Decorex International was the long tail of my London Design excursions. A design show that is definitely established, decidedly high-end, and distinctly for the trade, I was curious to see what it offered for carefully curated. The ‘feature’ entrance, designed by Kit Kemp, was worthy of the superlatives. ‘Beautiful’, ‘stunning’ and ‘luxurious’ can be overworked in the Decorex environment, but they are were fitting adjectives for the the display inspired by the Silk Route. I loved the hanging pendants from PET Lamp. The clue is in the name, as the lamps are made from recycled plastic bottles and woven using traditional artisanal techniques in Colombia.
Once into the fray, I was spoilt for choice. I went to admire the new designs on the stand of Fine Cell Work, the social enterprise that trains prisoners in paid, skilled, creative needlework to foster hope, discipline and self esteem, where a needlepoint demonstration was underway. Another organisation with a strong ethical purpose is GoodWeave who are working to end child labour in the carpet industry and boost educational opportunities for children in weaving communities in India, Nepal and Afghanistan. Their website has a directory to find rugs ethically produced by GoodWeave approved producers.
Then onto textile companies, and the riot of colour of at Timorous Beasties (seen here on their Omni Splatt cushion, £144), was in glorious contrast to the cool, clean botanical prints at Ivo Prints. Ivo Prints have been producing textiles and wall coverings under license to The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew at their small factory in west London since early 2011.
The Kew Collection also includes home accesories, cushions, bags and other gifts and a share of proceeds supports Kew’s conservation work . The collection is closely connected to its subject matter, with evidence of the seeds in the weaving as a reminder of the natural and plant based origins of the cloth. Only water-based, non toxic pigment colours are used to print the collection.
Water-based paints and pigments feature highly at Little Greene. Little Greene Dyeworks started in 1773 making dye solutions to the cotton trade. Today, all their products are still manufactured in the UK, with a determination to produce high-quality paints and papers that are environmentally-friendly. They use only natural, organic and safe-synthetic pigments. Oil-base paints use vegetable oils, making them child-friendly. And a contribution for every paint and wallpaper sale goes to English Heritage, with whom they have collaborated to develop a range of authentic historical paint colours. I particularly liked their sculpture, pictured below, which reminds me of the children’s song, “we’ve got the whole world in our hands”.
Elsewhere, I was drawn to the tactile display of woollen fabrics on the Moon stand. Established in 1837 in Leeds, Abraham Moon & Sons Ltd, remains the only vertical mill left in Britain. From fleeces to final dispatch, they control the entire manufacturing process with dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing processes all taking place on one site. Their Natural Wool collection makes extensive use of un-dyed wools. As well as furnishing fabrics, Moon also produces throws and fashion accessories including cushions, baby blankets and scarves under their Bronte by Moon label. N.B. Abraham Moon fabrics are used to upholster the Moonshine footstool from Galvin Brothers – see my Tent London post. Gorgeous!
Other highlights were the reclaimed antique tiles from Bert and May. Bert and May are also able to make reproductions of any tile in their antique collection or your own design or specification to complete a project. Their new showroom is opening next month. Finally, and relax, in the folding rocking chair made from sustainable steam-bent beech by Wawa. It folds to 15cm wide, and weighs only 5kg. Perfect for confined spaces!!