Renaissance of Zoffany’s Chintz Wallpaper – 30 years after its original release

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    In January 2014, Zoffany re-launch their iconic ‘Chintz’ wallpaper design. Originally printed by the company for Temple Newsam, a stately home near Leeds, it was then produced as a hand print for the company’s first wallpaper collection and has been a favourite of customers ever since. Using the latest technology of rotary screen printing, Zoffany are now able to offer this magnificent wallpaper to a wider audience.This serves as a prompt to reflect on the evolution of a great British design company: From its creative and auspicious beginnings, which were steeped in historical research and authenticity, to the contemporary global company that it has today become, creating designs for fabrics and wallpapers for luxury modern interiors but always with a nod to the heritage at its core.

    Zoffany’s Beginnings
    In the early 80s Zoffany’s founder Humphrey Boyle recognised a demand for a brand that could provide architects and interior designers with high quality “off the shelf” wallpapers based on heritage designs. Their idea was to analyse historical production methods and acquire documentary samples as a source from which to copy and sympathetically reproduce for a contemporary market.

    He then became involved in a renovation project of Temple Newsam in Leeds. This Tudor-Jacobean property turned out to be a treasure trove of long forgotten riches as the design team discovered fragments of wallpapers and fabrics dating back to the 17th Century, which they set about to rescue and archive. A small hand screen printing workshop was established nearby with the aim of recreating the historical wallcoverings.

    Some of these reconstructed patterns would eventually form the basis of Zoffany’s first range of wallpapers, released in 1984. The “Temple Newsam Collection” was an instant success, breathing new life into these iconic reminders of our rich design heritage and establishing Zoffany as a world leader in the art of reproducing “lost” fabrics and wallcoverings.

    Over the last 30 years Zoffany has augmented its offer by introducing further product lines: weaves of the highest quality yarns, exquisitely painted prints, decorative embroideries and trimmings, vinyl wallcoverings, heritage paints, furniture and rugs.

    Its design style has evolved to meet ever changing tastes. The invaluable archive, painstakingly assembled from around the globe, with donations from Zoffany customers and purchases bought at auction, continues to be a huge inspiration today.

    Liz Cann Design Director says; ‘One of the greatest advantages of an archive is that one can build on the skills and knowledge of past designers. We then combine this with new techniques and a contemporary eye to create something fresh and exciting’
    Its designers are true craftsmen, all creations are painted and developed by hand in the studio before going into production. They are constantly researching and developing new and innovative techniques to produce designs infused with modern style. As part of the Walkergreenbank group, they work with Zoffany’s sister factories to develop new products and finishes. As such they were pioneers of digital printing and foil printed wallcoverings. All wallcoverings and the majority of prints are produced in the UK.

    The design studio and archive are today situated at the head office in Denham: the hub that provides excellent customer service to its network of high quality retail partners and interior designers. All product lines are presented at the Flagship Zoffany showroom at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour. Zoffany is now represented in over 60 countries with subsidiaries in New York and Paris. With a Portfolio of products also suitable for the contract market, its products decorate the interiors of leading international hotels.

    As Zoffany prepares to enter its fourth decade it remains focused on pushing the brand forward while remaining faithful to its original standards and principles.

    Daniel Fountain / 10.01.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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