Our recent collaboration with one of Britain’s most iconic fashion designers, Matthew Williamson, has produced a spectacular furniture collection that’s bursting with colour, style and individuality.
The partnership was a meeting of creative goals, designed to introduce Matthew’s signature aesthetic with its kaleidoscope of colour and pattern to a range of classic and contemporary furniture pieces, each reinvented in its own whimsical way.
As a team we have long-admired Matthew’s creative prowess and it was a joy to work so closely with him throughout the design process of Duresta for Matthew Williamson.
We caught up with the man himself on his design values, inspirations and future plans.
What inspired you to create your first bespoke furniture collection this year?
I’ve loved interior design ever since I was a young boy, so it’s been an ambition of mine for such a long time. Fashion remains at the core of my brand but we also design and sell wallpapers, sunglasses, stationery and furniture – with more categories on the horizon.
As a British brand, Duresta has been designing and hand-crafting furniture in Nottinghamshire for 75 years. How important is British design and craftsmanship to you?
Duresta is a great British brand that makes its furniture by hand in the UK with care and attention to detail by a great team of craftsmen. It was these qualities which drew me to Duresta and it’s been a real passion project for me, and a pleasure to have dipped my toe into a new and fascinating area of design.
Duresta is renowned for its furniture artistry and skillset, how did this affect the creativity of your designs?
I’m drawn to brands which value craftsmanship and quality and Duresta certainly has that.
A visit to the Duresta factory was a real eye-opener for me. From the hand-carved wooden frames to the guy cutting the fabrics to ensure that each print matches up on the furniture, and the lady sewing cushions with beautifully piped edges – it was fascinating to meet the wider team and see the work that goes into each and every piece.
Talk us through the process of designing the collection with Duresta…
I really enjoyed the design process and I think the Duresta team were surprised by how much I cared. I didn’t want to just go; ‘here’s my name, bring something out’ – I really got my teeth into it.
A lot of the collection was inspired by looking at pieces that I own myself. I’ve bought a lot of furniture from antique markets or dealers over the years, which I’ve then adapted or updated to give it my own edge.
I also collect tear sheets of anything that catches my eye, so it was a fun process to build a collection which came from my personal favourite pieces.
The design team at Duresta is second-to-none and my favourite part of the process was working so closely with them to create a range which truly captures the DNA of my brand.
How do you balance style and comfort in your furniture designs?
As with my clothes, style and comfort have to be key aspects of anything that I design. I always ask; ‘is it comfortable, is it stylish and is it made to the best possible standards?’ It’s good to have these three aspects in mind when working as it ensures enduring products – which you especially want when buying furniture.
Style, comfort and quality were my buzz words when creating the collection; I want each customer to fall in love with a piece and to own it for many years to come.
Tell us about fabric designs…..what was your inspiration?
When it comes to prints and textiles for both fashion and the home I really like to mix things up. I look to combine florals and graphics with both modern and antique furniture pieces – they’re all good in my book and when grouped together create an eclectic end result. If that sounds a little chaotic, I often find keeping the colour palette tight helps to unify the look.
What are the synergies between designing furniture and fashion – and the differences?
While fashion has been my career focus there is such a huge overlap between the two industries and I see a real crossover in my work. I imagine a woman who buys one of my dresses also wants a fabulous sofa and it’s this 360 degree lifestyle approach to my work that I’m really enjoying developing at the moment.
Over the years we’ve built on a strong DNA for the brand, which underpins all that we do and means that we create products which talk to the customer who enjoys our aesthetic.
It’s important to remain true to your design philosophy but always to keep on your toes to move things on and create fresh and new ideas – something I’ve been able to do with the collaboration with Duresta.
The collection is bursting with colour and pattern – how do you see the pieces working in customers’ homes?
As with my clothes, you can’t be a shrinking violet to buy them. For the less adventurous there are plain velvets and tweeds, and although you could have a matching three-piece-suite in jade green marbled fabric, I envisage people using the furniture as I would; as a bold statement mixed with existing furnishings.
Do you have a particular favourite piece?
I love the flamingo and peacock tables which I really envisaged being key, practical-yet-whimsical pieces in the range. I’ll no doubt have a pair of these either side of my sofas – both at home and in my showroom.
To view the full collection click here