In a world where creating a brand is so important, my new series of blog posts Behind the Brand explores the stories behind the brand; the people, the creativity, the inspiration and the motivation. It’s these stories; the people, that really seduce us to engage, and make us truly buy into a brand.
My first interview is with Justyna Medon from Addicted to Patterns. I first met Justyna at 100% Design and was blown away by the beauty of her work, and her passion. Addicted to Patterns is a creative studio run by Justyna and her partner Mani Swiatek. Together they produce an exquisite range of screen printed and hand designed wallpaper and textiles.
With stunning images from their new 2018 wallpaper collection, the first of my Behind the Brand blog posts delves into the personality and creativity behind this duo.
Addicted to Pattern – where did the name come from?
Once we had decided to work as a team, and made the decision to move to Bristol, we looked for a name which really defined us. That is how Addicted to Patterns was born. It’s not only a name; its a state of mind. We are truly obsessed with patterns, and our name reflects that.
We notice patterns everywhere, we love to create and replicate new ones. This obsession is our passion and our creativity has no limits. When we work on a project, a new wallpaper collection or photo shoot we put ourselves fully in it. This passion, our addiction, defines us.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The process behind printing brings so much pleasure every time. Working on patterns, catching the ideas, the drawing stage of developing a repetition, colour matching and background base colour selection. Then there’s hours of painting and finally, printing a length. We are absorbed fully in each moment of the process.
Working with individual clients always brings such joy, as each time we need to create a new illustrative pattern, or match existing ones to work with the style of their interiors. If we are matching colours for an existing interior, then we ask our clients what is the mood, what emotions the print has to evoke.
Where do you find your inspiration?
It’s hard to name a source. I would say that inspiration finds, or seduces me. I am a keen observer; seeing and appreciating beauty soaking through every day experiences. Suddenly I catch various elements; objects or themes. I let these shapes grow in my imagination, then I write them down. At the next stage I start drawing, shaping the vision, letting my hand travel with a solid black pen on white paper. It’s only later that I start seeing in colours again, uniting the inspiration with the process. The screen printing technique requires me to separate the patten, so that each colour is a different layer printed with a separate screen.
How would you describe your work?
Impulsive but meticulous. Sophisticated but quirky.
Where’s your favourite place to work?
I spend hours drawing and painting in our home studio. When I can’t wait any longer I take my designs to the print studio and start mixing printable colours and start the sampling game; running test patterns in different colour-ways.
I love both places, one allows me to sit comfortably and focus all of my attention to the drawing process. To me it is mediation. When I’m in the print studio, my actions are more structured. The printmaking process requires you to run various actions in the correct order. Time matters, nothing can wait. It’s very rhythmic.
I find both stages very harmonious and compatible; they allow me to free my creative potential.
Talk us through how you approach a new project or design, and how you deal with any creative block.
Before I start thinking seriously about a project I need to spend time doodling; thinking through the theme, researching the interior for which I am designing. I visit the client and get to know as much as possible about their style, and the light and mood of the interior.
I tend to print samples and hang them in my bedroom, so when I wake up the next morning I can study what I did in the print studio, analyse it and see if I love it or hate it. Some designs just need more time to evolve. If so, I leave them until I feel I am ready to work with them again.
I also go back to patterns after a few years, look at them from a new perspective and develop them to the stage when I know they’re ready.
Sometimes a project or design idea scares me, so I have to push myself towards action and try not to over think it, just express it and print it. Running a proof print session and creating samples of actual wallpapers and textiles always helps to visualise the idea in bigger scale.
Quite often I just need to have fun while printing, it helps me to relax, and this is when magic happens: surprisingly good ideas come to me when I am playing to get rid of the stress.
What do you think are going to be the next trends in surface decoration?
Versatile patterns, illustrative stories, irregular prints, and organic yet rhythmic geometrics. Less computer generated designs, and more abstract visions and interpretations of the world around us.
Also more tailored wall panels or large scale prints representing individual style and the character of the interior and it’s owner.
What are you the most proud of?
Working on bespoke interiors. I appreciate the unique personal relation with my clients, their trust but also when they challenge us as designers.
Recently we agreed a concept for a wallpaper mural (for our client’s son) and just few days before it was completed, we changed the direction, from static – repetitive illustration we went for irregular pattern. With limited time I needed my client to trust me. Oh, it was a joy to print it. Later I saw how moved my client was. She couldn’t believe that we made it within the timescale, and that it reflected everything her son & the room needed. He absolutely loved it, and told us stories all about the mural. This is the best appreciation you can get as a designer.
I am also proud of my craft and skills. I really enjoy it when I need to work out the best technique to be able to print on challenging surfaces, such as pleated rims of silk all in gold for a fashion designer presented during Paris Fashion Week, leather for a luxurious collection of hand-made shoes and bags or meters of silk imitating meat for very specific theatre play costumes. Recently I’ve printed on a 2 meter diameter mirror for an exhibition of a talented artist. It’s challenging but fun!
What’s next for Addicted to Patterns?
I love surprises! Hopefully challenging projects and new collaborations. Working with people expands our horizons and allows an energising exchange of skills and knowledge. I’m working on a few exciting projects, but can’t talk about them yet…