Proving that two heads are better than one, these three creative partnerships fuse artistic skill, craftsmanship and technique
Three design partnerships with a difference.
MARTIN WALLER, FOUNDER, ANDREW MARTIN, & KIT KEMP, DESIGNER & HOTELIER
Founder of Firmdale Hotels, Kit Kemp has collaborated with lifestyle brand Andrew Martin to produce six fabric and five wallpaper designs, each in 15 colourways.
“What was the starting point for the project?
Martin: Kit has a strong back catalogue of much-loved design from her work in hotels ranging from Ham Yard in London to The Whitby in New York. We have tried to bottle that and offer the critical building blocks of her style, enabling people to bring home the romance and magic of her hotels.
Kit: The inspiration was the Anrep Room in the Whitby Hotel, which features a wallpaper called Mythical Land. It brings fantastical creatures together with American folk art in a special way. Martin loves creatures in his designs and I love colour, so that was our blueprint.
How does the new collection complement Andrew Martin?
Martin: Kit’s work encapsulates everything that I think is important in design, including personality, a multi-layered approach and a sense of relaxed style.
Kit: I think a fruitful collaboration should result in something that is greater than the original concept. That’s what happened here – we’ve produced designs that work well at home and can also be used on a big scale in larger areas.
HAYLEY MCAFEE, BRAND MANAGER, VILLA NOVA, & FRANN PRESTON-GANNON, CHILDREN’S ILLUSTRATOR
Fabric and wallcovering specialist Villa Nova’s first children’s range, Picture Book, has been created in collaboration with three book illustrators, including Frann. Hayley tells us more about the inspiration behind it...
“How did this collaboration come
about? We fell in love with the beautiful drawings of three renowned children’s book illustrators: Frann Preston-gannon, Christopher Corr and Yuval Zommer. We knew they could help us create a collection of fabrics, trimmings, cushions, rugs, wallcoverings, murals and wall stickers spotlighting wondrous creatures, abstract patterns and faraway scenes.
What was the starting point for the
designs? Frann’s designs explore animals in their habitats (as seen here with her wonderful wall mural); Chris has captured the intrigue and excitement of adventurous travel; while Yuval was tasked to express his love of nature, wildlife and insects.
What were the challenges of working in
such a different medium? The size of the design for a fabric is vast compared with the pages of a picture book. Fortunately, our team has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to transforming an initial illustration into a repeating fabric or wallcovering. We worked closely with the illustrators – the final designs reflect every hand-drawn element and painted brush mark.
MATTHEW BOURNE, CO-FOUNDER, CHRISTOPHER FARR, & LUCY SWIFT WEBER, THE JOSEF AND ANNI ALBERS FOUNDATION
For over a decade, Christopher Farr has been working with Lucy Swift Weber to bring to life the creative endeavours of 20th century modernists Josef and Anni Albers. Matthew tells us more about the range of rugs, papers and textiles.
Ò Tell us how your collaboration
came about. Over the years, we have produced over 200 handmade rugs featuring designs from Josef and Anni’s archives, and then we turned our attention to fabrics. Anni is well-known for her weaves, but less so for her print designs. However, we found them to be exhilarating and ahead of their time. Our two new fabrics, Orchestra and Temple (launching this month), use scale in a wonderful way and bring a new dimension to the cloth collection. How do the modernist designs complement Christopher Farr? Anni Albers had a strong focus on craftsmanship and design integrity, which corresponds to our values. Her work has brought a different perspective to our collection and will soon be celebrated at the Tate Modern’s Anni Albers exhibition.
What are the benefits of collaborations like
these? The capacity to look back, resurrect work and make it relevant and accessible to new audiences. Most people can’t afford an original piece by Anni or Josef Albers, but they can invest in a beautiful upholstered chair or a handmade rug. It goes back to the Bauhaus ethos of good design for all.
Visit christopherfarrcloth.com. Anni Albers, Tate Modern, Bankside, London, 11 October to 27 January 2019; tate.org.uk.
Martin Waller, left, and Kit Kemp. Fabric (on table) Hedgerow in Cerise, £80m; Great Plains in Natural; Over The Moon in Charcoal Grey; Psycho Sprig in Tropical Blue and Tropical Yellow (Kit holding), all £74m. (On ladder) Friendly Folk in Before Dawn, £50m. Wallpapers (hanging on wall) Wychwood, £60 a roll.
Hayley Mcafee, left, and Frann Preston-gannon. Behind them hangs the Dusky Amazon mural and on the floor is the Lily Pad rug in Jungle, both Picture Book collection at Villa Nova.
Lucy Swift Weber, left, and Matthew Bourne. Matthew holds samples for a rug called Re-edition of Wall Hanging 1926, destined for sale at Tate Modern; on the floor is the DRVII rug; on the table is the Orchestra fabric in Ochre; hanging is Temple in Green.