BEHIND THE SCENES: LESSONS IN DESIGN

Enquiring minds will love the direction that interiors are taking for spring 2017, as expressed in Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour’s seasonal campaign. The ‘science of design’ is the theme of London Design Week 2017, and a series of curated images brings the subject into focus while showcasing the best of the new collections.

Stylist Arabella McNie and the Design Centre’s marketing manager Charlotte Wellband developed the theme after seeing how pattern and colour were set to make a return.  “It felt like people were sticking their necks out – not playing it safe,” says Arabella, but the challenge was to turn this bold array of products into roomsets that would feel coherent.

The solution was to divide the images along the lines of traditional classroom subjects – from zebra print and feather motifs for zoology, to semi-precious stones and jewel-like colours for geology. The starting point was something straight out of a chemistry lesson: Wired Custom Lighting’s ‘Rodriguez’ pendant, with glass globes held on a branching metal frame that calls to mind a molecular model.

While some products fitted obviously into each theme, others are less overt, lending a sense of intrigue, and challenging Arabella to see things in new ways: “It’s always really good to have an open mind, and let yourself imagine what things could be,” she says. So, a table from J. Robert Scott with a W-shaped base resembles a sound wave; a rainbow of coloured Tai Ping pom-pom samples hung from a wall looks like a piece of traditional costume from South America; and an irregularly carved dining chair is insect-like in its delicacy.

The styling itself also supports the story. For example, photographer Bill Batten used even, white lighting for the chemistry-inspired image, giving the ambience of a laboratory. Vitrine-like framed furniture was specially made, to display key pieces and create structure within each image – this was partly inspired by a research trip to London’s Science Museum and Natural History Museum. Sheer fabrics (another key trend for spring), held flat in frames, are a further unifying feature across the images.  

Photographer Bill Batten lines up a shot, alongside marketing manager Charlotte Wellband

Bill Batten uses bright, white, even lighting for the chemistry-inspired roomset – giving a lab-like ambience to the shot

Arabella McNie styles up a bookshelf from Gallotti&Radice – with the shelves at angles to create a more dynamic look. 

Wired Custom Lighting’s ‘Rodriguez’ pendant was one of the key pieces of inspiration for the whole shoot: with its branching structure and glass shades, it resembles a molecular model

Finials in Perspex by McKinney & Co lend a geometric element

Plants and flowers – from lush tropical prints to botanical drawings – are a key look for the season

Carpet by Tim Page x J.D. Staron and drawing showing the new lighting collection from Marc de Berny

Handmade wallpaper embellished with stones by Textures in Wallcovering at J. Robert Scott

 

Arabella examines some geology-inspired patterns, from abstract, fragmented geometrics to prints resembling semi-precious stones

 

A book of botanical drawings offers on-set inspiration