DESIGNER Q+A MEET THE TALENTED CONTRACT INTERIORS DESIGNER BETH TRAVERS
Meet Beth Travers, an accomplished Textile Designer and specialist in Contract Interiors for the Hospitality Industry. Beth is the founder of BOBO1325 and has a unique design style, she lives life to the creative max, and has an equal passion and enthusiasm for Pattern and Print.
With many luxury Hotel projects in her portfolio she is driving change and in collaborating with her suppliers pushing the boundaries of printed Decor utilising digital print technologies.
Tell us about your creative journey, how and when did you decide to become a Textile / Interior Designer?
I asked this question to a few of my friends who are also in the creative industry and the all round result was them saying something along the lines of “I always wanted to paint/create” It’s funny because for me, growing up I was always the girl climbing trees and making mud pies in my best dress. Don’t get me wrong I could colour in on a rainy day but mostly, I didn’t want a bar - unless it was the fancy dress box. I was all over that.
It wasn’t until my teens that I found how much I thrived when being creative. I remember sitting and sewing hundreds of micro beads onto a scarab beetle I was creating for my textiles class – it took 8 hours. Everyone was amazed I had the patience, but I knew something had clicked. It was visceral, I knew it in my gut and I knew it in my bones, I was born to create.
I loved to build things and to experiment; mark making print days are still amongst my favourite. Thinking outside the lines to solve problems and interpret the creative briefs. My first year of university (Huddersfield) I studied interior Design – I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t me. I’ve never been a fan of rules and staying inside the lines, I’m way better out of them so I transferred to the Surface Pattern Design for Fashion and Interiors course and never looked back.
There was something about interiors aspect that spoke to me. I love fashion it’s dynamic and energetic but it’s fast (thankfully we are all becoming much more aware of the throw away nature) you’re favourite dress is only your favourite dress for a season. Interiors are much more thought out. You get to play a part in someone’s safe haven if it’s for their home, a luxury if it’s for the hospitality industry a space that people walk into and say wow or apart of someone’s vision or dream for the commercial industry. There is nothing to not love about that.
How would you define your style, and what inspires you the most?
I’d describe my style as delicately pretty with a subtle undercurrent of menace.
Marc Jacobs once said “I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting.” This is something that really strikes a chord with me. My designs are more than something to look at, they’re something you look into and discover.
My design collections are often inspired by the social conscious, underpinned with messages Such as climate control, hunting and extinction, gender equality, mental health and the upcoming plastic pollution. Good design is about function, form and purpose – I believe this stretches across all design disciplines for me it’s about more than creating a pretty pattern. At their discretion artists have been using their ‘creative license’ for centuries to voice their opinion and create talking points so why can’t I? For all good things to happen or to initiate change the starting point is always with a conversation.
How do you create your works of Art?
Tequila and music! [Great answer!!]
Before every new design I shoot tequila much like smashing a bottle of booze against a ship for its maiden voyage. As much as I hate this heavily overused phrase – when you being a new piece of art or a design collection you are going on a journey. You’re about to open yourself up to be vulnerable, pulling something from your very soul to create.
All design collections are created with hand illustrated and painted elements before being transformed in a digital setting. Surface Pattern Design encompasses so many creative disciplines I believe in utilizing all of them for my patterns. Creating synergy between old and new techniques conjured up to create my patterns with the backbeats of a cracking playlist. Usually in the mountains.
Your studio specializes in Contract Interiors; can you tell us about your favourite projects?
Oh wow, this is a hard one. Every project means so much, there’s nothing more humbling than seeing someone brings your work to life in a space or product.
