We believe that if you’re going to go for print, go big or go home – an ethos that seems very much in keeping with British heritage brand Cole & Son. Founded in Islington in 1875, then a hub of hand-block printing companies, Cole & Son has survived while other firm shave not, standing the test of time by being pioneers in its field. It was one of the first companies in Europe to embrace screen printing, establishing a studio in 1949. This enabled the brand to meet the appetite for bold and bonkers wallpaper designs during the mid-century modern period, many of which are regarded as classics today.
Indeed, the Cole & Son archive of wallpapers is a brilliant reflection of the nation’s changing tastes over the centuries. In which case, during these tricky Brexit-tainted times, one wonders what we should deduce from its latest collection ‘Seville’, an homage to the delights of the city and its colourful history. Cole & Son’s design director Carley Bean recently holidayed there and was struck by ‘the beauty and diversity’ of the Andalusian capital. ‘Visually and culturally, it has so much to offer,’ she says, ‘with its architecture, flora, fauna, culture and people. The value of art and history, and the colour and vibrancy of the city really reflects Cole & Son’s brand values – I was confident we could do it justice and transform it into a beautiful wallpaper collection.’
Seville’s 2,200-year history is extremely multicultural, with Phoenician, Roman, Islamic and Christian civilisations all leaving their mark. And Cole & Son’s range of 17 designs reflects just that, offering myriad patterns and motifs that flaunt the city’s rich melting pot of influences. Whether you like geometrics, trompe l’oeil or florals, there’s something for everyone. Exotic flora appears in the form of bougainvillea, orange blossom and angel’s trumpet flower prints. There are decorative alicatado tile pattern repeats and a scenic trompe l’oeil of house façades, complete with balconies and trailing plants. Even the ornate gardens of the Royal Alcázar of Seville, the capital’s 13th-century palace, appear in sun-bleached shades (‘Alcazar Garden’, top).
The vibrant collection is a celebration of multiculturalism that will transport you to a different time and place – and proof that the nation’s desire for bold wallpaper (and escapism) shows no sign of waning. From £110 per roll. cole-and-son.com
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration February 2020
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