Monday, 04 February 2019 12:07

Biophilic beauty

    Artist Charlotte O’Reilly, Founder of luxury interiors brand Charlotte Jade, believes in bringing the beauty of the outside in, by creating hand-drawn interior patterns inspired by nature – blurring the lines between interior spaces and the outside world. It was 2015 when she decided to take the plunge and launch her own brand.

    Can you please provide us with a description of your professional career?

    After finishing studying illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, I started working as a freelance illustrator and print designer, and was lucky enough to work with some fantastic clients ranging from record label, Universal, to Topshop to Fatface. I began operating under the name Charlotte Jade and I started to take on more print design projects, which led to a growing interest in my pattern designs. In January 2015, I decided to brave it and start my own brand, and that was the beginning of Charlotte Jade.

    What inspired you to become a designer?

    I always loved drawing and being creative throughout my childhood and as I’ve mentioned, I went on to study illustration at Camberwell College of Arts, though I didn’t really know what design path I would take. I had always loved vibrant, interesting patterns and for my final year, I took the leap to base my whole final project around print design, particularly focusing on designing hand-drawn, digital patterns for wallpapers and interiors. This project truly inspired me and pushed me to start working as a freelance print designer after university which then led to the start of my brand a while later.

    What has been your greatest source of inspiration throughout your career?

    My whole brand is completely inspired by the outside world. For me, bringing the beauty of nature into our interiors is a perfect way to keep us connected to the natural world. This form of design is inspired by the idea of biophilic design, a style which is proven to reconnect us with the natural world by bringing elements of nature back into our lives, proven to reduce stress, aid mental wellbeing and improve productivity. I’ve always loved drawing animals, plants, flowers and foliage and I’m now lucky enough to be able to create my inspirations into wallpaper, textiles, cushions, ceramic tiles and many other interior aspects.

    How do you approach your projects?

    To be honest, it really depends on the brief. If I’m creating a new Charlotte Jade collection, it is created from my own personal inspirations in subject, colour and composition. However, if I’m working for a client, I generally have a brief and colour scheme to work towards. I love bringing clients’ ideas to life and working personally with them to do this.

    Who is your favourite interior designer and why?

    I love the work of Oliver Heath – Oliver is a leader in biophillic design and an expert in the field of sustainable architectural and interior design. His projects incorporate various elements of biophilic design, creating both innovative and inspirational interior design projects.

    Would you say that you have a design style? If so, how would you describe this style?

    Yes, I think so. My design style is detailed, realistic and textured, and some might say a little wild! I like to observe the natural world around me, capturing the fine details by hand drawing what I can see. I love drawing animals, flowers and foliage, focusing on the natural textures of my subjects; for example, an animal’s coat, a bird’s feathers or a particular plant texture. I love bringing in bright and vibrant colours which contrast with natural tones to create unique, interesting patterns.

    What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

    Working with Kelly Hoppen would definitely have to be our biggest accomplishment to date. We worked with Kelly and her interiors team to create a bespoke, hand-drawn ceramic tile mural for the beautiful LUX* Grand Gaube hotel in Mauritius. It was amazing to collaborate and work with Kelly and her team on such a stunning project.

    What has been your most notable project?

    I have recently had one of my patterns, ‘Brushstrokes,’ used for a Belvedere hotel in Saint Martin, Caribbean, which was an amazing project to be part of; as well as a number of our designs being used within the Excelsior hotel redevelopment in Italy. Further to this, we’ve had some amazing collaborations over the past few years with London Zoo, Royal Horticultural Society (launching this spring), Kelly Swallow and Reloved Upholstery, to name a few.

    Can you talk us through your concept for the Into the Wild collection?

    Into the Wild is a collection of patterns inspired by the beauty and majesty of exotic animals. From my worldly travels, I gained huge inspiration for this collection. These designs bring the best of the natural world into our interiors with an array of hand-drawn, finely detailed patterns and designs, which celebrate the beauty and diversity of our planet. From leopard-, zebra- and giraffe-skin prints, intricately-drawn elephants and zebras to exotic animals and lush jungle foliage; this is a collection of eye-catching designs to create dramatic interiors.

    Do you have a preferred colour palette you enjoy working with?

    As I like to present my subject as realistically as possible, I tend to just stick with the natural colours, whether that be plants, animals or flowers. However, I then might add vibrant background colours which can really change the dynamic of the print, my ‘Go Bananas’ print is a particularly loud design. I exhibited this wallpaper during my first time at Decorex in 2017 and it definitely had a marmite reaction!

    Can you talk us through your concept for the Tropical Flora collection?

    The Tropical Flora collection was inspired by travels to exotic Mauritius and English country living. These intricately-designed prints bring the outside in, combining two juxtaposed landscapes to create layered, textured designs. I used a combination of hand-drawn plants, foliage, fruits and animals, with a strong and vibrant use of colour to create a collection of unique patterns.

    When it comes to new wallpaper and textile designs, what do you believe is of utmost importance?

    I think doing the initial research and finding the right subject that inspires you for the design is so important. My favourite designs come from an idea which I have either really researched or been so inspired by, which I’ve then spent time sketching and experimenting with layouts/colours etc. This creates a more finished end result and something that you can see has been well-thought-through from start to finish.

    What advice would you offer to those that are considering a career in design?

    I listened to an amazing podcast by Karen Brady interviewing Jo Malone this week and Jo said something that really stuck with me: “Never quit on a bad day,” which really resonated with me as there are times where you feel like giving up, but pushing through those times and staying positive is key to success. To new designers, I would just say always believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams of being a designer. My dad has always told me that since I first started working for myself; and it’s advice I will always swear by. Believe in your work and believe in your brand and you will succeed.

    What do you believe is the biggest challenge for newly-qualified designers?

    I think it’s finding your own style and standing out from the exceptional talent that there is within the creative world. I think once you find your way and you love the work created, it’s a brilliant journey!

    What can we expect to see from you over the next year?

    We’ve got a number of amazing hotel projects coming together this year, where our wallpapers and textiles have been used. One within the UK and another in Italy, so we’re very excited to see these finished. We are also currently working on a new botanical collection, which will be launching around late spring/summertime, in time to be exhibited at Decorex in October. We’re also currently working on a very exciting collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society, mentioned earlier, where we’ve designed a bespoke, hand-drawn botanical pattern for the charity, completely inspired by their beautiful gardens in Wisley. Also, we’re exhibiting at the Surface Design Show in February at the Business Design Centre; if anyone wants to come along and see us, we’re at stand NT14.

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