Name: Lara Colgan
Company: Atelier Textiles
Position within company: Owner/Director
Tell us a little about your background in design:
My passion and respect for materials and intricate designs stems from a very early age, when I would spend time at my Grandmother’s antique textile shop rummaging through the fabric, admiring the delicate lace fabrics and the decorative textiles for sale. At a young age I understood and saw the beauty in embroidered fabrics and how they become even more beautiful with age. Like works of art, they tell their own unique story.
My admiration developed into over two decades of enthusiasm for fabrics, design and colour. I was very lucky to have worked alongside and was mentored by English Home owner and founder Gaynor Churchward. Gaynor taught me about the importance of scale and beauty in historical designs, as well as being a wealth of technical knowledge. Our collaborative relationship and mutual respect actually resulted in the merger of both our organisations a couple of years ago. I am delighted that Atelier Textiles is now the custodian and sole provider of the exquisite world renowned English Home collections, which beautifully complement our own European inspired collection of designs.
How would you describe your personal interior design style?
It is quite eclectic, I appreciate and admire the classical style while love to marry them up with contemporary items. I believe that all styles can complement each other if put in the right creative context.
Where does your design inspiration come from?
I find it all around me – in nature, where I live, from my travels, in art, architecture, fashion and interior design. I try and look at everything with new eyes to gain a fresh perspective to bring to the table.
Primarily, most of my design inspiration has come from my travels where I was lucky to experience various cultures and lifestyles. There is so much colour and beauty everywhere and while travelling, I gained the utmost appreciation and interest for all things artisanal and hand crafted – this has continued throughout my life and can be found throughout my collection and in each of my designs. I also found huge importance in visiting galleries, museums and markets whatever city I was in – New York, London and Paris provided me with hours of uninterrupted inspiration.
In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
I think it is moving towards more sustainability, which educates people towards quality before quantity. So many different aspects of life are moving towards longevity and design does not need to be left out. People want quality and for items to stand the test of time.
Our pieces are timeless and are made with care from beautiful, natural fabrics. The designs themselves stand the test of time and fabrics and furnishings made from linen, silk and velvet only look more beautiful and unique with wear.
Name three key themes to consider when approaching design in 2017 and beyond.
We will be referencing Medieval Romance, Geometric and Floral designs next year, in bold rich colours. I like the contrast of autumnal velvets with light, translucent and embellished sheer fabrics.
All of these themes will be worked into the designs we are currently finalising and which will be available in 2017, including a new Rose design, a Hollywood inspired, Art Deco geometric collection, a botanical-themed collection with pre-Raphaelite inspiration, as well as some sheers for which we are best known. They are delicate, ethereal and very pretty.
If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to product design, what would it be?
My advice when designing a product would be “Are you proud of it?” If you are, your own opinion is all that matters.
How important are The International Design and Architecture Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?
The International Design and Architecture Awards are judged by peers and so the financial weight and bias of big companies has been excluded from the process, making the award more authentic and a true recognition of the talent out there.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on some beautiful custom-designed and beaded sheer curtain panels for a luxury hotel in central London, some unique custom designed velvet curtains for an exquisite spa in Taiwan, custom bedding for a Presidential Hotel Suite in Ireland and cushions for a residential project in Florence, among others.
What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
We have several new designs for our fabrics and soft furnishings in development which we are excited about. We are also focusing on marketing and our image and will have a new website in the new year. 2017 is promising to be an exciting year for us and we also have some top secret new product innovations at an experimental stage, which will be perfect for Hotels.
Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession?
I have a collection of antique textiles I’ve gathered over the years, even from my early student days. I am currently on the look out to purchase a particular antique kimono to add to my collection.
Your favourite holiday destination?
The backwaters of Kerala in Southern India. It is the most magical, beautiful, romantic, spiritual and inspiring place I have ever been.
Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?
The Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in the South of France. The most peaceful and serene setting, looking out over the Azur Mediterranean sea and set in beautiful grounds, surrounded by heritage and glamour..
Your favourite book / film / song?
I recently read Girl on the Train. That’s my new favourite. I can’t wait to see the film.
Your favourite food and drink?
Simple food is the best in my view. Being a bit of a francophile, it would have to be a big platter of cheese and cold meats, lots of french bread, and a chilled glass of rose.
Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
Nothing beats a bit of time out and spending it playing with my three children on a beach.
If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
I think I would have been a painter, creativity and inspiration are never too far off my radar and I think I would have expressed it through art, in another life, with some lessons!
Anything else interesting?
Wherever I go I always have a pencil and pad with me to jot down an idea, a design or something that has inspired me. I have learned that ideas can come from the most unexpected places and at any moment!