Book of British Luxury 2020 | The Illustrator: House of Hackney
Last night saw the launch of the 2020 Walpole Book of British Luxury; an annual celebration of our agenda-setting book at Fortnum & Mason. This year, the book explores the future of the sector through thought-provoking essays from 11 leading writers and editors, brand stories from 60 Walpole members, and cover art designed by House of Hackney. And keeping to the ‘future’ theme, the former Brand of Tomorrow has applied their dramatic, maximalist aesthetic to create a truly remarkable Astrology-inspired cover.
To find out more, we spoke to House of Hackney’s founders Javvy M Royle and Frieda Gormley (pictured above) about the inspiration behind the Book’s cover and what the future holds for them as a business.
The House of Hackney COSMOS design has been adapted as the front cover of the 2020 Yearbook. What was the inspiration behind the design?
We’ve long been fascinated by both astrology and astronomy, so for COSMOS we drew inspiration from antique celestial maps as well as the creatures of the zodiac. The result is a hand-illustrated motif of ethereal animals floating amongst famous constellations. As with all our prints, it’s rooted in the past yet playful and contemporary in feel. It’s also mesmerisingly serene – we like to think of it as a way of gazing at the night sky from the comfort of your own home.
How did you become involved with Walpole?
It began when House of Hackney was chosen as one of Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow in 2015 – the support and mentorship we received as part of the programme proved invaluable to growing our business. We were then awarded Emerging Luxury Brand in 2017 before going on to make the Walpole Power List last year, which saw us recognised as influential ‘mavericks’ bringing something new to British luxury. All three accolades have been a huge honour, ranking high on our proudest moments and celebrating how far we’ve come as a brand.
House of Hackney is a signatory of the just-launched Walpole British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto. Can you tell us more about the importance of sustainability to your business?
A compassion for our planet and its inhabitants is at the heart of everything we do. Since day one, we’ve championed British manufacturing alongside the use of eco-friendly materials and methods. So, for example, our wallpaper is made using wood pulp sourced from FSC-certified forests and crafted by a factory at the forefront of sustainability, where the machinery is powered by energy generated from the off-cuts. Then to avoid unnecessary waste (and the subsequent burden on our planet), we produce everything in small batches and think of our designs as “future heirlooms”, made to be passed down to the next generation. We always envision a seat in our board meetings for the planet, and we’re constantly working to drive sustainability in every corner of the business.
What does the future hold for your brand?
We recently launched an initiative with Friends of the Earth in which, for every order placed, we donate to their campaign to double the UK tree cover by 2045 – and we’re excited to continue our partnership this year with a new collection that celebrates the beauty and majesty of trees while helping to safeguard the environment. We’re also working on a very special project that will see us giving back to our local community in Hackney, which has given us so much love and creative inspiration over the years. Then of course, we’ll keep on evolving and innovating within our product offering (right now we have print-blocking and paint-matching in the pipeline), so stay tuned…