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WOW! Barbara Hulanicki

September 25th 2012

Visited the Barbara Hulanicki at the Brighton Museum and was “wowed”!!!

The exhibition captures her energy and design essence, the displays are creative and unstuffy, theres a very ‘Biba’ red wall  with dresses and jackets to try on and imagine the fun of the Biba world.

The show has 3 or 4 brilliant films that portray the creative dynamism of Barbara’s life, one big creative outpouring of fashion illustration, fashion, textiles, interiors, architecture, hotels, cosmetics….starting from her Brighton Art College days right up to her present day endeavours with Top Shop, Habitat and George at ASDA.

 

 

Barbara Hulanicki

Not to be missed !

Posted in architecture, art, colour, design, fashion, interior design, pattern, textiles

A first look at our new wallpapers

August 7th 2011

A nice, summery Friday afternoon is just the time to share a little bit of news. We have been beavering away on a brand new collection of wallpaper and the forever lovely website Designsponge has just posted a sneak preview.

Two of our new papers, ‘Dandy’ and ‘Lace’ have been produced using surface printing, one of the oldest methods around and the one that most closely resembles block printing – the favourite method of William Morris. Surface printing leaves a wonderful hand painterly feel to the paper, adding a richness and depth which can’t be achieved by any other form of production.

Dandy

Dandy

Lace

Lace

For ‘Wisteria’, another new addition to the wallpapers, we are using gravure, another of my favourite printing techniques. It enables us to create a look which is simlutaneously hand-painted and photographic. Clever stuff!

Wisteria

Wisteria

Colour themes for ‘Dandy’, ‘Lace’ and ‘Wisteria’ follow trend directions, think eclectic lemony yellows, turquoise and pinks, shadowy tones for blacks, silver and relaxing blues and a luxurious gun metals. We look forward to showing you more in the next few weeks.

Posted in botanical, interior design, pattern, printing, wallpaper

The Bloomsbury Group continues to inspire

August 4th 2011

I had a very ‘Bloomsbury’ weekend recently. I took a friend to Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex and as I haven’t been for quite a few years I was completely bowled over again at the sheer creative endeavour that flowed from this house; writing, painting, ceramics, textiles, furniture, cooking, gardening, sculpture…. the list is endless.

Artists Vanessa Bell and Clive Bell had a very open marriage, both taking lovers throughout their lives. Vanessa had affairs with artist and critic Roger Fry and with the painter Duncan Grant who also moved to Sussex with their unconventional household. Over the following half century Charleston became the country meeting place for this group of artists, writers and intellectuals now known as the Bloomsbury Set. You can only see the house by taking an official tour but it’s a very informative guide that fills you in on the anecdotes behind each piece in the rooms. I loved the artist’s studio for its roughly painted burnt umber walls and (of course!) the lovely grey wallpapers and hand painted textiles and furniture. I was unable to take photos in the house so tried to capture a few from the garden…

The farmhouse from the front garden

Ceramic pots in the garden

I loved these ceramic pots in the garden, also available to purchase!

The gorgeous garden

The gorgeous garden

If you in the area you must also visit another Bloomsbury group home, Monks House which is where Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard lived and wrote. I visited on the same summery day as Charleston so it was washed in beautiful sunlight. The house is decorated and furnished with Virginia’s sister Vanessa Bell’s work; everything from textiles, beautiful painted tables and chairs to ceramics. Here you can walk around at your own leisure, making it much less formal experience than at Charleston. I loved the particular green Virginia insisted on using:

The green fireplace

The green fireplace

More of Virginia's lovely green

More of Virginia's lovely green

The gardens are wonderful and have remained pretty much how both Leonard and Virginia planted them.

A stunning poppy

A stunning poppy

The writer’s hut lies to one side of the garden, tucked under a tree and is where Virginia wrote Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. There is no access to the inside but you can peer in through the windows and imagine her sitting at the table with her typewriter.

The writer's hut - a room of one's own

There are also plenty of black and white photographs of the couple and their literary friends including T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry and Lytton Strachey who came to stay at Monks House.

TS Eliot, Virginia and Mrs Eliot

TS Eliot, Virginia and Mrs Eliot who is on the right - fascinating body language!

One of the reasons for buying this house was its amazing views of Mount Caburn…

The view towards Mount Caburn

The view towards Mount Caburn

On the way back - Mount Caburn from Firle, close to Monks House and Charleston

On the way back - Mount Caburn from Firle, close to Monks House and Charleston

Posted in art, interior design, review

Just in store

August 4th 2011

Here are some snap shots of our recently launched fabric collection stocked in Terrain (owned by Urban Outfitters and sister of Anthropologie), a home and garden lifestyle store in the US. We love these pieces, very stylish with a play on the traditional giving them a quirky, homely feel. If you are Stateside do pop in, they have a great array of plants and lifestyle goodies to be inspired by.

