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 my toolbox!

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

Green Style

March 11th 2011

Something environmentally-friendly that looks great at the same time, the Plumen 001 lightbulb ticks both boxes and has just won the Product category of the Brit Insurance Design awards. We have one in our studio and I love it. The shape is so pretty and the light is powerful enough to work by without too much glare that you can use it without a shade.



Plumen 001 lightbulb by Hulger and Samuel Wilkinson

Posted in design, product design

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

Future Style – a round-up from Premiere Vision Spring-Summer 2012

March 11th 2011

Returning from Paris laden down with brochures, swatches and info packs it’s taken a little to digest but here’s my take on last month’s Premiere Vision show.

Florals were a strong presence again, described as ‘bucolic’ at times, other times they were more painterly. There was a dominance of tropical motifs (either palm trees or parrots!), tribal/ethnographic prints and geometric patterns.  In terms of colour, there were loads of really modern-feeling warm brights, sometimes perhaps inspired by Pop Art and Jackson Pollock. Edges of fabrics were often frayed, scalloped or laser cut in ways to deliberately enhance the qualities of the material.

Fruit has been an emerging trend recently (see Stella McCartney’s lemon print dress below) and featured again, mostly lemons, strawberries and cherries but sadly on fabric, these don’t count towards your 5-a-day.


Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney

Citrus print dress by Stella McCartney.

Another growing trend that we’ll still be seeing a lot of this winter and next spring is sequins. Prada featured them in its forthcoming winter collection, large and like fish scales!


Prada's large sequins

Extra-large sequins featured in Prada's Autumn/Winter 2011-12 show. Image from

At Premiere Vision there was a real sense that fabric manufacturers are continuing to experiment with sequins even more in terms of how they are applied and the possibilities of combining them with other techniques and materials.

The best thing about Premiere Vision is that it’s an opportunity to see first-hand what the very best manufacturers are doing and check out the newest innovations and creative technologies. My favourite of the show was Jakob Schlaepfer. Two of their fabrics particularly caught my eye. One was a layered piece with a butterfly print layered onto chiffon with scalloped sequined edges.


Sketches at Premiere Vision

Trying to capture the intricate and delicate Jakob Schlaepfer fabric in my sketchbook!

The other was covered in white sequins that were reversible by touch. On the back they were digitally printed with a floral pattern. It’s hard to describe but it was really amazing. Here are a few images:


Sequinned reverse fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Visitors to Premiere Vision play with the reverse print sequin fabric. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Detail of one of Jakob Schlaepfer's intricate fabrics. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Intricate Fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer

Another 'haute' fabric by Jakob Schlaepfer. Image (c) Jakob Schlaepfer

Posted in colour, pattern, printing, review, textiles, trends

Turning the World Upside Down

March 1st 2011

Having been put off by chilly weather a number of times, I’d been waiting for the perfect day to visit Kensington Gardens. But, realising that there are only 2 more weeks to go, a visit to Anish Kapoor’s installation ‘Turning the World Upside Down’ became a priority. As long as wellies are donned and scarves tied tight, it’s a great experience.

There are 4 large-scale stainless steel sculptures located around the park, which can be found using the handy map opposite the Serpentine Gallery. However half the fun is stumbling across the pieces by accident as they glimmer from behind a tree or peek at you across a path or a lake.

Sky Mirror by Anish Kapoor

Sky Mirror, 2006 by Anish Kapoor. Copyright, the artist

Once up close, you can see how they distort and play with their surroundings, the mirror-like surfaces forcing you to look at your relationship to the landscape in a new way.

C-Curve by Anish Kapoor

C-Curve, 2007 by Anish Kapoor. Copyright, the artist

It’s the first time these major works have been installed in London so this is a real treat and can be yours until March 13th.

Posted in art, review

A quick trip to the Whitechapel

February 21st 2011

I popped into the Whitechapel Gallery to have a look at the John Stezaker exhibition -a really great show based on his collages which he makes from taking classic movie stills and vintage postcards.

