Piero Fornasetti is referred to as the “designer of dreams”, and his visual universe of surrealism-tinged illustrations is instantly recognisable. He was also a purveyor of furniture and other objects that blurred the boundaries between art and design, long before such an idea took flight elsewhere. Cole & Son’s Senza Tempo collection is the fourth time that the two brands have collaborated, keeping Fornasetti’s legacy current with some patterns adapted from existing designs (but never available before as wallcoverings), and others re-coloured, given a change of scale or otherwise reimagined. The results include ‘Arance’ (pictured) with its motif of repeated citrus fruits originally seen on a 1950s design for a tray; ‘Cocktails’ a trompe-l’oeil depiction of endless bar-shelves of glasses, spirit-bottles and shakers (originally a design for an ice bucket); and ‘Nuvolette’ a scaled-down version of the iconic ‘Nuvole’ mural of scudding black-and-white clouds.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus art school – a landmark that many view as the true birth of modern design. Several brands are celebrating with collections that show how its influence still shines today. Arte’s ‘Odeon’ wallcovering (pictured top) has a bold pattern with blocks of circles that’s based on a functional and minimalist design from the Bauhaus period. With a similar robust, architectural feel to Arte’s wallcovering, ‘Abstract 1928’ fabric from Zoffany (pictured centre) is part of the new Icons collection that pays homage to the 1920s, including the Bauhaus; the printed linen is available from Style Library. Samuel Heath’s ‘Landmark’ taps (pictured bottom); shows the same sense of harmony between form and function that the Bauhaus masters strived for; it’s shown in an urban brass finish.
With its painted watercolour motif, this ‘Inverness’ wallcovering by Peter Fasano is catching the eye of tastemakers who stand at the crosspoint of tradition, colour and the thrill of the unexpected. The brand was founded in New York City in the 1970s and today its fabrics and wallpapers are all hand-dyed and printed in Massachusetts. They’re available at Tissus d’Hélène.
Exuberant archival patterns are omnipresent this season. Take Braquenié’s Comptoir d’Orient, which is described as “an ode to exoticism,” the 18th century mania tor design from the Ottoman Empire, India, Persia and China. The fabrics feature a riot of flowers across silks and embroideries, with the patterns replicated across wallcoverings as well: by mixing them up, playing with scale and introducing joyful colourways – perfect for the traditionally minded aesthete and the daring alike – an important heritage has been given new impetus. Pierre Frey, whose grandfather founded the business, says of the collection: “We wanted to show that Braquenié can be used in a modern or contemporary environment. Classic is back – but it’s classic with a twist.”
Iksel – Decorative Arts’ latest scenic wallcovering transports anyone who views it to a watery world of fish, shells and coral. Painted in incredible detail and then scanned in at ultra-high-resolution, ‘D-Ocean’ took 15 artists about eight months to complete and a further two months to join together digitally. “It’s been something that’s been buzzing in my mind for a while – I’ve been collecting seashells forever,” says Dimonah Iksel of the inspiration for the design. “The idea was to create this fantasy underwater landscape, a still life where the coral were as tall as trees.” At London Design Week 2019, ‘D-Ocean’ was used to line the walls of the Design Hub, the link between the domes and Design Centre East, creating an immersive aquatic experience.
In our daily lives of information overload, design can help us escape. There is a cosmopolitan charm to design this season with a shift from the subdued to more expressive patterns that have a playful, visual language and a strong narrative. Design houses have long been inspired by different cultures and far-flung locations. For spring, many have looked east. Pictured from top to bottom: Inspiration from Japanese kimonos include the ‘Scaramouche’ jacquard featuring stylised dragons by Dedar and ‘Les Cerisiers Sauvages’, a panoramic wallcovering by Elitis at Abbott & Boyd with exuberant cherry blossom. In Tufenkian Artisan Carpets, James Tufenkian’s collection of silk kimonos was the starting point for the new Rebel Silk rug collection. Romo has recently worked with Japanese artist Katsutoshi Yuasa, exploring time-honoured printmaking practises for the Mizumi collection by Black Edition.
Interior design firm Gunter & Co is the winner of London Design Week 2019’s ‘Legends’ initiative, for which showrooms have teamed up with leading creative figures to remodel their window displays, using classic vintage photography as their inspiration. Iconic Images, whose archives include the work of Norman Parkinson, Terry O’Neill and Milton H.Greene, provided the photography – and Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co (pictured top) chose a Parkinson shot of Dutch fashion model Apollonia van Ravenstein, from a 1973 issue of Vogue. “A lot of the photography [to choose from] was black and white, and quite serious and demure, but when I saw this, it got me excited,” says Gunter. “It shares a common thread with my projects, which I want to be uplifting and cheerful.”
Van Ravenstein is pictured head-to-toe in white Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and smoking a cigarette; Gunter captured the spirit of the image using Phillip Jeffries’ ‘Shangri-La’ manila hemp wallcovering along with a ‘Scorched Cork’ wallcovering on a metallic ground, while recreating the photograph’s console table, discarded white parasol and wall-mounted Delft plates.
The results were judged by Wallpaper* editor-at-large Suzanne Trocme, who also gave two Highly Commended awards. At George Spencer Designs, Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby used an image of a reclining Bianca Jagger, swathed in a yellow Zandra Rhodes dress, taken by Eva Sereny; while interior designer Cassidy Hughes incorporated an image of singer PJ Harvey by Kevin Cummings into Altfield’s window.