Influential Interiors: The Man with a Plan

Published on 1st October 2016

In our Influential Interiors mini series we explore the worlds of prominent interior designers and innovative concepts.

This time, Max Pilbeam Head of Interiors Projects at eporta, talks about how eporta is transforming the world of interior design as we know it, as well as how Harrison Ford ‘auditioned’ for Star Wars and how it links to eporta….

With roles including head of contracts at Conran, Luke Irwin and Habitat, Max really is an influential leader in the interior design world. He discusses why Apropos conservatories are a premium choice for homeowners and why they integrate so well with their surroundings…

Black and White Photo of Interior Designer Max Pilbeam

How did you discover your passion for interior design? Where does it come from?

From childhood I was always interested in creating fun spaces so I could entertain friends. My mother had dozens of design books and also Habitat catalogues distributed throughout the house. I was never far away from some source of inspiration. Post education, I spent a little too long in sales roles, although it taught me relationship management and the importance of service. But it didn’t have much soul. It was only after a long conversation with my uncle that I knew I should follow a passion in order to gain fulfilment. I have since run Habitat Contracts, Conran Contracts and now I’m fortunate enough to be part of the new interiors movement from eporta and corporate sales manager at Habitat UK.  

What is eporta’s backstory?

With eporta, professional buyers are able to discover and order directly from nearly 800 suppliers around the world. However, we realised that many of our buyers also wanted to benefit from a higher service offering including specification, procurement and installation, which lead us to launch eporta projects. What we now have is a truly unique service that combines commercial procurement experience and expert design knowledge with an unparalleled supplier database. The fact that this is also powered by eporta technology means we can work faster for clients and be more efficient with our time and processes. For clients, it means they get more choice, more control and visibility over product with much faster response times. It’s very exciting!

Red Couch in a Blue Room

Describe your style in 3 words?

Understated, original, quirky.

What interior design aspects interest you the most?

Lighting – good lighting can transform an average space in the same way that bad lighting can ruin a great space.

Describe a typical working day…

I commute via train from a leafy Surrey village. I always have a seat and can get to work checking over emails. Once in the office, everyone starts sharing their news and updates. We then identify sales priorities, look for new product/brands, connect contacts and discuss new opportunities. I regularly meet with other contacts in the design world to share ideas.

Your next interior design project is a luxury conservatory – how would you approach it?

I would listen intently to how the client intends to use the space and try to show as much consideration as possible for the environment the conservatory will be set within.

Who or what are your biggest style inspirations?

I think Georgian town houses are incredible, the light and ceiling heights must have really transformed the appreciation of home interiors plus the craftsmanship was fantastic. Just look at the city of Bath – 250 years old and the houses still look impressive, especially compared to lots of 20th century structures.

What’s your favourite interior design magazine?

I enjoy Monocle magazine, although it’s not dedicated specifically to interiors it does manage to cover lots of things very succinctly. I always seem to find something of interest that inspires me.

Grey living room with green sofa and gold table

How do you keep updated about the latest interiors trends?

Mainly from being out and about meeting people and going to new events. I also like The Cool Hunter, it showcases all types of projects and products from around the globe.

Coco Chanel famously said “An interior is a natural projection of the soul.” What does this mean to you when it comes to your own approach in interior design?

I like to inspire people that perhaps have previously not been involved within the design world. It’s great to plant seeds of creativity which you can then see grow.

Do you have any unusual interior design related stories?

Kind of! Harrison Ford’s agent contacted us a couple of years ago, he was after a very expensive furniture woodworking tool set which we thought was interesting. I learnt shortly after that Harrison got the part in Star Wars because he pitched his acting skills whilst doing a carpentry job on George Lucas’s house!

What is your go-to piece of interior design advice?

Travel, meet lots of people and experience new environments.

What do you think of Apropos conservatories?

They look like they integrate well into their surroundings. The materials look premium with a good finish.

Thank you Max – we wish you even more success with eporta!

Inspired to start your dream conservatory, orangery or extension project with Apropos? Request a complimentary design consultation or a brochure today.

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