The Lucky Onion likes to work, wherever possible, with British artists, creatives, designers and manufacturers. When designing new bedrooms, bathrooms or public spaces Georgie Pearman tries to source as many products as possible locally. With so many talented people working nearby she finds she doesn’t usually have to go that far to source great things. Here we interview Stroud based fabric house Lewis & Wood, who Georgie has a long term relationship with, and who use artisan dyers, weavers and printers mostly from British shores to produce beautiful fabrics in the heart of Gloucestershire.
How would you sum up the Lewis & Wood style?
Always a tricky one to answer. But I would probably use the following adjectives – lively, peaceful, pretty, fresh, energising, comforting, bold, interesting and with a story behind them – all the things you might want to feel in your home. Our fabrics and wallpapers are designed to create an atmosphere. That after all is what interior design is all about.
Everything and anything. You just don’t know when something will catch your eye. It might be a painting, a book cover, a sweet wrapper, or even the anorak of someone in front of you. So one of our most valuable assets is the iPhone. With that you can always grab it before you have to move on or it passes you by.
Do you have a favourite print out of your collection?
I think mine is our linen print Zarafshan – one of those designs I really had a hunch about 15 years ago and followed my instincts and it still sells today. Our Creative Director Magdalen Jebb has always loved Wild Thing – because there is something odd and a little bit awkward about it, and all three colourways are her favourite palettes. Again we followed our instincts and it paid off.
Please tell us about your latest collection
We have just created Conway and Casablanca, one a fabric and the other a large scale wallpaper, but both based on the same Islamic tile design from decorative artist Adam Calkin. We decided to expand the geometric theme we began with the Metrica fabrics and wallpapers which seems to do a great job of bringing the whole collection together and making new connections – so pretty useful for the designers we supply.
You have said that the company’s success lies in its determination to be different. Please tell us more. In what way are you different?
I think the main difference is in how we work. We make almost all our products ourselves, working with suppliers all over the UK and Europe, and the final design decisions are based entirely on what we really like. Being a small, independent company, we decided early on we could never compete with the big boys on volume, variety and of course trends. So we try to plough our own furrow, which I am happy to say seems to have attracted quite a following.
Greatest professional achievement?
That would probably be our Wide Width Wallpapers. The pioneering work we did back in 2004 led us into the world of digital printing, which in turn encouraged us to create a super team of young, energetic people to help us realise our ambitions for the future. The team and the wallpapers they can produce are probably our greatest professional achievements.
Top tip for choosing the right pattern for one’s house?
That’s easy. Only pick a pattern that really appeals to you. It is really interesting to watch people in our London showroom at the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour. Quite often they have come in for something ‘useful’ or ‘tasteful’ and then you see them reach out and touch something else entirely, something that makes them smile. That’s a sign that it lifts their spirits, the best reason to buy a pattern. Once you get it home it will always have that effect on you. That’s the job it should do.
Favourite place in the world for pattern/print?
That will probably have to stay a well kept secret. But who can resist Pinterest? It’s like an eternal supply of inspiring images. Bit dangerous because hours can pass and you have to remember the whole world is looking at these pages too.
In your opinion, what will be the top design trends of 2017?
I’m not sure to be honest. One of our rules is to try and avoid second guessing what’s next. But themes certainly develop and it feels like there is a definite return to colour after years of the neutral palette. There’s also a new boldness around which is refreshing.
What’s next for Lewis & Wood?
We are talking to some exciting new artists and possible collaborators, and we’ve found a wealth of lovely things at the V&A so looking forward to some really inspiring work in 2017.
Gloucestershire GL5 5NN
The Lewis & Wood London Showroom
105 – 106 Design Centre East,
London SW10 0XF
0207 751 4554
Open Monday – Friday 9.30 am – 5.30 pm.