Image copyright John Stezaker

Whilst there, I also checked out the Richard Wentworth piece which is an interesting cabinet of curiosity and another piece in Gallery 6 called ‘A Confiscation of String’. Wentworth plays with perceptions of volume and length, mis- judgements and misperceptions, raising questions such as ‘how long is a piece of string?’ The work, orange string threaded through nails to make vertical lines on a white wall is very nice and graphic.

John Stezaker is on until March 18th and Richard Wentworth: Three Guesses ’til March 6th.

Posted in art, review

The visual treats of Spitalfields

February 11th 2011

Reading the paper a couple of days ago I came across a story about Spitalfields, the area in which our studio is based. Yesterday saw the opening of the first Spitalfields Life photo show dotted across 3  local venues (The Golden Heart in Commercial St, Agnes B and Rough Trade East on Dray Walk), which includes portraits by Jeremy Freedman of the personalities behind the weekly antiques market.

He’s a contributor to the amazing blog, Spitalfields Life which is a great read. Whilst you’re online it’s well worth having a look at the fascinating entry on historic wallpapers in one of those lovely Fournier Street houses, such as this from the 1820s:

A fragment of wallpaper from the 1820s. Image courtesy of Spitalfields Life

Jeremy Freedman’s photos will be up until the 10th March.

Posted in art, review, wallpaper

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!





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

Roll on spring!

January 12th 2011

I know this has been out a while but I really love the prints in Miu Miu’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection. The mixing of lamé with pigment prints and appliqué creates such lovely contrasts of shiny and matte and of course the silhouettes’ and shoes are great too!

Just one of the interesting prints from the current Miu Miu collection

You can watch the fashion on YouTube

A fashion moment from the Miu Miu Spring/Summer 2011 catwalk show

Posted in fashion, pattern, printing, textiles, trends

Royal Academy Art Fashion Identity

January 10th 2011

I popped into the Royal Academy to see Art Fashion Identity, part of the GSK Contemporary season. It was really interesting and far much bigger than I was expecting. Exhibiting work, are artists and designers that have used fashion and clothing as a means for exploring our identities.

I was initially attracted because I wanted to see ‘Say Goodbye’, Helen Storey’s evaporating dress. A really beautiful piece, this bio-degradable enzyme dress slowly dissolves over time as it is dipped into a huge Perspex bowl of water, making the comment on society’s desire to buy clothing all of the time.

'Say Goodbye'. Image courtesy of the Royal Academy, (c) Helen Storey

The exhibition website also includes a film about her project.

But aside from Storey’s work, there was so much more I enjoyed seeing including films by Cindy Sherman, Yoko Ono, Marina Abramovic, Gillian Wearing and a mesmerising installation by Hussein Chalayan. I also particularly liked the layout and display of work by Marie-Ange Guilleminot, inspired by a visit to the Hiroshima Peace memorial museum. Her huge pink kimono with the cut –out stencil print really stood out.

Posted in art, fashion, review

Shadow Catchers

January 10th 2011

Also whilst at the V&A make sure you see the fabulous Shadow Catchers a show of camera-less photography, using processes such as C-type prints, dye destruction print, gelatine – silver print and my favourite is photogram and of course Cyanotype which I have mentioned before

Artists Pierre Cordier, Laszlo Moholy- Nagy, Floris Neususs, Gary Fabian Miller, Susan Derges and Adam Fuss give an insight into their world of making pictures that come from the soul and are focused in catching the “moment of life”.

Photogram by Floris Neususs, image courtesy of Flickr

From the series of My Ghost. Courtesy of Thomas Paul Fine Art, (c) Adam Fuss

Daguerrotype by Adam Fuss

Daguerrotype by Adam Fuss. Image courtesy of The Independent

There’s also a good selection of artist’s videos on the V&A site here:

Totally awe inspiring!

Posted in art, printing, review

Dancing shoes

January 10th 2011

If you haven’t seen it yet then there are only a few days left to visit the V&A’s enormous Diaghilev exhibition showing the work of the Ballet Russe, created over a century ago. This show is a monster and will truly inspire.  It includes costumes and set designs from drawings to films to actual Picasso scenery backdrops for Le Train Bleu

Looking around, I could see some trend directions for spring-summer 2012, such as bold coloured prints and use of satin and metallics… mmmh very Mui Mui!

Posted in art, review, trends