Designer Q&A: Kit Miles with Jim Biddulph

As a contemporary design studio, Kit Miles Studio is synonymous with beautiful draftsmanship, exquisite repeat pattern work, impressive scale and sometimes surprising, but always exciting uses of colour. Having graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Textile Design Kit set about taking his distinct style, which stems from his unique ability to select, draw and combine captivating imagery as cohesive designs, to the commercial market.  His sumptuous fabrics and wallpapers have continued to develop with numerous new and refreshing collections having been released since he started out and his work has been seen within various properties and publications across the world.

With a number of exciting collaborations having occurred, it’s already been a very busy year for Kit, and there’s still more to come! I caught up with Kit in his London based studio to hear more about what he’s been up to and what we can expect for the rest of the year.

So I lost count of how many of your wonderful designs I strolled across in Moooi’s space at Milan this year, how did that collaboration come about?

Moooi approached me to create a bespoke carpet for Tent London (Now the London Design Fair) during last years London Design Festival. For that, we filled a 100 square meter space with a surrealist landscape of rolling planes, disappearing archways and abstracted forms. The effect was quite futurist yet hinted at the deco tradition and it really set the tone in terms of my ambition for a large scale, abstract carpet design. The Moooi team flew out to see us here at our London studio and we had an amazing three hour-long meeting where we essentially came up with the collection there and then. Fast forward to March this year and having worked with Desire and Martin from Moooi we created an edit from our current collections to bring to their extraordinary world of carpets. The result was stunning and the feedback wa s fantastic. It’s great for us as a studio to cover new ground and it’s amazing to get to do that in carpet design and production. It such a great feeling to have our three stunning broadloom designs available in colour ways and in custom scales through Moooi Carpets.

“during one particularly misty Autumn morning last year.
The gates loomed in the mist and captivated me. The idea is that doorways and gates always offer the promise of discovering what lies beyond”

You’ve continued to find new and sometimes unexpected visual combinations in your designs. How do you go about this process, where do you draw inspiration? And are there any new designs we should look out for?

This year I launched Europa, it’s a design that is very close to my heart. The concept started when I was walking through Greenwich park close to my home in South East London during one particularly misty Autumn morning last year. The gates loomed in the mist and captivated me. The idea is that doorways and gates always offer the promise of discovering what lies beyond. My work is all about the ‘increasing view’ or presenting reality in all of its astonishing detail through symbolism and gesture. The design looks like gates but if you read the graphic language, you will also notice moons and planetary forms with a beautiful rain of stars falling down the design, insinuating the discovery of new worlds and the wonders of science. We also left the European union around the same time and it felt right to bring double entendre into the artworks name. As with all of our collections, the market for this is residential and commercial, so it’s important that I bring in the right balance of imagery and colour. Although you would be surprised what the modern office is drawn to!

modern minimalist living room

“You would be surprised what the modern office is drawn to!”

I noticed recently that some of your paper seem to have an almost iridescent quality to them, is this a new departure for the studio?

Well it’s certainly another fresh element that we’ve looked to bring to our collection. We started to use Opalescent as a whole new base material earlier in the year and it’s so exciting! The quality of the paper is a welcome introduction for us. All of our ranges have drawings upon drawings within the designs and most of the time, drawing is about observing light. Therefore, introducing a paper, which physically reflects and changes the light feels right. It really builds on what we’re great at; designing exquisite and captivating stories for walls for the 21st century and beyond.

I heard on the grapevine that you might also be developing some interior products, is that true?

Yes – we’re launching a home appliance range with Dualit later this month! We began discussions with Dualit earlier this year and we found the proposal interesting because our work always deals with large spaces and negotiating the challenges and opportunities within a finite space was a welcome one. We have also designed matching surfaces so you can really dress your home in the whole look!

You’ve already done so much this year already, but is there anything else in the pipeline that we should keep an eye out for?

We are releasing some amazing new patterns namely a design called ‘Ultraviolet Garden’ in all new colour ways. We have a very interesting Presentation coming up in November at the ‘Holiday House’ in west London too. Moooi will be releasing our broadloom designs as rugs online in 4 colour ways. They resonate both on a familiar level with quiet subversions making them harmonious yet interesting – perfect for a hotel project or even for your home!  Our business is growing and we cannot wait to share the world of Kit Miles with as many people as we can reach!

 

Watch out for the Kit Miles website re-launch later in the summer and for news on brand new wallpapers coming out very soon

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About Jim Biddulph

Jim is Material Lab's Editor at Large, conducting ongoing research around cutting-edge surface materials. He is also the founder of Here You Are Studio, and is a lecturer at Buckingham New University.
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