Design Notes Archive

Coral Relief

Coral Relief

There was a time a few years ago, when I was a staff editor at an American interior design magazine, when it was decreed in the office that coral was dead. Word came from above - there were to be no more story submissions relating to coral, no more products featuring coral, whether it was embroidered on cushion covers or faux objet for the mantel. It was played. It was over-exposed. It was just plain over. While I fully grasped the monotony of a saturated market, part of me was desperately sad. 

Then last summer I found myself on the eternally stylish island of Capri and coral was literally everywhere - glowing brightly through the illuminated water of the grottos, lining store windows, dangling around women's necks and wrists. Nostalgia abruptly set in. I wanted some and I wanted it now! Coral has such a beautiful organic shape and a rich natural color. It’s also endangered of course, which is why the meticulously crafted faux versions are welcomed with open arms. They're like faux fur, not faux Gucci.  

And so it was with a jolt of joy that I nearly leapt out of my seat when this month's World of Interiors crossed my desk. Inside, on page 166 to be exact, a pair of exquisite faux coral door handles played to my heart.


With a keen eye, Kensington-based Italian designer Angelica Frescobaldi did away with ordinary handles in favor of these sculptural designs. They pack just the right punch in a less is more kind of way.  It’s also a great reminder that upgrading your doorknobs is an easy way to add a bit of panache to a functional space. Frescobaldi’s are handmade in iron and priced to match at £500 each, from Italian company L’Oro dei Farlocchi.  For a source closer to home, we love Ashley Hicks’ equally bold versions, starting at only £52!

Monika, Editor, Design Notes

Photographs © Simon Upton