Sketch Series: Patternistas

When I bumped into friends of Design Insider, the Patternistas, I couldn’t help asking them about their recently completed workplace project. The Cardiff based creative duo had collaborated with the strategic team of a global corporate accountancy business to create four bespoke patterned fabrics for two of their London buildings. The Patternistas’ maximalist patterns were made into contract specification upholstery fabrics by BCFA member Panaz

For our popular Sketch Series we asked Chris (CC) and Suzanne (SC) to tell us more about their designs whilst sketching one of their bespoke patterns.

Could you tell me about the pattern that you’re sketching?

SC: We were contacted by the strategic team for a global corporate brand, with amazing office buildings on the banks of the Thames, who wanted to create a bespoke interior which would give their employees a sense of place. 

We are all aware that technology has changed the way we work, where we work and when we work. The flexibility to move around a building to different workspaces suitable to an array of tasks, helps users to feel focused, motivated and valued. Workplace design has evolved and employees have high expectations. The client’s aim is to give each of their buildings bold, inspiring, sophisticated interiors with personality. This gives employees a sense of pride and belonging to their place of work within the overall global brand, without including a corporate logo.  They wanted these interiors to feel unique and different from the brand’s other UK and international workspaces. 


We created designs with the London team answering the brief for distinctive patterns.  We created four patterns that have a recognisable London theme whilst not being too clichéd or obvious. Each of the patterns have a number of colourways and were used throughout the project. In total there was in excess of 1500 linear metres used.

Patternistas ChairThis design is called Blocks isn’t it?

SC: Yes.  The fact that it’s about an urban environment that is along the bank of the river and the Tower Bridge is key to the location.  

It was exciting to work with the strategic team; they’re very forward thinking and they are not scared to be bold.  When they installed the first phase it was very well received.


Which part of the design process did you find the most enjoyable?

CC:  I really enjoyed the openness of the client and that they really wanted us to push how big and bold and lively we could be. The scale was quite large because the patterns were designed to cover large areas on large units, including high-backed sofas and pods.

Patternistas Watercolour

I also really enjoyed the mark making.  We use various methods both digital and analogue as the starting point for our pattern designs. Including simple ink-stamping using rectangular erasers and the rubber end of a pencil. All the basic elements we created using this simple hands-on and fun process, these were then scanned and made into vector files allowing us infinite scale and colour changes.


Could just tell us about the environmental considerations that were part of this project?

CC: Wherever possible our fabrics were used to re-upholster many pieces of furniture that were only 2 to 3 years old, these were given a completely new lease of life rather than being discarded.

Because of the digital production methods we reduce waste as there are no long run ups on the machinery and we only produce exactly what is being used on the furniture. It also allows to change colourways without the extra waste time or costs normally associated.  Dry printing methods are used that dispense with the need for water during the print process.


Also we were able to ‘Railroad’ the fabrics (ie running the fabric sideways to fit large pieces of furniture) this dramatically cuts down on waste for pattern matching, seam allowance and time in upholstery.

No chemical treatments are required to achieve international FR properties these contract fabrics have been based on the use of inherent FR yarns. 

Blocks is a bespoke design for a global corporate accountancy business  which has views directly over Tower Bridge and the City skyline. This design is formed from a hand printed pattern of the view with the bridge platform opening and the myriad of windows and reflections on the river from the city skyscrapers and historic buildings.


Whilst Blocks was a site specific bespoke design, the Patternistas have designed two permanent collections for Panaz.


Inspired pattern, exuberant colour and contract flame retardancy for upholstery and accessories, Panaz bring you a range of vivid designs from Patternistas for use in workspace, healthcare and hospitality environments.  The Patternistas Collection consists of 3 designs, Chorus, Pollen and Dewdrop, each available in a selection of colourways. 


A separate Patternistas for Children collection is a wondrous and magical print collection for children and young people of all ages, for use on curtains, bedding and upholstery. Featuring wild animals, birds and colourful houses, the designs are influenced by the innocence of folk art and the eternal appeal of folk tales. Children never stop dreaming, and these designs will inspire their imaginations and help trigger happy thoughts for all that use them, whatever their age.  This collection consists of 6 designs, Folk House, Grasslands, Hare, Orchard, Savanna and Stream, each available in a selection of colourways.


The printed designs are available in a full range of base cloths, more details can be found on the Panaz website here.

Contact Panaz


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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