Inside Charlotte and Philip Colbert’s bohemian East London home – exclusive

Charlotte and Philip Colbert’s home in East London is everything you’d expect of a couple whose quirkily original take on the world has propelled them to the top of the avant-garde art scene. Created from a row of old terraced shops, it is a spacious bohemian paradise where family life meets their creative passions.

Founder of the Hyperpopmovement, Scottish-born artist Philip has been dubbed an heir to Andy Warhol. His surreal pieces address issues of consumerism, technology and identity, and he has also created a global following for his cartoon lobster alter ego. And his wearable works have been seen on Lady Gaga, Cara Delevingne and even the Queen. As for his British-French soulmate, she is an award-winning film-maker and artist.


Charlotte is the half-sister of Jemima Khan and is best known for her enigmatic horror film, She Will, starring Rupert Everett and Malcolm McDowell of A Clockwork Orange fame. Described by Variety as “a superb, sly horror-drama debut delivering otherworldly feminist vengeance”, it was lauded by Guillermo del Toro and critic Mark Kermode and won the Golden Leopard for Best First Film at the 2021 Locarno Film Festival. 

Charlotte’s art has been shown at leading museums and galleries around the world and has been likened to that of André Breton and Salvador Dalí, as well as being described as an “exploration of the human mind”.

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's living room in East London with plants on ceiling© ANDREW FARRAR

The couple’s 2012 wedding set the tone for their union, with the groom in a three-piece suit in his signature lobster print and the bride’s white gown adorned with a serpent-like black swirl. Since then, they’ve given free rein to their shared fascination with symbolism, turning Maison Colbert into an extraordinary universe all their own. Here, they tell us what inspires them.

Philip, did you always want to be an artist?

“It was always my dream, but it took time for me to have the confidence and opportunity to make it work as a career.

Charlotte Colbert wearing white dress and biker boots at home in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“I studied philosophy at the University of St Andrews and I think that helped distill my approach to creativity and what I wanted to say. My big break came in 2017, with my first show at the Saatchi Gallery, installed by Charles Saatchi.”

What do you aim to communicate with your art?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's dining room with hanging lighting in East London © ANDREW FARRAR

“I want the viewer to feel an empowering energy, like the feeling that radiates from a sunflower. I try to tackle philosophical ideas in an accessible way and celebrate the profound poetry of everyday life.”

Let’s talk lobsters. You’re obsessed with them and have even created a cartoon lobster person for yourself. How did that come about?

Charlotte Colbert pictured in East London home in front of eye themed coffee table© ANDREW FARRAR

“As a kid, I thought lobsters were like aliens from another planet. They’ve often been used to represent mortality and have inspired artists for centuries, from the frescoes of Pompeii through 17th-century still-life paintings to Surrealism and Dalí.

Walk us through the process of creating one of your works…

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's private cinema room in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“I make a sketch on my iPad, then develop that into a 3D model, so it’s a bit like animation studio meets old-style painter.

What are you working on now?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's home in East London with wooden ceilings and potted plants© ANDREW FARRAR

“A cartoon series called The Lobstars, to introduce art history to kids. My lobster characters travel through time trying to save great art from the past.”

Do you think your children have inherited your talent?

Colourful art-filled corner of Charlotte and Philip Colbert's home in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“I think most kids are brilliant artists, so I’ve been busy learning from mine. In return, I recently found out that they were trading vast numbers of my mini lobster sculptures at school!”

You’ve collected work by lots of other artists. Which is your favourite piece?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's mezzanine in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“I love our painting by [British artist] Rose Wylie, who’s a friend of ours and, at 90, still such an inspiring, cool person.

Charlotte, your home has an amazing history. What can you tell us about it?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's wooden kitchen with marble countertop in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“Like many of the buildings here in Spitalfields, it started out as housing for the Protestant Huguenot weavers who were exiled from France in the 17th century.”

Why did you choose this area?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's bookshelves in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“There are lots of fellow artists here, but the City of London financial district is just around the corner, so it’s a very interesting and diverse place, where drag queens in pink cowboy boots rub shoulders with financial directors.”

You work in many different media, from film to ceramics. What inspires you?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's hallway with checked pink curtains in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“This strange journey of being human. I’m mostly driven by things I don’t understand, questions that I’m grappling with.

“The last show I did, curated by [Los Angeles-based art gallery] UTA and [art dealer] Simon DePury for Frieze Art Fair, looked at the role of science fiction in imagining holistic, positive futures for ourselves.

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's pink vagina bedroom home in East London © ANDREW FARRAR

You won critical acclaim for your film She Will, executively produced by Edward R Pressman and Dario Argento. How would you describe it?

“It’s a dark and misty fairytale set in Scotland. This house is filled with symbolic objects, such as a headboard shaped like a uterus and a coffee table set with an eye. What do these mean to you?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's gold bathroom with tub in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“I’m interested in archetypes –those symbols we all instinctively recognise. The uterus is universal, we all come from one, including our Kings, criminals and saints. It’s so obvious but also so surreal.”

“The eye is the bridge between inner and outer – a portal. Some cultures believe we are made from the tears of God – I love that.”

Philip Colbert painting at home in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

On a practical level, which item could you not live without?

My Ginny Sims mug. It’s enormous enough to contain about half the gallon of coffee I drink every day.

Do you enjoy hosting guests here?

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's cactus bedroom in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

“Yes, with as little effort and as much music, conversation and fun as possible.”

How do you balance family life and work?

“Chaotically – and with very messy hair!” 

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's amazing artwork at home in East London© ANDREW FARRAR

Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

“I’m deep into the most fascinating historical research for a forthcoming project.”

“It’s terrifying how little we learn from our past and how readily we seem to repeat the same patterns, somehow expecting different outcomes. We must dream of better, more inspiring ways.”

Charlotte and Philip Colbert's sitting at dining table in East London© ANDREW FARRAR





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