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Baroque opulence at the London Design Shows

Every September, by force of habit, I find myself searching for that key trend in the new collections in the London design shows. This year it almost pounced up and bit me – Chiaroscuro is the order of the season. Be it in the stunning grouping of dark green foliage tones, as in the Forest design from Cole & Son wallpaper on display at Focus in Chelsea Harbour or the strong contrasts of colour in the beautiful Wildwood collection by Parker & Jules, showing at Decorex this year for the first time. The contrast of light and shade dominates across both the  home furnishing and fashion collections this season.

Cole & Son wallpaper

Cole & Son Wallpaper

Parker & Jules.

Parker & Jules

The continuing trend for dark wall tones, from petrol blues through to rich jade greens makes perfect backdrops for dramatic lighting as seen in the moody stand by Ochre at Design Junction and at Vaughn’s stunning Decorex display. Farrow and Ball have released new colours including Paean black , a red-toned black and De Nimes, a deep washed denim colour, both of which give a rich backdrop to their warmer colours in the new palette. Little Greene, also have deep forest colours in their new ‘Green’  range which showcased at Decorex, with a display of rich foliage and their new wallpaper collection based on historical designs.

Ochre lighting

Ochre Lighting

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Vaughn

Little Greene Paints

Little Greene paint colours

Rembrandt and Caravaggio would have been delighted to witness their influence in the interior design industry with deep shades contrasted with flashes of bright colour highlighting the drama that colour can create in a room. The House of Hackney exemplified this in their Pop-up in Chelsea Harbour Design Centre for Focus 2018. A baroque display of their papers and textiles gave a much needed touch of drama to the show. The stunning display of passementerie from Watts of Westminster was a show stopper at Decorex, as well as Focus, the sumptuous hand crafted braids and tassels carry their rich colours with the elegance and confidence of an experienced courtier .

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House of Hackney

 

Watts of Westminster

Watts of Westminster

With the focus on rich greens, of course the jungle plays it’s part and several design companies featured exotic foliage and fauna. Charlotte Jade presented textiles and wallpaper drawing upon the influences of the tropics and echoed the foliage trend seen at many companies.

Charlotte Jade

Charlotte Jade

 

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House of Hackney

Immersed  in all the deep, rich foliage I couldn’t help wondering what will come next? It struck me that to every action there will be a reaction, and that the hot colours which are currently only seen as highlights in these deep colour schemes must soon come to the fore, and then I visited the London Design Festival at the Truman Brewery, a very different tropical animal indeed. Those hot pinks and golden yellows that were just peeking through the darker forests in West London came out with a burst of joy and here we go – what comes next might well be a tropical paradise, of a very different sort.

 

 

Storytime at Decorex 2017

Decorex is renowned as London’s premier interior decoration event, and its aisles are populated by the cogniscenti of the interior design world searching for new ideas.
Revisiting the show I was excited to see that Decorex is encouraging smaller design companies to exhibit, and rather than sticking them in a dingy corner of the show, they are interspersed amongst the established brands.

Fanny Shorter, for instance, has a beautiful collection of hand printed linens, bold in colour and exquisitely drawn. Not for Fanny the current trend of photo-montage and digital printing, hers is a truly personal collection of designs inspired by the stories of Gerald Durrell and the island of Corfu.

Story telling is also part of Newton Paisley’s collection. Designer Susy Paisley is a biologist who has used her drawings to create a collection of prints that highlight the plight of endangered species. Glorious depictions of tropical creatures and plants printed on linen serve to preserve wild habitat through her collaboration with the World Land Trust. 


Baker & Gray‘ s collection is inspired by the lifelong travels of designer Sarah Baker. Prints and embroideries are derived from family heirlooms and plants forms from the African continent. Reminiscent of raw, untreated cloth the linens have an earthy elegance that harks back to a bygone age.

Smaller design companies have historically been limited in their collections by the prohibitive cost of print production. The evolution of digital printing has somewhat alleviated this problem, with shorter minimum print runs and the opportunity for affordable multi-colour printing.

It is, however, gratifying to see that the art of hand screenprinting is still very much alive and championed by small design companies. March & May handprint their collection of small scaled graphic printed fabrics in their Sheffield studio. Bicoloured or monochrome designs are all hand printed to order.

Designer and ceramicist Laura Hamilton is one of the Justin Van Breda Showroom’s new additions. Again these designs are inspired by a life well travelled, depicting plant forms of the Caribbean in their simple,pared back drawings, hand printed onto linen.

One of the more refined examples of digital printing in Decorex were the wallpapers of Boho &Co shimmering hummingbirds and delicate plants climb the wall reminiscent of traditional chinoiserie papers. The colours are get my contemporary, and the temptation to over design using digital artwork has been cleverly avoided.

One of the new companies launching at Decorex this year was Hunt & Hope not a print in sight, this company has rediscovered the art of traditional needlepoint and given it a fun twist. Camouflage and animal skin patterns are stitched by hand to commission ready for use on cushions, ottomans and accessories. A refreshing new approach to a traditional art.It is refreshing to see these and other small businesses thriving in the tough world of the interior decoration industry.

London Design Week Trends

London’s Chelsea Harbour Design Centre was celebrating London Design week with the crème de la crème of London’s interior textile showrooms launching their new fabric and wallpaper collections to the trade.  From an overwhelming array of design inspiration I have picked out some themes that  emerged as I made my way through champagne sipping, canapé nibbling, interior designers and buyers in the pristine showrooms!

A return to nature was evident across many collections, including Sanderson where the design studio has been busy out in the countryside sketching woodland plants and creatures for their new ‘Woodland Walk’ collection! Embroidered feathers wafted gently across silk in the Osborne and Little showroom on the King’s Road, as if just shed by a passing bird to form a swirl of plumes, and Manuel Canovas had stylised feathers in their collection too. The delicately painted floral design in the Harlequin showroom, whilst not typically ‘English’ in its flower forms, certainly gives the feel of a soft frosted tangle of wayside flowers.

Hedgerow fragmentshedgerow fragments

Cole & Son Wallpapers led the trend for design inspired by mineral surfaces and formations, Their stunning ‘Quartz’ design was inspired by the 2009 Turner prize nominee Roger Hiorns’ crystal encrusted south London Flat, whilst the sequinned embroidery of Sahco Hesslein evokes seams of precious minerals across rich grey silk. Osborne and Little have joined the current trend for rich velvets, producing a sumptuous printed malachite effect  which is contrasted by the industrial chic metallic surfaces of Harlequin’s wallpaper collection.

Mineral Elements

Elements and Minerals

The blowsy florals of the 1950’s are resurfacing with a vengeance in the home furnishings world. Designer’s Guild have launched a new collection of ‘Couture Rose’ designs, comprising of windblown Rose stems, Orchids and Irises. The mid-century glamour is epitomised by the loose brushwork of the Designers Guild signature style. Long recognised as the home of beautiful floral prints, Sanderson has revisited some of it’s classic designs in its ‘Vintage 2 ‘collection, bouquets of Sweet Williams and classic pink roses against a stark black and white stripe, hark back to the classic designs of Sanderson’s origins. Jean-Paul Gaultier has created a floral design inspired by the masters of botanical floral art. The photographic reproduction of old masters are mixed with his signature sailor stripe in a clever envelope cushion design.

Windblown floralswindblown florals

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