Painterly Interiors

Following last week's blog about the inspirational work of Etel Adnan currently on display at London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery and her painterly tapestries, we sought out some bright designers who are creating painterly furnishings and objects for the home. These items are perfect pieces to add artistic charm to your home and lovely additions to an art-lovers room! We'll often take inspiration from works of art for our interior design projects and love the idea of introducing painted ceramics, rug designs based on paintings and art-inspired furnishings.

First up … Aino-Maija Metsola is an illustrator and print designer from Finland. She works as an in-house designer for print powerhouse Marimekko, designing prints for clothing and interior textiles. Metsola also created the ‘Weather Diary’ prints for their plates, tea bowls and cups. We love this collection as it was inspired by natural elements; the Finnish weather and shoreline. Metsola drew the designs in watercolour and ink, focussing on rain, clouds and grass fields. These bowls and cups would look lovely set against crisp, white linen and fresh cut white flowers, to create an elegant and charming table.

The collection is available to buy from a number of UK stores including Heal’s.

Kelly Wearstler’s collection for The Rug Company is another beautiful collaboration. Her hand-painted designs have been crafted into a series of rugs, each handmade by skilful specialist weavers in the Kathmandu area. ‘Wake’ shown below left draws inspiration from the free and fluid movements of water, creating an elegant and subtle design which would look lovely in a contemporary setting with a subtle colour scheme. Wearstler’s ‘Graffito’ design on the right is inspired by her love of graffiti and street art. The combination of a painterly, raw brush stroke design and pale blue colouring create a beautiful balance.

Wearstler's design below, named 'Flaunt' also draws on the fluid movements of water and includes bursts of sheeny blue to enliven the rug's surface.

London based, Australian designer Amy Sia creates beautiful hand-painted designs for textiles and clothing. For Amy, accessories act as a canvas, and and each design is an artwork. Her passion for colour is evident in her bright textiles, their boldness is offset with her sensitively drawn designs - Sia's floral-like patterns particularly caught our eye. Like Metsola, Amy Sia’s designs are first drawn in watercolour and then transferred digitally onto handmade cushions, seen below.

Visit Amy Sia's website to see more.

The Fabric of India at The V&A

‘The Fabric of India’ is a stunning exhibition currently on at the V&A in London. It is the first major exhibition to focus on the skills, craft and workmanship of Indian textiles from the 3rd to 21st century.

We take inspiration from crafts, traditions and trends from all over the world so this exhibition was of course unmissable for us. Textiles can provide interior designers with a huge source of inspiration; their colours, textures, design and pattern can all inform the basis of an interior’s look and feel.

The exhibition is both a historical journey and a celebration of an ancient craft being vibrantly kept alive today. As you enter the exhibition, you are first taught about the fundamentals of Indian textile production including dying and colouring techniques of silk, cotton and wool.

It is fascinating to discover how the natural plant based dyes can produce such rich colouring that has stood the test of time - many of the pieces on display are centuries old. These dyes come from a range of natural sources including turmeric (yellow), lac beetle secretions (earthy red), indigo plants (blue) and chay root bark (red).

There is a section dedicated to political textiles, as co-curator Divia Patel said “Fabric was also very tied up with the resistance movement. It was a key symbol of power and protest”. Gandhi's Swadeshi movement, for example, encouraged handmade fabric production as a way of rejecting foreign goods. 

Alongside historic items are contemporary pieces, like this women’s ‘Ajrak’ jacket below which was designed by Rajesh Pratap Singh in 2010.

There is also this extraordinary “moveable palace”, pictured below, which was Tipu Sultan’s (the Indian ruler of Mysore) 18th century tent.

The exhibition is on until January 10th 2016 so catch it while you can!

De Gournay at the Met

Our friends at de Gournay have just told us about their involvement at this year’s Met Gala. For those of you less familiar with their work, de Gournay specialise in hand painted wallpaper, fabrics, furniture and porcelain.

Claud Cecil Gurney founded the design house in 1986 after searching for wallpapers for his own home, inspired by Chinese artisans and painters he set about opening his own studio in China. De Gournay still create designs that are inspired by 18th Century Chinoiserie hand painted designs and now work from four studios across China.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Asian Art department is celebrating its hundredth anniversary with the major exhibition ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’, which also dictated this year’s Met Gala theme. It is the largest exhibition in the Costume Institute’s history, with 16 galleries taking a look at how China has inspired Western fashion designers and how traditional symbols have been re-appropriated. As well as fashion, there are exquisite pieces of porcelain, paintings, calligraphy and costumes.

Alongside several the exquisite garments, de Gournay’s wallpaper sits behind as a backdrop. This work merges perfectly with this theme of how Western design houses have been heavily inspired by Chinese traditions. 

For the Met Gala they also produced stunning details that really helped to produce the Chinoiserie look and feel of the event. They designed and hand painted details including the stage curtain, beautiful tablecloths and even a 40 foot feature wall.