Today I had the great pleasure of meeting Shauna Dennison, who is creative director at Cole & Son – and she gave me and a colleague a tour through the company´s latest collection, which is called Whimsical, a most appropriate name for a collection that is both nostalgic and enchanting, with references to classic childhood stories and fairy tales. The collection also pays homage to some vintage Cole & Son designs. Take a look!
I have to start with the exubarent Cabaret, which is inspired by an old print that Shauna and her team found. So many stories happening here which will be wonderful for a child – or a grown up – to lose oneself in. Not for the faint-hearted of course, but still; there are so many ways to use this wallpaper – you could mount it on a large piece of cardboard if you don´t dare to use it right on the wall. It is a fantastic piece of artistry, which allows the imagination to run wild.
Stars is quite subdued compared to Cabaret, and is taken from Cole & Son´s block archives. It stems from the late 1800s, and has just been tweaked slightly to feel more contemporary, it comes in six color ways, above is Powder Blue, below is Midnight Blue.
Imagine going to sleep surrounded by this amount of heavenly stars? Cole & Son is one of the oldest wallpaper companies in England, and was founded in 1875.
Punchinello is named after the well know character from the Commedia dell´Arte, and is one of the collection´s signature designs. The beautiful harlequin pattern is a little off centre, thus softening the print. Below is the Coral & Green version, there are six different colors.
I love the way a design can change dramatically and feel completely different in other color combinations.
Melville takes its name (of course) from the author of Moby Dick, and this is a new design, which was drawn out with a pencil. The effect is soft and appealing.
Teal? Check. Yellow? Check. The pairing of two of my favorite colors was bound to catch my eye. Nautilus is also a new and quite enigmatic design, is it really under water? Or is it a forest? Shauna told me that this particular color pairing was inspired by the Dutch masters, and some prints of them that she has in her own home. But it also comes in a soft green and a neutral version, as well as a dark green.
The Woods has become such a classic. It was actually first designed in the 1950s, but enjoyed a huge renaissance some years back, and is still very popular all over the world. This collection features three new colorings.
Woods & Stars is a combination of two classics, and is quite the fairy tale. Comes in seven colors.
Butterflies & Dragonflies – this is one from the archives, actually from the sixties, and believe me, the original print was a bit more psychedelic! The new version is quite elegant.
Shauna described this pattern – Secret Garden (if you have not read Frances Hodgson Burnetts book, you should!) – as the marmite of the collection, you either love it or you hate it. It is a companion to Nautilus, and one wonders if it might just be an underwater jungle. I love it.
I´ll finish off with Cabaret again – accompanied by pillows and mattresses clad in the other patterns from Whimsical – and no, Cole & Son does not do textiles – this is all wallpaper … See the rest of the collection at Cole & Son.
Read an interview with Shauna Dennison here.
For Norwegian retailers click here.
All images: Cole & Son.