Andrew Hancock: Preserving heritage with Wedgwood

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What do you achieve if you combine the design styles and remarkable knowledge of two of the British luxury market’s most revered heritage brands? The answer, of course, is an innovative new collection which is, quite simply put, beautiful. With its intricate detail and interesting hues, the Home collection from Wedgewood and Blendworth is certainly reminiscent of the renowned ceramic brand’s heritage patterns, yet mixed with Blendworth’s unquestionably elegant style the collection breathes contemporary style.

With the collection due to be launched at Decorex in just two weeks’ time, we caught up with Andrew Hancock, Managing Director of Blendworth, to find out more about the collaboration...

Can you tell us a little about the history of the business?

Blendworth is a British design company that was established in 1921 and is renowned for its beautiful fabrics and wallcoverings. In the past five years we have expanded our product range and created our own collections of printed velvets, fabrics and wallpaper. We now sell to almost 3000 customers in 40 countries which can include individual designers or both small and large retailers.

How did the collaboration with Wedgwood come about?

When we thought about what brand we would want to collaborate with, Wedgwood, as a global luxury home and lifestyle brand seemed like the natural fit for Blendworth. There is great synergy between the two brands, as we are both proud of our British design heritage yet we cater for an international audience with modern tastes.

We also felt that many of the iconic Wedgwood designs would translate well into textiles and wallcoverings. The new range reflects this contemporary interpretation of a classic style, using palettes of sophisticated neutrals, dramatic cranberry and teal, and of course the classic Wedgwood Blue, complemented with soft greys. The resulting collection celebrates the Wedgwood brand yet has the Blendworth aesthetic and execution at its core.

Before we could start to work on a collection we firstly had to immerse ourselves in the brand. We visited prestigious stockists to be inspired by their Wedgwood displays, spent time exploring the archive of classic Wedgwood patterns, and had an eye-opening visit to the Wedgwood factory and museum, which was hugely inspiring.

Can you tell us how you have contemporised heritage Wedgwood patterns?

We decided early on that our designs should not just be literal translations of Wedgwood pieces but original adaptations influenced by the wealth of beautiful patterns available to us. Taking this approach has allowed us to mix and match elements from various designs and collections into entirely new compositions.

Next came the short listing of designs that we felt would translate well into textiles and wallcoverings. The original artwork, being designed for ceramics, had to be redrawn by our studio in order to create compositions that worked in fabric and wallcovering repeats.

We worked closely with the design team at Wedgwood on the direction of the range, using current design and colour trends to give these heritage patterns a contemporary look.

A great example of this creative process is the Fabled Crane design. It has been transformed from a single bird motif, taken from a centrepiece in a range of elegant plates. Along with the foliage, we re-designed the Crane into a large scale ogee layout, which takes its form from the bird’s curved body.

Is collaboration a key part of Blendworth’s plans for the future of the business?

Collaborating with others brands is certainly part of our wider business strategy as we feel that we have the skills to interpret the design of brands that have unique design heritage that aren’t necessarily already in the interiors sector, and that we have the distribution to bring that to a worldwide market.   

The partnership with Wedgwood is also part of a wider strategy of  WWRD (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton) to grow their portfolio of table-top products to broader homeware and gifting categories.

The collection to be showcased at Decorex in September is Volume I with further ranges in 2016 and beyond. It’s a very exciting time for Blendworth as the new collection, which is licensed by Wedgwood, will be distributed across the UK and all of Blendworth’s major export markets. The collaboration communicates a strong step forward for the future of heritage and paves the way for a new generation of classically inspired British contemporary design. 

Can you tell us about your plans for Decorex?

We have lots planned for the show. Visitors will be able to come to the Blendworth stand where we will showcase the Wedgwood Home collection exclusively, and also see our other fabric design and wallcovering ranges.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a cup of tea in the Wedgwood Home Design café by Blendworth. The café will serve Wedgwood tea while the café itself is decorated in the Blendworth Wedgwood Home collection.   

Finally make sure to get one of the official Decorex bags, which have made out of the beautiful Blendworth and Wedgwood Home Tonquin print fabric.

The Wedgwood Home - Fabrics & Wallcoverings by Blendworth collection will be launched at Decorex International in September this year.

Join us at Decorex to see the Blendworth Wedgwood collection at the show!