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International influence: London Design Week 2019

Situated on the banks of the river Thames, the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, has more than 20 years experience championing the creative world. It should come as no surprise that it is recognised as being a fundamental part of the design community – but events like London Design Week truly place it on the map.


Source: Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour












Offering only the brightest and best of world-class talent, London Design Week 2019 was a celebration of inspiration and expertise. It captured a multi-layered vibrancy and cosmopolitan charm, with their showrooms drawing multicultural influence from all around the world. The displays were filled with an abundance of patterns, shapes and colours in highly sophisticated combinations and impeccable materials throughout.

From Abbott and Boyd’s innovative wallcoverings to the elegance and subtlety of Colefax and Fowler, we spent our day at London Design Week exploring each and every distinctive set-up.


Above: Timorous Beasties showroom at LDW 2019






















In particular, we loved the Watt’s of Westminster showroom. Its legacy in fabric has been built on a rich archive of designs that span over a period of 600 years, and this was exhibited with flair at this year’s London Design Week. An extraordinary tapestry display showcased their skill and knowledge of digital printing. Using tapestries that had once belonged to the great houses of Europe, they ‘democratised’ them through the sophisticated use of digital technology. Through this technology, these beautiful designs can now be rediscovered as fabric and wallpaper.

One of the reasons we spent time drinking in this particular showroom so much, is because at Sofa Workshop digital technology plays a key part in how we breathe life into archived textiles, enabling us to bring a sliver of history into our customers’ homes just as Watt’s of Westminster d with their development of Tableaux Sceniques.o

Our designer and colourist, Barry Ward, used his vast experience in digital printing to reimagine the V&A archives for our collaboration with the museum:

“It’s really challenging to receive archive fabrics and bring them back into this century, as some of them are really old.  Sometimes, part of the repeat is missing, and that’s when I have to try and figure out what was there and try and paint it in.”


Above: Barry Ward retouching V&A archive print











Continuing our appreciation of beautifully printed fabrics, we followed Phillip Jeffries’ “Journey to Shangri-LA” with particular satisfaction. His showroom at London Design Week was a celebration of exotic inspirations and traditional decorative Eastern motifs, blended with classic Western patterns. As pioneers in fabric (we sell over 1000+), witnessing the translations from culture to fabric was truly awe-inspiring.


Above: Shangri-LA showroom at LDW 2019



















Despite our wonder across each and every showroom, our personal highlight of the event was an inspirational conversation led by Lucy Barlow (founder of Barlow & Barlow), Johnny Holland (founder of Hackett Holland) and Peter Gomez (Head of Design at Zoffany).


Above: Conversations in Design event at LDW 2019














The talk, hosted by Livingetc, provided insight into 21stcentury glamour and how it is full of contradiction. Luxurious yet effortless, polished yet relaxed, confident yet natural. The experts analysed how the term “glamour” invokes an attractive, exciting connotation, but how do you really achieve this in a relaxed multifunctional space? Style maven, Lucy Barlow, shared her advice:

“Buy things and collect what you love. Secondly, always trust your instinct. Overthinking can create mental blocks. It is important to be patient too, social media has created a “want” for everything instantly, but by curating a collection of things you love, over time you can create something fantastic.”


Source: Pineapple












“Buy things and collect what you love and secondly, always trust your instinct. Overthinking can create mental blocks. It is important to be patient too, social media has created a want for everything instantly, but by curating a collection of things you love, over time you can create something fantastic.”

Johnny Holland’s solution was slightly more whimsical:

“When working on the scheme of a house, humour is important to us. One room we often bring this through is the loo! It is a pause moment in the design of a house and a great place to bring in your sense of humour. Another technique we often use is working the house to be muted and calm through the middle, bringing in the client’s ‘wild’ side upstairs and in the lower basement levels. It makes for a fun journey through the home.”


Source: Barlow & Barlow












Our day at London Design Week 2019 reminded us that Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour is a brilliant destination for artistic inspiration – no matter what form that art comes in. Offering a dynamic collective of brands, and wholeheartedly committed to its own expansion, this is an inspirational hub absolutely worth a visit.

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