After its trade preview, London Design Week — bigger than ever — is open from today to all, offering a bonanza of upmarket home design in the 80 galleried showrooms in Chelsea Harbour’s domes, 37 more in its burgeoning annexe of Design Centre East and other showrooms are nearby on King’s Road. That’s 650 brands (many showrooms feature several brands) and it runs until Friday.
This year’s buzzword is “provenance”: the back history of a product and what makes it special — whether it’s the inspiration, the designer’s profile, how something is made or what it’s made from or a little of everything. This spring, the stories are enthralling.
Fashion segues seamlessly into furnishing, with a swelling band of catwalk kings doing fabrics, wallpapers and homeware. Jean-Paul Gaultier’s wallpapers for Lelièvre of Paris. This romantic wild child lives in a personal legend of toile de jouy, swooping swallows and shimmering bouquets with beat-up bikes, graffiti, tattoos and Breton stripes of his trademark marinière jerseys.
Meanwhile, Christian Lacroix Maison trip the boards for theatre-inspired prints and embroideries at Designers Guild. British Zinc Textiles chose Chanel as their muse and weaves evoke bouclé jackets and snappy colour combos.
Parisienne decorator Sarah Lavoine is an uber-glam decor darling with her own brand (Maison Sarah Lavoine) and three shops and an Instagram following of 70,800. Now comes strong new wallpapers, blocked out like abstract art, at Nobilis, founded in Paris in 1928, showing on the Harbour ground floor.
Africa’s blinding sun, craft, tribal art and wild animals is a trend pushed to the limit at Cole & Son, where desert blooms and wildlife adorn folk prints and basket weaves for our favourite Ardmore edit. By contrast, Anthozoa from Harlequin is wonderfully watery.
MURALS BY THE METRE
Zoffany’s Studio have messed around with natural plant dyes and steeped themselves in stones and minerals. Look out for wallpaper panels sold on a roll, so you can whack up a floor-to-ceiling mural that looks custom-painted — some delicate Chinoiserie, for example, or a vast moody seascape.
New to the Harbour is Bernie de Le Cuona, who seeks weavers worldwide for textured “plains” in subtle blends of natural fibres. New is a herringbone in twisted wool, a linen/wool sheer and a tactile linen pot-dyed by hand in Morocco and finished with a bash of pumice stones.
Also inveterate travellers are new London design duo who call themselves A Rum Fellow, bringing artisan fabrics in ethnic weaves from faraway places and these are the basis for vibrant indoor/outdoor fabrics at US brand Pollack at Altfield on the second floor.
We Londoners cherish our gardens, even if it’s only a balcony or a bank of indoor palms. Palm patterns are still in and Sanderson shows Art of the Garden and Osborne & Little chuck out the chintz in favour of huge blooms and hip hues.