A few months ago I attended an amazing event run by interiors brand Halsted Design at Grace Belgravia, showcasing the new designs that were due from a collaboration with Cole & Son. Deeply rooted in Africa with an international appeal, Halsted brings together their design experience with Art provided by sister company Ardmore Ceramics. Changing slightly over time to gain more traction with a wider European audience, the brand retains it's African playfulness.
If you remember the very first Halsted Design was this iconic sofa, the Qalakabusha, of which only 42 were ever made, 2 being acquired by Kit Kemp for Ham Yard hotel and the rest finding homes in private residences across the world.
In October 2016 Country and Townhouse did a fantastic featured called "I dream of Africa" which brought Halsted back into the spotlight. It was a concept by Francesca Barrow, Creative Director and CEO of Façonner who came upon Halsted during a Design Week. Francesca thought of this international woman who is wild at heart, like a lion(ess) and designed her photoshoot using Halsted's beautiful wallpapers and fabrics together with other top brands like Hermes (Hermes has also collaborated with Catherine Halsted, more of that below).
The Cole & Son collection featured dancing elephants and tiger walks, and some of the designs were completed by Ardmore's oldest and most esteemed artists like Punch Shabalala. It was colourful, extravagant and rich in design but left a question mark. Are these designs easily incorporated in English homes?
The answer is yes. I have seen Halsted's designs in a number of homes and not just their beautiful wallpapers and cushions but other lifestyle products like their dining linen range, of which I also have a few pieces and used them here.
In the meantime, Halsted worked round the clock to update its website. They've done great work on it to deliver a modern, high end feel, with e-commerce function, easy to navigate and simple enough for the less proficient online shoppers.
And then last month, Halsted launched their own new collection called Zabrezi.
"2016 was a hectic but exciting ‘Year of the Monkey’ for me and my family,” says Fée Halsted, founder of Halsted Design and Ardmore Ceramic Art. “It has been filled with highs and lows and just like the monkey has thrown tricks and pranks at us when we least expected it."
“In January the French luxury brand, Hermes launched my daughter Catherine’s designs, ‘Le Marche de Zambeze’ and ‘Savanna Dance’ on silk scarves. The world responded with excitement and enthusiasm, so we set about creating a new fabric range ‘The Zambezi Collection’ for our younger brand Halsted.”
Le Marche de Zambeze, Hermes
Savanna Dance, Hermes
“It has been a challenging experience with lots of frustration but, more importantly, it has been so much fun."
Just like the previous collection, the Zambezi is colourful, sophisticated, sensual and deeply rooted in Africa. There are five stunning new designs to choose from.
Amasumpa – amasumpa are small nodules which feature in Zulu traditional pots and underline the endless circle of life. In this range they appear alongside leopard print which refers to Zulu royalty, who choose this big cat’s pelt to showcase their authority.
Monkey Bean - Africa’s beautiful coral trees, also known as Lucky Bean trees, and mischievous monkeys come together in a range, which shows how valuable these plants are to the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for a variety of birds, animals and insects. Lucky Bean trees are also buried on the graves of Zulu chiefs and are associated with magic in the Zulu culture.
The Monkey Bean in blue velvet sofa is only £2,511
Bush Bandits - Leopards and Black Backed Jackals provide the heart of this design, shows these seldom seen night-time predators back-to-back, which is appropriate since they are known as cunning hunters. The design also features a Jabu Nene flower in the middle to link the repeat and an organically imperial ribbon as a stripe.
River Chase - Crocodiles and Strelitzia, or Bird of Paradise, flowers combine with vines and banana leaves in this design which celebrates these ancient reptiles and beautiful flora of the Zambezi basin.
Feather - The final design has been taken from the natural geometric patterns that occur on the wings of African birds. Evolved from the scales of reptiles, feathers set birds apart from all other animals and are necessary for flight, insulation and courtship displays.
Zambezi Feather Louis XV Antique Chair, £718
The new designs come in various colour ways, including Night, Swamp, Stone, Flamingo, Parakeet, Guinea Fowl, Night, Flame, Camp Fire, Royal Butter, Dust, Dusk, Driftwood, Ash and Silver. Along with the fabric, the collection will include a limited edition sofa, and cushions inspired by the fabric designs.
The Zambezi collection is now available at Colony, Chelsea Design Harbour, London and online at HALSTED.