Last week, on a very wet and soggy Thursday, we managed to escape the drizzle and cast a ray of sunshine over Chelsea as Habitat King’s Road hosted our Spring Summer 2016 Press Show. Inspired by our travels around the world, what would Habitat be without a riot of colour and texture to celebrate cool British design and contemporary global craft?
Perhaps the best place to see these characteristics was within textiles, where individual design stories worked together to mix pattern and palette. Crewel work (a chain stitch technique from India) on cushions creates a depth of tone, highlighted by the block colouration of silk velvet cushions in a muted palette of elephant grey and blush pink.
Mixing patterns is key and these looked beautiful layered up over the watercolour print of Clara or Spot bedlinen.
Graphic, monochrome handpainted lines within the ‘Industrial’ story (on rugs that would look as good on the wall as they do on the floor) lead into the bright corals and acid yellow of ‘Eighties’ brought together in an harmonious clashing of pattern: the graphic circles of the Patty rug juxtaposed against the abstract block pattern of the Miro cushion.
Lighting again mirrored the contrast in trends. Angular Rae in powder coated metal and Cabot with its tin can shade both ticked the box for ‘Industrial’. Glass Bulle, a cluster light with feature light bulbs and brass fixings showcases a statement delicacy in design.
There was a lovely story behind the Sira lampshade: handwoven in Indonesia, its starting point a small basket found during a design trip which was enlarged, recoloured and upturned to form the lampshade. A perfect illustration of the global inspiration for the SS16 collection.
In the main space, with the walls festooned in botanical line-drawings by the artist, Shaun Mills, furniture took centre stage with a focus on ‘In Is Out, Out Is In’: furniture that works inside and outside the house.
Rattan has been revisited and reimagined to dramatic sculptural effect in the form of Betel a peanut kernel-shaped chaise (each one takes 2 days to weave) and Harpa, a cocoon-like peacock chair. More refined is the Bowen range – the perfect marriage between Vietnam, specialists in rattan weaving, and Italy, known for its skill in upholstery.
Howette, a table range made from concrete resin again works as well on a rug inside as it would do on an outside deck. And the wooden panelling of Raven has been designed to have a delicacy for inside-living but efficient water-removal if used outside, demonstrating beautiful design that’s fit for purpose.
And to accessorise your outdoor furniture, an entire room was given over to outdoor dining. Melamine and stoneware decorated with handpainted dots; deckchairs in the key print of the season, Maui; bamboo bowls, rattan cloches and woven latterns in shades of olive, sulphur and flamingo red all showcased against the tropical backdrop of the Maui print, hand-painted directly on the walls by textile designer Martha Coates, over the course of the previous weekend.
It may have only just got really cold here in Blighty, but we are already dreaming of balmy summer nights (together with a never ending shopping list for the new season!).
Stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks for more on Shaun Mills’ amazing, handpainted walls and the story behind ‘Shack’, a collection of textiles crafted by weavers in Panipat, India.