24th September 2020
Another collaboration from Morris and Co. How does this one, with interiors man of the moment Ben Pentreath, fare?
Morris and Co collaborations have existed for a while now with some of my favourite team ups being H&M on the fashion side and House of Hackney wallpapers and fabrics in 2015. Collaborations can experiment with repeats and scales and sometimes involve applying brighter and bolder colour palates whilst paying homage to the original design.
Popular collabs have a cross over with what’s fashionable, of the moment, and can bring a fresher perspective on a heritage brand.
Ben Pentreath is big deal in the interiors world – for those who don’t know he is an architect and interior designer who set up a practice in 2004. He has two books, English Decoration and English Houses, and is a regular contributor to the FT. There is also a shop, Pentreath and Hall, in a smart bit of London which stocks goods and furnishings which are curated in Pentreath’s signature style.
That signature style – features colour, pattern and is very English which is how one might describe Morris and Co. A marriage made in heaven then? Well yes. But for me this is where the collaboration misses the mark where House of Hackney got it so right. I don’t think anyone new is going to see this collection and be opened up to the wonderfulness of Morris and Co. Surely one of the main points of a collaboration is to open the product to new markets or make it ‘cool’ again? I am not sure if this achieves this.
It’s the same people marketing to the same people.
The queen’s square collection features designs across 18 wallpapers which are surface printed on to paper to retain their original look and feel.
The papers are great and do not have that sheeny coating that the House of Holland papers have, which I think is a positive change. For DIY’ers they go up like a dream, cut wonderfully, which if you’ve seen my video on Morris and Co hanging tips is not always the case. Colours are extremely vibrant and a few revival designs such as Blackthorn and Daffodil have been brought out – hello again my friends.
This is the interiors designer’s collection for interior designers and I would expect (hope!) to see these wallpapers in commercial spaces, boutique hotels and very grand houses. The papers have been styled in Ben Pentreath’s Devon home and look absolutely amazing but don’t expect to see them in everyone’s living room, not the bolder ones anyway. There is a good mix of showstoppers and more subtle wallpapers but the subtle papers may be so subtle of a change that you end up sticking with the original.
My favourite picks which are some of the subtler papers in the collection are: Willow borough in bitter chocolate, willow in yellow, the two of which layer beautifully. Blackthorn has been given an autumnal update with reds and burnt oranges and really is quite lovely.
Marigold which I also had a sample of in pink/olive is just a bit too pink for me. Not that millennial pink but quite a bold almost tropical pink.
Overall I don’t think its a cool collection but the hype will get people talking and possibly buying and hanging.
Samples are available at the moment on the Style Library website and rolls are available from usual stockists.
Priced between £79-89/ 10m roll.
Morris and Co @morrisandco
Ben Pentreath @benpentreath