Winner of the Young Designer category at last week's Dulux Let's Colour Awards, Kit Miles is a name to know. His London-based studio specialises in wallpaper, textile and interior surface designs (including the designs shown above and below), with works ranging from the highly decorated to the geometric - all of which use colour in a bold and confident way (of course). After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2011 with an MA in textile design, Kit went on to found his eponymous label, working with prestigious interior design clients and retailers alike. The creative output of this dynamic young studio drew our judges attention and bagged Kit the top spot in his category. We caught up with Kit post-award to get an insight into his work and practice...
What does winning a Dulux Let’s Colour Award mean to you?
Winning the Dulux Lets Colour Award underlines one of our most fundamental values as a design studio. Colour communicates so much about who we are. It is arguably the most potent tool in constructing a narrative where it comes to designing textiles and the printed surface.
How would you describe your design philosophy?
I am motivated to communicate something new. That may be through colour combinations or image juxtapositions. I want to tell a story with my work, one that wraps the viewer in narrative and reveals a new reality.
Tell us about your use of colour…
I think of colour as a vehicle through which the viewers' eye is pulled through a design. I am quite instinctive with colour and use it in a very organic way; it's an exercise in adding and then subtracting until I feel the balance works or is interesting. I try not to go into the design process with an agenda, but rather seek to explore how new combinations can be made in an organic way. Colour is a great vehicle when thinking about visual communication. I think of all those incredible Stanley Kubrick films and those moody sets in David Lynch movies when I’m imagining colour and environments. I always aim to feel my way through a concept with an overall mood and then “dress” those ideas with colour as I go.
What’s your own home like?
We have our stunning Birds in Chains wallpaper (above) across one wall of the house which makes for a brilliant backdrop to bold simpler shapes in furniture and objects. I use almost all of my cushions throughout the home to punctuate the space, they really give the space a sense of place as they are made of the most stunning materials and the colour in them is extremely contemporary. It's important for me to make my home feel alive and a space of evolution so I am constantly swapping furniture around.
How important is colour in everyday life at home?
Good design is my focus. I would encourage people to play with trends - don’t be governed by them, style and personality is much more important. That means having the bravery to “say” what you want. I can’t think of a better way to do that than with colour.
Do you have a favourite colour palette to work with?
I have a core colour palette of deep reds and magentas, greys, olive greens, golds and royal blues which gives the collections a very good sense of unity. If you look at the colours I choose within each design you will notice a lot of pastels and some very soft colours but I will always contrast that next to a bright magenta or gold, for example. I think my unique stance brings the energy and scale to the work and provides the work with a power and a strong resonance.
Where are your go-to shops for homeware?
I believe that retail done well can be a magical uplifting experience. Liberty, Heal's and Lane Crawford are really interesting at the moment and I love to Visit Mint in Kensington as I show there every year and it always has one of the most remarkable edits of furniture in London. I’m not a compulsive shopper - more a collector.
What one thing can’t you resist buying?
I love collecting plants especially succulents and ornamental trees. My ambition for my home is to one day have great potted garden filled with rare specimens and varieties of plants and shapes for me to arrange into a dynamic visual feast.
What’s at the top of your wish-list at the moment?
The Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer. I used to look after one but only had the pleasure of its company for four short weeks!
Where do you go for inspiration?
Nature is my greatest inspiration, I used to spend all summer with my grandparents down in the west country collecting rocks and bits of dry sea weed and running through the landscape, there is something very humbling about nature at its rawest.
Find out more about this year's Dulux Colour Awards winners.
Watch our Let's Colour Awards video to see what happened at the awards ceremony.