A quick glance at any social network or style blog is all it takes to show that the fashionable world is having a love affair with interiors right now. Not content with beautifying ourselves, we are also giving our homes a makeover, and tastemakers are just as fascinated by the newest home collections as the latest catwalks. When it comes to reinventing your living space for 2016, a bold print can make all the difference, and many of the most exciting young print designers call London home.
With a main store on Lamb’s Conduit Street in Bloomsbury, as well as a shop-in-shop in Selfridges, relative newcomer Darkroom (it opened in 2009) is already an established presence on London’s design scene. The flagship offers a range of accessible, beautiful design from across the world, from soft furnishings and textiles to furniture, displayed against stark black walls. Founders Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck champion emerging designers, with many exclusive pieces and special commissions available.
Drakeford and Roper-Caldbeck also produce their own Darkroom collection, which comprises some of the most covetable items in a truly well-stocked boutique. Between them, they have backgrounds in graphic design, interiors, textiles and fashion, and this and their shared passion for travel provides a solid foundation for their interiors line. The two produce cushions, rugs, throws, plates, mirrors and much more, with print at the heart of what they do. ‘Our plan was to create something very different – something bolder, brighter and much more full-on,’ explains Roper-Caldbeck. The signature Darkroom aesthetic is bold and graphic, featuring geometric shapes and strong colours. Its prints are varied but always eye-catching, featuring everything from layered tribal-inspired etchings to the simple but powerful use of monochrome.
House of Hackney
Across town, in one of London’s coolest quarters, lies the flagship of insider favourite House of Hackney. The historic architecture characteristic of the Shoreditch area proved the perfect fit for the husband-and-wife team behind the label, which can certainly lay claim to one of the most stylish stores in London. The boutique is decked out wall to wall in the bold prints for which House of Hackney has become famous, making it a testament to its unique and faultless style.
Launched in 2010, House of Hackney was begun with the aim to ‘take the beige out of interiors’. Founders Javvy M Royle and Frieda Gormley were also adamant that the brand be a truly British one. As such, it proudly supports local industries, working with the country’s best manufacturers. The aesthetic, too, is proudly British, albeit with a strong contemporary edge, and the prints themselves are inspired by the nation’s cultural heritage. Bold florals show the clear influence of Victorian artist William Morris, one of the most important figures in the history of British textiles. Another favourite is the Hackney Empire print, which depicts anthropomorphised animals, whose name pays tribute to the London borough where the brand was born.
House of Holland x Habitat
Perhaps the best evidence that furnishings are the new fashion is the growing number of catwalk designers turning their hands to interiors. One of the most exciting to launch in spring/summer 2016 is the collaboration between House of Holland and Habitat. The former, the label of effortlessly cool British designer Henry Holland, is known for its fresh and playful designs, as well as its bold use of colour and print. Habitat, meanwhile, is an iconic British name which has been committed to making stylish home design accessible to a wide audience since its beginnings in 1964.
The limited-edition collection will adapt key elements of the current House of Holland collection and reinterpret these prints across textiles and upholstery. ‘It’s been a lot of fun translating our spring/summer 2016 collection for a different creative industry, taking our 1970s psychedelic, hallucinatory prints from the catwalk and working with new materials and techniques specifically for the home,’ says Holland. It’s certain to prove just as popular as his clothing, and likely to gain him new admirers along the way.
A smart move for both House of Holland and Habitat, the project is more than that for Holland himself: it’s personal. ‘I'm so excited to be working on my first interiors range … I recently bought my first house and am really getting into soft furnishings these days, so luckily this project has come just at the right time.’ With no one immune to the pull of prints, it’s time to get decorating.