Print and textile designer Kirath Ghundoo burst onto the interiors scene in 2011 when she exhibited her trademark Mix ‘n’ Match wallpaper concept at London’s 100% Design exhibition. Originally trained in textile and surface pattern, her distinctive style of geometric shapes and surprising asymmetrical patterns has been applied to many things beyond wallpaper, from i-phones to office interiors. Ahead of her appearance at the London Design Festival this year we caught up with her to find out about her inspiration, her own home, and when she first became aware of the idea of ‘decorating’…
“Decorating was a concept I grew up with from a young age! My parents adopted some cool concepts from the 70s, with the most flamboyant wallpapers and prints mixed with Indian styles. I do remember a phase where we used mismatched wallpapers, completely different patterns separated by a dado rail – it was cool in its time! There was always a mixture of different decorative objects collected by my mum, just a mixture of things she liked, from Nao handmade dolls to Royal Doulton. My dad was a sportsman in his younger years so there were lots of trophies and memorabilia around the home. Decorating for my own home has been fun, being able to mix styles and be experimental with different textures and colours.”
What was the first room that you decorated for yourself?
“The first room I decorated for myself was a bedroom within my house. On one wall I did a wallpaper feature of my ’13’ collection and used an accent grey paint on the other walls. I have used texture with the rugs and added fun quirky accessories. It’s an ever-changing space which often gets altered when I feel like it. I extended my kitchen and dining room and kept it very classic in style so it remains timeless. This space is light and airy with large bi-fold doors which bring the outdoors in. I used a palette of duck egg greens, greys and creams to keep the space open. The kitchen is a sociable space and cooking is a big part of our family. The island is set with a beautiful Tiffany lamp and mood lighting. Sitting at the island with just the Tiffany lighting is often one of my favourite places to work. And it’s great for parties.”
How did you come to design as a career?
“I’ve always been quite the artist from school and knew it was an area I would progress within. I have taught printed textiles and fashion over the past eight years and got to the point in 2010 where I wanted to set up my own brand. I went back to uni to study an MA in Textiles and Business, which was an intense year of setting up my brand from services to design to press to marketing – there was and still is so much to take care of. I am in my element when I get to work on a design project – leave me alone with a pen, paper, sunny day and a Mac… I’m happy!”
You studied textile design, but what prompted the move to wallpaper?
“I always enjoyed working on a large scale and making an impact within interior spaces. Whilst teaching I had the idea of creating mismatched wallpaper and wanted to challenge the preconceived ideas of what wallpaper was….so I broke the rules! My specialist area is printed textiles and surface pattern design, so I don’t just design for wallpaper – we often design for many other surfaces and work in collaboration with companies. For example we have worked on giftwrap and packaging, furnishing fabrics and fashion. I would love to work with a car brand, developing patterns for the exterior and interior. Our surface application is endless and I feel the design disciplines from textiles to graphic and fashion are all interlinked and very broad in scope.”
What inspires your work? Do you travel a lot, keep scrapbooks…
“Anything and everything inspires my work. I can be anywhere and have to photograph an interesting composition, colour spectrum or motif. All these can spark inspiration for a new collection and patterns. I love fashion and am often captured by people’s individual styles which can be very inspiring. I have traveled lots and again use my camera to capture all sorts of imagery that I keep for inspiration. To get ideas for a collection rolling I will print photos, textures and colour to create an overall mood board which is often a starting point for all my projects.”
Tell us about your presence in the London Design Festival 2015
“This September 2015 sees us at 100% Design. We will have on display our new collection and range of projects and hope to meet lots of new clients to get involved in some fantastic design projects for the coming year. We love designing for boutique hotel walls, bars, restaurants, hotels, packaging and car interiors and plan to push the brand this way over the next five years.”
Kirath Ghundoo is exhibiting at 100% Design, 23rd – 26th, London Olympia on stand L613 as part of the London Design Festival.