With a style that fuses the traditional and the modern, architect and interior designer Ben Pentreath was the perfect choice to breathe new life into the iconic fabrics and wallcoverings of William Morris – and he has done so by turning up the volume on the colour of these beloved classics. The Queen Square collection, named after the Bloomsbury address that housed the first Morris & Co. factory and showroom, consists of 18 fabrics and 18 wallpapers, recoloured and rescaled to mirror Pentreath’s personal aesthetic.
According to Claire Vallis, Morris & Co.’s creative director, the project “has been one of my career highlights. To work with an interior designer who has a real clarity of vision of how the collection is going to be used has been a wonderful experience.” She introduced Queen Square as part of Focus/20’s virtual programme, explaining how, visiting the archives, Pentreath was particularly drawn to the 1960s and 1970s interpretations of Morris’ work, where brighter colours made bold statements.
Accordingly, his own versions of classic patterns such as ‘Bird & Anemone’, ‘Blackthorn’ and ‘Willow’ (all pictured above) use combinations such as turquioise and olive, and bitter chocolate and claret, to really pack a punch. Technically, “we really had to push the boundaries” to achieve the colour saturation, explained Vallis. “Ben wanted to keep all the ‘true’ techniques, so we printed all the wallpapers using surface print and rotary screen – which are like the next generation after block printing – as he wanted to use that to get the depth of colour.”
The campaign for the collection was styled and shot at Pentreath’s Dorset house, and looks completely at home alongside his eclectic furniture and antiques. “This collection is uplifting and has a real feelgood factor to it, so I hope people really embrace it and go for it with colour and pattern,” said Vallis.
Watch the full presentation here.