There is something quite primal and gratifying about making furniture. Designing and functional and decorative items to use and cherish in their homes is something people have done for thousands of years. I was drawn to Roome London initially because I was and remain a great fan of their furniture, which is painstakingly crafted to achieve a truly luxurious finish. The team has a niche, specific way of creating real wow-factor, one-of-a-kind pieces for the home. The furniture is art-like, in that each piece benefits from the decorative qualities of print-making. There is heritage here for me, having started my career as a print designer. I wanted to create a range of furniture that incorporates my favourite patterns and prints to elevate the practicalities of contemporary furniture. The addition of vibrant colour and pattern elevates the pieces beyond mere function. They are pieces of art in themselves.
Another reason I am thrilled about this collaboration with Roome London is that it is a British company. ‘Made in Britain’ is a rare and special accolade that we should celebrate. British design is a cornerstone of our identity, visually as well as emotionally.
For this furniture collection, I have taken inspiration from traditional furniture decorating methods such as the application and development of patina, marquetry and painted furniture. This collection features a new take on patterning, which is exciting. The pieces aren’t painted, but instead, make use of a more technologically advanced process of superfine upholstery techniques. The wooden frame is given a dark lacquer finish to emphasise the natural beauty of the grain, making each piece unique and adding a striking contrast to the overall look of the finished piece.
The collection harks back to antique decorative furniture. In many of the pieces, you can almost see the way traditional motifs in marquetry have been injected with colour to bring them to life out of the wooden tones of the inlaid wood. This historical influence is entirely intentional. These pieces of furniture are life-long additions to your home, so I wanted to retain an element of the classical, so they have a timeless feel with a contemporary edge. I like to think these items are future classics. They are glamorous and decadent but liveable, old-school but fresh, high-octane but romantic.
One of the many joys of these pieces is that they work seamlessly amongst vintage and antique items in the home. The classical silhouettes lend themselves to the elegance of an antique-laden space. The statement bar cabinets are designed to be filled with your mix-and-match collection of vintage glassware, while the contemporary circular screens would set off an antique rattan headboard in a glamorous bedroom effortlessly. The age-old, classic rub of old against new in the home contributes to the electric eccentricity of a quintessentially Matthew Williamson look. If you do wish to buy new furniture, ensure that the companies you buy from are doing everything they can to make their processes and products environmentally sustainable. Each of the pieces in my Roome London collection uses FSC-regulated timber, ensuring that every time a tree is felled, another is planted in its place.
The pieces in this collection are very versatile, so would work well in most rooms in the house. The bar cabinet is perhaps the most niche in terms of its functionality, but I see it in an impactful lounge or drawing room, flanked by low-lying, sleek sofas and little cocktail stools. It would also be perfect in a dimly lit, sultry members bar. The screens, cabinets and sideboards work beautifully in romantic, feminine bedrooms or dressing rooms, especially the urn, tumbling with florals.