Exploring art, product design, superyachts and more with the multifaceted London designer.
An aesthete of all trades, who balances designing furniture and judging superyachts with residential design and a healthy dose of cabaret and camp on the side, Tim Gosling is perhaps best described as an artistic polymath. His talent for universality comes naturally—in fact it seems to run in the family.
“My father was a scientist obsessed with genes,” Tim says rather modestly (in truth, his father, Raymond, was an accomplished researcher and scientific pioneer, whose work was crucial to unlocking the code of both DNA and RNA, helping to establish the modern field of genetics as we know it today). By Tim’s account, his father didn’t particularly know much about art, but he appreciated it nevertheless because his parents—Tim’s grandparents—were passionate about it.
“When I was a child—around six or seven years old—my grandmother used to take me to the National Gallery, and say, ‘Right, go through the gallery, find your favorite oil painting and then come back and describe it to me, and I will buy you the poster,’” Tim recalls.
From there, he became fascinated with drawing and painting everything in his line of sight, from London landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral to favorite works like Sir Joshua Reynolds’ famous “Angels’ Heads” portrait, which depicts a then five-year-old Lady Frances Gordon in cherubic form. Eventually those innate powers of observation landed Tim in art school, where he began honing his own vision and expanding his creative palate.
“I can’t separate the space I’m in from how I live in it and that was always true—as a child, in boarding school and later at art school,” he says. “It’s always about taking the architecture back to its truest form and then deciding how to either follow it or play against it—something that’s as true when you’re sketching a structure as it is when you’re designing within it.”
Fast forward a couple of decades, and that approach has become one of Tim’s signatures. From designing furniture to restoring his circa 1787 home in London and, more recently, his twenty-two-room French chateâu—which hosted President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his troops during the invasion of Normandy in World War II—Tim is constantly reinventing and reshaping spaces with a nod to their historical past as well as future preservation.
“It’s a really strange mix of emotions,” Tim says, “the whole idea of trying to tame a thing, to really understand what you’re looking at—the beauty, the bone structure. I feel very much like a custodian on this journey.”
Then there’s his work designing and dissecting superyachts. As a repeat judge at the annual Monaco Yacht Show, held in September, Tim proves that blazing trails in emerging fields remains a family trait.
“Yachts, and specifically superyachts, are so exciting to me because they are literally the closest thing we get to creating a space and a structure that responds to the outside environment,” he says. “Over the past ten years, that world has found its own voice and its own consciousness—not just by replicating domestic interiors, but by applying a new level of technicality and design that is specific to the curves and waterline. You aren’t just on the ocean—you’re seeing and experiencing and interacting with seas and islands. God knows what we’ll be able to do twenty years from now!”
In the end, it’s that promise of possibility that fuels Tim Gosling the most: pushing boundaries to create inspired worlds within spaces. “Landscape is an enormous factor in creation, whether it’s a building or a boat,” he says. “And that feeling of connecting with the environment around you is, well, really quite a bit of magic, isn’t it?”