Keith from Mini Moderns tells us more about his company and design influences.
Keith from Mini Moderns tells us more about his fantastic company and their design influences.
How do you come up with your designs?
We tend to work by collection rather than on individual designs. Each collection starts with a general discussion of themes that are exciting us at that moment. Or it might be triggered by an event, or by visiting a new place.
Past collections have included: Folk Rock – inspired by a trip to the west coast of America; Daytripper – a very British collection inspired by childhood holidays; and The Buddha of Suburbia – an homage to the novel of the same name, celebrating a 1970s pop culture clash.
Whilst our collections might explore diverse themes, they are united by a signature Mini Moderns colour palette. Our customers particularly like our Mustard, Concrete, Tangerine Dream and Lido colourways.
We love midcentury graphic, textile and ceramic designs, from Alexander Girard to Lucienne Day to Jessie Tait. But we also have very diverse design influences – much of which you might not expect to offer a basis for a wallpaper design. We have very similar collective childhood memories, as we both grew up in Yorkshire around the same time, so we developed our personal tastes in the same era and have a common aesthetic. Social history, cinema and literature also really excite us – and we both loved watching television as kids, so that plays a part in our designs.
Whilst we are influenced by the past, we are very much a contemporary design brand, using mid century design as a springboard for twenty first century living. We always say ‘we don’t live in a museum – and we don’t think you should either.How are your wallpapers produced? We produce our wallpaper in a small UK factory. We are passionate about UK production, not only because it supports British manufacturing, but it keeps our carbon footprint down too. We design all our wallpapers through familiarity with the production techniques. Our manufacturers are artisans and they soon become part of the creative process – helping us out with production headaches and explaining how best to achieve what we want to do. It is a very collaborative process. That’s why every roll of our wallpaper bears the standard: ‘Made in the UK by nice people’. Tell us three things you love The 1951 Festival of Britain: It offered the British public an exciting glimpse into the future, celebrating the new wave of British design, with design for all available via the introduction of Hire Purchase schemes – meaning modern design was suddenly within reach of everyone. New design was everywhere – even at Woolworths, where Enid Sweeny celebrated furniture by Robin Day and Terence Conran on her Homemaker design for Ridgway. Over the years we have amassed a number of items celebrating the Festival of Britain. The C.O.I.D. book “Design in the Festival” is a particularly inspiring find. Having been huge fans of the Festival of Britain, it was an honour to be commissioned in 2008 by Southbank Centre to reproduce as wallpaper, one of the Festival’s signature patterns, “Net and Ball”, which had been designed in 1951 by the architects of the Royal Festival Hall, Peter Moro and Leslie Martin, as a carpet pattern for the Hall. Our obsession culminated in our Festival wallpaper design, featuring our favourite pavilions and sights from the festival. The Hotel Parco dei Principi, Sorrento: Designed by Gio Ponti in 1962, The Hotel Parco dei Principi is situated on the Naples coast just outside Sorrento. The sea-facing balcony rooms have a clear view of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius. Furnished throughout by Ponti, most of his work is still intact, including the thirty different floor tile designs used throughout the 100 rooms in the hotel. The rooms still have original Ponti furniture and the concrete geometric diving board gives the pool a modernist edge. We have stayed in the Hotel Parco dei Principi a number of times and it never disappoints. Even having a Campari and soda in the bar is a design experience – well that’s what we tell ourselves! Out of season British seaside resorts: There is a lot more colour in the coast during the ‘out of season’ time when the sun isn’t bleaching it out. Although we love a sunny day, we find that traditional seaside resorts come alive in our eyes when the crowds have gone. We both grew up in close proximity to Filey, Scarborough and Whitby and still visit our old haunts when we get back to the Yorkshire coastline. Having been in London for such a long time now, we have also discovered the Kent coast with amazing seaside resorts such as Broadstairs, Whitstable, and Deal. Be sure to get a hot chocolate in Morellis’ 1950’s cliff-top café when visiting Broadstairs. And if you want a glimpse into what is influencing the next Mini Moderns collection, travel to the most southerly tip of Kent, to Dungeness and witness the mass of shingle and big skies.
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