The Princess St. Hotel will always hold a huge place in my heart, it was my first experience with a contract interior I learned so much and got to meet some really lovely designers and suppliers most of whom I still get to work with. I got to learn about contract wallpaper substrates, FR Upholstery fabric specs, furniture and rugs. It was pretty cool and I love what SpaceInvader Design did with the space so that’s up there along with the Lindeth Howe hotel in Windermere, it was Beatrix Potters old house so the space is just magical. I’ve just worked on a bespoke project for Fusion By Design. The brief was incredible, I’m REALLY, REALLY excited to see that space come together. I can’t say too much about it but you know Fusions design schemes are always really edgy and cool so it was fun getting my hands dirty and be in and amongst that.
Sourcing Textiles and Wallpapers for contract use requires certification, what are the challenges?
I work together with the designers to go through substrates that would work with the design, I know it sounds silly but some designs work better on different substrates. Textured, matt, shiny or metallic. It’s important to take into account because you’re about to bring your design to life off screen.
Challenges often depend on the requirements of the client and where the client is – Different countries different FR specs. Does the client need the product to be washable/laundered so then it’s a question of inherently FR fabrics or back coated. It’s about working with your clients to solve these problems, coming up with solutions that are both cost effective and have the longevity.
You’ve been printing using Digital technologies for years, which processes do you use?
I’ve always been fascinated with digital printing and the role technology plays in design. Experimenting further with technology and smart materials in textiles is on my bucket list… so if you know anyone! Pushing the boundaries of technology is really exciting. I work with a lot of colour within my designs so my favourite kind of printing would have to be dye – sub not only is it perfect for upholstery but it truly brings your designs to life with an impact with its vivid print finish giving this depth of colour bringing dimension and warmth into your design work.
Controlling colour across print bureaus and varied substrates can be a little tasking, how do you work with your suppliers?
I adore colour. There I said it! I couldn’t work with out my Display Pro calibrator. Colour is essential to what we do, so for me colour calibration is key to that, so I’m confident that when I’m designing what’s onscreen will reflect the final print product, if it doesn’t what’s the point! Having said that sampling is still so important because while we can do everything we can onscreen to make sure we are true to colour. Different suppliers tend to work at different temperatures so you can find sometimes there is differentiation from one supplier, fabric base, and substrate to the next. I’m lucky that I work with really great suppliers who know I’m a perfectionist when it comes to the final product, but also love to experiment as much as I do. I go and visit them every now and again so we can chat through print specs, new substrates and print techniques, understanding the print process is integral. I’m off to create havoc at 3-sixty in October! Can’t wait. I’ve always loved to learn so I always jump at the chance when suppliers invite me round for a nosey and I get to learn more about what they do and how it works.
Tell us about your favourite surfaces and why?
The impact of wallpaper, you can really play with scale to create some drama, making a statement and setting the scene. A sumptuous velvet for soft furnishings or a hand tufted rug using a wool and viscose blend have to be up there with my top surfaces.
I’m passionate about sustainability and I’m in the midst of sourcing some recycled fabrics - Id love to sample my plastic pollution inspired collection on recycled plastic fabric bases.
I’ve briefly experimented with laser cutting steel – it’s definitely something I want to revisit. I like the idea of manipulating light to cast shadows creating patterns from a pattern. Pattern really is everywhere and it is everything. You just have to be open to seeing it.
What are you working on in the near future?
Let me see… I have three on the go at the minute. A Plastic pollution inspired, I’ve caved and started a botanical collection although it’s definitely my spin on a botanical collection and a dabble in the world of ‘Toile de Jouy’
You design for clients worldwide, how do you connect with your clients?
Social Media and Lots of whats app groups! I get to work with some really cool clients, most of who have gone on to become friends, so we’re constantly in touch. Some ring me up for a natter when their bored or have heard a really terrible joke they know I’ll find absolutely hilarious. I feel really fortunate that I’ve been able to build the relationship that I have with some of my clients – it doesn’t even feel like work.
An email blast whenever there’s a new collection or design going to drop organising breakfasts and lunches for a catch up and product update.
What advice would you give to a New Designer at the beginning of their journey?
Trust your gut and be true to yourself. Every single moment is worth it when you have that fire a passion to create inside you.