Treetops_Chair

Treetops armchair

Flora_Sofa

Flora sofa

Posted in interior design, textiles

Susan Collier

May 24th 2011

It is very sad to hear the news that Susan Collier tragically died just a few weeks ago before the opening of their retrospective at The National Theatre and just ahead of the re-launch of the Collier Campbell brand. The textile diva sisters Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell had worked together for 50 years producing textile designs for Habitat, Yves Saint Laurent, Cacheral, Liberty, Marks and Spencer, Jaeger to mention just a few of the top names the duo worked for.

 Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Bauhaus roller-printed cotton furnishing fabric designed by Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell produced by Liberty 1972

Collier Campbell Bird fabric

Collier Campbell Bird fabric. Another of my favourites showing their painterly approach.

During the 80’s when I was studying textiles at Camberwell their work was thought of as some of the best around as it portrayed a painterly style that was so very lacking in the majority of prints available on the high street, distinctive for its large brush strokes and thoughtful mark making with accentuated textures all beautifully executed into flowing repeats.

As is quite often the case with textile designers their names are not known to many but most of their work would be widely recognisable and commonly found in the British household, from duvet covers and curtains to make up bags and scarves, a Collier Campbell print is iconoclastic of that time.

Do pop down to the South Bank and check out more. The exhibition is on until July 3rd but if you can’t make, have a listen to the interview about their work on Radio 4 Women’s Hour.

Susan Collier

Susan Collier. Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Posted in colour, interior design, pattern, textiles, vintage

Li Edelkoort on trends in textiles

May 3rd 2011

The most important event in the furniture design calendar, the Salone in Milan, ended recently. There’s always so much news that comes out of it but now I’ve had a chance to go through everything I thought I’d pick out one thing in particular that caught my eye, the ever wise Li Edelkoort’s exhibition Talking Textiles held at the Spazio Gianfranco Ferré.

Li Edelkoort talking to Domus

Li Edelkoort giving a tour of 'Talking Textiles'. Image courtesy of Domusweb

When Edelkoort gave a guided tour to Domus magazine she made some interesting comments that compare the upsurge in the use of textiles in the home nowadays – “a full-on textile tsunami”  to the 70s when the world had fallen in love with plastic. Thank heavens! Let’s hope this continues as she does sound a word of caution that if the textiles trend doesn’t continue we’re in danger of seeing the end of the industry. And we wouldn’t want that!

You can click on the photograph above to watch the video and designboom has a great selection of images too.

Posted in design, interior design, textiles, trends

Shopper’s paradise

March 29th 2011

Redchurch Street’s reinvention as the area’s best shopping street seems unstoppable, both APC and Labour and Wait have moved in to join Aesop, Sunspel and Caravan. A.P.C is at number 5a and Labour and Wait further down at number 85.

A.P.C
5a Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ
T +44 (0)207 729 7727

Labour and Wait
85 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ
Telephone +44 (0)20 7729 6253

Posted in design, fashion, interior design, product design, trends

Robin and Lucienne Day – Design and the Modern Interior

March 29th 2011
Robin and Lucienne Day

Robin and Lucienne Day. Image courtesy of Robin Day

A new exhibition of Robin and Lucienne Day’s work has just opened at Pallant House. As Chichester was the couple’s hometown, this is a perfect place for the exhibition, which draws heavily on a collection of their work owned by H Kirk Brown III and Jill A Wiltse from Denver, USA.

Seeing such big pieces of original fabrics is great. You can really feel the quality of the cottons and linens which in those days were less heavily treated. Being left in a more raw state, the fabrics seem more substantial than ours nowadays. In terms of the size of her repeat patterns, Lucienne worked at a much larger-scale than her forbears and I think that’s what gives her designs their modernity. Looking at them this weekend they appeared as crisp and fresh as in the ‘50s and ‘60s. All the greats are in there, including Rock Rose, Runic, Linden (which my mum and dad had in our house when I was growing up!) and Flotilla, the pattern that Lucienne apparently thought came closest pattern to a painting.

Flotilla by Lucienne Day

Flotilla, 1952, Screenprinted cotton, rayon and linen. Image courtesy of Classic Textiles

Small Hours by Lucienne Day, 1951

Small Hours, 1951. A lovely navy and salmon pink screenprinted cotton. Courtesy of the collection of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III

 

The exhibition also features Robin Day’s timeless furniture and his brilliant radios including the 1108 for Pye, which won a Design Centre Award in 1966.

