In­te­rior de­sign

Made in Bri­tain

Country Life Every Week - - Contents - Pho­to­graph by Richard Can­non www.zof­fany.com Ara­bella Youens

Peter Gomez tells us what in­spires Zof­fany, we choose the best new fabrics and wall­pa­pers and Giles Kime dis­cov­ers what’s chic for chalets

Peter Gomez Fab­ric and wall­pa­per de­signer

It was the dis­cov­ery of old wall­pa­per frag­ments at tem­ple Newsam in North York­shire— some of which dated back to the 17th cen­tury—that in­spired Zof­fany, the com­pany that breathes new life into beau­ti­ful his­toric de­signs, as well as cre­at­ing those that are ex­cit­ing and mod­ern.

When Ed­ward Wood, the fu­ture Earl of Hal­i­fax, sold the house and its Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown-de­signed park­land to Leeds Coun­cil in 1922, it was stripped of its paint­ings, fur­ni­ture and fix­tures. Sev­eral decades later, in the early 1980s, de­signer Humphrey Boyle dis­cov­ered for­got­ten rem­nants and es­tab­lished a small hand-screen print­ing work­shop nearby to re-cre­ate some of the his­tor­i­cal wall­cov­er­ings.

these formed the ba­sis of the ‘tem­ple Newsam Col­lec­tion’, which was launched in 1984. It was an in­stant suc­cess and Zof­fany es­tab­lished a name as a world leader in the art of re­pro­duc­ing lost fabrics and wall cov­er­ings.

At the time, Zof­fany’s founders recog­nised a de­mand from decorators and ar­chi­tects for high-qual­ity, off-the-shelf wall­pa­pers based on her­itage de­signs. their ap­proach was to an­a­lyse his­tor­i­cal pro­duc­tion meth­ods, build up a li­brary of doc­u­men­tary sam­ples and re­pro­duce them for a con­tem­po­rary mar­ket.

‘It’s a process we very much carry on to­day,’ ex­plains head of de­sign Peter Gomez (pic­tured here with the stu­dio’s new Holkham Bay wall­pa­per). ‘the suc­cess of Zof­fany is our abil­ity to up­date these de­signs. We have the prove­nance of the doc­u­ment ar­chive, which we draw in­spi­ra­tion from, but we’re a young stu­dio with for­ward-think­ing ideas: it’s a lovely mix.’

One aspect that has never ‘pro­gressed’ is the com­pany’s fo­cus on hand-paint­ing or hand-draw­ing de­signs. ‘We very rarely use com­put­ers,’ says Peter, who stud­ied screen print­ing in Lon­don af­ter a child­hood largely based in Gi­bral­tar.

the stu­dio is based in Denham, Buckinghamshire, where there is a team of de­sign­ers, but Zof­fany also brings in free­lancers to work on projects. ‘In­stead of us­ing trained tex­tile de­sign­ers, we work with ar­ti­sans, as we want them to ex­cel at what they do,’ ex­plains Peter. ‘For ex­am­ple, a mu­ral artist won’t be fazed by a large can­vas and won’t be dis­tracted by think­ing about how to con­vert the work into a wall­pa­per or worry about repeats—that’s our job.’

the col­lec­tion to­day falls into two styles: a city look in which fabrics might have more lus­tre and de­signs be more sub­tle and a coun­try-house style that’s more re­laxed and in­for­mal. How­ever, says Peter, ‘as they all come from the same colour lines, they’re very adapt­able.’

‘We have a big international fol­low­ing. It’s some­thing to do with the blend of work­ing with his­toric doc­u­ments and up­dat­ing de­signs—it lends Zof­fany a grav­i­tas that’s ap­pre­ci­ated through­out the world.’

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