Designer Sessions: Camille Walala

Designer Sessions: Camille Walala

The Camille Walala x FLOOR_STORY capsule collection typifies Camille's bright and graphical approach to design. We took some time with the East London based designer to discover the creative process behind the rugs.

A graduate in textile design from the University of Brighton, Camille established her brand in 2009 in the creative melting pot of East London where she continues to live today. With clients including XOYO and Barbican Festival, Camille has quickly risen to prominence and is now acclaimed for her show-stopping and social spaces, with a mantra ‘the bigger the better’.

How would you describe your style and what has influenced your design?

I'd say my style is bright, bold and colourful with a graphic edge. I'm certainly influenced by the modernist art of the Bauhaus movement, but equally inspired by the wonderful houses of the Ndebele people of South Africa. For centuries they have painted their straw huts with bright graphic patterns inspired by their bead work, an art passed down through generations of women. My designs also owe something to Ettore Sottsass' postmodern Memphis Group; the colourful decoration and asymmetrical shapes just fill me with joy.

Can you tell us a little more about your designs for FLOOR_STORY and exactly what inspired them?

I've created four designs in total and three of these are inspired by Ndebele house painting. It's such a powerful message that its hard to resist; for generations women have passed the technique down, each adding their own unique touch. It's a tradition that still happens today and a way of women communicating and expressing themselves through their home. They work long and hard to finish these walls and have become noticed by the wider art and cultural community because of their talent and self-expression.

In the 100% wool kilims ofBuildings Come True and Fixed, and the hand-tuftedAria, I've put my own spin on Ndbele house art, taking inspiration and creating designs fitting for modern interiors. My fourth rug, Congo, is actually a design that traces back to my time as a student in Brighton. Created in my final year at university, it owes a lot to the Memphis movement. It's so lovely to see it on such a grand scale. For this design, we've used a hand-knotted construction from 100% New Zealand wool, it really was the only way to bring the detail to life.

What attracted you to working with us and more importantly, the process of rug making?

I've always wanted a go at designing rugs, as I love the textural element and large scale, so it was a no brainer to work with you. The process was intriguing and it was a delight to see the translation of a design made on paper or computer on a grand scale with the warmth and comfort of wool. It certainly added a new dimension to the way I view my work.

Was there anything you learnt about your own processes when working on the collection?

What really stands out about the process was Simon arriving at the studio with a suitcase packed full of wool tuft samples, it was so fun! We looked at all the possible colour variations and I worked them into my designs from there. The richness and warmth of the colours achieved through traditional dyeing really were surprisingly beautiful, it was in complete contrast to choosing colours on a computer screen which, while bright and vivid, lack the depth and warmth of wool.

How would you best describe your rugs?

Quite simply, bright, bold and graphic.

How do rugs make you feel?

If there's a rug in a house I'll always sit on the floor rather than head for the sofa. I just love the cosiness that they add to an interior.

Check out Camille's Collection here and stay tuned for the next instalment of Designer Sessions, when we'll be catching up with Jordan and Russell of 2 Lovely Gays.