Design Classics

Last week our lovely Sanderson rep bounced into our offices with the new William Morris collection hot off the press and I could not help but share her enthusiasm.  Fabric collections come and go; some contemporary designs you can tell are destined to be the classics of tomorrow; others are more fashion led and less enduring.  William Morris designs however, like the Charles Eames lounge chair and the Chesterfield sofa, have a permanent place in design and never seem to date.

There is an honesty and simplicity about the rooms William Morris designed and I think that approach is so very relevant now.  He famously stated, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” and I could not agree with this more.   To me the new Pure Morris collection retains the integrity of his work yet the pared back neutral palette breathes new life into these iconic designs opening them up to a whole new audience.  As I cooed my way through the wallpaper book, I commented on the beading effect on Pure Strawberry Thief.  It would seem though that this is nothing new.  When the Morris design team were scanning the archives for monochromatic patterns they came across many different embellishment techniques including crushed glass and metallic inks.  The Pure Morris range uses beading rather than crushed glass on some of the wallpapers but the effect is the same; further proof of the lasting nature of these designs.  In my past life I worked at Penguin books and will never forget my visit to the archives in search of inspiration for a new range of Penguin merchandise so I can imagine the fun the design team at Morris must have had when delving into the collection of original hand-blocks and then playing with the inks to develop new versions of these well known designs.  Absolute heaven.

The new collection comprises eight wallpapers and nine curtain fabrics.  We have recently specified Willow Bough, a design that dates back to 1887, in a care home lounge, a care home by the name of “The Willows”.  It was not only the design and of course the name which drew us to it but that we felt that it would be a paper that so many people would relate to.  We feel that the famous and much loved Morris designs will promote a sense of home and assurance to residents moving in to the newly refurbished care home.  The new Pure Willow Bough range offers new colour ways, cool silver and stone and a striking gilver and graphite version.  Pure Net Ceiling, another paper dating back to 1895, is one of five ceiling papers created by the firm.  It’s utterly gorgeous and equally beguiling in the embroidery.  Described as a contemporary lace it’s available in three colour ways; flax, paper white and dove.  I love it and given that I “believe it to be beautiful” I feel that the master craftsman himself would approve of me having it in my own house!