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349 Hagley Road, Edgbaston,
Birmingham, B17 8DL

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A tale of two designers

Regular readers of this column will know that this is the time of year when most manufacturers release their major new offerings, in the hope of getting a good slice of the pre-Christmas business. It’s a time of year that we designers look forward to with bated breath, as no matter how vast your pattern book library (and we’re often told that at John Charles Interiors we have one of the widest and most comprehensive outside London) there’s nothing like the thrill of seeing a new and inspiring collection of wallpapers and fabrics for the first time.

Of course, not all collections from every manufacturer will float our collective boats, but there are a select few you can always rely on to deliver the goods, and make our creative juices flow all the more. Osborne and Little are one such company. Earlier this year I wrote about their fabulously eclectic and gorgeous own brand spring collections, and now I’d like to introduce you to their brand spanking new autumn collections in collaboration with two of Britain’s top designers.

Nina Campbell established her company in 1974 as both an interior design practice and a shop selling home treasures from all over the world. Today Nina Campbell is a world-renowned interior designer, known for her stylish interiors as well as for her collections of fabrics, wallpapers and accessories. Nina’s designs are epitomised by luxury, practicality and a sense of wit. Integral to the Nina Campbell collections is a colour palette that has been developed with a decorator’s eye, and one that is constantly evolving so that new and existing designs work beautifully together.

2015 marks twenty-five years of Osborne & Little’s collaboration with Nina Campbell as world-wide distributor of her fabrics, wallpapers and trimmings. Her new collection, entitled Fontibre, has all the hallmarks of the classic Nina, with its soft and sumptuous colours, and its fresh and sometimes quirky designs. One of my favourites features some beautifully drawn, and rather mischievous-looking monkeys. The collection is available in both fabrics and co-ordinating wallcoverings, and has names alluding to Nina’s great uncle, the watercolourist Stratford Hely Hutchinson Keightley (now there’s a name to conjure with !!!). Three other books complete the offering; Fontibre plains, Jacquet, a collection of upholstery jacquards, and the super-scrumptious Bargello velvets.

Also being released this September (I say released, but it’s so wonderfully vibrant and strong that if it hadn’t been released it would probably have escaped !!!) is Matthew Williamson’s third venture into the world of interiors in collaboration with Osborne and Little.

Matthew Williamson is primarily a fashion designer, internationally renowned for his signature aesthetic; a master of print, embellishment, attention to detail and kaleidoscopic colour. His collections reflect a refined yet spirited sense of glamour inspired by global and artistic influences. A graduate from the prestigious Central Saint Martins college, Matthew showed his critically acclaimed debut catwalk collection ‘Electric Angels’ in 1997. Incidentally, I found out the other day that he shares his birthday with me and one of my designers. God obviously has his design hat on every 23rd of October. Anyway, I digress – back to Matthew Williamson. His brand’s inimitable style has long appealed to both celebrities and industry insiders alike. Now, Matthew’s love of colour, pattern and texture has once again been paired with Osborne & Little’s savoir faire in furnishing fabrics and wallpaper.

His latest offering is truly stunning, conjuring up the glamour and excitement of pre-revolutionary Cuba in the era of Hemmingway and his contemporaries. I was lucky enough to visit Cuba a few years ago, and did indeed quaff a few Mojitos in the very bar in Havana that Hemmingway used to frequent. I know I’m here to write about interiors not travel, but if you do get the chance you really should visit Cuba before the Americans . . . shall we say “change” it.

Using colours imported directly from Matthew’s high fashion designs for the catwalk, including jade, peach, coral, turquoise, fuchsia, grass and ultramarine, the fabrics and papers simply leap out and grab you. Companion and co-ordinating wallcoverings are presented in Cubana Wallpapers. Vibrant and sleek fabrics abound in Miramar, while Cubana Weaves offers upholstery fabrics to complete the ensemble.

Two very different designers, but two exquisite collections.

John Biddell, John Charles Interiors

Live 24 7 magazine editorial - September 2015