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The inspiration behind our imaginative interiors

18th January 2017

Our first ever cushion collection is proving extremely popular, with different hand-drawn designs that set each individual one apart from any other. As well as having unique illustrations, each cushion has its own source of inspiration. We've taken a deeper look into four of our most popular cushions, looking specifically at the influences that helped shape these captivating interior accessories...

1) Cheetah and Giraffe Cushions

Exotic, wild and majestic - words that spring to mind when we look at the Giraffe and Cheetah cushions. And if we take a look at the inspiration behind these captivating designs, the same words are absolutely relevant. The illustrations are influenced by a South African safari trip that Emma embarked on in 2013, evoking imagery of a tropical escape to a distant and strange world. Not only are the designs inspired by the animals themselves, but also the magnificent forms that nature takes - the immense mountainous backdrops and vast greenery of the African Plains played an important role. 

Left and right: Cheetahs that Emma visited on her African Safari in 2013.

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Left: The magnificent Giraffe that Emma spotted on her South African safari. Right: The overwhelmingly large mountainous landscapes were awe-inspiring.

Artwork was also a highly influencing factor with these particular cushions; vivid paintings and bold drawings of nature at it's finest were the starting point when imagining these designs. Our mood board below is a fine example, as well as Charley Mahoney's painting depicting the Garden of Eden from 1942 and Henri Rousseau's "Exotic Landscape" from 1910.

Left: The mood board used to create the Cheetah and Giraffe illustrations. Right: Charles Mahoney's painting depicting Adam and Eve was an influencing piece.

"Not only are the designs inspired by the animals themselves, but also the magnificent forms that nature takes."

The stunning artwork by Henri Rousseau from 1910, titled "Exotic Landscape" was used as inspiration for our Cheetah and Giraffe cushions.

 2. The Expedition Cushion

The inspiration behind the Expedition Cushion comes from a range of intrepid adventures. From early human expeditions in the Polar regions to the march of the penguins in the Antarctic, different types of magical journeys influenced this design. A visit to the Polar Museum in Cambridge gave us our central feature - the balloon. The balloon embodies the human element of an expedition, contrasting the penguin expedition that surrounds the starry scene. The mood boards below depicts other elements that influenced the illustration; compasses, co-ordinates, maps and the antarctic landscape are all elements synonymous with a polar expedition. 

A balloon artefact found at the Polar Museum, which inspired the central feature of our Expedition Cushion.

Left and right: The mood board inspiration behind the Expedition design.

"The march of the penguins is one of the most intrepid rituals carried out in the polar regions."

An interesting artefact that we discovered at the Polar Museum, which is replicated in the Expedition Cushion design - can you spot it?

And, how could we complete this post without mentioning the expedition of main protagonists? The march of the penguins is one of the most intrepid rituals carried out in the polar regions, and has been photographed beautifully by Sebastião Salgado. We viewed his expedition 'Genesis' within which he focusses on the natural world, hoping to enable and inspire better care of our planet - he certainly inspired us! 

Left and right: Stunning photographs depicting the march of the penguins, photographed by Sebasti√£o Salgado.

3. The Constellation Cushion

Stars, solar systems and winged creatures of myth are rife on the Constellation Cushion. The dynamic shapes that constellations make are extremely similar to the intricate details that feature in our illustrations, thus Constellations and Emma J Shipley go hand-in-hand. For the starry setting, images from the Hubble Telescope were our first point of references. As seen in the examples below, the telescope looks deep into distant galaxies to awe-inspiring effect... 

Left and right: Stunning imagery of our solar system produced by the Hubble Telescope.

Constellation maps were also a significant influence. As well as allowing us to see exactly how the stars were plotted, it also informed the layout of our design - using the spherical map in the background, with our signature winged beasts of legend in the foreground.

Left and right: Constellation maps were important references to see how the stars are mapped, despite our own constellations being completely imaginative!

ÔĽŅSo there you have it - the meaning behind the magic of your four favourite cushions. The question now is - which cushion has influenced you enough to take it¬†home? ¬†

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