We are thrilled to have worked with the V&A to create our first ever print accessories collection, inspired by F. Gregory Brown’s award-winning Art Deco design. Here we take a look at the story behind the bold geometric pattern.
In 1925, Paris welcomed the world to the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts. This world fair marked the true establishment of the Art Deco phenomena, the global design style that epitomises 20th century modernity.
Following the end of the First World War in 1918, society entered the 1920s uncertain, yet hungry for new ideas. Looking back on this age of experimentation and excitement, we now call this decade the Roaring Twenties: from architecture to media, transport to consumer goods, newly-harnessed globalisation began to manifest itself in bigger, bolder, brighter versions of things.
The global population was travelling more than any generation before them, moving ideas and knowledge: the world was speeding up. With glamourous ocean liners, impossibly tall skyscrapers, revolutionary new planes, and fully developed steam engines, the world was open for business.
The arts reflected the pace of the time. The 1925 International Exhibition saw 20 countries exhibit their ‘moderne’ designs to over 16 million visitors, with imaginative works of architecture, interior decoration, furniture, fashion, jewellery, and other decorative arts available for all to see.
A new print direction
F. Gregory Brown (1887–1941) was an artist and designer born in London. Having started his career as a decorative metal worker, Brown then directed his skills towards graphic design, producing posters for London Underground and a number of emerging railway companies.
In 1925, Brown presented a bold, wave-like furnishing fabric at the Paris International Exhibition. The print was awarded a gold medal for textile design, and is now housed in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Almost a century after the original was created, the Knomo design team has reinvigorated the pattern, enlarging the undulating arches to enhance the feeling of movement and daring attitude of both the Art Deco Movement and today’s fast-paced world. The print will be available across 5 new styles in the following two colourways:
Monochrome: using the original palette of white, black and grey, this colourway is bold and brave.
Night Forest: using shades of navy, olive and grey, this colourway is a rich, exotic variation on the original design.
New technology? The skies were the limit
Art Deco’s strength comes from its willingness to embrace the duality of tradition and modernity, marrying luxury and function in a versatile way. So, in keeping with the spirit of Art Deco (and like all Knomo products) the five-piece V&A inspired collection merges technology and travel.
Almost 100 years since Art Deco was born, the world is experiencing a technological revolution that evokes the Roaring Twenties. “Perhaps most closely identified with ocean liners and cinemas, cocktail bars and grand hotels, Art Deco reached the height of sophisticated elegance in these new pleasure palaces”, says Amelia Calver, Licensing Research & Development Manager at the V&A, “The period continues to be a source of inspiration to many designers with its unashamed celebration of decoration and innovative use of colour.” Today’s digital capabilities mean we too can be inspired by far-flung cultures and movements; that we can travel more freely than ever before, and experience a faster pace of life.
About the Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art, design, and performance with collections as stunning as they are varied. Unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5,000 years of creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.