Inspired by the beauty that can blossom in the most unexpected of places, our Urban Bloom collection perfectly epitomises the juxtaposition between the industrial background of our home city Manchester and the flora and fauna thriving in and amongst the wrought iron and years-old steel against all odds.
We spoke to two of our lead designers Emma and Amy about where the idea for Urban Bloom came from and their inspirations behind the designs.
Hi Emma and Amy! First thing's first, how did this collection come about?
We went for a day trip to our home city of Manchester and visited the Castlefield Viaduct which is run by the National Trust. Its striking Victorian-era steel viaduct, green ‘sky garden’ in the heart of historic Manchester and urban park (a garden for the people who live in the city) immediately got our brains ticking over with ideas for a new collection.
What is it about Manchester that inspires you so much as designers?
Amy: We love the whole vibe of Manchester.
Emma: I was born and bred in Manchester and have always loved the whole feel of the city.
Amy: I studied here and loved it so much I decided to stay and call it home (15 years ago!). From the fashion and people in the Northern Quarter to the Craft and Design centre, it's all very inspiring - even the shop front displays and independant shops are a great source of inspiration for me. The Whitworth Art Gallery is also a great place to visit, it has a great wallpaper archive.
Emma: I love the historic buildings and architecture found all over Manchester. Victoria Station, the Town Hall, Central Library, hotels like The Midland and buildings on King Street - the Victorian buildings mixed with the Industrial and modern is all so great and such a vibe.
Can you explain the juxtaposition between the faux surface and floral designs?
Emma: When we were in Castlefield we were inspired by the grasses and the bright colours in the flowers against the rust and steel of the Victorian structure. We loved how they made a feature along the pathway by letting the weeds grow naturally to see what would grow in such an urban, industrial space. The National Trust were surprised to see that the wild flowers grew in a soil which had been contaminated over the years by the toxic lead paint from the steel viaduct which is where the idea of beauty blossoming in the most unexpected places came from.
What’s your thought process when it comes to new designs?
Amy: My inspiration comes from everywhere; colours or patterns; everything around me from fashion and illustration to art galleries and shops etc.
Emma: After visiting Castlefield we had our two main feature floral designs for this collection already in our minds. We were then inspired by the steel structure and brick work around Castlefield to add the geometrics and faux surfaces.
How did you settle on the colour palette for the collection?
Amy: We wanted to create a fresh summer colour palette first of all. We love the pink with the acid mint and limes, and the lemon and lavender and lilac contrasts in the Wilderness floral. As the collection developed, colours inspired by the dark Viaduct and the rust and copper shades of the planters scattered around really inspired a more neutral colour palette too, with the added twist of corals, copper and teal tones.
What is your favourite design from the collection and why?
Amy: Mine's Wilderness. I think it perfectly captures the Viaduct walkway with all the wild flowers and grasses growing against the steel structure. I like how the levels and depth of the design with the washy background work with the flowers and grasses and the array of colours from summer fresh colours to deeper, Autumnal neutrals.
Emma: It's a tough choice! I love Skyway and the mini print Rubigo. Adding Rubigo into the background of the Lancashire Rose really gives it a Woodchip & Magnolia twist. I love that Skyway was inspired by the Viaduct and adds a fun multi-coloured geo and scale difference to the collection. It also ties all the colours together nicely to co-ordinate with the other main designs.