A design consultancy that understands the needs and wants of a new generation of renters, first home-owners and entrepreneurs.
We spend most of our time in interiors, whether it’s work, home or the boutiques were we shop and cafés where we meet our friends for brunch on a Saturday morning. We spend a lot of our free time scrolling through beautiful pictures on Instagram and Pinterest, those who aren’t designers wishing they had a house worth going viral, and their office was more like those trendy co-working spaces where influencers living the laptop lifestyle work.
At Laurel and Yew, we believe that, to quote Dostoevsky, beauty will save the world. We think everyone deserves to be in beautiful surroundings, and not just when they are outdoors (although we love those too). For that reason, we are on a mission to help you make your spaces the best they can be. We know that time is a luxury that few people have, as we juggle successful careers, social commitments and, for some, growing families. We believe it should be spent on the things that you love, and not fretting over details of your home renovation, or putting in extra hours at work trying to buy new desks for your growing staff. We think that when you’re opening a shop you should be busy buying your products, not your shelves, and when you’re upgrading your restaurant you should be investing your energy in your menu and not your tables.
We have a boutique design service for those who are looking to delegate their projects into expert hands, knowing that not only they are freeing up their time, but also earning the knowledge that comes from education and work experience. We also offer online consultations for smaller things, like choosing a new paint colour to give a new life to a tired room with furniture still in a good state, or locating a unique piece to gift to the person who has everything, or building a stylish wedding list (to suggest a few). You can find more details on our Services page.
Laurel and Yew were two staples of an 18th century garden, both evergreen plants. The laurel has, since Ancient Greece, been a symbol of victory, fame, success, and prosperity. It has a lovely aroma, and in the wild it can be found in the Mediterranean. On the other hand, the yew is a northern plant. Its oldest tree is found in the centre of Scotland, and its symbolism of death and resurrection comes from Celtic culture, and Shakespeare used its poisonous quality in his Macbeth.
This marriage of northern and southern influences, and the elegant simplicity of these two plants are a perfect metaphor for our design philosophy, together with the symbolism of prosperity and renewal. Sophistication is the enemy of clutter, and quality is what separates simplicity from cheapness. We believe that if you have to tell someone your design is luxurious, it really isn’t.
Laurel and Yew was founded by Alessia Cesana in 2016. Alessia grew up as part of a family of artists involved in fashion and interior design, and received an artistic education for over 13 years. As a school girl she has demonstrated more of an aptitude for geometric drawing over more creative forms (while receiving good results in both technical and artistic subjects), and would have probably joined her mother’s furniture-making business if the economic crisis of 2007-2008 had not meant that the business was no longer viable.
During her studies in Milan in 2008-2011, she has been a recognised street fashion photographer, thanks to her eye for taste and trends. She also used this photography experience to assist professional photographers, and was able to attend the Design Week thanks to a gig as assistant with the National Association of Photographers, which creates a photobook of designers taking part to it every year.
However, thanks to her strong writing skills, she turned this experience into a short career in journalism for independent fashion and design magazines such as Magnate and Smoking Designers, before turning to a career in branding and marketing.
This career in marketing brought her to the charity sector, where she developed her interest in sustainability and ethical design which is the driver behind her return to the field with Laurel and Yew, which she founded with the double aim to provide employment to young people in South West London (where there are still high youth unemployment rates) as well as contribute to making ethical the industry norm.
In advance of launching Laurel and Yew she studied the essentials of the trade with Tomris Tangaz of the Chelsea College of Art and Design, but like many established professionals she built her style on her wider education, innate talent and cultivated taste over many years rather than a degree in interior design.