Farrow & Ball – Anniversary Wallpapers

It is (was) a bit of a trade secret that I design the wallpapers for the wonderful Farrow & Ball. I have been designing them for 10 years this year, so I thought I would come out of that beautifully painted closet and tell all…

The most recent collection of wallpapers are in celebration of 80 years of F&B. Yes that is 80 years and not 250 years. I cant believe this company that has held the gauntlet of best quality organic paints for so many years is actually relatively young. I thought it had been around since the Regency period…like me.

The wallpapers are a vehicle for F&B’s unrivalled paint collection. It has an unctuous quality with an inordinate amount of colour pigment crammed into it making it a dream to paint with. The paint has that effect of slightly changing colour as the light changes, please dont ask me to explain that as I frankly have no idea.

The first design is Enigma, featuring floating squares and rectangles that interlock and weave together. The feeling is a modern geometric and I like to think it is something you could see at 221B Baker Street in Sherlock. It is named after the encoding machine famously deciphered by British mathematician and one of my heroes, Alan Turing during World War II, Enigma is a beguiling and bold geometric design shown here in Pitch Blue.

The second design is Arcade. Inspired by the art deco movement which characterised design in the 1940s, Arcade is a soft, romantic take on the classic curved motif. The beautifully tactile scallop design gently dances across the length of the paper, creating an inherently sophisticated feel. It was such fun constructing this one in such a way to give the impression the arch was fading as well as twisting. The challenge with every design is to make sure the design will print on the Farrow & Ball machinery that are either drums or blocks, each print the paint is different ways with different outcomes. The colour way below is Studio Green and gold.

The third design in the collection is Gable, depicting a charming rural scene of ploughed fields, picket fences and farmyard animals, Gable perfectly captures the youthful innocence of simpler times. The intricate mural design is imbued with playful details that capture the imagination. There are lambs playing in a meadow, doves and a coop, and a dog barking at a horse watching a farmer plough his field. This design is taken from a vintage fashion print. It had to go through extensive editing and rebuilding and just like all designs I hand-draw them from scratch. Figuring out the repeat on this design was complicated as the original vintage print was incomplete.

I love working out complicated repeats, its my thing, along with collecting string, yes I said string. I once thought about studying for a PhD in repeat at the RCA but it would have been never-ending. See what I did there.

Big shout out to Marianne Cotterill, the incredible stylist behind these truly perfect lifestyle shots and Charlotte Cosby of Farrow & Ball for her continued awesomeness.

See Farrow & Ball here: www.farrow-ball.com