In an exciting new venture, our Home buying teams have joined forces with the brightest talent around to bring you exclusive collections of beautiful designer homewares.
The John Lewis Design Collective brings together some of the best names on today's design scene to offer an eclectic mix of exclusive homewares, united by a high-quality finish and a commitment to the beautiful and functional. In addition to the designers and their pieces shown here, we have living and dining furniture by Matthew Hilton, barware by Nick Munro, cabinets by Leonhard Pfeifer, furniture by Ebbe Gehl and cushions by Bluebellgray. Look out for the Design Collective identifier on products in store, and
see more here.
'Digital fabrics have recently turned a huge corner in terms of quality,' says Paul Simmons of Scottish design duo Timorous Beasties. 'What once looked like an inferior photocopy now looks incredible.'
Simmons and his business partner, Alistair McAuley, were among the first to experiment with digital technology on fabric, and their designs continue to be some of the most exciting in the field. Often surreal and sometimes provocative, depicting uncompromisingly contemporary images on traditional wallpapers and textiles, they have hit a creative seam of extraordinary riches.
'For the collaboration with John Lewis we wanted to show the diversity of the designs and techniques we use,' Simmons continues. The result is an exclusive cushion collection consisting of four designs: Westminster, London Eye, Hoopoe Bird and Thistle. 'The fantastic quality of digital printing on these pieces is very exciting. I think we nailed it this time.'
David Queensberry learned his trade in Stoke-on-Trent in the mid-1950s – then, as now, home of the UK pottery industry. With Martin Hunt, his business partner of some 40 years, he has created numerous tableware designs, all adhering to the rule that good design should be affordable as well as practical and aesthetically pleasing.
This year sees the launch of Cuisine, a sister range to their bestselling White collection. 'We were asked to do an avant-garde version of our bone china tableware and we decided to do something more punchy and modern,' explains Queensberry. The new range brings restaurant-style elements into the home. It has the simple, elegant lines of its predecessor, but is notable for its ergonomic handles and flat, disc-like dinner plates. 'Each piece is thin but strong, and it has the translucence that can only be achieved with bone china,' enthuses Hunt. 'For a very reasonable price you're getting impeccable quality.'
Inspired by archive material from the V&A and visits to Kew Gardens, Maggie Levien's charming mixture of vintage flavour and stylised botanicals has proved a winning formula. 'I've never slotted into the modern look, nor been tagged as traditional,' she explains. 'But I'm drawn to simplicity and the use of detail where needed.'
Levien taught textiles in a school in Africa and designed for fabric house Osborne & Little before setting up her own textile business in 2006. 'It was a big step, but I hit the ground running,' she says. 'The collaboration with John Lewis came about when my uncle and mentor, Robin Levien, introduced me to a buyer. It's been quite a meeting of minds and is particularly exciting at the moment because I've been able to develop wallpapers, cushions and
woven fabric rugs as well as printed textiles.'
This article also appeared in the spring 2012 issue of Edition magazine. Photographs by Philip Sinden.
Update for autumn 2012
Over 200 new products are being added to the Design Collective range, including Caspar furniture from Bethan Gray, utility ware from Sebastian Conran, and Cuisine tableware from Queensberry Hunt.