Following the spectacular launch of Burlington’s Bespoke Collection earlier this year – and to mark the start of our Year in Review series – editor Hamish Kilburn caught up with Burlington’s marketing manager, Faye Froy, and Julie Ingham who was the designer behind that colourful and eclectic range of bathroom products…
British designer Julie Ingham is known for creating patterns and illustrations for packaging, greeting cards, homewares, textiles and books. However, recently, she was asked by Burlington to take a leap into a new segment of the design industry, to help the bathroom brand create its most recent hero collection.
Representing a new era of classic bathroom design, Bespoke by Burlington is a distinctive and unique collection of coloured and hand-decorated ceramics. Offering true customisation, the new products provide architects, specifiers and designers with an unsurpassed level of individuality, placing Burlington at the very forefront of modern-day bathroom design, whilst remaining true to its historic influences and style.
To understand more about the collection, I caught up with Ingham and Faye Froy, Marketing Manager at Burlington:
Hamish Kilburn: What are the challenges of designing a ‘bespoke’ range for a commercial market?
Faye Froy: The Bespoke collection was created to offer the customer alternatives to our normal white finish. Whilst white looks stunning and will still be the main choice, there is increasing demand for colour and for decoration. We developed the technology to make the wide range offered in the Bespoke collection and this gives Burlington the chance to offer colours, single colour decoration and multi-colour decoration. Now we have the process fine-tuned we can produce these with short lead times (6 weeks) on a made to order basis. Within the range is Bespoke lettering which allows Burlington to personalise with the name of the home such a “The Old Dairy” and we can also produce with hotel or business logos on.
There are no specific challenges in extending this to the commercial market, and for contracts we can produce bespoke designs if the project is looking for a unique design or unique colour.
HK: Why is 2020 the ideal year to launch the Bespoke Collection?
FF: It was always part of our strategy to launch the Bespoke collection this year. When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit we quickly agreed that we still wanted to launch the collection but in a different way. Instead of the launch event we originally planned on hosting in London, we moved the launch online, engaging various high-profile influencers to promote the brand and a two-week launch was created. It was such an exciting month where we created such a buzz and we gained so much coverage through our press and social channels.
It was important to Burlington that we still went ahead with the launch. Many businesses this year have delayed their new products to 2021 but that gave us more of a reason to push ahead and create something new and exciting for the brand.
HK: What was the thinking behind the colours you chose for the collection?
Julie Ingham: The colours came from an enormous amount of research into bathroom trends. I looked at what colours people already had in their bathrooms and how they used them and what they were comfortable with. I also looked at colour historically in bathrooms both domestically and commercially. But probably most importantly how colour would sit on such an iconic bathroom shape. We wanted to give the product a new edge and feel, whilst still retaining a balance and direction towards what the shape represents. I Photo-shopped about 200 colours onto basins to get the right feel. Colour is so individual and logistically we had to choose three for production. I think the colour choice was harder than the pattern choice!
HK: How would you describe the collection in three words?
JI: Stylish, inspired and iconic.
HK: If you were to design an extension to the Bespoke Collection, what themes would you explore?
JI: A children’s range, with boats and bunting perhaps in nursery style pastel shades. I adore the work on Eric Ravillious, and Midwinter’s Jessie Tait, so perhaps a nod in their direction, geometric and landscapes. Trees, forests, dark greens swaying movements. My personal favourites from the collection we designed are the Oriental Blossom and Spring Forest designs and I would like to continue the organic feel that I think these two have.
HK: How has the pandemic changed peoples’ perception of bathrooms in hotel design?
FF: The bathroom is a room that certainly should not be overlooked. Often heavily featured on Instagram, blogs and in magazines with the heading of ‘the best Instagrammable bathrooms to visit,’ consumers are looking for high design quality throughout every room in a hotel, and the bathroom will often heavily influence their decision on whether to book a stay. Whether the bathroom is bold and colourful, or is a spa-like haven to retreat to, consumers will wish to stay in hotels with Instagrammable bathrooms.
With the pandemic resulting is us all spending much more time in our homes, getting away to a hotel whether for a one-night stay or a week away is more important than ever. Consumers will want to feel like they are really escaping day to day life, so hotel design will become more important than ever to offer the guest that true feeling of relax, rest and rejuvenate. The bathroom will continue to play a big part of that theme.
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Main image credit: Burlington