T A L K I N G T A B L E S C A P E S W I T H
T O N Y M A R K L E W
We talk to Event Imagineer Tony Marklew about his journey to becoming a world-reknowned event designer and floral expert, known for his fairy tale touch and opulent style.
His passion for innovative tablescapes has made him an inspirational hit on Instagram and he's no stranger to the most eminent of Mayfair private members' clubs where he often creates stunning immersive installations. Taking time out from his busy schedule, Tony tells us about the process behind some of his most memorable table-top creations.
"I ran back home again from London to Lincolnshire and fell into the family business of restaurants for 19 years. I got involved in the decoration of front of house as well as hosting. And then I started to decorate at Christmas and valentines and Easter. More and more people came out until one year we had 40,000 people between October and January to see the Christmas decorations. It was on TV. It was bonkers! And that’s how it all started!"
Tony began his journey in theatre, moving from Lincolnshire to London as teenager to train in dance and drama, before working in fashion for a number of years. But how did he make that crucial step towards event design?
Now, Tony can be seen creating breath-taking tablescapes for top London clubs, bringing his keen eye for floral arrangements, designer plates and artisan glassware to each of his creations. We took a peek at some of his most stunning designs...
It was Tony's tablescape for private Mayfair club Harry's Bar that caught our eye first of all. Pinks, fuchsias and sprinkles of gold feature heavily in this spread, off-set by hobnail glassware and soft glowing candles. We particularly love Tony's choice of Ginori plates and stunning fine detailed napkin rings.
"I was inspired by the colours in Harry's Bar, the pinks and greens were so lovely and then finding glassware that complimented this was a really good place to build from. I try to find things that work well together and well in the environment. It’s always good to nod to the space you’re using. For instance, so many people will choose a venue for a wedding and they’ll choose completely different colours for the flowers. Sometimes, you really have to talk them around. A lot of people now trust me and understand what I’m talking about."
H A R R Y ' S B A R
This vibrant and juicy design delighted guests at private members' club Mark's Club, embracing an adventurous sense of height with these tall staggered vases. Every aspect of the table provides a coherent vision, from the napkin ties to the table cloth to the chairs. So, how does Tony go about creating a fully fleshed out design for a client?
"I love sketching, it’s a big part of what I do. If I have a concept in mind, I’ll put mood boards together and I’ll sketch. It speaks to people when they don’t have a vision yet. When you’re trying to express something and you're a creative, I think you’ve got to find a connection with the people you’re working with, and my sketches help me to do that."
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Tony's passion for imbuing his designs with warmth and wonder bring clients back again and again, often involving him in multiple family events such as baby showers and weddings. Getting to know his clients on a personal level is a crucial step in his process.
"It’s so lovely to be a part of the journey and for people to trust you in that way. Having synergy with the person you’re working with is so important. It’s all about the way they express themselves. People who come to me have usually followed me on Instagram for a while and I think you can tell when someone really cares about what they do. I really hope so, because I invest everything of myself into my work. When they come to me, I like to understand what they’re looking for."
T O N Y M A R K L E W
I N T E R V I E W S E R I E S
This is just one of our stories in a short series of talks we had with Event Imagineer Tony Marklew.
You can find @tonymarklew on Instagram or at www.tonymarklew.com.
Watch this space for more stories with Tony.