Online | Interiors

Petra Arko Q&A

London, UK

With apartments in a new boutique development in Fitzrovia and in Battersea Power Station recently completed, interior design studio Bergman & Mar makes imaginatively sourced, calm and comfortable spaces. Its Slovenian-born founder and creative director explains the thinking behind the aesthetic

DESIGN ANTHOLOGY UK: Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

PETRA ARKO: Bergman & Mar is a multidisciplinary interior design studio based in London. We are a team of five, working on a variety of different projects including residential and commercial, in the UK and abroad.

DA: What are some of the common threads that run through every project?

PA: Our vision for every project is created by staging and storytelling. We aim to provide an immersive approach when designing spaces, by considering all elements, from the joinery down to the furnishing pieces. We love incorporating organic shapes, daring palettes and unique textures.

Petra Arko, founder of Bergman & Mar
Bergman & Mar's 101 on Cleveland project in Fitzrovia
Bedroom, 101 on Cleveland
Dressing area, 101 on Cleveland

DA: What have you recently completed?

PA: One of our most recent projects was a show apartment for 101 Cleveland, a boutique collection of new apartments located in fashionable Fitzrovia. We wanted to incorporate the rich history of this characterful district into the scheme: over the generations, the area was the home of craftsmanship and we wanted to integrate this into the design concept. Our vision was to create a space that was a combination of cultures coming together: a bit like the area itself, which has been described as “vital, noisy and full of life”. We sourced items from various craftsmen and local suppliers to provide a curated list of re-editioned and future icons that resulted in a truly unique apartment space.

DA: You’ve also worked within some wonderful buildings across the capital – do any of them stand out as being particularly exciting?

PA: We recently completed a penthouse in Battersea Power Station. Framed by more than six million bricks and world-famous chimneys, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s art deco masterpiece became a cultural icon. The surrounding area is being brought back to life as one of the most moving and innovative mixed-use neighbourhoods in the world, which made it a unique project to work on. We created a calm and sophisticated space juxtaposed with vintage and modern pieces, with curved, organically shaped pieces and earthy tones balanced with a touch of colour.


Dining area in an apartment at Battersea Power Station
Bedroom in an apartment at Battersea Power Station

DA: Is there an interior that has really inspired you?

PA: The hotels of Kelly Wearstler, the American designer known for her maximalist eclectic style that she composes so impeccably. They are full of ingenuity and original ideas. I absolutely adore her work, even though it’s nothing like my personal style.

DA: What do you obsess over in your work?

PA: The colour palette. The studio always considers how we want the space to feel and how to achieve this through colours and tones. Colour impacts the human mind and helps create ideas while generating certain emotions, so we always try to base our selection on the concept. For example, the palette for the 101 Cleveland project was carefully thought through to represent the diversity and history of the location. Various finishes were combined to show a subtle mix of elegance; brass detailing and organic elements flow throughout the entrance, living/dining and study space to create a sophisticated space that reflects the streets of Fitzrovia.

Martelo and Mo's walnut dining table
Coffee table details from 101 on Cleveland

DA: Is there any creative talent you’ve recently discovered uncovered that you can share?

PA: We discovered Martelo and Mo not too long ago, and have found ourselves using them in projects ever since. They’re a British studio, a husband and wife team who are very passionate about designing and creating functional, well-made furniture from sustainably sourced materials. We love their approach to creating handcrafted pieces of furniture made with their minds and hands, that respect the integrity of materials while considering the way feel and look. The live-edge dining table used for the 101 Cleveland project is one of our favourite pieces. As you walk into the space, your eyes can’t help but be drawn to the visual textures and organic edge of the walnut slab, which gives a unique feel to the space.

Study, 101 on Cleveland
Kitchen, 101 on Cleveland

DA: What are you working on at the moment?

PA: We’re working on a few projects at the moment, including a large residential communal space for a luxury development. Others include a new-build in Provence, a penthouse in Fitzrovia and several private client projects across London.

DA: What does your own home mean to you?

A home reflects personality, which can often be versatile based on what you enjoy doing. It’s a space for myself and my family to enjoy. My home combines practicality with comfort and contemporary elements making it a versatile place to relax, work or entertain.