Designer Q&A with Clare Jenkinson, Ulster Carpets

This month our Material Focus is paint. With that in mind, we wanted to talk to Clare Jenkinson, Residential Designer at Ulster Carpets about their new collection, Watercolours.

Watercolour painting is known for its delicacy and subtlety because it uses thin washes and transparency.  No matter how quick or slow you work, watercolour does not stay still or remain stable, it has a life of its own, with the colour coming, and going, drying unpredictably as it evaporates. We asked Clare about the new Watercolour collection and the inspiration behind it…

Watercolours is the new collection from Ulster. Could you tell us what the brief was for this new collection?

For ‘Watercolours’ the brief was to create a new Axminster broadloom product that would reflect traditional carpet design and the design heritage that Ulster Carpets has built, but also reach a new audience. On the residential design team we are always looking to make fitted carpet relevant to modern interiors. There are so many exciting textures available to use for flooring around at the moment, and we think luxurious wool-rich, cut pile carpet is definitely one of them.

Ulster Watercolours Mineral Atmosphere2

As you know our material theme for the month is paint. With the new collection’s title being ‘Watercolours’ would you be able to tell us about the inspiration here?

The inspiration for ‘Watercolours’ was looking at the way watercolour paint runs and blends, creating new colours and shapes as it settles into the textured surface of watercolour paper.  I wanted to use this texture as it has a lovely organic, abstract feel and combined really well with the idea of antique fragments of Persian rugs – an ancient art form like watercolour painting.

Ulster Watercolours Amulet Atmosphere

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

I tried to keep the designs for Watercolours quite free by working from actual painted samples that I created for this range, and layering the textures with Persian carpet designs to produce an atmospheric design that has familiar echoes of antique rugs but is soft enough to use as a base for modern interiors. Carpet designs always take on a life of their own when they escape from the computer and are translated into yarn colours so the colourways then became based around elements from nature – sea, sky, minerals.

Ulster Watercolours Mineral Alchemy

Who is one of your favourite painters and why?

I love Turner for the atmosphere he creates with just the effect of paint. Sometimes there is barely anything representational in his paintings, just swirling paint – particularly in his later work like ‘Rain, Steam and Speed.’ These works must have been quite radical at the time he painted them.

Clare Jenkinson Residential Design Ulster Carpets

What is the environmental impact of an Ulster carpet, what does Ulster do to lower their environmental footprint?

At Ulster Carpets we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment. As a company we hold ISO 14001 certification for our environmental management system. This standard gives us a systematic approach to setting environmental objectives and targets and demonstrating that these have been reached.

We use rapidly renewable raw materials in our products, including the finest wool. The unique blend used and quality manufacturing processes means our end product has a low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emission rating, this promotes a healthy indoor environment.

Over the years we have significantly cut our CO emissions, increased our recycling efforts and reduced the amount of waste being sent to landfill. For example, our new state of the art dyehouse and energy centre has been specifically designed to improve energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. We now use less water, heat and chemicals in the manufacturing process helping us to protect our local environment.

Our short video shows more about how the new dyehouse and energy centre is helping us minimise our impact on the environment.

Contact Ulster Carpets 




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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