London Design Week 2012: five new trends

The world’s decorati descend on Chelsea for London Design Week. We find five of the latest interiors trends
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The world’s decorati descend on Chelsea for London Design Week. Excitement is already palpable in the famous glass domes of Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (91 showrooms and more than 500 top international brands), which will host a six-day furnishing fest of shows, talks, book signings and more. Showrooms nearby in King’s Road are part of the action.

This is the season’s launch-pad for new-look fabrics and papers, liberally spiced with rugs, cushions, lamps and (literally) all the trimmings. Indeed, all over town, from big stores to small boutiques, new spring collections are for pattern lovers. Here we find five of the latest interiors trends.

Royal Oak Curtains, in “Spring”
Royal Oak Curtains, in “Spring”, are £74.40 a metre at Lewis & Wood


Art in London is a hot ticket with a series of fully booked blockbuster shows, from Degas and Leonardo to Grayson Perry, Hockney and Freud. This spring, artists are bringing a fresh provenance to pattern, starting at the top, with Sir Howard Hodgkin, whose reissued designs with broad, masterly brush strokes are now the more vivid thanks to the latest printing techniques (

Artist Melissa White at work
Artist Melissa White at work
Down in Sussex, artist Melissa White (right) interprets her trademark Elizabethan wall paintings into richly coloured original wall coverings, not archive copies (

Wood engraver Andrew Davison evokes British coast and countryside in exquisite low-key line detail for Lewis & Wood (left;

At home: pick an art-inspired pattern, with soft, painterly brush strokes, washes, pen lines, and even felt-tip scribbles.

St Ives’ rooftops on wallpapers and fabric
St Ives’ rooftops on wallpapers, £49 a roll, and fabric, £32 a metre, from Sandersons


Toiles were (and are) an 18th-century notion for walls with pictorial patterns of posh pastoral picnics and floral bouquets.

Playtime toile by Pierre Frey
Playtime toile by Pierre Frey, £153.60 a metre
Now the genre gets a modern twist with pictures of modern life — Pierre Frey even has a toile take on the office (

Elsewhere are buildings and streetscapes with an arty look. London landmarks are ubiquitous (some nicer than others). And Marimekko has a stunning new fabric to celebrate Helsinki, 2012 World Design Capital (

At home: pictorial papers and fabrics have all those quirky details that will hold interest for seasons to come. Think small, and do the loo.

Blind in Paracas fabric
Blind in Paracas fabric (£115 a metre) by Nina Campbell at Osborne & Little (020 7352 1456)
Leo fabric and plate by Pierre Frey
Leo fabric (£160.80 a metre) and plate (£550) by Pierre Frey (


The big fabric houses have cannibalised tribal motifs, natural dyes and simple ways of making pattern — witness Ralph Lauren’s “desert modern” (, and Nina Campbell’s design journey to the Andes (

Christian Fischbacher ( is doing “urban nomad”, adding copper, granite, bronze and gold to African, Asian and South American influences. Watch out for super-widths up to 315cm for seamless curtains.

Tupai wall fabric and Tonga curtains
Tupai wall fabric (£99 a metre) and Tonga curtains (£115 a metre), by Lorca at by Osborne & Little
Blue is everywhere this spring, in indigo shades of blurry ikats and dip-dyes, teamed with tan and rust.

These effects, whether immaculate prints or hi-tech weaves, are interpreted in fine-quality cloth — heavy linens, velvets and silks. The final effect is absolutely not naive, but rich and sophisticated.

At home: play up the look with chunky woods (teak and oak rather than pine), baskets, terracotta metals, and stone — but elegant rather than ethnic.

Sofa in dog-tooth fabric and stripes on wall above panelling
Satin stripe Rue du Dragon on wall £112 a metre. Sofa and cushions in Rue Casanova woven dog-tooth cotton, (£119 a metre) from Lelievre (call 020 7352 4798;


Prints are on acid, taking their cue perhaps from the wild mash-ups of motifs paraded by Mary Katrantzou, darling of this year’s Fashion Week.

Furnishing, too, has manic moments in mad hues. Sedate classics are re-coloured in smacking brights — witness Rue Casanova by Sonia Rykiel ( with a dogtooth check on upholstery cotton in seven crazy shades, such as shocking pink, pillar box, and royal blue.

In Air de Paris, studio Christian Lacroix gives Paris landmarks and personal memorabilia their own touch of brilliance (

Havana is the shooting star at Designers Guild in turquoise, orange, cobalt, and emerald ( Cole’s have a daringly vivid damask (, and the most popular 2012 colour for designer paint is red.

At home: take a deep breath and go for it — try a cushion or two, then wallop a wall.

Anemone curtain, by Lori Weitzner
Anemone curtain, by Lori Weitzner, at Sahco, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour (020 7352 6168)


There’s all accounting for taste this spring, so if arty patterns and print are too extreme, try something more romantic — after all, “flowers” is still the most popular searched-for pattern, says Wallpaper Direct (, leading internet merchant for top paper brands and designer paint.

Flowers in a range of fabrics on chair
Flowers in a range of fabrics, from £55 a metre, by Manuel Canovas at Colefax and Fowler
Here a touch of Japan, there a woodland scene, or the airy low-res feel of Scandinavia (explore new brand Scion).

In New York, designer Lori Weitzner garnered flowers from the park and made “cyanotype” photo-prints for Sahco fabrics (020 7352 6168).

Elsewhere, scale varies from neat little geometrics to drifts of huge flower heads in glorious digital detail. Colours are lime, mauve, pink and grey — in pining pastels, or in stronger sorbet shades.

At home: freshen up a back bedroom, lift a dingy hall, but add a pop or two of strong, bright colour — keep the look keyed in, not washed out.

* For more information on London Design Week, call 020 7225 9166 or visit

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