Discovering Designs (posted 17th March 2017)

Designs don’t just happen overnight, as much as someone might have a revelation, a spark that inspires, there are still hours of work that go into creating a product and a design, the stories of which we often don’t consider as much as we could.

So today’s challenge during London Design Week at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is the perfect opportunity to learn a little about what inspires the designs that we so willingly want to put up on our walls, floors and furnish our spaces with (or if you’re me, plan how you’ll be decorating every spare space just to be able to include all of the beautiful products). 

The first showroom visited was Zimmer & Rohde where an exquisite array of flowers, designed by floral designer Larry Walsh was on display. The flowers represent the new collection which is very bright and colourful. The flowers have a diverse range of textures, representative of Zimmer & Rohde’s spring range.  

Discovering DesignsThe floral arrangements by Larry Walsh

One of the stand-out fabrics in the Etamine Collection is Marché Dakar which ‘reflects the vivacity of a teeming, crowded marketplace in an exotic location.’ To create this particular fabric, the designer commissioned a watercolour painting. 

Discovering Designs
Showroom Manager, Sophia Taylor displaying the Marché fabric.

Next on the list was Cole & Son where their latest collection is one to be ogled and admired. The inspiration behind this collection comes from Ardmore Ceramic Art which was founded by Fée Halsted on a farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. ‘Those early days saw Fée sharing her knowledge with Bonnie Ntshalintshali, daughter of her housekeeper, whose polio meant that she was unable to work in the fields.’ Fée and Bonnie developed a creative synergy, resulting in the Ardmore ceramics being acclaimed as modern day collectables by Christie’s.

These ceramic works have inspired Cole & Son’s Ardmore range, with elements of the ceramics featuring in these beautiful wallpapers.

Discovering Designs
Ardmore Cameo with original Ardmore ceramics, the inspiration behind this design.

Up next was Colefax & Fowler and their beautiful, bright and vibrant Canovas range immediately caught my eye. The designers visited Greece, Morocco and Istanbul to garner their inspiration for this range and this is reflected in the eye-catching fabrics. Designed in France with additional Parisian influences the result is a diverse mix with a little something that's different and memorable. Silks, weaves and embroidery, the fabrics all tell a story. 

Discovering DesignsA selection of fabrics from the Canovas range

Discovering Designs
Claire Fyfe, Showroom Manager showing the fabric to it’s full effect. 

Harlequin and their Anthozoa range were the next to capture my imagination. Designer Louise Collis has created a mood board of the original artwork showing all of the elements that influenced her for these designs – all things of the sea. She has taken forms from sealife: seaweed, fish and shells together with elements from the land, the gumtree leaf to create this range.

Discovering Designs
Louise Collis of Harlequin’s original artwork mood board for the Anthozoa range. 

My final port of call (and where I’m currently sitting as they have very kindly leant me a corner of their gorgeous show room – thank you) is Arte. Renowned for their absolutely amazing wall coverings, filled with texture, pattern and intriguing stories, I could waffle on about Arte for hours… But today we’ll focus on their new Oculaire range which is completely hand-made from sisal and requires a hugely intricate skill level to create. The collection comprises contemporary and playful designs that have a subtle tropical vibe.

Derived from the Agave plant, sisal is an incredibly strong and natural product. To create these designs the sisal is first hand-woven. Then pieces are cut from the fabric with a die. These cut-out elements are then inlaid by hand and glued in a pattern that creates a trompe-l’oil effect. 

Discovering DesignsThree of the stylish patterns within the Oculaire range. 

And this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are so many wonderful stories, designs and creations to be discovered. London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour comes to a close today, but the showrooms are open all year round. Visit, touch, feel, discover and explore.