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Cross Pollination

by Grace Bonney

An aspect of design that fascinates me is the cross-pollination of disciplines; textile design, normally used in interiors used for clothing…when fashion designers venture into accessories or furniture…Often, the results are just fantastic, and I find this is where some of the most exciting design flux can occur. I will be focusing today on some cross-over in pattern design to other fields…bright and botanical being the order of the day!

I am a textile [pattern design] lover first and foremost, and am most partial to a botanical print as you may well have guessed. My personal design process really begins with textiles and I enjoy indulging this crossover aspect of my own work {when I can}. It is something I tend to keep more personal {and just use it as a natural part of my work process}… but a vast majority of my jewellery designs begin life, in some form or another, as repeat pattern designs or prints…

Here is a little glimpse of some of my patterns and a few jewellery pieces that have followed directly on from those…then we will move on to the big guns ;)

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Eley Kishimoto are a fantastic fashion house {made up of husband and wife team Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto} – who are perhaps best known for their clothing line and textiles. I remember when I first saw their fashion work creeping onto the scene – such a fantastic burst of energy and colour, so to see them venture into Interior fabrics and Wallpaper design is lovely. What is even more interesting is how well the designs translate and work in different design spheres…I like the patterns just as much on and off a runway!

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I just had to mention Marimekko, the design powerhouse!! Proving the point that the sum is equal to it’s parts when season upon season the company makes waves in the design world by working with fantastic International design talent… {click here to read through some interviews with their design team}. I think Marimekko is one company who does really well to focus on pattern design in quite a pure way {often botanical, alongside fantastic abstracts, traditional understated prints and cool avant garde works} – and then take it to another level by applying these patterns to a myriad of products. As a group, this could perhaps seem a little too much, but almost without exception ALL the Marimekko products work wonderfully in isolation…showing how successfully pattern and {almost any} form can be merged and just how good they are at doing it!

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Mina Perhonen is now perhaps one of my all time favourite labels {owned and run by Japan based designer Akira Minagawa} . Everything from his pattern designs, to his marketing, books, fashion, forms and furniture just delight me. Not too long ago, I saw several Mina Perhonen pieces in Le Bon Marche {incidentally one of the most fantastic shops – I want to say in the world!} in Paris, when they hosted an exhibition of Japanese design. Seeing his clothing, alongside the chairs [collaborations with Fritz Hansen and Kvadrat] was really thrilling, confirming to me that the work was equally special in person as everything you see online may lead you to believe. His aesthetic and playful approach to pattern {tempered to perfection with lots of soft and sombre grey-tones, with flashes of brights and neon’s} works so well on the smooth clean forms of the furniture they cover…a extremely successful exercises in cross-pollination!!

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Back tomorrow! Gosh the week has flown in quickly :)

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