Modern Hero: ATADesigns’ Annette Taylor-Anderson

ATADesigns founder Annette Taylor-Anderson

Imagine if your work was hung on the walls of some of the finest hotels, bars and homes in town. Imagine if, when the form of an image or object caught your eye, you could incorporate it into patterns which play with everyday ideas but say something witty and beautiful that people will want to live with and enjoy every day. Well, you’ve pretty much imagined Annette Taylor-Anderson’s job right there.

As founder of ATADesigns, she’s responsible for creating beautiful bespoke wallpapers, murals and art prints which draw their inspiration from a range of sources and manage to be bang up to the minute and yet quintessentially English — images which include Penny Farthings, cricket on the lawn, flowers from Regent’s Park but also depictions of urban London (think Eros, pigeons, drains) and street art — all of which are printed here in the UK.

Commercial clients

Annette has just completed two major commercial commissions for a landmark hotel project and for an upscale bar.

IDEALIST: Can you tell us more about your recent work, how you came to work with the clients and the results?

There are two recent projects I would like to mention and they are The London Marriott Hotel Count Hall, and The Bank, a new restaurant due to open at Elm Park.

The London Marriott County Hall

I’d been approached by RPW Design, one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices specialising in the creation of stunningly individual interiors.  They introduced me to the London Marriott Hotel County Hall project.  I’m not quite sure how RPW Design learned about ATADesigns, but when they contacted me, I was over the moon, especially when I found out who their client was.   RPW were interested in one of our existing designs called “The Bowler” from our “All Things British 1” wallpaper range.

London Marriott County Hall

“The Bowler” design consists of bowler hats and umbrellas floating in repeat on a pinstriped background.  RPW wanted to change the colour in the design making it a bespoke colour to fit in with their project, so this was achieved under their guidance.  Turning our existing designs into a bespoke design is only one of the services we provide.  I am pleased to say that the project is finished, and that the wallpaper is now installed in the corridor of five floors and it looks great!

Bank-themed bespoke mural for restaurant client

The Bank restaurant at Elm Park

Bill Eve, owner of The Bank restaurant first approached me in June this year.  He told me about his new restaurant project, and that he had an idea for a mural he would like designed along the back wall of the restaurant.  I gave him some advice on the type of mural design he wanted to develop and left it with him.  Mid-November, Bill contacted me again, we had a meeting on site to discuss further ideas for the wall.  The Bank restaurant used to be a bank, so Bill’s idea is based on the city’s Bank of England and Royal Exchange area, an area he is fond of.  After a couple of visits and doing some research in the city, I came up with a design that my client is over the moon with.  I love to see a satisfied and happy client, it makes me happy, a job well done.   The Bank restaurant is due to open soon. The mural will be installed early January 2017.

For the home

ATADesigns is not just for commercial clients however. They have a range of popular wall coverings for the home too. We love the cricket stumps motif they have designed in a range of midcentury-feeling colour ways, for example.

IDEALIST: What’s your most popular range?

I’d say our most popular ranges are designs from “All Things British 1 & 2”  and also “Art Deco with a Modern Twist”. It’s too early to say about the new stones “ Stone Me” wallpaper collection as we have only just released it, but feedback has been very positive so far.

IDEALIST: How did you go about designing it?

Every two years, we like to keep things British, hence “All Things British 1 & 2” collections.  For these collections, I do a lot of research, through photography, visiting different places of interest, and capturing what I think would work with the collection eg.  “Regents Floral Expression” collection is based on flowers from Regent’s Park.  Or, it could be something historical, sport, or even English tea.

From my research without giving away too many secrets, I would then start to design on the computer, working with the photographs, using Photoshop.  Or, I would use Illustrator for designing certain things, or sometimes hand-draw and maybe combine the work together, depending on the collection.

Heroes

IDEALIST: Who are your design heroes? To be honest, I don’t really have any heroes as such, although, I do love the work of Fornasetti, and De Gournay.  I have an art background, so I love the work of artists Paul Klee, and Miro.  I love the idea of combining art and design into wallpaper.

IDEALIST: How did you get into the wall coverings design space? Have you always been a designer?  Before getting into designing wallpapers and murals, I used to draw and paint.  I sold paintings through art exhibitions.  I also used to make cards and sell them to friends.  I then went on an art foundation course at the Mary Ward Centre, Holborn, and learnt about working with different materials.  When I finished the course, they recommended that I take things further, so I went on to University to study Textile Design and Surface Decoration part-time while still working.  While on the course we learnt about wallpaper design, and I fell in love with it.  When I got my degree I set up ATADesigns in 2006/7.

IDEALIST: What are you most proud of? To be honest I’m proud of all my work, from the smallest to the largest project because I have come a long way, and work my have developed over time.  Each time I’m presented with a new project, I am faced with new challenges and I enjoy this, because I am learning something new.  There is always room for development.

Advice

IDEALIST: Is there anything you would do differently, or advice you would give to someone breaking into the space? When I first started ATADesigns, I wanted to get my brand out there quick.  So, I exhibited my work at so many different shows, and wasted a lot of money on shows that didn’t suit my products, all because I didn’t really do my homework.  But, at the time, I didn’t get much advice from anyone.  So my advice is before you do anything, do your homework to get the best out of what you want.

Believe in your work and keep developing your ideas and stay focused.  This way, your ideas will always stay fresh, and you will always be ready for your next project.

The Future

IDEALIST: And what’s next for you? When will we see a new collection?

There’s plenty going on… At the moment, I have a few projects coming up including a hotel, pub and coffee shop, so I will be working on those shortly.   I’ll also be working on collaboration wallpaper designs with ElNi Interiors, and Illustrator Arka Chergui who produces fantastic illustrations. I love his work. I will also be working on a new stones wallpaper collection called  “Stone Me 2” to launch this year.

You can see all of ATADesigns’ current portfolio at atadesigns.com. ATADesigns will also be exhibiting at The Independent Hotel Show, which will be at London Olympia next on the 17-18 Oct 2017.

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