Erica Wakerly is a real talent in the world of geometric design, putting out clever collections from her London based studio. She's won a series of awards since setting up her own design label in 2006. A couple of weeks ago patternbooth and erica had a chat.
patternbooth: although your work has a very strong identity, it's also really varied. How do you come up with your designs?
erica: I often work from 3D models or mini sculptures made myself from paper, wood or metal. I draw these from life and abstract the design from these drawings. Angles was designed in this way. For some designs like Spiral or Block I tend to use space and light as the basis for the design, I'm interested in how can a pattern enhance the sense of space and light in a room.
patternbooth: who are your biggest influences artistically?
erica: A house designed by architect David Chipperfield inspired me to develop wallpaper designs. My boyfriend was an assistant to fashion photographer Nick Knight at the turn of the millennium and part of his job was housesitting during the summer at his Chipperfield designed house. It was a very pure form and other than exposed concrete, glass and other architectural materials, the house was painted white inside and out. The interior was minimalist and was without any decoration. I was interested how, or even if, a house as pure in principle and form as this could take wallpaper. Could such space and light actually be enhanced by decoration? My use of metallics stems from this.
patternbooth: what made you want to set up your own design label?
erica: Freedom to design as I choose, to own those designs and take responsibility for their success or failure in the market.
patternbooth: you've had your own label and studio for a number of years now; what would you say are the most rewarding and challenging aspects?
erica: I am most rewarded when a design I love is successful and grows the business . I am most challenged by the growing business, as it grows my time to experiment and develop as a designer shrinks. It is a challenge to find that balance between the business and the creativity, one can not exist without the other.
patternbooth: what is your studio like?
erica: currently we are in a converted victorian shoe factory, huge industrial windows, white painted brick walls (so no wallpaper!) and the most beautiful antique oak floor. There is always a structure of some sort in the studio upon which I hang my designs either to photograph or just to enjoy.
patternbooth: if you could see your work anywhere, where would it be?
erica: on the walls of a David Chipperfield house.
patternbooth: with all of your experience, what is your top tip for someone just starting out?
erica: look a those designers you admire and then do something completely different that is your own.