Interview with The Paper Partnership wallpaper designer Elizabeth Ockford
The new Elizabeth Ockford Hatton wallpaper from the Gingko collection

So where did The Paper Partnership start for you?

One day, I was driving my car through Sussex when I noticed a sign by the roadside. The sign said ‘Luxury wallpaper’ so, you can imagine, I was immediately intrigued. I got in touch with the company owner, Murtaza Kagawala, suggested we meet for a coffee and we became business partners!

One example of a wallpaper drawn and painted by Elizabeth for the Brighton collection

Tell us about your design background:

Well, I’m an artist and designer and I’ve worked for some of the UK’s leading wallpaper and fabric design companies. Furthermore, this combination of skills and experience has enabled me to work across a variety of mediums and techniques. I would describe my wallpaper style as rather distinctive.

“I’ve worked for some of the UK’s leading wallpaper and fabric design companies”

Wallpaper designer Elizabeth Ockford painting a wallpaper design

How do you start designing a new wallpaper collection?

I look at the brand first. At The Paper Partnership, we currently have six different brands – Elizabeth Ockford, Grandefiore, University of Oxford, Smith & Fellows, The Paper Partnership and Little Luxuries. I can define the scope of the collection through the brand using a combination of trends and ideas. I love creating mood-boards with media cuttings, images from Instagram and Pinterest, photos, fabric samples, new paint colour charts and so on. In addition, I form an idea by moving each item around our board on the wall until a pattern emerges. I can then transform this into a single design idea. Then I start to draw or paint and hey presto! we have a new wallpaper design that has come to fruition.

The New Elizabeth Ockford Beryl wallpaper from the Gingko wallpaper collection

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration can potentially come from everything around me, from my quintessentially English cottage garden to a visit to an art exhibition. I find every aspect of life has something to give from historical architecture to the way in which light may filter through the trees. Shows and exhibitions are a great way in which to keep informed about new trends but I can also find a beautiful window display will just catch my eye when shopping.

Elizabeth Ockford wallpaper Danehill in Lindfield cream

What do you think is the most important thing about wallpaper design?

If you want to achieve the best design, your product must work on a daily basis. This is key and it doesn’t matter how stunning the wallpaper may be, the design must work well in the place you have chosen it to appear in. You can place wallpaper almost anywhere from a room in a home or a bar to a hotel or restaurant.

Highbrook wallpaper in Coleton range designed by Elizabeth Ockford

Your latest launch is your Highbrook collection, so what’s your favourite design?

I particularly like Coleton because the design is so large and open. The scale of the design is so striking and will work well for all sorts of uses. I’m pleased with the geometric style on a neutral background and this wallpaper has a great texture. The finishing touches complete this design with a raised ribbon in the middle of the pattern and fine lines of colour, which you can easily use to accessorise a room.

The new Elizabeth Ockford Malachite wallpaper from the Gingko collection

How do you relax away from your studio?

I love gardening and experimenting with my cooking. I do enjoy reading and I even belong to a book club. At weekends, I particularly enjoy spending time with my family, including our son Joshua and going on a good walk with our studio dog, Rocket.

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