Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2018

As Head of Creative for Farrow & Ball, talk us through what a day in the office looks like for you… A typical day for me can involve anything – trialling new designs and colourways in our wallpaper factory, brainstorming creative ideas with my team, overseeing our campaign photoshoots or even travelling to design shows to research new trends. The beauty of my job is that no two days are the same! You’ve been with Farrow & Ball for nearly a decade; what would you say have been the biggest landmark moments and/or catalysts for change during this period? Launching the first wallpaper collection I’d developed (our amazing Art Deco Lotus design) was a brilliant moment for me personally. We also had an absolutely unforgettable year back in 2016, when our book ‘How to Decorate’, written by me and Joa [Studholme], was released. And of course, this year! Our new colours launch has been the biggest and most successful yet and we’ve been completely overwhelmed by the excitement it’s generated in our customers. Farrow & Ball is renowned for incorporating historical colour references into its product range. What research do you do, and what source material do you use, to steer this area of development? Inspiration for colour names and the stories behind them comes from all around us, whether it’s from people who inspire us, our Dorset home or the natural world – but historical houses are one of my personal favourite places to look when dreaming up new colours. Yeabridge Green is a great example: it was named in honour of an 18th-century farmhouse in Yeabridge, Somerset, where the exact paint shade that inspired our green was discovered when an old gun cupboard was removed. Dead Salmon is another great one, and it’s a story that people don’t expect when they first hear the name – it actually refers to the ‘dead’ flat finish described by a painter who’d used a very similar colour in Kedleston Hall in 1805. I’m also very fortunate to be able to travel to lots of amazing places as part of my job. From research trips to America to attending trade shows across Europe, I journey anywhere and everywhere for Farrow & Ball, so I get plenty of inspiration from the historic places I find on my travels.

Being experts in printmaking, we adore your commitment to traditional methods when producing your wallpapers. Can you give our readers an overview of this process? The wallpaper factory is my favourite place at Farrow & Ball’s Head Office! To give you a brief overview, the background colour of the paper is painted with a layer of our environmentally friendly water based paint, which helps to give the papers a sumptuous and tactile texture, and then our patterns are applied either using flatbed block printing, roller block printing or trough printing methods. These traditional methods help to create a wallpaper of great distinction and beauty – something we’re renowned for at Farrow & Ball. The fact that our wallpapers are made using our paints also makes it really easy to match paint and wallpaper in a room and create a scheme with a really cohesive feel.


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