Palm Springs to peacock feathers: Matthew Williamson’s collab with Obeetee

British designer Matthew Williamson brings his signature whimsy and colour to Obeetee’s newest line of hand-knotted rugs

Colour becomes Matthew Williamson. And the British fashion designer — who dressed celebrities like Sienna Miller and Kate Moss for 20 years before venturing into interior design — confesses he is “endlessly inspired” by the vitality and heritage of India. “I’d say that Indian design plays a part in the inspiration for all my designs; it could be a pattern or a colour combination that I’ve always admired.”

He brings this love into his latest collaboration with Obeetee. The duo has rolled out a limited edition SS21 collection of rugs that brings together ikats and sun-steeped landscapes with the hand-knotting expertise of the Jaipur-based carpet makers. “I am an admirer of craft in all its forms, from mesmerising woodwork to the brutal beauty of ironmongery. Working with handwoven rugs, for this reason, is a dream come true, especially with Obeetee’s respect for provenance, authenticity and unrivalled skill,” he says.

A selection of Williamson x Obeetee rugs 

For the love of space

Across the collection, Williamson has explored varying inspirations. For example, ‘Sunrise Haze’ emulates the pastel sun rising over the Cala Deià (in Majorca, Spain); ‘Palm Springs’ looks to the fronds of the eponymous palm trees of the area; ‘Peacock Feathers’, a signature motif of his, is showcased in a rare large-scale form; while ‘Ikat’ explores how colours, and the way they bleed into each other, add movement to a space.

“Colour and pattern can be such vital elements in our lives and our homes. They speak to us at an aesthetic and an emotional level,” he says over an email interaction, adding that designing the collection was intuitive. “Thinking outside the box, about ways to add vibrancy, joy and optimism to a space, will always lead you to unexpected decorating ideas, and I think rugs are the perfect vehicle for this kind of thinking.”

Artisans working on the hand-knotted rugs 

Master of collabs

Williamson broke away from the “relentless fashion circus” (as he called it in a Guardian article a few years ago) in 2015 and did a deep dive into interiors. Since then his whimsical patterns and bold colours have graced everything from bespoke suites at the Belmond La Residencia hotel in the Majorcan town of Deià, where he lives part of the year, and a collab with designer Bertrando Di Renzo (on a range of textiles, tablecloths, and trays), to a wallpaper capsule for Osborne & Little, and lampshades for Britain’s Pooky Lighting. Recently, he even did a product edit for Vinterior, an e-commerce platform that specialises in vintage furniture. What’s next? “There is so much in the pipeline; it is incredible to see the way the world is reacting to interior design since we’ve been locked down. One of the next launches I’m looking forward to is a collection of decorative furniture with some of my quintessential colours and patterns,” he concludes.

Carpets from ₹37,800 (5×8 ft) onwards, on obeetee.com.

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