Homeware and textile designer Genevieve Bennett spends her nine to five surrounded by pattern and colour... then retreats to her home, which is calm and neutral
You might not know her name, but you’ve probably seen Genevieve Bennett’s work. Most recently, she’s designed a range of wallpaper, fabric and rugs for John Lewis, but she’s also created leather goods for Mulberry, textiles for Wedgwood and accessories for Habitat. Genevieve lives in Bethnal Green, East London, with her six-year-old son.
Tell us about your work
My John Lewis wallpaper has a boldness that’s very much my signature. I loved seeing the designs move from drawing board to production. Creating wallpaper is similar to block printing – it allows for beautiful depth and contrast between matt and shine. This season, I’ve added bed linen and bathroom textiles to the range.
What inspires you?
I have always loved colour and materials. I studied embroidered and woven textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, and began mixing screen printing with embroidery during my studies at London’s Royal College of Art. It was there that I first started working with leather, which has become a key area of my expertise. I’d describe my work as bold, intriguing and contemporary. I’m hugely influenced by the Art-Deco period – I love the era’s stylised forms and surface pattern designs.
Will you be adding any new skills to your already impressive repertoire?
Learning new things forces me to switch off and relax. I’m currently learning to knit and sew, and I’ve just joined a spoon-carving club. I’m also learning how to make clothes. I find all these incredibly difficult, but I have always had a passion for making things.
What can you tell us about your home?
My house is a new build overlooking Regents Canal. When I saw it, I immediately fell in love with it. I had never considered living in a new house until I found this place. I splashed out on a sofa by Matthew Hilton for SCP for my living room – I had wanted one for years. It’s the perfect mix of contemporary and classic. I made some cushions for it out of African resin-printed fabric by the Dutch brand Vlisco.
Describe your interior taste
At the moment, all my walls are white. It look very simple and sparse. I’ve decorated with my favourite pieces of furniture that are pared-back and elegant and made in natural materials. I’ve framed some vintage textiles and prints, and when I travelled to Morocco, I brought home a stunning vintage Berber rug.
You have a passion for colour. Tell us about the colour choices in your home
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I have plans to add colour eventually. I think it takes time to work out what a space needs and you have to live in it for a while. I’d like to try some rich shades, and possibly even some dark colours. No black floors, though: I had one in my kitchen, years ago – it never looked clean and it drove me slightly made. Never again!
What have you learnt since being in the interior design business?
Only buy the things you absolutely love. I think I have much less clutter in my life now and I prefer a calmer, simpler space to live in. All you need is the bare essentials and your treasured pieces.