September 28 2018
Earlier this month, I wrote on our journal about my suggested stops to make at London Design Festival. Two of my recommendations were the design destinations Decorex and Focus/18. Now that the shows have been and gone, I thought I might share with you some of the creative geniuses who were at either of the shows, or perhaps both. Indeed, they are longtime favourites of ours at Sims Hilditch, but it was a joy to stop by and see their displays and hear their expert talks. Here are my five interiors brands to know from this year’s events.
Colefax & Fowler
This British heritage company has found worldwide fame and is recognised for producing the finest fabrics and wallpapers. I just adore their beautifully intricate draperies. At Focus/18, I very much enjoyed seeing the new autumn 2018 collection. Acantha, with its bulbous flower heads and curving leaves reminded me of 19th century jacquards. The richness in its pattern repeat and palette of tomato reds, orange accents, lichen and muted blues is something I look forward to using. I also particularly liked the new Brett generous chevron herringbone textile. It is at once bold and soft, thanks to the slubs in the yarn.
De le Cuona
Bernie de le Cuona’s exquisite fabrics are especially heavenly on cushions I find. At The White Hart studio, we have many of her fabric samples, but seeing new creations and compositions at Focus/18 was very special. She has such a way with colour and her master weavers produce incredible stonewashed and embossed linens as well as tonal wool yarns that she uses to produce wool and cotton paisleys. What was especially interesting was to see the rise of her bespoke service and how her new Wanderlust fabrics – inspired by travel and the world’s most rare and noble fibres – could create pieces that are entirely unique to the customer.
Many refer to Julian Chichester as being a tastemaker, and I have to say I am inclined to agree. His collections are inspired by English furniture-making, yet he harbours a love for innovation and adventure also. Every time I see a new piece of his, I am reminded that I always feel the same way – astounded by the level of craftsmanship originality, decoration and unusual finishes that he is recognised for.
Now as colour was the overriding story at Focus/18, it was not surprising that Julian Chichester followed suite by presenting his collections in a way that encouraged you to be colour confident in the design process. I attended one of his colour workshops in the afternoon and I believe everybody walked away from his showcase buzzing with ideas and energy.
Porta Romana are another of my top sources for lighting and lampshade design. At London Design Festival, Porta Romana hosted a ‘Celebrating 30 years’ exhibition. I enjoyed examining how their style has evolved over the past three decades and it was so interesting to see their debut lamp refashioned for the show. At Focus/18, Porta Romana also revealed its new Chronicle collection – an eclectic, highly imaginative explosion of colour and shape with pieces inspired by the 1960s-1970s. This was a real highlight for me.
Vaughan was established in 1983 and now supplies homes and luxury hotels across the globe with sublime furniture, textiles and lighting. They have an artist-led philosophy and I always feel that I can detect their collective passion for arts and antiques in all of their creations. I spent time at Vaughan at both Decorex and Focus/18. My favourite moment though was the lampshade workshop that I attended. It was to celebrate the launch of Vaughan’s new tribal lampshade collection, hosted by its in-house designer Maria who demonstrated the complexities of making both gathered and pleated lampshades.