Wallace Sewell is a textile studio founded by design duo Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell. Working closely with UK mills, together they produce everything from cushions and throws to scarves and upholstery fabrics for London Underground trains. Nominated for the best use of colour in homes and interiors at this year's Let's Colour Awards for its new range of upholstery textiles, the studio has been going strong since 1990 and counts Heal's, Tate galleries and Le Bon Marche among its stockists.
How would you sum up Wallace Sewell's look?
'Bold, colourful, dramatic, distinctive, timeless. Modern British as opposed to retro or heritage. An exploration of woven design, approached from the varying angles of woven structure, colour and yarn combinations.'
Can you share one of your secret sources of inspiration with us?
'Tricky. We are inspired by so much. Mostly art and paintings, from the Bauhaus for composition and ethos, to David Hockney for unusual palettes to Vermeer for moody intense colour. But it could be a bit of packaging or urban flotsam & jetsam.'
You've designed everything from upholstery for London underground trains to jackets for Saville Row tailors - what project have you been most proud of?
'The projects with Transport for London have been amazing, as it is so rewarding to design for the public domain and a real challenge, as there are strict parameters that one has to design within. It is proper designing! It was an early ambition of our design practice, as we would take inspiration from the classic moquettes of the last century. However, the collaboration with Designtex is also exciting. The opportunity to design for the contract textile market is really stimulating as it is for public spaces again.'
'We also really enjoy the work we do for the Tate Galleries, as we get to focus on one artist's work to create pieces that have the essence of their work, yet are hopefully beautiful items in their own right.'
Tell us about your use of colour…
'It has taken us many years to have some understanding of how our use of colour works, but it's about a balance of contrasts. We also try to slip odd colours into a palette, that might not be an obvious choice, like weird pinks or a sharp yellow.' 'Susan Lyons, president of Designtex always comments that our colour usage works like a neutral, as there is a touch of so many colours that there is no overall hue.'
Do you have a favourite colour palette that you like to use in your designs?
'No. We love all colour and like to explore the emotion that can be created by different palettes.'
What are you working on right now?
'New upholstery designs for Designtex. More bespoke scarves for the Tate gallery to run alongside exhibitions opening later this year. And our collection for Autumn Winter 2016!'
Find out more about the Let's Colour Awards 2015.