Championing British designers has always been part of Heal’s’ DNA. In their latest collaboration, they’ve teamed up with Genevieve Bennett for the ‘Deco Knot’ collection. We catch up with the designer...
Tell us about your background... My family had a silk business and I grew up surrounded by fabric at home – there were always samples everywhere! Then I studied weaving and embroidery at Glasgow School of Art followed by Mixed Media at the Royal College of Art, where I developed a love of pattern, colour and technique.
How would you describe your work? It references the tradition of decorative arts but is enabled by a mixture of sophisticated technology and traditional craft. I am passionate about combining beautiful natural materials, unique pattern and innovative techniques to create precious and long-lasting products. My aim is to create pieces that improve with age, are timelessly elegant and thoroughly contemporary.
Your ‘Deco Knot’ collection was inspired by Samurai knots – that’s an unexpected source of inspiration... I’ve always been greatly inspired by Japanese armour, particularly the amazing collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Recently, I spent time in Japan and have seen first-hand the beautiful mix of leather, silk and metal used to create works of art that also function as swords, armour and clothing. I love the clever simplicity of the knot-work and drew inspiration from these patterns when designing my range for Heal’s, which includes the ‘Deco Knot Mirror’ (pictured, £1,699). My past collections have referenced the geometry of braiding and weaving as well as traditional leather working and saddlery techniques. It was a great opportunity to bring all these elements together into one cohesive collection for Heal’s.
Were any of the materials in your range new to you? Glass! This (the ‘Deco Knot Pendant’, pictured above, from £299) was my first foray into lighting and I loved using it alongside brass. It adds a new dimension, which I’d love to explore further.
Do you have a favourite piece? I love them all but was particularly pleased with the bold simplicity of the ‘Deco Knot Rug’. It was a challenge to produce due to the fine line-work, but I was delighted with how the hand-carved techniques created a subtle relief effect.What’s next? A range of leather commissions for private clients and residential projects. I am also looking to explore some new materials and techniques for a collection to be launched in the autumn of 2020.
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration November 2019
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