After visiting Emma Britton’s stand at this year’s 100% Design we wanted to know more about her brilliant splashbacks, the inspirations behind them and how she found herself in this envy-inducing profession. So we asked her for ten minutes of her time to grill her on everything decorative and glass related.

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Can you explain your design background and what made you interested in working with glass?

I have a degree in Printed Textiles which is essentially surface pattern design and I worked in the glass industry after university but I started experimenting with print and glass in my second year but it wasn’t until a few years after I graduated that I set up my business. I think it is important to get experience initially.

For me glass is a canvas in which to apply pattern and design and like fabric you can play with the weight and intensity. Light is really interesting too!

 

Is there a reason you chose to design for kitchens?

It is the obvious place for my products but my friends would testify that I am actually quite domesticated, slightly obsessed with glassware and kitchenalia, I love a bit of retro Pyrex. I really encourage my customers to treat the kitchen as they would any other room when in comes to pattern, be creative and make a room that is right for you.

I enjoy seeing how people use my patterns differently in their homes, that’s what I really wanted – for people to be able to relate to a design and think that’s perfect for me. Whether it be a huge statement piece or just a tiny upstand – something that reflects their personality.

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Where do you draw your inspiration for your designs?

My classic answer would be suburbia, but I can’t always explain it, it’s just a part of me, I might see something and then get really excited about its potential. Inspiration just hits me, you can’t fight it, when I am not inspired I send emails instead.

Do your designs reflect a certain design era or style?

Not intentionally but I am drawn to a very retro, British, domestic aesthetic and collectively I think you can see that with my splashback collections. What I think is successful about my work though is that individually the patterns are very contemporary and work with different kitchens and personalities.

watercolour in grey glass splashback

What do clients usually look for when designing their kitchen with you?

Absolutely something they haven’t been able to find! It is my job to figure out what they are looking for and deliver it, I thrive on the challenge and sometimes lose sleep but that’s self-employment!

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Your collaboration with Matt, of Redgate Design, sees you move into concrete; how did you find working with a new medium?

Challenging because I had to learn its limitations and possibilities but it is a natural expansion of my kitchen products and I am excited as to where this can go!

Can you explain your design process? Do you have any rituals?

Draw, earl grey, and buy new paint brushes!

For a bespoke splashback commission I do design boards for my clients to cast the net wide, we then rein it in with development and final designs.

What is interesting about designing with a client is they get to understand how the process works.

I always say to them when you go in a shop and buy a shirt you like someone has already changed the colours, the scale and removed and added the components five times it’s just you can’t see it, I think involving them in the process really communicates the skill of how you get something to look good and they enjoy being part of the process.

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You’ve shown at 100% Design 4 times now, what do you think is the reason behind your success?

Consistency, learning what works and doesn’t and responding to feedback. Staying fresh is important, always be working on that next step. Oh and professional, I am always really professional.

If you loved Emma’s quintessentially British design as much as we do, then have a look at her site here.

Or even better:

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