Six interior designers known for textiles
With an eye for designing and placing a room, interior designers make the home. Reworking manufacturing techniques from centuries old and taking cultural patterns seen on travels to distant lands, here are six designers and their firms who are drawing and producing textiles of their own - adding that final layer to their furnishings.
Mexico’s Mestiz mixes industrial timbers with artisanal rugs, inspired by the idea of the body and its clothing. Its purpose is to bring authentic South American textiles and manufacturing into the modern home. The brand’s latest collection N-1 enlists the help of local artisans from Saltillo, a small capital city at the northeast of Mexico. Under the direction of architect and designer, Daniel Valero,locals weave wool yarns to make covers and rugs. Most textile elements of the collection act as ‘clothes’ to dress up the individual wooden pieces: a chair, a table and a stool. The ‘Patél’ is a Mexican chair shaped industrially from pinewood, which is sourced from Durango forests. From the Sarapes workshops, craftspeople design the color, pattern and texture of the cloth, following a careful discussion of ideas and feelings on how the piece will be personified. Once decided, the yarn is given to the master craftsman - who for Mestiz - is Hector Tamayo. The ‘Illo’ rug is made from two different wool sizes. The black ‘skin’ is woven in a chunky yarn to protect the interior neon colors of the textile. These inner parts are then woven with a thinner yarn, produced using a treadle loom.
B&B Italia feat. atelier oi
B&B Italia is a family run interiors company, which sources quality fabrics to pair with innovative design. Founded by the Busnelli family in 1966, the luxury company is known for turning traditional leathers into abstract objects of difference for the modern home. It recently hooked up with Switzerland’s atelier oï for a unique take on chair upholstery. Small leather patches, or ‘leaves’ were connected to form a 3D leather fabric, taken from offcuts at B&B Italia’s shop. After an initial sketch was drawn outlining how to use the connected leather structures, a geometric ottoman chair frame was built to carry the leather coating. Various models of ottomans were created in several sizes. And colors of leather were played with: marine blue; black and red; and hyper-colored. Because the leather cloth had irregular ends, atelier oi experimented with ways to finish the corners and sides of the ottoman. From here, the ottoman was attached, like a puzzle piece, to a hexagonal shaped table. Italia B&B chose green leather to resemble leaves. Its base was made from black-chromed steel rod with uprights covered in leather.
Sydney-based Sally Campbell left her stable job to launch her own fabric collections for the home. After 25 years as costume designer for the Australian film industry, she desired “to create beautiful handcrafted textiles and give them a contemporary edge to suit modern environments,” Campbell says on her website. Campbell dove into producing the lot: bed linen; cushions; tablecloths; curtains; throws and patchwork. Then, after a textiles sourcing trip abroad, she shifted to working with skilled artisans from small villages in India. Campbell uses traditionally homespun cottons, linen and silk threads to form woven, dyed and stitched (all by hand) home furnishings. Her appliqué work comes from women in the desert near Pakistan, and she works with natural dye block printers in Rajasthan. She visits village weavers in Bengal and Hyderabad, and hires women who do intricate hand embroidery in Lucknow. The designer hopes to keep ancient crafts alive as society competes with “the manic rush to modernisation,” she says. All her textiles are carbon neutral and eco-friendly, with a percentage profits going back to the rural communities that made them.
Venetian Lorenzo Rubelli founded interior design and furniture maker, Rubelli in 1858. Today from Como, Tessituri Rubelli, the company’s established textile arm, weaves an array of thick cloth for the luxurious home. Comprised of both computerized and traditional looms, the factory boasts 28 state-of-the-art electronic machines and three authentic (but more laborious) handlooms. The old looms are the same ones developed in Venice in the eighteenth century, and were brought back into operation by Rubelli in 2004. The hand-operated machines make the bulk of Rubelli’s best-selling soprarizzior handmade velvet fabrics, commonly seen in upholstery, cushioning and drapes. Rubelli had to source veteran Venetians (aged seventy) to teach two younger weavers the lost art of hand looming over six months. Most of Rubelli textiles are produced from natural materials – linen, silk, cotton – mixing sometimes with high-quality synthetic fibers such as novafil, bemberg and viscose.
Nina Campbell and her interior designs are rare in that they appeal to most age groups: lovers of the contemporary and the traditional. At 19, Campbell began working at design firm Sybil Colefax & John Fowler. She then set up her own decorating business in 1974 and opened her interior design offices and studio in London. It is from here that Campbell creates fabric. For autumn 2013, Campbell paid tribute to her Scottish heritage with upholstery fabrics named after a castle in Morayshire. Her textiles boast a composition of viscose, linen, cotton and polyester: some in chenille trellis designs, others in simple stripes and checks. Borrowing neutral tones of stone, taupe and ivory, the muted hues were offset by pinks, burgundy and pastel blue grays. As a designer, Campbell works with a large team of craftsmen across many decorative fields. Her textiles have outstanding quality, practicality and typically a feminine design, with a bit of humor and wit thrown in.
Philadelphia-based Caitlin Wilson founded her interior design firm in response to a lack of vibrant patterns in the textile market for homes. After living in London, Paris and Dubai, the San Francisco native was inspired by her travels abroad, craving the traditional patterns of the Middle East, Europe and Asia for her home. During a six-month stint in Hong Kong, she sought out materials in the city’s fabric district for inspiration, seeking local manufacturers to produce her future designs. In 2007, after another six months of designing and sampling, Caitlin Wilson Textiles was born. Wilson links heavily her design forte to eccentric color and bold patterns. Her most popular items are her print pillows. “I carefully designed each mini pillow collection juxtaposing patterns, colors, and scales to create the perfect balance—and at the same time versatile enough to work with a variety of styles,” she says on her website. The navy fleur Chinoise collection is her most popular range. The textiles hone in on oriental floral stems and buds printed over 100% canvas cotton. Mixed in the nature patterns are geometric zigzags in fuchsia pink.