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Coffee With... The Design Archives Sharon Crowson

7th March 2022

The Design Archive produces a collection of stunning fabrics and wallpapers that mixes classic patterns with contemporary colours. Developed and produced in the UK, these luxurious designs are lovingly created by Sharon Crowson, Director of The Design Archives, using a historic archive that was carefully curated by her Father.

We thoroughly enjoyed our chat with Sharon to discover just how these show stopping designs are bought to life.

The Design Archives takes its designs from the Crowson archives, you must be incredibly proud to make use of this curated collection of designs that your father created. We’d love to hear more about the archives, how many designs does it hold? What is the oldest design?

There are designs collected from all over the globe, from Europe to Asia. The oldest drawn designs would be from the 19th century which are mainly from French ateliers. There are also 17th century woven designs in fabric samples from mainly Europe and also some beautiful Asian historic woven silks.

Sharon Crowson - The Design Archives

Can you talk us through how the process works from selecting a design from the archive to finished product?

The creative and development process is what I enjoy most, I have to narrow down the design or collection choice to a genre or designer or theme which is very difficult as I am inspired by so many in the archive.

The designs then have to be separated for print either digitally and /or for screening. It is after this process I can begin to experiment with colouring the design which has been made so much easier and quicker with the digital technology of today. I usually know exactly what I envisage as far as colouring a design is concerned. On the rare occasion translation a design from paper to fabric just doesn’t work for me. Choosing the base cloths for a design is also important, different designs suit different cloths. It is certainly a very subjective process and  a collection can take months to finalise.

The Design Archives
Sharon Crowson

Growing up in the interiors world, did you always think you’d end up creating your own brand? Do any of your children work with you or could you see them working with The Design archives in the future?

This is a good question I was told at 16/17 when I left school I was to come and work in my Fathers business. Learning the basics, from office admin and sales through to the manufacturing process, my father micro managed everything and I learnt from him. His creative eye for design and colour was legendary, I have inherited this instinctive eye and tend to follow and trust my lead when developing designs.

I had no plans to end up running my own brand, it all happened organically after my Father retired. Crowson had acquired other brand names along he way and The historic brand name of ’The Design Archives’ fitted with what I wanted to do with developing designs from the Archive.

I am the end of the textile line in the family as Both my sons are in finance.

Colourful Home Interiors
Colourful Interiors Scheme
Colourful Upholstery Fabric

Bold use of colour is synonymous with The Design Archives brand, where does your passion for colour originate from? 

I love colour and design in all formats. I have always been creative and have eclectic tastes and passions, be it in fashion, music or art, life is rich and colourful, as with anything it's all in the balance!

Additionally, It doesn’t always have to be strong colour, use of colour is important to reflect moods and certain designs needs stronger colour to bring to their full potential, others require more subtle colouring. 

Tiffany Velvet Cushions

Do you have a favourite design and why?

I love all the designs I bring to life as they have all been carefully selected out of thousands of potentials in the archives. However, if I had to choose just one, I am really drawn to Tiffany. Although it is a 1970’s design it has the feel of different genres arts and crafts to art deco and I find it a very versatile design.

You’ve recently launched your first wallpaper collection which is very exciting which features some matching fabrics and wallpapers. What can we expect next from The Design Archives?

 A small 2-3 design collection.. watch this space!!

What item in your home could you not live without?

A difficult question, I do love my creature comforts! Probably my bed as I have a very busy life and love snuggling up in my bed with a good movie!

Due to the pandemic holidaying in England has become a popular choice – where would your go to UK holiday destination be?

I do love the slower pace of life and the beauty of the west country, however, my father grew up in Southwold, Suffolk, a place which is held dear. I love the wild unspoilt coastline in all weathers.

What is your favourite thing about F&P Interiors?

 I like the creative and strong online content showcasing a diverse product range.

Southwold Beach

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