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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, B17 8DL

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Cole & Son Folie-Versailles Grand
Cole & Son Folie - Versailles Grand

Romo Black Edition Astsatto
Romo Black Edition Astratto

Bang on trend

Don’t you just love jargon? Isn’t it great when we’re able to speak in a language that only insiders and those in the know can understand? Well no, actually I don’t and it isn’t. I still remember vividly my first day of secondary school when I (as I subsequently found out along with many other first years) was approached by two older boys who earnestly enquired as to whether I had yet “flassed my blaize in room 32 ?” Well of course I hadn’t. And so as not to appear stupid I quickly hurried off to said room only to be met with hoots of derision when I arrived and told them what I was there to do. I think that probably put me off jargon for life.

So you can imagine how impressed I was when we were told several times last week while attending London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour that the product we were being shown at the time was particularly “on trend”. Granted there were certainly a goodly number of splendid and current new offerings, a great deal of which you’ll very soon be able to view in our showroom and those like them, but as for “on trend” . . . hmmm.

So what are the new goodies? Well, many and varied, but to give you a taster I’ve picked four offerings to concentrate on. Cole & Son, the renowned producers of many of today’s loveliest wallpapers, have recently launched their Folie collection, consisting of a number of stately and elegant designs based on 18th and 19th century French gardens. Alongside the beautiful florals you would expect to see, they have included some delightfully delicate trellis designs, a design reminiscent of classic Louis style wooden panelling, and even some really lovely borders. Yes, you heard me correctly – borders !! And before those of you who are old enough to remember them say that you never want to see another border in your life, these really are very acceptable. The crowning glory of the collection however is called Versailles Grand, which is a wonderful large scale design produced in two colourways – fresh pink, chartreuse and lime, and a more autumnal mulberry, amethyst and copper – echoing the glorious French scenic papers of the 18th century. It’s sold as a two piece panel and has a rather hefty price tag, but would be truly magnificent in the right location !!!

From papers, let’s move on to fabrics. Larsen have launched a fabulous offering, consisting of five fabric books, three of which contain a lovely range of plains, self-stripes and small geometrics, along with the most sumptuous velvets I’ve seen for a while, all  perfect for upholstery. The velvets range from a plain, through a speckled effect to a wonderful design called Phoenix, which almost looks like the bark of a tree – absolutely splendid ! Seattle is a book containing some really chic, smart stripes and larger geometric designs in the soft neutral shades we’ve all come to love, whilst Orlando is a collection of the most fabulous Aztecy designs with a contemporary twist, in a range of really hot oranges, exciting turquoises, and the “on trend” (woo, there I go again) colour combination of the moment – yellow and grey.

Whilst I’m on about fabulous, wacky contemporary designs, the second Romo Black collection has just been launched. For those of you not familiar with the brand, Romo Black is the very smart, very chic and very exclusive off-shoot from Romo. We thought that their first collection was good and immediately took it, but their new offering is if anything even better !! Like Larsen, two of the new books contain stunningly good upholstery fabrics, while the two main books have the most glorious collections of prints, weaves, dip-dye fabrics and patterned velvets, backed up by an amazing array of ultra-contemporary flocks, printed and beaded papers. To cap it all, they’ve teamed up with the celebrated British artist Jessica Zoob, and come up with a jaw-droppingly good collection of fabrics and papers which faithfully interpret her imaginative use of texture and colour, which can best be described as contemporary impressionist.

Talking of collaborations, G P & J Baker have teamed up with Ashley Hicks, the son of the late David Hicks, who is widely acknowledged to have been one of the most exciting and innovative British interior designers of the late 20th century. Known for his bold use of colour, eclecticism and geometric designs, David Hicks turned traditional English decorating on its head in the 1950s and 60s, with his trademark use of electrifying colour combinations, together with mixing antiques, modern furniture and abstract paintings. This splendid new collection of striking fabrics and papers combines Hicks’ strong graphic style and powerful sense of colour with a gentler and more useable contemporary appeal. The designs range from characteristic punchy geometrics and stylised florals, to luxurious cut velvets and heavy symmetrical embroideries. The colours from hot cerise and orange to cool cream and taupe.

Now there’s “on trend” for you !!!

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - April 2014