In Conversation With: Katja Behre from Elli Popp

    640 452 Hamish Kilburn
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    Katja Behre, creative director of interior design company Elli Popp, talks about what’s hot in hotel design, where she finds inspiration, and shares tips for hoteliers looking to freshen up their interiors ahead of the Independent Hotel Show 2018

    Ahead of this year’s Independent Hotel Show 2018, Hotel Designs went behind the scenes to catch up with Katja Behre of Elli Popp, the design partner to the Innovation Stage at IHS 2018.

    Image credit: Twitter Katja Behre @ElliPoppDesigns

    Hamish Kilburn: What are your clients currently looking for in hotel design?

    Katja Behre: Storytelling is big. We’ve worked on a lot of customised designs over the past year and our clients love how we can incorporate and merge personal photos and drawings into our existing designs to create unique pieces.

    We also add a lot of ‘hide and seek’ images to the murals and can change the layouts of patterns so they complement the client’s architectural features and shapes. We have also created exclusive murals from scratch based on a client’s brief.

    HK: What are the key trends you’re noticing in hotel design?

    KB: That’s a difficult question to answer as I don’t follow trends, nor do I look out for them.

    I do what feels right and as trends come and go, I always try and create timeless designs, which from time-to-time happen to be in trend. Most of our best-selling designs are between one and six-years-old and still don’t seem to fade out.

    HK: If a hotelier is looking to improve the design of their property, what top tips would you give them to ensure they do it right?

    KB: I come from a colour design background and think it’s important to work with someone who can advise on colour schemes as every colour can have a different meaning. The same colour can even have a different impact depending on the surface and product it’s on as well as carrying different messages and meanings, both psychological and emotionally.

    My advice is to look into the importance of colour and check that those you like will work within the hotel environment. What might work well in fashion, might not work in interiors. Colours and patterns can also have different meanings depending on where you are in the world.

    I also think that people always feel comfortable with designs that connect them to nature – whether that’s plants, flowers, insects or animals. Any design with a connection to nature will be popular.

    HK: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

    KB: Everywhere. I approach the world and life with open eyes and curiosity to find beauty in everything.  We are so conditioned in so many ways that we forget that everything carries beauty and inspiration.

    Our surroundings are full of inspiring and special moments, appearances and shapes. Everything can be turned into something special with the right approach.

    HK: Tell us about who you are collaborating with at the Independent Hotel Show:

    KB: We will have a total of seven creative companies present on stage. Our own Elli Popp wallpapers will be supported by Tektura who we have worked with in the past.

    We have furniture in collaboration with Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture and will have two vintage chairs on stage re-upholstered with one of our latest mural patterns which has been created by local upholsterer Polly Chetwynd Stapylton.

    You’ll also see decorative lights by Emerald Faerie, small decorative pieces by Jimmie Martin and flower and plant arrangements by Aude de Liedekerke.

    HK: What key tip would you give to a designer just starting out?

    KB: Be true to yourself and your own style.

    Be open and friendly to anyone and everyone, help others as others will help you.

    Don’t end up copying fellow designers or larger companies – and if you do, than change it as much as you can making it your own individual version.

    Take inspiration from the past in art, design, fashion and culture, but create something new. I love Art Nouveau and Art Deco, but make designs my own by adding my own modern twist.

    Ellie Popp is the Design Partner for the Innovation Stage at the Independent Hotel Show, which will host an exciting programme of seminars on 16th and 17th October.  To register visit

    Hamish Kilburn / 08.10.2018


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