“Geometric patterns can be bold and playful creating a fun update to a room that’s neither masculine or feminine,” Jenny Wingfield reflects. “But they can also be very restful; elegantly simple geometric forms and repeating lines have a rhythm that it is satisfying and soothing to the eye.”
Jenny is the Creative Director of Flock, a London-based design company that works with an eclectic mix of artists, designers and recent graduates to create a bold and beautiful collection of textiles – and now also wallcoverings – for interiors. When I came across Flock I was immediately drawn by the dynamic aesthetic of these designs and also by the ethos behind the company. As it says on the website: ‘Flock aims to create a unique pathway for new designers and represents some of the UK’s most exciting emerging British talent.’
This month, Flock has launched its debut wallpaper collection with three new designs for AW17: Flint, Atlas and Linear. I caught up with Jenny to chat about the ideas behind Flock and the company’s evolution into wallcoverings.
Tell us a little bit about Flock – what made you decide to launch back in 2013?
“Flock was born out of the frustration for young designers not getting the exposure they deserved. They could be working for a large company and designing best selling prints but not getting their name against their work and therefore the exposure to become recognized. It’s so hard once you leave an arts degree to begin your own collection; to get your work in to the hands of the right people and the mainstream market. I wanted to create a pathway to spotlight emerging designers and provide some much needed exposure. As well as this, Flock aimed to create an eclectic, bright and beautiful textile collection with a focus on colour and geometric pattern to work for a multitude of interiors. Our designers are very involved with the business; they get their name on the work and receive a royalty for every sale. It’s such a nice way to work as the designers come with us as the business grows.”
How do you choose the designers to work with and showcase?
“This is a really fun but tough process as I am constantly inspired by graduates and emerging designers. I visit a lot of universities and degree shows as well as more recently discovering new designers through Instagram, which has become an invaluable tool for discovering amazing talent. The trouble is I want to work with everyone and sadly it’s not possible! I start by gathering ideas and designs from different designers – this could be a sketch or a collage or simply an amazing colour. It’s a very collaborative process and slowly designs emerge that slot in effortlessly to the Flock collection. As the collection is constantly growing and evolving it’s important that it looks cohesive even though it’s built up of our collective of different designers.”
Why did you introduce wallpaper to your collections? Had this been a long-term plan?
“When Flock first started I wasn’t that excited about wallpaper as fabric was really my thing, but recently I have been so inspired by the bold and playful patterns that are being introduced thanks to the possibilities of digital printing and I have become really interested in it. So after many, many requests from clients and stockists we have found our wallpaper feet and I am very excited about where we can go with it!”
How did you go about selecting these three designs?
“I have a bit of a dream library of designs and designers that I have found over the years and hope to work with so when I made the decision to move into wallpaper I had a little delve through and pulled out designs that I thought would stand proud as a flat wallpaper.”
“With Flint it was easy as this is one of our best selling fabrics and I knew the movement in the pattern would make it a really dynamic wallpaper. It also has a lot of texture as it’s built up of charcoal and pencil markings which means it doesn’t feel flat but full of life.
I first selected Linear when I met Andrew Scott at New Designers. His beautiful and simplistic pattern was displayed as a gorgeous wall hanging on Andrew’s stand and straight away I could see it printed as a clean and elegant wallpaper that would be restful and calming.
Atlas is such a fun pattern that stands out to me because of all the beautiful texture within each triangle – every time you look at it you see a different layer. For the wallpaper we decided to create a moody palette full of depth and intensity – almost a monochrome in our book!”
What are the different challenges in producing wallpapers as opposed to fabrics?
“In terms of production it is a dream – you don’t have any of the frustrations of yarn inconsistencies, which can sometimes occur with fabric production, so you know you are always going to get a perfect batch. But in terms of design the main challenge and thought to bear in mind is that the wallpaper will always be totally flat – I know that sounds obvious but with fabric it is rarely flat as it’s normally folded into the drape of a curtain or the curve of an armchair so the pattern will always look different and distorted. With wallpaper you have to really consider repeat and scale and how this will interact with people’s everyday items, such as chairs and beds for example. The pattern needs to work at the right scale so that it doesn’t get lost but doesn’t overpower the room – a really tricky balance that I hope we have got right!”
How do you visualise the wallpaper collection evolving?
“There are lots of designs to come and these will be launched slowly so that the collection is constantly editing and growing as we go along and we find new designers that we want to work with. This first drop was moody and tonal but the next will be bright and bold. We also have an archive collection planned for the spring which consists of incredible patterns from old fabric and print mill archives that date back as far as the 1890s but still feel incredibly modern – I can’t wait for those.”
The new wallpaper collection will be presented at London Design Fair/Tent London from 21-24 September on Stand E17.
Shop the collection here.
All photography from Flock.