Designer Q&A: Kit Kemp X Wilton Carpets

In November, Design Insider were lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the collaboration collection of Firmdale Hotels Co-Founder & Design Director, Kit Kemp and British heritage carpet manufacturer, Wilton Carpets. 

Kit Kemp has a very playful approach with her designs – She is not afraid to mix and match different patterns and textures and can use surprising colour palettes. Kit has been designing for over 30 years and her hotel brand has a reputation of uniqueness and championing of British design – A perfect fit for Wilton Carpets.

I jumped on the tube and headed to The Soho Hotel, just off of Oxford Street. I was greeted by the lovely Wilton team and a glass of bubbly. I was then treated to an exclusive preview of the 5th floor 2-bedroom terrace suites, where the new collection was lain out – a true feast for the eyes. Kit Kemp was kind enough to give us an inside scoop and talk to us about this collaboration…Kit Kemp Wilton Carpet Collection The Soho Hotel - By Way Blue webSo Kit, How did the collaboration with Wilton come about?

Wilton approached me because of our status in the hotel industry for a creative and unique look. I had always respected Wilton Carpets as one of the true originals. Their name is synonymous with the best quality and I felt we could really add good designs to their range.

Can you talk me through the design process for this collection?

When we were asked to create a new hospitality, travel and home collection for Wilton we realised that there were very few heavily patterned carpets in the marketplace that we would consider using. So often, the colours were crude and the scale of designs were wrong for our hotels.

Our aim for the collection was to bring a handcrafted feel into modern methods of production.  I know that this sounds like an oxymoron but with the new loom at Wilton we could explore a new look, to give the same impression that a handblocked or Batik fabric would give in colour, scale and feel to an interior space. Kit Kemp Wilton Carpet Collection The Soho Hotel The Terrace Suite - Tweed Fleck and Squiggle webWe have loved working with Wilton Carpets. There was never a lack of ideas when we started the collection only the difficulties of capturing them and making it possible with the latest techniques and machinery. Wilton have been open to our process and ideas, it has been a joy to work with the creative team. This is what makes the Kit Kemp Collection stand out today. There is always the unsurpassed quality of a Wilton weave carpet that makes it resilient and very hard-wearing but now with a new design concept.

 There are a number of inspirations behind the Collection, Botanical, Geometric, Architectural,  Folklore, and  Modern Classic. Botanical, in particular with our “Flower and Berry” design and “Leaf Cut”. Geometric with “Squiggle” and “Domino”. Architectural with our designs called  “Detail” and “Byway”. Folklore with our designs  “Open Plan” and “Batik” and Modern Classic with our design “Tweed Fleck”.Kit Kemp Wilton Carpet Collection The Soho Hotel The Library - Domino webWhich is your favourite design of the collection and why?

I had forgotten that luxurious feeling of being in a room with a beautifully designed woven carpet. This collection using scale and colour can immediately give new life to your interiors. I love all the designs and would use them in varying situations.

What do you think makes for good design?

It has to satisfy all the senses. Colour makes you feel happy in any season, texture and a good sense of scale are also important. The designs should speak for themselves.

Thank you to Wilton Carpets for inviting us to attend this wonderful launch and giving us a chance for a sneak peak at the beautiful suite at The Soho Hotel. Kit’s design identity is wonderfully  original and we think that this collaboration is a great combination of beautiful traditional British manufacturing and Kit’s carefree, colourful spirit!

Contact Wilton Carpets

Photography provided by Simon Brown


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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