This coming week marks the start of London Design Festival. It’s a big day in any design blogger’s diary. It can be very daunting too, as our email inboxes become flooded with hard to choose from previews and party invites.
Last year, I was away overseas during the festival, but managed to capture one or two amazing exhibits when I got home.
One of my highlights last year was photographing the work of graphic designer Camille Walala at Aria, a furniture and homewares shop in London. It was called ‘Walala in Da House’, a beautiful homage to the whole Memphis movement that embraced bright colours of the Art Deco and Pop Art era.
For this year’s London Design festival, I had already made a mental note to see the Trafalgar square Crazy golf project. The project would have included designs by Paul Smith, the late Zaha Hadid, Tom Dixon and Camille Walala. However, my plans were dashed when I heard the whole project had been cancelled following a failed Kickstarter campaign.
Imagine my excitement when Natuzzi, the renowned luxury Italian furniture brand, contacted me for an assignment to support their plans for London Design festival.
Natuzzi had commissioned 3 of UK’s leading pattern designers to customise its iconic Re-vive performance recliner chair. The 3 designers chosen were Camille Walala (photo above), Patternity and Eley Kashimoto.
I was delighted to accept the opportunity to go behind the scenes with Camille Walala, to see how she would customise her version of the Re-vive chair. It’s always an honour to be able to peek into the workspace of a talented creative. Tucked away in a bright studio, off the main road, in a side alleyway off Dalston, is Camille Walala’s colourful office.
She shares her space with her equally talented set design and prop stylist Julia Jomaa. Camille’s workspace definitely spoke her style. She was surrounded by her signature palette of bright primary colours, black and bold geometric shapes. Such a happy and vibrant space don’t you think? Check out that cool red Lego plant pot holder. So how does Camille Walala come up with her designs?
She showed me her book that she used to sketch and record her ideas in, and the large stack of paint swatch cards that she used for colour decisions.
Camille’s designs are instinctive and being a creative myself, I understood how she couldn’t completely explain in words how the design came about. It’s a culmination of the collective inspiration and ideas that only she can visualise in her mind and transfer onto the canvas without the need to explain.The final design does the talking. This is the initial computer generated design that Camille created for the Re-vive chair. Here’s Camille cutting out geometric vinyl shapes to make a stencil that would be used as template to paint over the chair.
The cut out black vinyl shapes do not go to waste, as they are reused as stickers to go on the chair too. Camille and Julia had tested the enamel paints on a sample of the Re-vive chair’s white leather prior to commencing. Here’s Camille putting the finishing touches to her Re-vive chair. Here is the completed chair in its entirety. It’s absolutely stunning.
If this was for sale, I would definitely buy it. The chair is super comfortable too.
Such a special piece don’t you think? I’m also looking forward to seeing what the other 2 designers come up with.
The 3 commissioned Re-vive chairs will be on show in Natuzzi Italia’s Tottenham Court road flagship store window until September 25th 2016 for London Design festival. Do pop over there to see them in real life. I know I can’t wait to go.
Hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes report and a big thank you to Camille for letting me invade her personal creative space. Before I sign off, I thought I’d let you know of another project that Camille had created for London Design festival. It’s this super colourful zebra crossing in Southwark Street near Borough market in South East London.
Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.
(All photography are by me, Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. Photos are copyright of Little Big Bell. This is a sponsored collaboration with Natuzzi Italia.)