Many people have asked me what stood out the most on my recent Designhounds London tour. The week was truly a feast for the senses and we took in a total of four major design shows, so choosing just one favourite is tough.
That said, unquestionably at the top of the “most memorable experiences” list was the opportunity we had to explore the world of Fromental hand-painted wallpapers and murals. It really was an invitation into another world, and felt rather like stepping through the looking glass, especially during our time spent at The Goring Hotel.
A MURAL WITH THE ROYAL STAMP OF APPROVAL
As the only hotel in the world with a royal warrant from Queen Elizabeth, it is no exaggeration to say The Goring Hotel is a secret gem nestled in the heart of one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. As the only luxury hotel in all of London to still be owned and operated by the family who built it, The Goring Hotel has a rich history of entertaining noteworthy guests since its opening in 1910. Following in the footsteps of many royals before her, Kate Middleton spent the eve of her wedding here.
With such a prestigious narrative to uphold, when it came time for the owners to refresh the design of the hotel lobby, the project (led by designer Russell Sage) called for a quintessentially British marriage of timeless beauty and a distinguished dash of the unexpected. Naturally, Sage and hotel owner Jeremy Goring chose the UK-based luxury handmade interiors house of Fromental to create the mural that would utterly transform the lobby into a Narnia-esque wonderland.
Calling upon the tradition of 19th century landscape paintings, the first draft concept was beautiful but rather staid. Owner Jeremy Goring wanted the design team at Fromental to push the boundaries, and push they did, creating a visual treasure hunt for quirk and comedy in the form of fairytale creatures and beasts at battle throughout the space.
The piéce de resistence in this other-worldly mural is no doubt the crowned unicorn (at battle with a lion as seen above). When The Goring reopened post-renovations in 2015, they invited the Duchess of Cambridge herself to put the finishing touches on this most magical of fairytale creatures.
THE BEAUTY OF HANDMADE ARTISTRY
The house of Fromental is home to an exceptional team of artists who take great pride in creating haute couture for walls. Collections range from classical hand-embroidered silk panels to gilded modern abstracts and of course their celebrated murals.
This close-up image of two birds in one embroidered piece I loved gives you some idea of the loving attention to detail that is poured into every panel. Just look at the texture and dimension in those feathers!
With details like these, it’s no surprise that the Fromental team of artists can spend up to 600 hours creating just one hand-embroidered panel.
EVERY FROMENTAL PIECE HAS A HANDMADE TOUCH
One of my favourite new introductions is a mural called Bucolic. More moderately priced (for a luxury wallcovering), Bucolic is made with a gilded, handpainted ground and then a digitally printed mural layered overtop.
Even though the images above were taken with my iPhone with potlights creating flares, you can still see the delicate radiance of the hand-painted ground of this paper. Fromental will always have a handmade element to any product they produce as a part of their belief in the preservation of artistic integrity in interior craftsmanship.
After having the opportunity to be steeped in the magical world of Fromental, it is safe to say that I have one of their extraordinary murals firmly planted on my Designer Dream House Wish List. In the meantime, I am eagerly awaiting the right special client project to transform with one of Fromental‘s breathtaking luxury wallcoverings.
I hope this feature sends you into your weekend dreaming gilded, bucolic dreams. Be sure to come back next Wednesday for more design inspiration!