As far as collaborations go, there are few that combine this level of experience and prestige in the respective party’s industries. Kelly Hoppen MBE needs no introduction; as a designer, entrepreneur, author and ambassador she is an eminently proactive and treasured member of the design community.
After over two centuries at the forefront of the global woven carpet industry, Brintons Carpets, too, carries a great deal of weight in its field, continuing to innovate and diversify, while remaining true to its longheld core values.
Indeed, in the spirit of innovation, this new collection eschews the traditional swirl and block patterns of commercial carpeting, favouring a distinctive, contemporary aesthetic with broad applications. After 41 years in design, Kelly relished the challenge of creating her first contract carpet collection.
“It’s been fun, it’s been enlightening and I’ve learnt a lot from it,” she says. “Carpet is an interesting product to design. There is an array of materials and textures and it’s a challenge to design a carpet that is hardwearing but also luxurious, beautiful and comfortable. Although you think of it as a flat surface, it is three-dimensional, so the design process is complex.”
Giving the designer true flexibility was absolutely fundamental for Kelly, and she has drawn from her own experience in hospitality design to create the collection’s 13 geometric and organic designs, available in numerous colourways.
“We do a lot of commercial spaces now and it’s a completely different scenario to working with somebody’s living room,” Kelly explains. “You have to think carefully about scale as the design needs to work in large expansive areas, as well as in narrower spaces such as guestrooms and corridors.
“What I’m doing is designing something that I would use myself, in a multitude of different colourways. I had to create a generic design that I feel could work in any colour; once it’s sold it’s not mine anymore, somebody’s got to interpret it.”
Kelly’s field of reference for the designs varied widely, from Art Deco-inspired geometric lines, Cubist shapes, ink splatters, the modern data matrix barcode and the natural world.
“I found inspiration from the weirdest things,” she affirms. “I find inspiration in music quite a lot, but there’s also a design within the collection that’s inspired by the cracks in the pavement, one by sand, and one by splodges of paint. I played around a lot with grids and shapes too.”
Working with a company that shared her creative vision, and one which would produce luxurious products to the very highest standard, was of utmost importance to Kelly. As an ambassador for the Government’s GREAT campaign, so too was the fact that Brintons is a British company.
Rightfully proud of its heritage, Brintons has evolved from humble beginnings over 230 years ago to become a leading global manufacturer, holding a Royal Warrant since 1958.
As the leading consumer of British wool, Brintons favours a “fleece to floor” philosophy, controlling the design and manufacturing process from start to finish to ensure the very highest quality product. In terms of this collboration, the hands-on set-up of the company meant that the team could respond and adapt swiftly as Kelly refined and perfected the final forms of her designs.
“One thing that impressed me in particular about Brintons was how adaptable and prompt they were throughout the process,” she affirms. “Between the original drawing and the finished designs, I made numerous adjustments until we absolutely got what was in my head. We would make a change, and within days they would prepare samples – that was quite amazing for us really.
“Brintons is a top class company – I only work with the best people in the industry, always have, and I’m very fortunate like that. I didn’t want to create this collection with just anybody, I wanted to do it with one of the greats and they were just incredible.
“We’re both quite traditional in a lot of ways, and Brintons has a great deal of integrity – it’s fantastic to work with a company like that. I think this is just the start of a really wonderful collaboration.”