Robin Day sideboard for Hille, 1949

Robin Day sideboard for Hille, 1949. Courtesy of Target Gallery, London

Model 1108 radio for Pye by Robin Day

Model 1108 radio for Pye by Robin Day. Image courtesy of the Science Museum

Hand-in-hand with the Day exhibition is A Tonic to the Nation: The Festival of Britain in Pallant House’s De’Longhi Print Room. It marks the 60th anniversary of the Festival that the Days’ were heavily involved with. It features souvenirs, posters and memorabilia.

A Tonic to the Nation is on until 8th May and Robin and Lucienne have taken up residence until 26th June.

Posted in design, interior design, pattern, product design, review, textiles

Design*Sponge interview

March 17th 2011

I’m excited to say that the lovely online design magazine Design*Sponge has just published an interview with me as part of the ‘What’s in your toolbox?’ series. This is a peek behind-the-scenes, giving readers an insight into the likes and inspirations of a particular designers. Click here to read my contribution

Thanks so much to Design*Sponge for the feature.

Something_From_the_toolbox

Something from my toolbox!

Posted in books, botanical, colour, craft, design, interior design, pattern, printing, textiles, trends, vintage, wallpaper

Swedish style

March 11th 2011

A few days ago I was in snowy Stockholm for only my second ever visit to the city. Luckily I had quite a bit of time to wander around and also squeezed in a visit to Mariefred and its castle, which is about 1 hour away.

 

Mariefred Castle

The magnificent castle in Mariefred

The old houses of Mariefred

It was -20 degrees and very snowy!

Back in the city, I have been a huge fan of architect, designer and artist Josef Frank since my degree days at Camberwell and so a visit to Svenskt Tenn was a ‘must do’. This time was better than ever as they have temporarily re-located whilst renovating their original store and currently running a pop-up shop in an old Art Deco cinema , the Astoria which is amazing!

 

Astoria Cinema - exterior

The exterior of the Astoria Cinema

Astoria interior

Interior which has made a feature of the original screen

The Astoria is a great setting for all the products; the stage houses some huge sofas upholstered in the newly launched Josef Frank ‘Marble’ velvets, influenced by the work of Jackson Pollock which he first saw in New York. Have a look at this animation of the Marble 4420 print:

 

Marble 4420 by Josef Frank

Marble 4420 by Josef Frank. Motion graphic designer Mika Pollack

Where the audience seats used be has been left pretty much as it was (but with the seats removed obviously!) and is eclectically styled. You have to keep reminding yourself that Joseph and Esrid Ericson produced these pieces over 50 years ago because it looks so of the moment right now.

Astoria - main space

Astoria main space and staircase

As you can tell I really, really loved this current shop. It seems to have transformed the Svensk Tenn look, generating a younger feel. I hope they keep it alongside the newly refurbished store. And can we have one in London please?!

Another totally awesome visit was the Nordiska Museum housing Swedish trends and traditions.

I could have spent all day here and will definitely visit again. The folk art rooms are lovely, an artform that blossomed in Sweden during the 18th and 19th centuries. They have everything from knitted socks to beautiful Swedish furniture on display.

 

Nordiska - Folk art detail

A detail of decorative folk art

Folk art socks

Hand knitted socks

Elsewhere is the Nordiska’s interiors section with room sets of each Swedish home setting rather like a cross between our V&A and the Geffrye Museum

One of my favourites was the Table Settings exhibition which is really beautifully put together in little room sets featuring settings from 16th century to 1950’s Here I have taken a few snaps (as they are behind glass they are a bit blurred but some how that makes them look more authentic I think!)–highlighting food and drink and the customs and traditions linked to meals .

Room set at the Nordiska

Table setting at the Nordiska

Posted in architecture, art, design, handmade, interior design, pattern, textiles

An update from Paris

February 1st 2011

Sorry I’ve not been blogging for a little while but I’ve been v.v.v. busy launching our new fabric range at Maison & Objet last week and then coming down with a nasty cold. So I have only just re-surfaced and been able to look through our pictures of the event.

This was our first time exhibiting at Éditeurs, a key part of the show. As you may may know, Maison & Objet is huge. Using all 8 of the exhibition halls at Paris Nord Villepinte, it caters for every type of buyer from wallpaper, table tops, bed linens, furniture, accessories to artificial flowers and stuffed polar bears… yup there were 2 at the show amongst stuffed penguins and owls (remember taxidermy is a growing trend after all!)

