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David Collins, the man who put the taste into Britain’s restaurants, dies aged 58


David Collins, the interior designer whose “magic” touch changed the face of Britain’s most iconic restaurants, bars and hotels has died.

The Dublin-born designer, who worked with Alexander McQueen and remodelled the interiors of Harrods and the Hilton, passed away yesterday after a “short but valiant” battle with skin cancer.

Collins had initially trained as an architect before moving almost accidentally into the world of interior design after being asked to design a friend’s home. He set up the David Collins Studio in 1985, going on to work with luxury names such as Nobu Berkeley, J Sheekey and The Connaught Hotel’s bar.

In a statement the studio said that he had passed away at 1.20am surrounded by family and loved ones.

Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, owners of Rex Restaurant Associates, the brand behind restaurants including The Wolseley, The Delaunay and Colbert also expressed their condolences. “David understood restaurants so much more intuitively than almost any other interior designer,” the pair said in a statement. “What was perceived as his arrogance was actually born out of a deep and endearing insecurity. Even when the plaudits were ringing in his ears, it was never enough reassurance for him.”

Sue Timney, President of the British Institute of Interior Design, said yesterday: “I was utterly shocked, I still am, and I don’t think any of us will ever get over this. There is no one to replace him.

“Within our business David really was an inspiration. He had that magic. It wasn’t bling for the sake of bling. That’s what he was all about.”