Creative Space: Dominique Caplan, Gainsborough

Dominique Caplan is the Head of Design at Gainsborough. We invited Dominique to speak about her favourite creative space.

Founded in 1903 and holder of a Royal Warrant to HM The Queen, Gainsborough embodies British craftsmanship; our fabrics hang in the finest hotels, palaces, museums and fine homes, private jets and yachts around the world.

DominiquePlease could you introduce yourself?

I am Dominique Caplan, Head of Design, and have been with Gainsborough for five and a half years and still as much in love with the Mill as when I first saw it. After graduating from Central Saint Martins with a First Class Hons Degree, I was trained by my predecessor of over 20 years’ experience; I now head up a small but very talented team of designers operating at the Mill in Sudbury, Suffolk and in our Chelsea Harbour showroom in London.

Can you tell us about a space/environment that has inspired you recently and why?

We recently did the photoshoot for our Saluté collection at the House of St Barnabas, a charity for the homeless and a private members’ club on Soho Square. The club uses funds raised by its members to run three-month employment preparation programs. It is a fantastic place both for what they do and also for the gorgeous original rococo interiors, a welcoming surprise in the middle of chaotic London.

Design Insider Gainsborough Creative Space Charity House

With many graduates from the programme employed by and maintaining the high standards expected from the club, we spent a most enjoyable day with photographer Chris Reeve in their Bazalgette Room. You can’t help but be inspired by a day of creativity in such lovely surroundings, styling the Saluté collection where every single fabric is stunningly beautiful.

Gainsborough silk

If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend a visit to the private chapel – a stunning space with glowing stained glass windows looking out onto the same garden seen by Charles Dickens when writing his novel, A Tale of Two Cities.

Design Insider Gainsborough Chapel

How have you used this inspiration to inform your designs?

The Saluté collection was designed and intended to make interior spaces extraordinary. A collection of seven archival designs in 25 contemporary, usable colourways, Saluté reveals Gainsborough at its most sumptuous and beautiful. Built around the eponymous Saluté design, which graced the walls of the First Class Dining Saloon on RMS Titanic, the collection takes its lead from an era when beauty and design were pursued for their own sakes. 

Karen Beauchamp, designer of a new collection from Gainsborough, along with her fabrics, the Gainsborough archives at the Gainsborough Silk Mill.

In setting out to create this most special of collections, the Design team imagined where Saluté would go but also took a step back to refocus on what identifies truly successful fabrics; an uncompromising curation of some of Gainsborough’s finest archival pieces followed, resulting in a collection of fabrics whose handle and drape are as pleasing to the senses as their design and colour. 

Design Insider Gainsborough Creative Space Dye House

Expertly crafted in our dye house and weaving shed in Sudbury, Suffolk, the Saluté collection is the product of the combination of fine design and highest quality manufacturing that Gainsborough has practised for over 115 years; Saluté is our homage to timeless craftsmanship.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *