Meet Queen of Colour, Tricia Guild

The creative director and founder of Designers Guild, Tricia Guild OBE, is famed for her fresh and creative use of colour and print. She talks to us about staying power and the secret to great interior style

What inspired you to set up Designers Guild?
There was no concept of ‘lifestyle’ as we know it today when I started my shop on the King’s Road in 1970. I was rather frustrated by the lack of stores that showed the total look of home in a certain style. It was all rather dull and lacked any effervescence. I set up Designers Guild with a very small budget and tiny amounts of handprinted fabric, but I covered some furniture, laid rugs down, made cushions, created lampshades and presented a concept. I just did what felt right and I was very instinctive. Fortunately, it paid off.

It’s nearly 50 years since you opened your first shop. What do you think has been the key to the success of Designers Guild?
Innovation and evolution – there is something for everyone at Designers Guild. Whether it is a scented candle, a cushion, a one-off piece of art, beautiful jewellery, fabric, wallpaper or paint through to a bespoke interior design service, we have it all. The extraordinary breadth of our whites, neutrals and naturals has also been key. These complement our bolder signature shades and can also work beautifully alone.

Your designs are always so fresh and exciting – how do you come up with new ideas and what inspires your collections?
Thank you. I firmly believe that you are what you see – so much inspiration can be found in the world that surrounds us. These visual images become a kind of internal pattern book for me, which I draw upon in the creative process of designing collections. I am inspired mainly by art, architecture, fashion, nature and, of course, travel.

Do you think that interior trends inspire creativity or do they mean that people are scared to be original?
There is nothing more satisfying than a living space that feels unique to you. I would say that people should take from trends the elements that appeal to them and let their own creativity blossom. At Designers Guild we offer many different pieces of furniture, and each of these can come to life with a personal selection of fabrics and trimmings. When this is combined with paint, wallpaper, fabrics and accessories, then a room is transformed. These vital ingredients give your space personality and make it truly yours.

Do you have any favourite colour combinations?
I am drawn to fresh, clear, vital colours – in particular, cooler colours with hot, vivid accents. This combination of tones maintains both balance and drama. I love black and white, too. For me, it is timeless.

Are there any particular rules people should follow when it comes to decorating with colour and print?
Choosing anything for one’s own home is very much a personal choice, but I would suggest that when using lots of pattern and colour it is a good idea to counterbalance it with masses of white, and to keep the floor and ceiling neutral. This will prevent the scheme from becoming overwhelming and keep a sense of harmony.

How would you describe your personal style?
Contemporary, eclectic and dynamic.

Which object in your home would you never part with?
A treasured piece of art that enriches my life – it is a tossup between a Bill Jacklin and a Howard Hodgkin, and also my cappuccino machine as I adore good coffee!

What’s next for Designers Guild?
More collections! Each launch is a complete labour of love, but then it is always onwards to the next collection, so watch this space.

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