Sacrificed for art: life in the fast lane of celebrity creativity
The architecture business isn't all glamour. While the big names set themselves up in villas and palaces round the globe, home for a young designer is more likely to be a rat-infested cellar in Hackney with no toilet - provided he or she has wealthy parents that is. Not so for Guido Spunge.
He's borrowed a slick apartment in London's fashionable Tower Hamlets.
Succumbing quickly to the lure of fast-track celebrity, Spunge, who crafts serious elegance out of brickwork that he makes himself, has been working the image cascade by appearing at all the important architecture venues. 'It sounds easy, but it isn't, ' he chuckles self-depracatingly; 'There's the Pritzker, the Stirling and the Alzheimer, all the industry prizes, then there are the gold medals, at least 60 of them now, and I have to turn up at all of them getting people to know me.
Despite his single-minded commitment to his career, Spunge's slick apartment came to him via a different route.
When he is not combining his unique brand of London je m'en foutisme with Hispanic flair - his mother was a Chinese je ne sais quoi and his father Liberian bongo champion five years running - he works as a focus group spin doctor, pushing the envelope for promoters like Goldie and Baz from Stunk and Tropshop Fourstroke. Following a bit of useful advice he gave Roscoe Dwarf when he was stuck with two vast but unsellable East End penthouses, he found himself invited to makeover the interior until it was sold.
Spunge couldn't resist the challenge and threw himself into the task with award-winning obsessive attention to detail. Now he finds he just can't leave the aircraft-carrier sized dwelling alone. 'I have an open brief to come up with something suitable for another rich playboy looking for a smart place in London, and that's not easy, ' he explains.
It may not be but Guido's huge pad is an inspirational heartland. The entrance is as big as the Arc de Triomphe, with enough escalators for an opera house. Inside, the agoraphiliac theme continues, with distant portholes, a wooden ceiling section that resembles the hull of a huge boat overhead, and a field of lawnmowers. Spunge collected the mowers himself. 'It took a year, ' he grimaces.
If it did, it was certainly time well spent. In his design work Spunge is a stickler for detail. 'I use flair to deal with the doodads, ' he glowers. 'But it's the final solution that motivates me. You can't design if you can't finish. That's what I say.'
Lately he has begun applying this principle everywhere. With the help of partners Tim Rozhdestvenski and Bibi Quains, he personally phoned up and ordered the wood strip flooring for the walls, as well as the mushy peas carpet tiles that have been stuffed with ecologically tested newspaper and whipped into throw cushions.
'Even if I don't get shot of this place it won't be long before I am back in business, ' he promises with a radiantly bleak smile.
Here is your design directory for Spunge style.
Decorative mowers: Guido Spunge's collection of old lawnmowers was bought from Old Mowers, 1028 Fulham Palace Road (020 65498078 21698439800).
Guido's Ribena Chair: this design classic is still manufactured by Graspers of Sydenham from £12,038 (097 26580941268484 890753).
Bibi's Prankster Sofa: by Lazlo Swinger for Gubm, starts at £17,097 try (020 374535687) between two and three, ask for Prinkie Patricide.
Munshi Krabstik's 'Runway' dining table: buyer to collect.
Bathroom glass: from Ding Dong Bell at Ho Ho (034 5678452198765489).
Accident and emergency: see phone book.
Kitchen: no problem, all from IKEA Property Developers: Tropshop Fourstroke (076 9867 42100744 1797864 554 dial M for murder) Architects: mmmm, what was his name?