I saw a green, floral patterned sofa in a Florida thrift store about two years ago, and I’ve been unable to put in out of my mind. So, when I buy a new sofa, it’s not going to be plain, or neutral, it’s going to be upholstered in a gorgeous floral patterned fabric. And don’t say I’ll get bored of it, or it’ll go out of style, because there are plenty of much more important/dull decisions that need to be made based on what I’ll be doing in ten years, so I might as well have fun when it’s a only a sofa. I’ve long been a lover of Scandinavian fabrics, especially the botanical ones on a dark ground, so the colour jumps out at you – the absolute cream of the crop is Swedish designer Gocken Jobs’ bright and beautiful flower prints, actually rather more like botanical drawings than the usual stylised Scandinavian style, and slightly weird in its choice of flora (rhubarb anyone?). I’ve yet to find anything that comes close in my price bracket, but a lengthy search did throw up some other beauties – not all of them upholstery fabrics, but good for curtains, cushions etc – that are pretty reasonable. My absolute top tip, if you’re a sucker for higher-end Nordic brands like Marimekko but have no cash, is to get yourself to Ikea; its fabric ranges have all the graphic punch and occasional forays into surrealism, but at much nicer prices (it’s also often the quietest place in the whole shop, useful if you’re suffering from Ikea Stress Syndrome). Here are my finds; and if anyone can find me a Gocken Jobs-alike for under £70 a metre, let me know….
Eivor Leva, £7/m, Ikea
Cherry orchard by Marianne Westman, £28.94/m, from New House Textiles
Rhubarb, by Jobs Handtryck, £143/m, Skandium
Amalfi Ofelia by Sandberg, £71.50/m, Tangletree Interiors
Spira Haga, £29.95/m, Hus & Hem
Kvitter blue, £22.95/m Hus & Hem
Walker Greenbank (which owns big-name wallpaper/textile brands like Sanderson, Zoffany and Morris & Co) has just launched a ‘youthful’ new brand called Scion. ‘Youthful’ in this context seems to mean graphic, Scandinavian-inspired prints and lots of bright colour, although that is pigeonholing it somewhat as there’s pretty much something for everyone in its first collections – Melinki, which concentrates on print and pattern, and Plains, which are, er, plain. I’m hoping that the brand is aiming to become a sort of Top Shop of the textile world, taking the best designer pieces and turning them something more accessible and less expensive, retaining the sort of quality you’d expect from its umbrella company. 100% cotton prints start at £25/m and wallpaper from £30/roll.
Berry Tree wallpaper
Lace wallpaper/Mr Fox fabric curtains
I don’t know how I managed to miss these lovelies at Tent London during London Design Festival, but I put it down to being all bleary-eyed from looking at too may good things. The Colourhouse (an interior designer and a costume designer) launched themselves into the world in September with a small range of sweet, simple, colourful textiles. The standout for me is this ‘Be Lucky’ fabric, and with all those horseshoes and four-leaf clovers you’ll be sure to have Lady Luck on your side (although the less said about those lonely single magpies the better). Made and printed in the UK, too.
Neatly tapping in to the vogue for all things crafty, the V&A’s exhibition for next spring focuses on quilts, something I suspect sounds a bit dull on paper but is actually a very nice experience to see. And the V&A’s ever-brilliant shop will be launching some limited-edition archive fabrics to tie-in: they’re available in one-metre pieces or less, I suppose to encourage people to get quilting. Nature-inspired, they range from the very 1930s-looking ‘Petals’ to a blousy rose design and an eastern-ish Ikat print. Er, I just realised the exhibition’s not ’til next March, so consider this a stupidly early heads-up.
Here’s some more stuff that caught my eye at 100% Design:
Trellick Tower cushion, designed by Margo Selby in collaboration with People Will Always Need Plates
Wallpapers by French firm Châto & Co
Limited edition, 24-carat-gold plated version of Scabetti’s Shoal light sculpture
Platinum chair, by Thomas de Lussac
Pebble chairs, by Benjamin Hubert Studio (I love these colours, and I think that maybe sludgy/camouflage tones might be around a lot next year)
Translucent porcelain chandelier (this one is called Nuage), by Diffuse
Treviso desk, designed by Matthew Hilton for Ercol
Mini Curly shade, by Charlie Whinney
Trade shows and exhibitions are oddly knackering, I find: it’s amazing how just looking at a lot things in quick succession can suck the energy out of you. At the end of a long day trucking round 100% Design and Tent London, two of the London Design Festival’s biggest draws, I had a massive visual pick-me-up when faced with the technicolour wonderland of Corita Rose‘s stand at Tent. The firm make ace velvet and cotton textiles and furniture that are a dose of instant sunshine, and seem to take their influence from any culture that loves eye-popping colour, from Romany to India to South America. It’s kind of weird, then, to discover that Corita Rose is based in Dorset and all of its products are made in the UK. But it just makes me like them all the more.
Amor sofa, by Corita Rose
Amor cushion, by Corita Rose
Ah, tea towels. A pristine little bit of art for your home, which subsequently gets covered in food stains that just won’t come out, even on a boil wash. So you have to buy some more. It’s unhygienic not to. I think. Anyway here are 10 good ones (tip: colour + pattern = stains less noticeable).
Clockwise from top left: Full English, from Mr PS; Paris, by Atelier LZC, from Mirror Mirror on the Web; Luchador by LoudMouse, from Etsy; Vintage French cutlery, from Re; New York, by Lovely Lovely; Orange Flowers, by Petra Boase, from Not on the High Street; Rex + Regina, by Lush Designs; Sprig, by Clare Nicolson; Coffee and Cake, by New House Textiles; Birdcage in organic cotton, by Ferm Living from 95% Danish