A classical bust, a china bull, an African mask and lots of foliage. All things that could feasibly form the basis of a still life study. Show this eclectic mix to Mini Moderns designers, Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire, and they are instantly transported back to art class, as teenagers, in 1980s Yorkshire.
This diversity of subject matter results in a wallpaper with dense pattern coverage that might seem something of a departure for the cult Brit homewares brand. But fans of their work will be familiar with the richness of story and cultural references contained within the print.
Above (clockwise): Art Room in Concrete; Emerald; Chalkhill Blue and British Lichen.
Mark and Keith often site TV and film as reference points when they are creating their ‘pattern with a story’ and this print is no exception, as Mark explains. “There are two key influences that come together in this print. In our school holidays, Keith and I would religiously watch Nancy Kominsky’s show, Paint Along With Nancy. We took something of Nancy’s spirit on board when we embarked on this design. In addition, we are both obsessed with the 1960s film, The Sandpiper, particularly Elizabeth Taylor’s Big Sur artist’s studio, and there are several references to its interior in the print.”
For Keith, Art Room has even more personal relevance. “My art teachers, Bill and Margaret, used to build complex arrangements comprised of the most unusual objects – all selected to test your drawing skills, with different textures and scales. Bill always included a Victorian oil lamp, whereas Margaret liked to include a savoy cabbage, which I didn’t like drawing then, and I certainly didn’t intend drawing now, when we came to selecting the items for the wallpaper.”
Art Room is the fifth print to launch from the forthcoming Mini Moderns collection, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, in which the design duo revisit the cultural influences that shaped their design aesthetic during their teenage years, growing up in the North during the 1980s.