I wanted our stand to have a ‘one off ‘ sort of feel, more like an eclectic retail store than the flat walls of the normal exhibition spaces. We managed to make the table out of some beautiful mahogany wood that was salvaged from a science lab (still had the holes for the Bunsen burners!) which we put onto a pair of old builders’ trestle legs, with a shelf underneath for rolls of wallpaper and storage for the fabric and wallpaper books.

I got some hazel wood ladders made so that we could hang the wallpapers in roll form on each step…

…and managed to find a scaffolding rack on wheels from a flea market that lent itself very well for displaying and draping fabric over:

Also from same flea market I found some lovely old wooden fruit crates, which were perfect for storing the newspapers we’d had printed for the show. We then had the beautiful vintage sofa upholstered in Flora Graphic and the mid-century chair in Treetops Blue placed along the sides with the Bloom rug bringing colour to the floor as the final touch.

We got some great feedback with many people commenting on the “calmness”, “softness”, “soulfulness” and “uniqueness” of the work and that showing it in this way had helped them to interpret the designs on more a personal level. Which was great as that’s exactly what we wanted to get across: something timeless mixed with modern creating a unique look! Hope you like the photos. If you came to see us, thanks so much and thanks also to Design Sponge for the article!

Posted in botanical, interior design, pattern, printing, textiles, wallpaper

Paris here we come!

January 17th 2011

All final preparations are underway for Maison et Objet which opens on Friday .
We have been working towards this for a while so it’s really nice to see everything coming together now.

Two firsts are happening: this will be our first time exhibiting at this show which, for anyone that has been, will know it’s huge and covers practically everything for interiors.

The second first (if that makes sense!) is the launch of our first fabric collection which I am absolutely delighted about. It is so great to be back working in textiles again.

As with our wallpapers the fabrics are British-made and have the Jocelyn Warner signature colourways and design scale. Produced on a beautiful linen fabric they have a sense of natural yet sophisticated style that fits very well with the urban chic lifestyles that we see so much of today. Below is a preview of what we’ll be showing but if you’re coming to Paris, pop by our stand to say hello and see for yourselves!

Blossom

Leaf

Treetops

Flora

Flora on a sofa!

Posted in botanical, interior design, pattern, printing, textiles

Maison et Objet

January 13th 2011

We’re just getting everything ready for our show at Maison et Objet in Paris next week. It’s our first time exhibiting their and we’re are really excited about it. Especially because we’re launching our new fabric range, based around our more popular wallpapers.

In the run up to the show we put together a little newspaper as a giveaway at our stand  – more about this next week when we blog from the event itself. For now, here’s a peek, hot off the press:

A stack of our newspapers which just arrived

Posted in botanical, interior design, pattern, textiles, wallpaper

Robin Day 1915 – 2010

December 21st 2010

The great designer Robin Day passed away earlier this month . I’d posted something about his equally talented wife Lucienne in April and it’s so sad that they’ve both died this year.

I remember our sitting room at home when I was little had a Robin Day sofa and we also had curtains by Lucienne. Saving up to buy the land and then build our house took 5 years , my parents didn’t have a lot of spare money when it came to the furniture but what they did have was great and lasted all their lives! It was bought from Heal’s which, at that time, was virtually the only place in England where you could modern and contemporary design, rather than antique reproduction.

Robin Day sofa bed for Hille – image courtesy of mark parrish mid century modern http://www.markparrish.co.uk

Like many people, another fond childhood memory is of a classroom filled with Robin Day’s stackable chair, found in so many schools up and down the country. I always liked his brilliant  ‘Polo’ chair, which went back into production by Loft in 2000.

Polo by Robin Day

Such a classic it was even featured on a stamp!

Robin Day was an innovator and key part of the British population’s gradual embracing of modern design. As such he was greatly respected by the younger generation of designers like Tom Dixon (also responsible for re-issuing the ‘Forum’ sofa while he was creative director at Habitat) and Matthew Hilton.

It’s lovely to think he and Lucienne had such long, successful lives to still have been around to see how appreciated and influential they were.

Robin and Lucienne Day

Robin and Lucienne Day. Image courtesy of My Deco

Posted in design, interior design, product design

Famous in France

November 22nd 2010

We’ve just received our copy of ‘Papiers Peints, le langage des murs’,  a lavish new coffee table book written by Genevieve Brunet. It has a particularly ‘French chic’ take contemporary wallpaper and features our ‘Leaf’ pattern in grey, turquoise and black-gold, as well as profile of the company in the section ‘La nouvelle vague. Classic with a twist’. If your French is up to scratch, it’s worth buying a copy

'Papiers Peints' published by Editions de la Martinière

A spread from 'Papiers Peints' with 'Leaf' and wise words from Emile Zola!

Posted in books, botanical, interior design, pattern, wallpaper