Autumn Collection

Fabrics and Wallpapers

Inspired by botanical motifs borrowed from historic and modern works of art, Soane’s Autumn collection speaks to Britain’s enduring fascination with flowers.

The launch of ‘Violas’, designed in collaboration with needlework artist Viola Shackleton, marks Soane’s first foray into printed velvets. The fabric’s plush indigo pile is strewn with jewel-toned violas – their highly saturated colours making the design particularly versatile. The floral forms are inspired by Shackleton’s preparatory drawings for her embroidered artworks, while the exuberant, almost abstract size of the blooms mirror the long floating stitches of her large-scale needleworks. The choice to contrast the flowers against a rich, dark ground is an homage to the work of another British artist fascinated by flowers, Mary Delany (1700-1788), whose pioneering botanical collages made with coloured papers on black card were a frequent reference point in creating the collection.

‘Violas’ is complemented by a verdant array of floral fabrics and wallpapers with motifs borrowed from historic pieces in Soane’s textile archive. Named for the famously lavish outdoor balls held in nineteenth century Paris’ Jardin Mabille, ‘Mabille’s’ jacquard-woven kaleidoscope of flamboyant daisies on a rich blue ground is translated from an unusual Napoleon III-era French carpet. A bold, playful design, it has an exceptionally large vertical repeat measuring more than 3 metres.

An ancient symbol of the miracle of spring and the abundance of harvest, the luscious bunches of screen-printed grapes that pattern ‘Bibiana’ (named for the patron saint of hangovers!) are borrowed from a nineteenth century silk appliqué. ‘Sweetpea’ is a romantic re-interpretation of a Victorian-era chintz with delicate blooms in pink or white against a traditionally glazed white ground, and the charming simplicity of ‘Burdur Leaf’, printed in five versatile colourways, is adapted from a finely woven eighteenth century Turkish silk.

Offering a garden full of colours to choose from, the collection is beautifully paired with the soft neutrals of ‘Byzantium’, a textured weave inspired by a nineteenth century hand-quilted Ottoman robe, and ‘Fretwork’, a muted yet characterful wallpaper inspired by the quatrefoil fretwork designs found in ancient Coptic architecture.

New Furniture and Lighting Designs

Botanical motifs and natural forms also punctuate Soane’s new furniture and lighting designs. The most technically challenging collection to date, the designs demonstrate the skills of the very best makers in Britain and epitomise the cross-collaboration between craftspeople that sets Soane apart. Made by artists, engineers, patinators and rattan weavers, new lighting designs include wall, floor and ceiling lights. The exaggerated, seamless silhouette of the Garland Hanging Light speaks to decorative garlands traditionally associated with celebration. Given the complexity of the manufacturing processes, whether made from metal alone or metal meticulously wrapped in rattan, this ceiling light truly is the show pony of the new lighting collection.

The organic form of The Fungi Wall Light is hand-poured in jesmonite by artist Sophie Coryndon, cast from an antique tree fungus, which was in Soane’s early collections. Due to the retirement of the octogenarian artist who painted the lights for many years, the design was discontinued until Soane could find another artist to do justice to the original. The boldly scaled Curlew Floor Light conjures the elegant arc of a curlew’s slender beak.

It was an antique bird cage in Soane’s collection which inspired the Rattan Aviary Lantern, while the more unusual Etienne Hanging Light’s generous, octagonal shade (whether created in metal or rattan) is reminiscent of hot air balloons and borrows its name from Jacques Etienne Montgolfier – one of the brothers attributed to having built the first flying balloon.

As with all Soane’s rattan designs, the Rattan Harmonia Stool is made by craftspeople in its own Leicestershire workshop. Named after the goddess of harmony, the daughter of Venus, this stool’s structure is a reincarnation of the original Venus Chair, topped with a sleek, square upholstered top finished with finely made split-cane beading.

A pair of favourite chairs re-join the collection, refined to ensure maximum comfort. The Rattan Loggia Armchair is more relaxed and generously proportioned than its siblings while the Blower Chair has elegant turned legs and a fluted back, traditionally upholstered in Somerset using natural materials. The much-loved Carafe Table also has two new stone tops.

The Santo Sospir Willow Sofa

For the first time Soane is delighted to introduce a willow design – the Santo Sospir Willow Sofa. Chosen for its beautifully organic, dappled appearance, willow is lighter in weight than rattan. Traditionally associated with basketry, willow is a sustainable material, grown locally in Britain. So local that second generation willow weaver Eddie Glew cultivates and harvests rods himself, just a stone’s throw from his studio in Staffordshire, England.

The design’s history, however, has roots in sunnier climes. Named after the renowned Villa Santo Sospir on the Cote d’Azur, with interiors famously decorated by Madeleine Castaing and “tattooed” by Jean Cocteau, the sofa takes inspiration from an original piece sourced by Castaing in 1949 and recently re-commissioned by the Villa to be made in Soane’s workshops.

This edition in willow is pioneering in its mixing of both these natural materials, with a rattan cane frame supporting an intricately woven, double-staked diamond latticework back in willow.