Focus 2019 interior style notes

No stone was left unturned this week as I dived in and out of showrooms at The Design Centre for Focus 19. I had the pleasure of attending talks from top interior designers, interviewed creative directors and textile company owners discovering along the way that more than just a handful are several generation family owned. I even managed – on neutral territory – an undercover meeting with the Interior Spy.

London Design marathon

There’s so much wonderful creative talent to see and assimilate at The Design Centre. And this is just one of the many venues which make up The London Design Festival week (14 – 22 September 2019). To put it in context, The Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour is a world class design destination which hosts 600 international luxury interiors brands. And this year Focus 19 at The Design Centre was the biggest it’s ever been.

The future is bright

London’s Indian Summer weather and the prettiest of ‘Sky Garden’ installations conspired to create an effervescent showcase for Focus 2019 Autumn Winter interior collections. In a world of uncertainty, the designs were upbeat and vibrant offering interiors professionals a myriad new tools with which to create.

‘Sky Garden’ installation of lanterns in green and white fabrics with star mobiles as designed by Arabella McNie. It is just so pretty and cleverly takes on a different aspect depending on the light and which floor you are on. Photo: Charis White

Pop-ups in the new Design Avenue

Although not completely finished, the new Design Avenue extension was considered a hit. It brushed up very nicely with 20 large pop-up spaces for additional room sets (the stands at Blithfield/Kit Kemp, John Stefanidis/Tissus D’Helene and Barneby Gates were v popular). 

John Stefanidis fabrics at Tissus D’Helene pop-up, Mid Century design by the ever stylish Helen Cormack who is seen in the reflection with colleague Molly Campbell. Photo: Charis White
Pop-up room set styled by Barneby Gates. Basket gourd pot, from the very stylish Interior Spy. Photo: Charis White
Pop up room set designed by Kit Kemp for Blithfield & Co. Photo: Charis White

A passion for interior style

As with all creative industries, the work that goes in to creating furniture, wallpaper and fabric is often very labour intensive. Stephen Lewis, owner of Lewis & Wood (now a two-generation business with his son Ben working in the company), remarked that “if there was a scientific formula for the perfect design, we would all be very time rich!”

Whatever their individual design approach, the one thread that links all these companies is a great passion for interior style. It is a joy to see and a privilege to hear about first hand. Over the coming months, I will endeavour to share more of the inside track with you. In the meantime, here is a crystallised version of my style notes and trends from the show: 

AW19 Interior style trends

There is, as you might expect, a crossover with trends at The London Interior Show: Wall to wall walling is a growing luxury trend and was used across several roomsets and window displays. Colour is vibrant with primary palettes including quite a lot of the red I mentioned in a blog at the beginning of the year. Passementerie, printed velvets (huge) and embroideries are also key looks.  

In contrast, monochrome designs created a bit of punctuation amongst all the colour. It was great to see Sue Timney with a pop-up and a new website relaunch on its way with Timney & Fowler’s signature classical monochrome designs. C & C Milano and Ventura are also offering some beautiful designs in a monochrome palette.   

As interior designer Susie Atkinson pointed out in a discussion panel with Homes & Gardens Editor Sarah Spiteri with Suzy Hoodless and Flora Soames, in the age of social media bespoke and handmade is even more important than it ever was in offering clients a decorating scheme with originality. 

There is one brand which encompasses all of the above mentioned trends and that is Morris & Co. Their new velvets in particular are beautiful and if you want to include a little of the ‘matchy, matchy‘ trend in a scheme, they are the perfect one-stop shop.  

1. Wall to wall walling

Walling in new Paisley Leaf Red F4691-01 by Colefax & Fowler
Persis Aqua F4668-03 embroidered walling by Colefax & Fowler. Photo: Charis White
Walls: Vita-Oyster, Lee Stripe-Green both by Lisa Fine; Dado T47 Linen Tape by Sandboy Textiles. Mirror frame in Red Ochre emulsion by Edward Bulmer. Window designed by Matthew Dane who is a member of staff at Tissus D’Helene. Photo: Charis White
Walling made from Mali Ruby 6807-02, the Kit Kemp Edit of The Brookfield Collection for Blithfield & Co. Photo: Charis White
Ludhiana Jade 1015-4 100% wool walling, coat made from Amadour Amethyst velvet 1025-02 by;  Window designed by Sharon Crowson, The Design Archives
Ashdown fabric, Nina Campbell on Charis White inteirors blog
Lovely colour combination walling with brown, with Ashdown Stripe fabric Red/French Blue/Choc NCF 4363-04 in Nina Campbell’s apartment showroom. Handpainted lampshade by Sarah Blomfield Studio. Photo: Charis White

