Step into The Fantastical World of Flora Fantasia

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In our House, we’ve always done things differently – and our new collection is no exception. For this is not a typical Spring/Summer launch: instead, the ‘The Fantastical World of Flora Fantasia’ aligns with Imbolc, the pagan festival that marks the stirrings of new life, the earth’s awakening and the return of light after months of darkness.

Imbolc is one of the cornerstones of the ancient Celtic calendar, around which all our forthcoming collections will circle. As the first interiors brand to break away from the traditional seasonal format, this may seem radical – but given House of Hackney’s unique esoteric leanings and innovative spirit, it’s perhaps not so surprising after all.

Inspired by the fairy-tale gardens at the Castle of Trematon (which our founders Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle inherited from royal landscape gardeners Julian and Isabel Bannerman), ‘The Fantastical World of Flora Fantasia’ celebrates nature at its most surreal. 

It’s about a garden gone feral, with flowers drawn from nature but given a fantastical spin – as though plucked from the pages of Jack and the Beanstalk. This is “cottage hardcore”: a bonding of the romanticised rural aesthetic with riotous punk elements, all in a palette of brights toughened up with slashes of black.

And interlacing through it all is floriography, the secret language of flowers immortalised in an 1874 book by Robert Tyas. Back then, Victorians were not open with their feelings – so instead gifted flowers that symbolised their emotions. Now, in the lead up to our 10-year anniversary, ‘The Fantastical World of Flora Fantasia’ and its key floral prints (details below) represent the supreme expression of nature – while symbolising ten years of love and creativity in the world of House of Hackney.

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“It's about a garden gone feral, with flowers drawn from nature but given a fantastical spin - as though plucked from the pages of Jack and the Beanstalk."

FLORA FANTASIA

The origins of the eponymous FLORA FANTASIA print can be traced back to a rare book from the 1880s, ‘Fleurs de Fantaisie’ by J. Buchert. An exquisite collection of watercolour prints detailing imaginary flowers, it is in fact so rare that only a few copies still exist in the world today.

For years, Frieda and Javvy longed to find the elusive book and bring Buchert’s flowers back to life. Then, serendipitously, Gary Bridge – the Design Director of Axminster Carpets – opened up his library of unusual books to Frieda and Javvy as inspiration, among which just so happened to be ‘Fleurs de Fantaisie’.

As part of the latest collaboration between the two British brands, those extraordinary fantasy flowers are in bloom again: reinterpreted by Axminster Carpets as art for the floor and by House of Hackney as painterly wallpaper, fabric, cushions and ombré-fringed lampshades.

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COMPTON

In 1895, the revolutionary textile designer William Morris was commissioned to redesign the interiors of Compton Hall in Wolverhampton. The enduring legacy of the project is the beloved COMPTON, which would be the last print Morris worked on before his passing a year later.

Weaving tulips and poppies in a rich, flowing pattern inspired by, yet not imitative of, natural formations, the original colouring was delicate while the proportions of its flowers reveal that the print was intended for a large ceremonial room. Reimagined by House of Hackney, its scale is even grander – resulting in dramatic fabrics (ideal for full-length curtains) as well as a statement blanket and sumptuously detailed carpets (woven, of course, by Axminster).

Rooted in botanical beauty while coaxing out its psychedelic connotations – as so many House of Hackney designs do – COMPTON is now painted in a more vibrant palette, its Pop Art sensibility highlighted by the Warholian vibe of the ‘Compton’ room at the Castle of Trematon.

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HOLLYHOCKS

Reminiscent of the lush colour and luminous cheerfulness found in Gustav Klimt’s paintings of flower gardens, HOLLYHOCKS was created especially for House of Hackney by American artist Kerry Simmons, based on her own work of the same name.

While capturing the pastoral purity and romance of “cottagecore”, our punk spirit is embedded in the print’s bold palette and riot of flowers.

This signature sense of subversion also streaks across our new slogan cushions, emblazoned with the words ‘Heavy Petal’ on HOLLYHOCKS (a declaration that flowers can be rock and roll – after all, they are born to be wild), ‘Weeds Please’ over FLORA FANTASIA (in recognition of the beauty of the much-maligned plants), and ‘Walk In Wonder’ atop COMPTON (a reminder to appreciate the wonder of the natural world around us).

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INTERIOR & PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH DEAN
INTERIOR & PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH DEAN

We unwind here on evenings and weekends. We entertain here, whether it’s our guests or ourselves – breathing in all the films, music and books that inspire us. We may even work from home or play with the kids here. It’s a lot to ask, and yet the lounge plays these parts seamlessly, shapeshifting to fit our varying moods and needs throughout the day. And that’s without mentioning that as the most social, visible space in our home, we also want our living rooms to look jaw-droppingly cool to anyone who might pop round unannounced.

The trick? To not pitch that seemingly obvious focal point, the television, as the centre of attention. Instead, draw the eye towards something infinitely more beautiful, whether that’s a feature fireplace, a magnificent mirror or an enlivening view out the window. This is one room where exquisite wallpaper can actually play second fiddle for a change, serving as the perfect backdrop to an astonishing piece of art or a gallery of framed photographs.

When it comes to furniture (which can also be a scene stealer in its own right), your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here: will a cosy two-seater sofa be enough, or will you also need a chaise longue and a few ‘bottomans’ for your visitors to park their, um, bottoms on? If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, recovering them in a new fabric – be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras, hand-painted porcelain candle pots and treasured keepsakes you’ll have picked up on your travels.

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If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

When it comes to furniture (which can also be a scene stealer in its own right), your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here: will a cosy two-seater sofa be enough, or will you also need a chaise longue and a few ‘bottomans’ for your visitors to park their, um, bottoms on? If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, recovering them in a new fabric – be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras, hand-painted porcelain candle pots and treasured keepsakes you’ll have picked up on your travels.

If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

When it comes to furniture (which can also be a scene stealer in its own right), your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here: will a cosy two-seater sofa be enough, or will you also need a chaise longue and a few ‘bottomans’ for your visitors to park their, um, bottoms on? If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, recovering them in a new fabric – be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

  • When it comes to furniture, your choice will likely be dictated

  • When it comes to furniture, your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here

  • When it comes to furniture, your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras, hand-painted porcelain candle pots and treasured keepsakes you’ll have picked up on your travels.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras.

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras.

Is living in a white-painted box driving you up the wall?

Made from wood pulp sourced from FSC-certified trees, complete with added textile fabrics for strength and stability, our wallpaper is PVC-free and produced using the eco-friendliest methods available.

 

“We will never stop fighting for this planet, for ourselves, our future and for the future of our children and grandchildren.”

- Greta Thunberg, Environmental Activist

INTERIOR & PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH DEAN