Designer Q&A: Agnes de Vlin, Lead Designer at Figure2Ground

Figure2Ground is an surface design studio based in Ireland whose designs are characterized by a dynamic geometric statement.Darragh  Agnes web

Figure2Ground produce surface design concepts and solutions that are scalable, modular and can be engineered for specific components and decorative fabrications in digital, conventional and bespoke production technology. Darragh Murray, studio manager, feels it is the eagerness of their lead designer, Agnes de Vlin to express colour and pattern in its abstract and semi-abstract forms that underpins the vitality in their design process. (Pictured right)

We were able to speak with Agnes de Vlin who is also a practicing artist working in the medium of print. She studied at Bath Academy of Art, Crawford School of Art, Cork and Falmouth University. As lead designer with Figure2Ground, Agnes brings her distinctive handwriting which combines hand rendered and digital media to the global interiors market.  Beacon Room set2 webSo Agnes, How did you get into design and what is it you love about it most?

In secondary school I was tasked with creating the maps for the geography room as I instinctively have an ability to reason with abstract shapes. This intuitive outlook paired with my consuming interest in typography and tessellations led me to initially study Graphic design.  After college I worked in the Dublin theatre scene from Beckett to Shakespeare to Commedia dell’arte street performance and pageantry.

Working across a variety of disciplines from scene painting, graphic design, prop making, costume design and construction in a physically skilled environment is where my drawing process of using and mixing different source materials stems from.

What I love about design is, the optimism we feel in the search for solutions.Traction_ wenHow do you see surface/pattern design changing over the next 5 years?

My key words here are autonomy, energy and restraint. I believe that traditional methodologies in surface pattern design combined with advancing digital technologies now has the capability to produce substrates for the interiors market that are infinitely more variable in texture, vitality and with a greater depth of expression. I see opportunities emerging in surface design to explore pattern as a phenomenon that not only exists on a static plane, but that can reside within a spatial dynamic to stimulate unique, holistic, sensory experiences.

What are your design essentials?

Simplicity of concept and adjectives; I love adjectives, they describe the quality, quantity and the sequence of things, they add clarity to concepts and ideas. My guiding design adjectives include sharp, clean, structured, rich and earthy.Sink·Sync·Surface webWhat do you always carry around with you for when inspiration strikes?

Listening, reading and gathering descriptions of colour and shape combinations are generally the leads I use to get jump started on a new collection, so I always carry a jotter and pencil.

What are you working on now?

I am currently working on a collection which recognises a number of iconic designers who have influenced me over the years, these include Eileen Gray, Paul Rand and Shirley Craven. This collection is in the process of being prepared for sampling on textiles, wallcoverings, luxury vinyl tiles and glass.breeze flooring web

For more information visit or follow Figure2Ground on Instagram at



About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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