
Olando Yellow: The Standard in LA is where it’s really at!
Aria Blue: Granary Square Brasserie
Ida Pink: Nightales covered booths
You first opened the doors to W.A. Green in Charlotte Road back in 2017. Why East London? 
I wanted to bring a little bit of the West End into the East End; and to give Shoreditch something I thought it lacked — super fun home ware. It’s the creative heart of London and felt at home amongst the creatives, artists, fashion students and uber cool residents. It was tough finding a space to rent, but we’re really happy in Charlotte Road.
Any colourful East London hidden gems you’d like to share with us?
Ooh lots! Jealous Gallery is a must for anybody wanting to invest in limited edition prints. They hosts regular exhibitions with prints available to buy. The gallery is incredibly supportive of upcoming artists and lends its rooftop space walls to them for colourful murals. I’m also a sucker for neon, and the newly opened Tonight Josephine is probably going to be the most Instagrammed bar of 2019 with their neon sign ‘Well behaved women don’t make history’. In Hackney, The Old Bank Vault is an eclectic exhibition space in Hackney selling fun prints and living goods, fusing bespoke art, high end ‘Made in England’ fashion, and contemporary living. Great little stop off if you're visiting Broadway or Columbia Road markets.
Are there any places in London that are in your hit-list that you haven’t had a chance to check out yet? 
God yes! I still haven’t made it to Clerkenwell Grind to see their green banquette seating and I’m also desperate to try Lina Stores. I’ve always shopped in their Soho food-shop and can imagine how good their pasta is going to taste.
What’s your favourite city that you’ve travelled to and why? Could you name either a hotel/bar/restaurant that’s made an impact? 
I’m a massive fan of LA - there are so many different neighbourhoods to explore and each one has its own quirk and vibe. The acid yellow restaurant at The Standard in Downtown LA is the most exciting dining room I’ve seen in ages. I just love the way they’ve completely committed to one colour and the impact is super powerful and has stayed with me.
In what ways do you try to be Less Ordinary with what you do?
I’ve never been good at conforming, I always question ‘why?’ and rebel against the norm. So from the products we source, to the people we work with, to my colleagues in the store, we never really blend in. I look at everything from an emotional point of view and see how that would make other people feel. I give artists space in the shop. I never turn down a meeting with a designer in case they’re the one. I want everyday to be an experience and I want everyone who comes into contact with us to have an experience as well. My family think I’m exhausting.

Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies

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