Artist sculptor and designer Margit Wittig invited a select group of design professionals to hear interior designer Charlotte Stuart talk about their joint love of craftsmanship, colour and light.
Charlotte Stuart began her design career as a costume designer at the National Youth Theatre, moving on to create her own fashion label and eventually finding her vocation as an interior designer, working with the legendary Imogen Taylor of Colefax and Fowler. Taking a leap of faith, Charlotte went on to set up her design studio; Charlotte Stuart Interiors, which is growing in reputation with projects in the UK and Europe.
The sculptural lamps and candlesticks created by Margit Wittig for Kit Kemp’s Whitby and Berkley Square Hotels caught Charlotte’s attention and when they met and a design friendship began.
Margit Wittig trained in the traditions of fine art and sculpture, she has combined the disciplines of bronze casting and resin casting to build a reputation for elegantly colourful statement pieces of lighting and decorative features. She says about the fine line between artist and crafts person “I feel like an artist but I am willing to let my clients decide”
Margit’s lamps are totally bespoke, using composite elements of her resin and bronze forms, making each piece individual. The influence of Modigliani is evident in her sculpted bronze heads which are combined with geometric forms to create elegant totems of colour and form.
Clients can choose to omit the heads and Margit will painstakingly colour her geometric resin forms to ensure a complete colour match for her clients.
The colours of these pieces are informed by the strength of colour in Margit’s paintings, an aspect of her work that shows her talent for combining texture and form.
Moving her work forward, Margit is developing a collection of furniture and hardware accessories, cast from bronze and resin to add a creative touch to doors and furniture. These pieces have a monumental feel, reminiscent of the columnar forms of Brancusi.
The creative synchronicity between Charlotte Stuart’s vibrant interior colour schemes and Margit Wittig’s artwork is certainly something to watch out for in future projects.
I have been periodically revisiting this beautiful vintage needlepoint tapestry of wild birds over the past few months, adding my hand beaded embellishment, and searching for the perfect reverse cloth for the cushion. Thankfully the Guy Goodfellow Collection has just launched a new emerald courway of their popular Fez Weave which coordinates perfectly, so at last the cushion is finished!
Over the past month or so I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team setting up the new Guy Goodfellow Collection Showroom in Chelsea’s Langton Street. We have managed to create a tranquil setting for interior designers to view fabric and wallpaper collections, and led by the creative direction of Jaine McCormack, our little team has built a beautiful, refined environment to house the equally beautiful collections of Allyson McDermott wallpapers, the Guy Goodfellow Collection of fabrics and papers, Volga Linen and Cloth and Clover’s printed linens.
Guy Goodfellow Collection fabrics and Cloth and Clover’s printed linens.
Allyson McDermott wallpapers
As part of the showroom ethos of supporting artists and makers, I am very proud to have had my cushions selected by the showroom as one of the first featured ‘makers’.
Being accepted into this rarefied world of the interior decorators has really made me re-evaluate my approach to creating my products. Always slightly obsessive about attention to detail, I have sometimes thought of this as a disadvantage, but now I see that it is truly appreciated, and decorators really do accept that perfectionist aspect to my products.
This is not to say that I am aiming for identical, homogenised embroidery or fabrics, as the individual qualities of my pieces are a large part of their appeal, but I no longer worry about unpicking a stitch that is out of place and reapplying tiny beads to be ‘just so’ in order to make the most beautiful heirloom piece I possibly can.
It remains to be seen if this little foray into the world of interior decorators will pay dividends, but it is certainly a fantastic opportunity for me to explore the possibilities of the truly bespoke makers world.
As each season of new products approaches, I look forward to visiting the Top Drawer Show in London. This is in the knowledge of course, that after so many years of trend spotting, I am extremely difficult to please, and find it hard to be ‘wowed’ by the products launched by the multitudinous companies that show their wares to the trade buyers at these shows. However, I am the eternal optimist and turn up every time looking for that wonderful object, design or personal ‘click’ that makes me feel warm inside!
I am of course always drawn to the textile products, as that is my background, and this week chanced upon the stand of Peaceable Kingdom. The Peaceable Kingdom cushion collections came about through the artist designer Hugh Dunford Wood creating an image of a cat for his daughter and subsequently grew into a range of lino block printed cushions.
Peaceable Kingdom cushions
The random qualities of hand block printing lend an individual element that I love to these simple and striking designs, and I feel that they embody the pared-down and simplistic feel of the current trend for naturally produced, bespoke furnishings.
Mon Amie are a couple of florists from Leicestershire who have designed a simple work apron that is deliciously stylish, just the kind of thing I can imagine Vita Sackville-West donning to collect fully blown roses in her Sissinghurst garden! I was initially attracted by the sumptuous colour of their stand, a combination of soft slate, earth and warm mustard aprons simply hanging and folded in unassuming piles.
Mon Amie Aprons
Again I was drawn to the organic simplicity of the presentation and products from this duo, and love that they have been brave enough to make a limited colour statement for the launch of these linen aprons. Mon Amie living has a gentle and restrained sense of style that so many of us aspire to, but are not often brave enough to make that statement.
Moving from garden to kitchen in a smooth transition, the understated luxury of The Silver Duck cutlery collection is an example of form and function pared down to a beautiful simplicity. Charlotte Anne Duckworth ihas refined the craft of silversmithing to forge light and elegant pieces of silver cutlery, combining this luxurious metal with the pale wood of holly for the handles. I personally can’t resist a lovely wooden box, and Charlotte has presented her pieces in simple presentation boxes, with the pieces of cutlery nestled amongst wood shavings. These little cabinets of curiosity are beautiful in themselves, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the utensils can’t be used, they are perfectly functional and Charlotte provides a litttle bottle of oil and a soft cloth for us to maintain the holly wood after it has been washed!
These were my pick of the Top Draw show this season, minimal, organic and functional all, but above all exemplary pieces of timeless design.