Those with a keen eye on the down under design scene may have recently spotted flashes of this beautiful new accessories textiles collection. While we have come to expect our magpie eyes to recognise the colours and shapes often synonymous with Australian textile design duo; Kate & Kate, their new “Carnival” collection has a little more of a twist to it!
“Carnival captures the joy of gathering together, the convivial delights of a shared table, a picnic under the shade of a gumtree; all with the homely embrace of luxurious yet robust cottons, wools and linens. The collection is a celebration of celebrations, both jovial and nostalgic with classic geometrics complemented by painterly and spirited prints.
The collection offers cotton and alpaca blankets, large scale linen table cloths, linen throws, napkins, tea towels, both linen and leather cushions and hand woven bed spreads.”
While I am very much grabbed by visions of “picnics under gumtrees” (!!) I was also interested in the top notch, group design process that bought this range to life! The collaboration of Kate and Kate with iconic interior design leaders; Arent & Pyke.
On a whim, after spotting that Juliette Arent had mentioned an interest in textiles in an interview, Kate and Kate reached out with an invitation to explore that further.
And as all good pairings go – the collaboration grew some momentum bringing us 18 months down the track to this beautiful collection and the material proof of what can happen when 4 Australian design minds merge in the middle.
Keen to take this opportunity to mine the ideas of these designers a little further (all of whom I have a bursting respect for) I compiled a list of questions (a little left field at times!) focused on topics I would be very interested to find their thoughts on.
Pictured from left to right: Kate Pascoe-Squires , Juliette Arent, Kate Pascoe and Sarah-Jane Arent.
Work/Life balance can be challenging to maintain at the best of times.
What is your work space like and what are the little details within it that help you get the work done!
Kate Pascoe: Oh what a juggle! If anyone finds the answer to that thing called balance – please contact me!! I am so lucky to have the space I work in, it is a little slice of heaven. Designed by Fiona Lynch, the Kate & Kate home in Port Melbourne is a gorgeous open space, with clean lines and plenty of light – a place where you can really catch your breath. We have Buddha radio pumping most of the time, lots of coffee throughout the day and a big wine fridge out the back filled to the brim with Logan Rosé – all of that really keeps us all going.
Just recently, I decided my phone is a huge distraction during my work day with non–stop calls, texts, alerts, alarms – it does not stop! I now put my phone on silent and anyone who urgently needs me can call on the work landline. I have found this makes a huge difference to my ability to get the job done.
Juliette Arent: In the A&P studio in Surry Hills, SJ and I work opposite each other in the far corner of the office….but we have worked sitting opposite each other for nearly 10 years. I almost wouldn’t know myself if I didn’t see her sitting opposite me during the day! When I work from home I am typically sitting at the kitchen bench with coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) or sitting on the back step that looks out to my garden. A bit of sunshine always goes a long way when doing the big picture business dreaming!
Sarah-Jane Pyke: Sunshine works magic creatively, so that was the key element we looked for when we sourced our Surry Hills space. With windows on three sides, we get gorgeous light all day, and that helps keep us all focused. I love the buzz of the team, but when I need downtime, I can retreat to the meeting room (cone of silence!) and I often start the day answering emails over a coffee at The Book Kitchen across the road.
If someone flicked a switch which demanded us all to wear tones of just ONE colour for the rest of our lives….what would yours be?
Kate Pascoe: I would have to be REALLY boring and say grey (so predictable!) I always have my favourite seasonal colours, but there is nothing more stunning than a gorgeous charcoal marle… my good old trusty!
Juliette Arent: Deep terracotta to fleshy melony pink, and everything in between.
Sarah-Jane Pyke: Just ONE colour – ouch! I can’t live without denim, so for me, Indigo, through chambray blue to washed out grey.
HOME. It’s the one place in the world we can really make our own, ignore trends and wrangle our budgets against our personal decorating dreams.
Despite you all designing for spaces and the products that help transform them, what are the defining things you do to make your own house a personal bolthole?
Kate Pascoe Squires: For me, it’s in the furniture. I don’t like clutter and don’t do knick knacks, displays for the sake of displays… I love clean lines, but to achieve a beautiful look, the quality of the furniture is imperative. I have a mixed aesthetic, combining stunning vintage pieces with super liveable items such as cushy couches with removable linen covers.
I love having a house that is lived in – the kids can run wild and I’m not super precious about any one item. If our table gets a mark on it, who cares? It’s part of the history we are creating here. That said, I do run a tight ship and the house is always tidy before I head to bed. It helps me and my family keep a clear head (well, that’s what I tell them anyway!)
Juliette Arent: It is so tempting to want to own the big heroes or icons of the furniture world that you are often putting forward to clients – but I try to avoid this as much as I can. I mostly like a mix of new and vintage, with a particular focus on the art I have acquired over the past 15 or so years. (The only reason I would like to live in a slightly larger property would be for more wall space for art!)
A wonderful part of being a designer, is the thrill you have finding those rare vintage gems for your clients……..and every now and then, for yourself.
Many years ago when (in my opinion) one of the best stores on Queen Street in Woollahra, (Copeland and de Soos) closed down, it was a very sad day. It signalled the end of an era with this type of vintage sourcing in Sydney. Most of the vintage pieces I own I purchased from Rodney de Soos and I am always patiently waiting to see if decides to get back into the business.
My fridge is forever covered in drawings or paintings that my girls have drawn/painted that week, and their bedroom is definitely not as serene and ordered as you would think. For them I am always reminding myself of my own childhood where it was all about colour……colour, timber toys and natural daylight for my kids. (I am always surprised to see when parents opt for neutral-everything for their kid’s rooms. NO!! Colour = fun!
Also, for my own house I think less about “schemes” per se, more about the feeling or the mood I would like each space to evoke. I have always been interested in the the way certain spaces can make you feel…it is not formulaic…..there is always a sensorial and emotional response.
Sarah-Jane Pyke: I really believe that your home should tell your story, and that’s the same for me as it is for our clients. I love the pieces we have collected over the years, and I feel connected to each of them, as they have the story of our lives woven in. Interestingly, I have more vintage furniture than new, and our art always ties it all together.
Some favourites include: Eames Walnut DCM chairs gifted for our wedding; the vintage drawers I sourced on ebay and had painted glossy yellow when I was waiting for “the baby”; a John Baird painting we bought the week we lost a dear friend; my mothers’ sewing machine table that has been in every entry hall I’ve had since leaving home. Right now though, we’re drowning in Lego, which adorns every flat surface of our house! Maybe one day I’ll look fondly back on that too…?
The internet has shrunk the world when it comes to connecting with
like-minded artists/designers/makers etc.
It’s such an exciting time for inspiration and collaboration (obviously!).
Aside from each other, what local creative people or brands are really spin your wheels at the moment?
Kate Pascoe Squires: We have recently collaborated with interior design house Arent&Pyke, which was incredibly inspiring. It was so fun to combine our aesthetics and they really pushed our use of colour. So good.
As we look towards our Summer 17/18 collection, photographer George Byrne is really getting us excited – his depiction of colour and form is incredible.
For shape, I can’t go past Kenya Peterson’s sculptures – hand formed wire, shaped and paper wrapped, they are incredibly distinctive.
Juliette Arent: I always love to see what Emma Elizabeth (stylist/designer/curator) is doing with Local Design – she is a powerhouse, and always at the centre of connecting brilliant designers. Shilo Engelbrecht, textile designer/artist and Lisa Cooper, florist/artist. (All the slashies!!)
Styling by Claire Delmar
Photography by Jason Loucas