AN INSIGHT INTO FABRICS with Carolyn Mitchell of Style Library Contract
SPACE’s Tonje Odegard had a chat with Carolyn Mitchell, Sales Director for Style Library Contract, part of the Walker Greenbank Group, which distributes all contract suitable products from British brands Zoffany, Harlequin, Anthology, Sanderson, Morris & Co., and Scion. Green methods, trends and commitment to quality were some of the things discussed…
How easy is it to spot, follow and adapt to trends in the industry?
Our team here at Style Library Contract are constantly striving to be forerunners of exciting and cutting-edge design and progress, so much of our time is spent visiting international events, such as Paris Déco Off, Heimtextil and Boutique Design New York. Maintaining a strong working relationship with the sales teams, the designers are always aware of developing themes, trends and requirements for the contract industry, and endeavour to offer a product to fill that need.
How has the advancement of technology affected how you work and develop products?
Thanks to the astounding expansions at our manufacturing facilities, we’re at the forefront of technological advancements in the production of fabrics and wallpapers. A recent development at the wallpaper factory was creating beaded wallpapers – thousands of tiny beads are sprinkled over a glued design to create exquisite wallpapers showcasing the best in luxurious design and texture. After this avant-garde development, the team was very excited about the potential and opportunities in the industry. As early adopters of digital methods, we are at forefront of scenic wallpapers that are currently causing a real stir.
How important is it to be innovative and forward-thinking in a sector where your brand is an established, traditional and go-to company?
We’re constantly looking to create the best, high-performing, accessibly priced, beautiful products for the market. Taking inspiration from the widest of influences including haute couture, international events and our exceptional design archives, our talented team always strives to offer innovative and thought-provoking products for the contract sector.
As a team, we are continuously keeping our eyes peeled for gaps in the market and this is how the spring of 2014 saw Anthology brought to the market. Originally, Anthology was presented as a compendium of innovative wallcoverings, but the creative finishes, subtle textures and sophisticated complexity soon caught the eye of interior designers and hotel groups worldwide. In 2016, we launched a collection of contract-quality fabrics to continue Anthology’s edgy urban theme and bring a new kind of cool to commercial spaces.
Why is it important to use methods and processes that are committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly initiatives?
All of Style Library’s brands manufacture their wallpapers and printed fabrics in the UK within the Walker Greenbank Group factories, which each work towards care of the environment. We’re proud to be supporting British industry, and being able to wave the ‘Made in Britain’ flag with confidence and patriotism is something well worth talking about. It also helps reduce our carbon footprint and transportation miles.
The print factory has a continuous programme of investment that is dedicated to improving energy efficiency, reducing emissions and controlling effluent. The paper base for all our wallpapers is supplied by organisations that source pulp from certified, sustainable forests and are accredited to forestry certification systems.
Taking Walker Greenbank’s environmental status extremely seriously, we continuously work with suppliers to monitor emissions and sustainability. We also feel it’s important to ensure that we trade ethically and responsibly as part of our sustainable and environmentally friendly approach.
What role does quality, heritage and elegance play in the way Style Library Contract work and are perceived in the industry?
We’re the custodians of both the Sanderson and Morris & Co. archives, which house one of the largest collections of fabrics, wallpapers and printing blocks in the world, with samples dating back to the Renaissance. This resource is a constant inspiration to the studios, which look at new ways of re-interpreting these design classics to suite modern tastes.
Using these resources enables the team to create a diverse offering of contract suitable products to create a vast portfolio of exquisitely designed products steeped in heritage and tradition. Having the luxury of multiple in-house design studios also means that we bring exceptionally designed, high-performing products, each with their own individual stories, to the contract market.