Sunday, March 20, 2011

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Very Inspiring Person: a catch-up with designer Niki Jones...


Picture courtesy of Niki Jones

Picture courtesy of Niki Jones

Picture courtesy of Niki Jones


I first heard about Niki Jones producing her own interiors collection in 2009, I recognised the name as I had met her years ago (through creative director Georgina Godley - one of my top ten interiors heroes) when Jones was designing under Godley for Habitat and then Wedgwood - at very exciting times for both companies. Her background is in textile design but her role grew while at Habitat to include coordinating colour palettes and patterns across all the ranges - which must have been a brilliant job. When she went with Godley to Wedgwood as Design Director they started to work miracles at this staid old place - fizzing with inspiration as they plundered the incredible and unique Wedgwood archive. But, for big-business reasons well beyond the remit of this little blog, it was not to be and they were forced to abandon what was already a really great project. Still Wedgwood's loss is our gain as it prompted Ms Jones to strike out alone producing furniture, rugs, cushions, bedding, accessories and lots more. ...

While researching this blog, I had a lovely catch-up chat with her and asked her what it had been like, going into business at such a difficult economic time. 'It has been a positive for me, because suppliers were keener than they might have been to work with us on smaller quantities. And there was a general lack of people doing new things. A lot of what I'm interested in is very of the moment; hand craft, pieces that are well made and built for longevity. People are more discerning today and think about what they are buying. If you really love something, you'll always want to keep it.' 

 Her work is all about using time-honoured techniques, materials, forms and patterns, but subtly re-worked, with exquisitely off-beat colour palettes, to sit happily in the 21st century home. It's not cheap, in any sense, but her prices are well justified by her manifesto. Her work is an antidote to disposability and mass-consumption culture. There's a well-travelled feel about it - I particularly like the Middle Eastern stuff. And she's well stocked on my other obsessions too including turned wood, geometrics, inlay, grey, chartreuse and yellow. Below are some of my personal favourites.




Picture courtesy of Niki Jones





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