Creatives and friends, Annina Pfuel, Nora Percy and Isabella Worsley, unite to create a living, breathing Bavarian wonderland in London, inspired by houses in the Austrian and Bavarian countryside. Sophie Goodwin speaks to each about the design and launch of the ANNINA showroom.



Annina Pfuel's showroom in London featuring a Bavarian-inspired design by Isabella Worsley with decorative painting by Nora Percy © Helen Cathcart


The Fashion Designer: Annina Pfuel

Annina Pfuel spent a large part of her upbringing in the Bavarian and Austrian countryside and remains inspired by the interiors of the houses here, citing them as a strong influence for the design of her eponymous showroom in London's Holland Park. "I wanted to create a space that evokes [these] interiors... Like a grand farm house in Tyrol," she says, adding: "Our parents' generation were influenced by English country houses so the space is really a fusion of the two worlds."

A friend introduced Annina to interior designer, Isabella Worsley - "I saw her work and loved it, and her, immediately" - while artist Nora Percy is an old friend. "She is also Bavarian and we grew up going to the same parties in the countryside, shooting competitions, always wearing Tracht (traditional dress) but mostly dirndls bought in vintage shops, paired with vintage belts stolen from our mothers."

Nora, founder of Tusche London, has the exactly the visual vocabulary that Annina was after for the space. Together they drew inspiration from antique Bauernmoebel, ‘farmer’s furniture’, typically used all over the alpine region. These wooden pieces are decorated with painted baroque features, often in blues and pinks. An 18th-century painted trunk, bought at auction in Vienna, sits in the entrance.

Art history, folklore and mythology are central to the brand's DNA, so they decided to hang a replica of Waterhouse’s Miranda, The Tempest, above the fireplace. Elsewhere, paintings with a personal meaning for the space were selected, such as a painting brought from her home in Munich, which depicts a famous Bavarian lake. There is also a replica of Joseph Stieler’s portrait of Helene Sedlmayr, who was a famous society beauty. "The daughter of the court shoemaker, she caught the eye of King Ludwig I who hung this picture in his "Gallery of Beauties".

"ANNINA is about family and friends, heritage and craft, tradition yet rebellion, being free and uninhibited. Working with such talented co-conspirators on this project felt perfect for the brand," says Annina who also endeavors to support artisans preserving traditional crafts, such as specialist printers and embroiderers.

The Decorative Artist: Nora Percy

Nora is the embodiment of Annina’s philosophy of freedom, energy and creativity. "I don't have any formal training but I have always painted," she says. "I can’t get away from creating and designing. It’s ingrained in me.’ The pair bonded instantly due to their Bavarian heritage - "we feel it all the time, we are intuitively drawn to traditional folk art patterns" - and often spent creative days together. "She’d be embroidering, and I’d be painting, and another friend would be glass engraving," Nora says. "It was like a trad wife party with our crafty afternoons."

An art historian by trade, Nora understands the nuances between Russian and Bavarian cabinets, or a Portuguese and German box bed. "Stylistically I understand Annina, how specific she is and how to get there," she says. Used to working alone, she also relished the opportunity to be part of a team. "I didn’t want it to end. Annina gave me free reign, wanting more and more. Murals on the furniture, ceilings, walls. It is a dream for any artist to have such scope for expression." 

Nora's company, Tusche, makes all sorts, from fabrics and wallpapers to playing cards and creativity is in her blood; her great-grandfather, Angelo Jank, and his father, Christian Jank, were famous painters. "I felt I was walking in their footsteps as Christian designed castles for King Ludwig II, including Neuschwanstein, and painted a lot of the murals inside, which in turn inspired Walt Disney. Angelo painted murals in the Reichstag in Berlin and was a member of the Munich secession."

The Interior Designer: Isabella Worsley

Isabella Worsley brought buckets of English charm to the project. Subdividing the rooms with a shaped architrave, which immediately transformed the open space, she created a sitting room leading through to the dressing area. "The walls are clad in timber paneling, reminiscent of Bavarian vernacular, with a fireplace designed to give a central focus to the room," she notes.

Isabella used Lewis and Wood fabric, with a shaped silk pelmet wrap around the room, finished with braiding and a dividing curtain in a bespoke rose color of one of Isabella’s house fabrics, Temple. Although she's worked on shop outfits before, this was her first opportunity to create a homely space with a consumer twist.

"This project has been so significant as we all learnt from each other. It was an opportunity to dig deep into Bavarian heritage, and channel what is appropriate and convincing on a city scale. We only worked with local makers to give it a tactile feel and sense of real authenticity."

The trio sourced a host of individual craftspeople to work together as a collective, ensuring a bespoke feel to the space. "We used Bavarian motifs which are imaginative and playful, and not a replica so the overall effect feels reflective. A sense of escapism from the normal.” The space needed to be joyful and characterful, providing the most fitting backdrop to the dirndls.

"This was a passion project for all of us,” Isabella notes. “It wasn’t a formula, nor a set of instructions or a specific brief. We all followed our gut instinct yet ended up at the same place."

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