2. Passementerie

Nicole Fabre (renouned specialist in 17th – 19th Century French textiles) has produced a beautiful new range of woven silk at Tissus D’Helene. To complement her fabrics, Nicole has brought along to the Tissus D’Helene showroom some of Cherry Harrison’s handmade tasselled rosettes (filled with lavender) made from antique trimmings. Photo: Charis White
New Theodore trimmings collection, Colefax & Fowler. Photo: Charis White
Trimming at Samuel and Son. Photo: Charis White

3. Velvet

Fashion designer Georgina von Etzdorf has launched a new range of silk and cotton velvet furnishing fabric along with throws, and these fabulously large ‘floor pillows’.
G P & J Baker are getting super cosy this Autumn/Winter with a carpet-inspired Rio velvet for upholstery and walling. Note the nice contrast colour on the skirting for the G P & J Baker showroom. Photo: Charis White
Many new print velvets from Morris & Co. Photo: Charis White

4. Colour

Kit Kemp edit with The Brookfield Collection for Blithfield & Co pop-up room set. Photo: Charis White
5 Tree of Life 1007 Mustard jpg
Tree of Life Mustard 1007-6, The Design Archives.
Cushions from Turnell and Gigon on Charis White Interiors blog
Cushions from Turnell & Gigon. Photo: Charis White
The sumptuous curtain door (love a curtain instead of a door – I have one to my home office!) to Nina Campbell’s apartment showroom is taken from a 1920s cushion design, Ashdown Stripe, Multi/Green NCF4363-01
Lovely styling by Helen Cormack using a bright primary palette of John Stefanidis and mid century furniture for Tissus D’Helene pop-up room set. Photo: Charis White

5. Monochrome

New capsule Metamorphosis collection is a unique collaboration between world renowned photographer Giovanni Gastel and architect, interior decorator and creative director Piero Castellini Baldissera of C&C Milano.  Photo: Charis White
Timney and Fowler who once had a shop on the Kings Road for their Neo Classical designs were back at Focus 19 for a pop up of showroom. Designs are available online. Photo: Charis White
Irish interior design company Ventura have collaborated with fashion designer Paul Costelloe to create a classic collection of upholstery complete with ‘fashion pleats’ styling and furniture range which is all made bespoke in Ventura’s workshops in Dublin. Photo: Charis White

6. Fifth wall (ceiling)

Upholstered 5th wall (ceiling). Kit Kemp Edit for Blithfield & Co pop- up. Photo: Charis White

7. Painted chair legs

Painted chair legs at Turnell & Gigon. Photo: Charis White

8. Handpainted lampshade

Handpainted lampshade by Sarah Blomfield Studio commissioned by Nina Campbell to complement new Kingsley wallpaper from the Ashdown wallpaper range by Nina Campbell. Sarah makes bespoke lampshades at her kitchen table in Oxfordshire, impressively holding the shade by hand as she does it. Photo: Sarah Blomfield.

9. Embroidery

Embroidered curtain, James Hare fabrics. Loved the new Fitzrovia collection and the styling in the window with the perfect shade of pink door. So important to get the right shade of pink! Photo: Charis White
Exquisite embroidered cushion, ASHLAR Linen blue F4670-02, on BURDETT Jade F4690-03 velvet sofa, Colefax & Fowler. Photo: Charis White

10. More and more at Morris & Co

Cute window for Morris & Co using appropriately a bobbin chair (Kelmscott House has a beauty) to display the beautiful and ever expanding collection of William and May Morris (Melsetter collection) designs.

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading. As I have said before, for me, it is as much about the people and the heritage behind a design that gives it soul. Amongst the family run companies across the two shows I visited this week were Morris & Co (who set the precedent), Lewis & Wood, The Design Archives, Ian Sanderson Textiles, as well as C & C Milano

I had the pleasure of meeting Emanuele Castellini, the CEO of C&C Milano, at their Design Centre showroom in London. Along with seeing all their beautiful linens and fabrics, I discovered that the Castellini family, who are sometimes described as ‘Lombardy textile aristrocracy’, were inspiration for characters in a favourite 2009 film “I am Love” . Charis x

Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photography:
Charis White, interior stylist/writer. Photo: Fiona McLean


10 thoughts on “Focus 2019 interior style notes

  1. Thank you for mentioning me Charis! Very kind of you, I enjoyed the blog.
    Sarah Blomfield Studio []
    sent from my iPhone


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