Katrina, our Creative Director and senior garden designer, has a busy week ahead attending various trade shows, looking for interesting new ideas, materials and suppliers. Monday kicked things off with a virgin visit to Decorex International 2017 at Syon House. Part of the London Design Festival, it showcases the finest in interiors, from fabrics to furniture, lighting to lino. It is the go to place for anyone in the design industry. Although she was a bit late to the party, she found much to inspire her…
The queue of ‘designers’ at Richmond station couldn’t go unnoticed. There was a certain flock (and I don’t mean wallpaper) mentality to their numbers. As a garden designer I felt a bit of a fraud. I love a good cushion, but I’ve never bought them for clients. There was a fabulous carousel of creations at the entrance to the event, showcasing different aspects of the show. Larry Walshe filled the space with sumptious blooms, while the Matthew Williamson ‘Osbourne and Little’ collection had a fresh ‘retro’ vibe.
One of the main things that struck me was the luxurious quality of the companies and products on display. There was no ‘stack it high, sell ’em cheap’ ethos that you sometimes find at other trade shows and exhibitons. Here there was an abundance of high end products, beautifully crafted and cleverly presented. Every manufacturer had ‘upped their game’, delivering everything from elegant tables to ethically sourced lighting to handcrafted rugs. There wasn’t a whiff of naff in site. Although some things were not to my taste, they were undeniably good quality. There was also enough unusual and unique offerings to keep me interested throughout the day. The wonderful pieces from Alma de Luce left me feeling energised and falling in love with modern design all over again, such as a retro chair which reminded me of mid-centuary scandinavian designers such as Eames. The pattern was lifted from that of mexican pottery, and it had a real story behind it. It was a thing of beauty.
Textiles a go go
I’m a sucker for a pretty print. Usually the more colourful and bonkers the better. I’m a definite House of Hackney fan, and anything in a similar vein always catches my eye. Bobo1325 caught my eye. Decadent and luxurious, harking back to the deeply patterned wall coverings of the Victorian era but with a modern twist. Blackpop was another crowd pleaser, with wonderfully attractive wallpapers that revel in a deliciously distressed look. Newton Paisley is also bang on buck. Crafted by a conservation biologist, they tell the story of neglected and endangered animals. They are a delight to look at, and have an ethical heart – each sale supports the work of the World Land Trust.
I love a bit of re-purposing. I often try to include some reclamation, upcycling or recycling in my garden designs, and when it works, it really works. There was a lot here that ticked that box. I fell in love with a stunning copper bath tub, and drooled over a haberdashery cabinet from 1924. The handcrafted lights from Vitro Lighting were very clever, creating stylish and elegant chandelier and pendant-style lights from old cut-glass tableware – I spotted a sundae dish, a champagne flute and a trifle bowl amongst the offerings.
For the garden
As a garden designer I was on the scout for anything exciting I could include in my work. Our wonderful friends Gaze Burvill were there, as well as Distinctive Gardens, whose pots could be just the thing as a focal point for our upcoming Balham garden build. But it was Fenella Elms that really caught my eye, with wonderfully textured panels and flowing structures formed from cast concrete that would be ideal for a future project. However with a £2300 price tag, I need to wait for the right client!