Collaboration Works

Collaborations can take you on a journey past a point you could envisage on your own, they can  – through mutual endeavour and intellectual bounce – make sparks fly, mood boards fizz and the results magical.  Last Autumn I could hear the enthusiasm and energy pulsing off Christine discussing Vanderhurd’s work for the latest of  Kit Kemp’s highly acclaimed hotels.

terrace suite ham yard

collab H-London-The-Ham-Yard-Hotel-11-620x413

The Terrace Suite at Ham Yard above features Vanderhurd’s Toga rug, one of 10, made specifically for the hotel.  This is a collaboration on an ongoing basis, a relationship which evolves in creative tandem.  Kit refines and evolves her aesthetic ‘warp and weft’ with long standing partners: Vanderhurd, Chelsea Textiles and Christopher Farr are core to her vibrantly textiled and patterned interiors.


the Crosby St hotel with Vanderhurd ‘Grand Prisme’ cushions and upholstery.


The Soho Hotel with Vanderhurd’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ rug.collab SOHOHOTEL1_900 collab soho

Ham Yard with Kit’s stargazing ‘Moondog’ for Chelsea Textiles in the foreground.


and back ground.collab ham-yard-hotel-drawingI designed hand embroidered collections bought by  ABC Carpet and Home, Liberty and many others. I never stopped: searching out archive designs, juggling colour cards, embroidery threads and materials to create a cohesive collection, threading them together as a story across the seasons, constantly in sampling rooms in India.

colour cards still make me swoon

It’s why I am fascinated by the creative process behind the finished beauty of Kit’s rooms and Christine Van Der Hurd’s designs,  the technical challenges overcome to realise these. So I asked Christine if we could look at the development of a bespoke ‘Kit Kemp’ rug from ‘concept to installation’.

IMG_0540Christine explained: Designing with Kit (& her team) is a delight as she seeks out what inspires and excites me & leaves me to play with colour, design & constructions, this is when I can be at my most creative. An antique Burmese fabric caught Kit’s eye in Christine’s studio, after it had caught Christine’s eye in India. feel the FIZZ?

IMG_0542Kit loved it’s energy and movement, both felt it would be perfect as runner leading your eyes through the space and encouraging you to walk its spiral path, complemented by larger rugs. Adapting a small scale fabric piece for a major rug is difficult: Christine redrew it several times to achieve the vibrant flow and colour which would complement the chosen space and scheme.


This is the first working template, it shows the repeat, construction and references colour choices but keeps the visual clear so you can really see the sweeping curves and pattern clearly.  It’s more sinuous than the original and more complex with additional colours and elements to the design.  Let’s go techno…

2.UMI Colour template-01CAD get’s you a working drawing, but you need a sample to test colours, pile length, flow, proportion …

3.UMI Colour template-02Four different constructions were trialled to achieve a perfect weaving line for the sinuous pattern.  I love seeing it on the loom…


10.P1000916 8.P1000913

and how the ladies weaving ‘match it’.6.1000915


Christine below in India reviewing with her glorious statement rugs and runner,  months in the making.  Kit explains: Working with Christine is always a pleasure, she has such a sure “eye” for colour and scale.  Her experience and confidence make it appear so easy, but the reality is far more difficult to achieve.15.FULL 2

and  Umi in ‘Soho Hotel’ situ:



As Kit’s quote makes clear and this blog’s journey from ‘inspiration to finished product’ reveals each creative project requires innate skill required and hard won expertise to appear ‘easy‘. Christine says: The philosophy for my interiors is that when walking into a room “it makes me smile” This is how I feel when I work with Kit. I love her abundant creativity, colour palette,heavenly textures and her ability to build a Room with unique antique textiles, “objets” and curiosities all unexpected particularly in a hotel setting.

collab Ham YardThe public spaces in the latest hotel Ham Yard are wonderful, the interiors lift your spirits. Celebrations feel spectacular,  regular coffee meetings become VIP and a quiet library tea offers sensory layered pleasure. No wonder people want to take a slice of this home, Kit has collaborated with Anthropologie,  the collection Folkthread was snapped up by loyal followers: 3 weeks after its debut, depite the balloons, it a was ‘all gone madam’, just a few pieces left, sorry.


I searched …IMG_3086

 …oh a few here, and one chair there:
IMG_3077 and the last rolls of wallpaper…

IMG_3084Collaboration it’s a winner…surely To Be Continued.


Thank you to Vanderhurd and Firmdale for enabling this post and collaborating with quotes, images and explanations.

All images from Vanderhurd, Firmdale and myself, except colour cards from World of Interiors ‘Creative Choices’ blog.

Why not snap up some Vanderhurd chic this May?  It’s in my diary…. This year a £2 donation at the door will help support various fundraising efforts for villages in the remote areas of Nepal where Vanderhurd works extensively and has many personal relationships.


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