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Out & About: Out of the Blue – Fifty Years of Designers Guild


The Fashion and Textile Museum tucked away in the heart of Bermondsey Village is a regular source of inspiration for our studio. It is the only museum in the UK dedicated to showcasing contemporary fashion and textile design, exhibiting designers and makers from all over the world. Dame Zandra Rhodes founded the museum in 2003 and the distinctive building where it is housed was designed by renowned Mexican architect, Ricardo Legorreta.

The museum has recently reopened its doors and we just couldn’t wait to get down there to see their current exhibition, Out of the Blue, celebrating 50 years of incredible work by the influential design company Designers Guild and its founder, Tricia Guild OBE.

Having started life in 1970 as a single shop on the King’s Road, Designers Guild is now a global enterprise. Tricia Guild’s frustration with the lack of contemporary fabrics and wallpapers available pushed her to develop her own. The outcome was so successful it completely changed the way people viewed colour, pattern and texture in their homes. Her vision was to create a lifestyle, and that she did.

In the early years, Tricia Guild travelled to India frequently. The sun, the saris and the exquisite myriad of textiles seen along the way were absorbed and transformed into designs for Designers Guild. The collection ‘Kusuman’ was launched at a private exhibition ‘Indian Summer’ in 1993, a pivotal moment for the brand.

Whilst Designers Guild is often known for decorative patterns and florals, plains have always played a huge part in their look. In the late 90s more focus was placed on the Essentials collections where a wide range of colours and textures were added. The use of block colours was such a bold and unique approach to modern decorating.

Tricia Guild’s love of bright, bold, daring design is aligned with our own and we continue to feel inspired by her designs which can be seen across many of our hotels.

We particularly love their Brera Lino 100% linen for walling which comes in over 100 fabulous colours, a vibrant green has been used here in room 307 at The Soho Hotel and we used a combination of colours to make up the bed cushions.

This colourful corner of the exhibition instantly reminded us of room 200 at Charlotte Street Hotel, where the headboard fabric is immediately recognisable as a distinctive Designers Guild design.

As does this headboard in room 303 at Knightsbridge Hotel, where we have used an old Designers Guild bold floral blanket as the headboard.

At The Whitby Hotel in New York, we used Designers Guilds’ overblown ‘Madhuri’ linen on a pair of armchairs, contrasted with a sofa upholstered in William Yeoward’s ‘Malantre’ jute.

This exhibition beautifully unravels Tricia Guild’s unique and creative approach, focussing on her inspiration, design methods, techniques, processes and materials. It gives incredible, one off access to the Designers Guild archives and is bursting with colour and inspiration. We highly recommend a visit and you have lots of time to get there as the exhibition has now been extended to February 2021.

We hope you find it as inspiring as we did!

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