Second Home - Domesticating the Office with Natasha Marshall
With an established reputation in domestic and hospitality interiors built over the past 20 years, Natasha believes that traditionally domestic treatments offer a great opportunity to enhance workspaces too. In collaboration with Natasha and her team, KI has developed a new collection of metal and worktop finishes, inspired by biophilic design and are selected to complement the Ikon and Alegre print collections. On display at KI’s reception, these finishes and fabrics demonstrate how a typical corporate environment can be easily transformed to create a warmer, inviting, homely space.
Natasha suggests asking yourself a simple question when making decisions about workplace interiors - whether it's colours, finishes, upholstery, furniture, lighting, flooring or artwork; "If you wouldn't want it at home, why would you want it in your office?"
We asked Natasha about crossing over to commercial interiors, what inspires her, what lies ahead, and what advice she would give to budding textile designers.
[KI] What do you think are the benefits of creating a softer, more homely office environment?
[NM] People love spending time in a space that feels inspiring and when this has feelings of being at home they don't mind putting in long hours. Pattern and colour make you smile. People also feel proud to work in an environment that looks cool. We saw this first hand when we first moved into the new design studio we built in 2007. Our simple geometric designs are timeless and don't detract from the architectural space or corporate office, yet bring a feeling of happiness into the environment. We were inspired to create a relaxed and happy space with the flair of modern design in the KI reception area to showcase how pattern and colour work.
[KI] What do you think makes a space 'homely'?
[NM] A beautiful mix of soft and hard surfaces. Using pattern and colours you would want to live with at home. Natural fibre fabrics or fabrics that look like linens or cottons rather than the expected polyesters and 'coffee-spill-proof'
fabrics common in commercial interiors.
[KI] Is there a growing interest for your products for commercial interiors?
[NM] Yes, due to the simplicity and timeless feel to our fabrics and wallpapers they lend themselves to commercial and residential interiors. People love how they feel in their interiors once they use our designs and colours. They are always surprised how soft the graphics prints look once made into curtains, blinds, cushions or added to walls as wallpaper.
[KI] Do you see any challenges of bringing home decor to the office?
[NM] Not if you keep the choice of patterns and colour combinations simple. It is amazing how easily pattern and soft textures in fabrics can soften a space.
[KI] What kind of patterns and colours do you feel best suit modern architecture?
[NM] Greys and off whites with pops of colour. We always strive to create patterns that are timeless. We want pattern and colours to enhance the architectural space rather than detract from it. My favourite designs for this are Drift, Flip, Zip and Plectrum. My own taste in interiors is very clean and architectural and I felt that there were no fabrics and wallpapers at the time when we started, in 1997, that answered this look. Therefore, I decided straight after graduating, to set up my own business to create fabrics and wallpapers for the interior market with this distinct handwriting. For the Natasha Marshall brand we create contemporary graphic designs for fabrics & wallpaper that showcase the best of British design & manufacturing.
[KI] Where do you go for inspiration for your patterns and colours for your fabrics & wallpapers?
[NM] I take photos daily of colour combinations; patterns in nature or the urban city that will inspire me. I love travelling to new places for inspiration. I the love sharing these on Instagram, Pinterest and my Blog so I can go back and see my thoughts evolving.
[KI] What’s the one thing you can’t do without in your workspace?
[NM] My Apple Mac!
[KI] Speaking of tech, how do you think it will change your industry over the next few years?
[NM] More and more people are happy ordering fabric, wallpaper, furniture and rugs online. We are excited about exploring the use of augmented reality tools to help customers visualise their interiors with our patterns. I so enjoy seeing customers interiors using our fabrics and wallpapers so we are looking at ways technology can help this area grow. Loving working with the ever changing world of social media - currently we use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote our designs.
[KI] What has been your favourite, or most unusual project so far?
[NM] A 9m climbing wall curtain for a client’s hallway made in our Drift design. And, supplying all the curtains, blinds, furniture and wallpaper to beautiful architectural award winning house in the West Coast of Scotland cut into the rocks overlooking the sea. Including creating a bespoke wallpaper from the blueprints of their yacht.
[KI] What is your favourite part of your job?
[NM] Working with pattern and colour every day in a studio that we designed and built ourselves. It feels like home as it is designed by the same architects as our home, Cameron Webster Architects. I also love to see how customers use our iconic designs to create beautiful, fun loving, bright but calm modern interiors with our simple but elegant designs.
[KI] What advice would you give an aspiring fabric designer?
[NM] Be clear on what you love about interiors and how your designs would enhance the interior space. Create a distinct handwriting to your work so people see your passion and story. Enjoy the whole experience of the business.
[KI] If you weren’t a fabric designer, what would you be doing?
[NM] I’d be an architect or chef. Instead, I include these as hobbies in my spare time - working on new developments closely with architect friends. Plus my love of cooking and entertaining right through to growing many foods in my edible garden. Both myself and my husband Neil are design and architecture nuts! We have designed and built both our Studio and Home in collaboration with architect friends, Cameron Webster, and both buildings have won prestigious architectural awards. The properties are situated in the West End of Glasgow and showcase all our own fabrics and wallpapers throughout. Both properties were created from derelict buildings we had found down lanes in Glasgow that had been left unloved. We are hopefully about to start a new development next month turning a run-down commercial property into a luxury two-bedroom flat.
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