Recently I have been working with brilliant design studio Graphic Thought Facility on a wallpaper for Pizza Express, as part of a project looking at a new approach in the interiors and graphic design of Pizza Express, which was being led by interior architect Ab Rogers.

The basic black and white stripe synonymous with pizza express was the basic starting point for the wallpaper design, as well as an abstract landscape pattern I had previously designed. A reference point in terms of overall atmosphere, was the hotel of Gio Ponti's Parco die Principi in Sorrento, a feat in modernism; the attention to detail, and the functionality of his design is brilliant.

I was asked to explore creating a pattern that would develop a sense of an italian landscape, but the main emphasis was to be on forms and composition rather than figuration.

During the initial research stages, I looked a lot at the tuscan town of San Gimignano, which aside from being the birthplace of my grandma Luigia, is a incredible hilltop town with numerous towers punching the skies, a steep hill climbs to reach a square in its centre, and in every direction a pleasing jumble of architectural beauty. The challenge was breaking down the architecture I was seeing into the simplest forms I could, and trying to retain a balance of everything that was in mind. Trying to see the negative space as being of equal importance to the forms.

A site specific variation design can now be found at Pizza Express Fulham (see photos above), and then shortly the complete wallpaper design at new branch Brent Cross (I will post up soon), with possible other locations to follow.

It has been a wonderful project to work on, many thanks to Mike and Andy at GTF.

workbook with reference of San Gimignano:

One of the initial original drawings i made for the design:

The final composition of one of the panels of wallpaper:

Details from the design:


This week I cut my weaving off the 4 shaft table loom that I have been working on since the start if my weaving course which I began in September. The first month or so was getting to grips with knowledge of how to put the warp onto the loom which is quite an undertaking, but I imagine would get easier the more you do it. The close up photos above represent about 4 or 5 hours work in each section, to give you an idea of the time involved, if you are not familiar with the process of weaving. After listening to what I hoped to explore within the process of weaving, the course tutor directed me to try out various open work techniques such as leno, brooks bouquet, danish medallions, spanish lace within sections of plain weave, as well as twills (the diagonals), and I also tried double weave which allows you to create 2 layers of weaving simultaneously which provides strength in the fabric as well as possibilities of different faces on either side of the fabric. I tried to approach the weaving as I would normally approach making work, to find a spontaneity within a rigid structure.
I have been reading a lot about weaving, about weavers of the past, and weaving in different cultures, looking mainly at pre-columbian south american techniques and what often overwhelms me in learning about weaving is the amount of pre-planning needed to make a weaving, which is something I don't feel I have a great capacity for. When making work I like to take a starting point and then explore it as I go. I don't find much joy in the idea of mapping everything out and then fleshing it out. I get very bored easily and hope to always be discovering and experimenting. So I am happy to learn that there is a way of weaving where you can just see where it takes you.

Hanging in the window, the light shining through the fabric, to reveal the open work.

Yesterday I visited The Handweavers Studio in Finsbury Park, which is a treasure trove for weaving with yarns and unspun fibres of every kind and beautiful hand crafted tools as well as looms, and books and basically everything you could ever think of for weaving. I spent a good few hours there, and chose some new yarns for my next sample. What I want to explore next is the surface texture of the fabric, as well as the balance between strength and fragility, bold and intricate, open and compact within the construction. I chose linen for its strength, and numerous samples of yarns containing plastics and metals, which is something I will think about using in the future.

Other than weaving, I am currently undertaking a wall commission for pizza express with Graphic Thought Facility, and working on a short artists book for Little Otsu. More about those projects soon.