I first discovered Fromental in 2006 when I was working on a house in Alabama and wanted something special and unusual for a powder room. We were looking at different plaster finishes and hand troweled surfaces but once we saw the intricately embroidered wallpaper called Peace Blossom from Fromental we were sold. I was in the George Smith showroom and thought that I had exhausted all the wallpaper lines trying to find something that was both beautifully crafted and had an Eastern influence but needed to be decidedly modern for this particular installation. The wallpaper worked perfectly and gave the space a different dimension and depth with the embroidered blossoms floating on a hand painted tree that was custom designed to wrap the bath. I’ve been a fan ever since and had the opportunity to meet with Tim Butcher, who founded the company with his partner Lizzie Deshayes and Melissa Mittag, the US director of Sales and Marketing in my office recently to see the new collection. Following is a preview of some of the exquisite new designs.
Fromental was founded in 2005 by Tim Butcher and Lizzie Deshayes. Tim spent a couple of years in tailoring, producing silks for designers including Paul Smith, Timothy Everest, Duchamp and Ralph Lauren after graduating in textile design as a weaver. During his seven years as Creative Director at chinoiserie house de Gournay, his creative focus was as much on the technology and process as the visuals of design. He established new production abilities and launched a fabric and fashion business for the wallpaper house, including collaborations with Matthew Williamson, Oscar de la Renta and Christina Kim (dosa). Butcher’s focus began to shift from fashion to interiors and he worked with several leading players in the London interior design scene creating unique custom installations for many private and public spaces. Lizzie also studied textile design and began her career creating prints for silk neckwear prior to becoming a personal designer for Anthony Little of Osborne and Little. Deshayes then ventured into freelance work as a decorative artist for de Gournay, Fortnum and Mason, dosa, handbag designer Alessandra Ferreira and Clarence House. Together with Butcher, she established the handmade interiors house Fromental primarily working as the Design Director displaying strong draughtsmanship skills which often help complete the complex installations of their stunning wallpapers. Butcher serves as the company’s Creative Director as the company has gone from strength to strength continually breaking boundaries in the field of bespoke wallpaper design. Below is inspiration and a larger sample panel of Doro, one of my favorite new patterns inspired by a bed designed by Osvaldo Borsani and Arnaldo Pomodoro in 1960 for Tecno. The bed images were taken from a recent auction at Wright in Chicago and the drawings intricately capture the sheen of the brass frame and the multicolored fire enameled brass onto hand painted silk.
In addition to these incredible new designs that bridge traditional and modern design, Fromental is also introducing two new hand painted patterns Lalo and Marquise both inspired by Lalique crystal. Lalo feels like bubbles floating in space and form stunning new patterns with their fluid composition and Marquise, a faceted crystal rays shine on fields of ebony, silver and champagne colored silk with delicate ivory and gold. I caught up with Tim Butcher and asked more about the genesis of these two sparkling new compositions. “Marquise is inspired by cut glass door panels from the 20’s, Lizzie and I developed the sketch for Lalo some time ago as just recently it feels its time had come. In fact the original swept curve and texture came from a detail of a cast bronze sculpture. The original was deep brown with bright green verdigris. A colourway that will be included as we roll out the design.”
Fromental is also expanding their Chinoiserie line and experimenting with embossing and gold highlighted relief patterns with birds and florals. There is a breathtaking embroidered pattern of pampas grass blowing in dunes that I hope to use in an upcoming project. The colors are so soft and still have the hand painted feeling of some of their most delicate designs but the gold embroidered fronds of grass have the same timeless appeal of the Chinese influenced works.
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