A brush with style: Farrow & Ball interview

Whether you’ve spent hours pinning posts on Pinterest or ‘hearting’ dreamy décors on Instagram, you’re bound to have come across the luxury paint brand Farrow & Ball. Since 1946, the company has transformed homes around the world, so we were delighted to land an interview with their Head of Creative, Charlotte Cosby, for our Fine Art Collector magazine.

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Paints, travelling and a lot of colour

Talk us through what a day in the office looks like for you

A typical day can involve anything – trialling new designs and colourways in our wallpaper factory, brainstorming creative ideas with my team, overseeing our campaign photoshoots or even travelling to design shows to research new trends. The beauty of my job is that no two days are the same!

You’ve been with Farrow & Ball for nearly a decade. What would you say have been the biggest moments?

Launching the first wallpaper collection I’d developed (our amazing Art Deco Lotus design) was a brilliant moment for me personally. We also had an unforgettable year in 2016 when our book How to Decorate – written by myself and Joa Studholme – was released.

Farrow & Ball is renowned for incorporating historical colour references into its product range. What research do you do for this?

Inspiration for colour names comes from all around us, whether it’s from people who inspire us or the natural world – but historical houses are one of my favourite places to look when dreaming up new colours. Yeabridge Green is a great example: it was named in honour of an 18th-century farmhouse in Somerset. I’m also very fortunate to be able to travel to lots of amazing places as part of my job. 

Can you give your readers an overview of your commitment to traditional printing methods?

The wallpaper factory is my favourite place at Farrow & Ball’s head office! The background colour of the paper is painted with a layer of our environmentally friendly, water-based paint – which helps to give it a sumptuous and tactile texture. Then our patterns are applied using flatbed block, roller block or trough printing methods.

Moving onto the world of art, what is on your walls at home? I absolutely love collecting art. My favourite pieces are by Charlotte Taylor and Michael Angove. I even have a huge banana leaf, which is an original 1950s piece of wallpaper that was taken from a hotel in Miami. I love this one because it’s got such a quirky story behind it – much like our own colour names!

Like our own hashtag, #YourWorldOurArt, Farrow & Ball encourages its clients to share photos of their newly-decorated homes on social media. What does it mean to you to see paints and wallpapers that you’ve designed?

Nothing quite compares to seeing people enjoying something you’ve created – it’s an amazing feeling. Our customers are a hugely creative bunch, and we love seeing how they’ve used a colour or a print in their homes – sometime in a way that we never could have come up with ourselves.

Finally, we’d love to know about your own interior décor at home!

My home is an eclectic mix of contemporary and modern, with a restful colour palette. I spend a lot of time around colour and I’m constantly on the go, so I opted for a really simple palette to create somewhere I could properly unwind. I also have some bolder colours and patterns too, like the Lotus wallpaper hanging in my hallway. For my kitchen, I wanted something a little bolder – so I opted for rich Stiffkey Blue. My bathroom has the addition of a giant pink Aubdon flamingo on the tiles!

From the blog

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Applied colour psychology expert Karen Haller speaks exclusively to our magazine about Gen Z Yellow, generational colour and how to introduce more sunny shades to your home.

Fine Art Collector | Autumn 2020


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