Christopher Farr Cloth is celebrating its 21st year with the opening of a new showroom on London’s Kings Road. Here co-founder Michal Silver shares her thoughts on design collaborations, uplifting prints and the joy of just being alive.
Christopher Farr was founded in 1988 by Christopher Farr and Matthew Bourne. When Michal met Christopher in 1999 he was keen to expand the business beyond rugs. This serendipitous encounter sparked the creation of Christopher Farr Cloth which encompasses fabric, wallpaper, trimming and accessories.
Can you describe the Christopher Farr Cloth style?
I think when people think of Christopher Farr Cloth, they instantly think of our colours, bold geometric patterns and oversized florals – an eclectic mix of ideas. I am not sure style is all that relevant today…especially with the work we create. We work with artists and designers that have an original voice regardless of time and geography. I am always keen to hear what they are interested in and then find a way to incorporate it into the collection. Mostly by working with a small artisanal community of makers who are long term partners and essential in the creative process. It is as much about the story of a design as it is about the finished piece.
As we come out of the pandemic, what interior trends will we see emerging?
Our outdoor spaces are now an extension to the interior space with a very direct link and there is a shift towards more emphasis on outdoor furniture, kitchens and thoughtfully detailed spaces – with more investment in quality furniture textiles. We’ve recently launched two new performance collections for those embracing their gardens and terraces – with one printed collection and the other woven in collaboration with the industry leader Perennials.
These designs bring an explosion of colour and pattern in response to our need for uplifting design after such a tough 18 months – and offer a higher hygienic element, all of which I think respond to the difference in how we live now. Sustainability remains as important as ever, and we continue to review how we work; making changes where we can, partnering with makers that are environmentally conscious, printing our collections locally to reduce our carbon footprint and creating designs that are durable to ensure less wastage.
You have collaborated with a variety of designers. Is there anyone you have your eye on now for future collaborations?
There are always conversations brewing; some collections can be many months in the making, such as our recent collaboration with the Japanese ceramist Makoto Kagoshima, as we explored how to capture the delicate markings and colours within his work. Whereas when we create designs with Kit Kemp, for example, it can be very quick because we have worked with Kit for years and know intuitively how to move through the process together. I am very excited about a very special launch this autumn, which celebrates the work of an artist I am hugely passionate about.
The ultimate collection would be the archival textiles of the artist Sonia Delaunay…for a moment 10 years ago we were very close, we even exchanged contracts…..I still keep trying…
Do you have a target customer in mind when you create a new collection?
At the core of what we do it’s all about our commitment to art design and making. We hope this resonates with the audience we cultivate around the world. With that in mind we are guided by conversations with clients in terms of colours, textures, technical details as rub counts requirements and changes in the market for example: performance fabrics that are now being used indoors etc. In fact, we often take our clients on the journey with us, through our custom offer – where we can create a design in different colours, play with scale or the actual cloth or paper we print on. It’s all part of our collaborative approach and sometimes the process will surprise and delight us with a combination we had not previously considered.
What are you currently working on?
New wallpaper designs for the autumn, a woven collection with And Objects and new trimmings too, as well as cushions which will join our growing accessories collection – plus lots of other conversations that are looking exciting, watch this space…!
Who or what inspires you?
Every conversation I have, every exhibit I see, books I read, travelling, just being alive.
What is your favourite possession?
I am from the group of people that “less is more” so rather difficult to edit it down…a sculpture by a dear friend, a Ron Arad Sofa, a pearl necklace I received from my husband on our wedding day…and that was a long time ago.
Where would you like to visit once we can travel more freely?
I would like to go back to Japan. Working with Makoto Kagoshima on our September 2020 collection was, and is, a huge incentive to explore and rediscover.
If you enjoyed my interview with Michal Silver at Christopher Farr Cloth, you may also like my chat with Roome London