Up and Coming
Patternity, furniture and textile designers

For Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham, pattern is everywhere — in the flaking paint of street bollards and the crisscrossing beams of scaffolding, in the fashion photography of Mel Bles and the banded stiletto heels of Parisian shoemaker Walter Steiger. Together, Murray and Winteringham run Patternity, a studio and online resource for pattern imagery where each photo is curated, sourced, or taken by the designers themselves. Spend some time on the site, and their obsessions become clear: One week it’s rocks and strata; another it’s the vivid African textiles that line the stalls of the Ridley Road street market that runs daily in Dalston, the East London neighborhood both women call home.

Winteringham studied textile design at the Edinburgh College of Art, while Murray graduated from Ravensbourne and went on to join the London-based branding agency Yellow Door, where she still works. The two met one night out in London last year, but their partnership was cemented on Facebook, of all things. “I was looking at some of Anna’s photos, and I came across a picture she’d taken of a beautiful tilework pattern at King’s Cross Station,” Winteringham says. “I asked if I could use it, and once we got to chatting, we realized we were doing the exact same thing. We’re both interested in patterns — how you stumble across them in your daily life, and how they can translate to things like fashion and architecture.”

The two began creating Patternity’s online image archive in earnest this January, and the past six months have been a whirlwind of activity. In March, the two styled a special merchandise shoot for Supermarket Sarah, the cult fashion and interiors web-store run by Portobello Road flea market vendor Sarah Bagnor, and in April, they put together an exhibition of Dalston creatives featuring black-on-white, screen-printed graphics that came to life under the glow of ultraviolet light. That same month, they won a competition to exhibit with the emerging designers’ platform Hidden Art at Milan’s Salone Satellite — though a volcano-stranded Murray never made it to the booth. There, the two debuted their largest project to date, a bureau created in collaboration with Winteringham’s dad, Toby, a craftsman and woodworker based in Norfolk. The piece updates traditional marquetry with a colorful geometric pattern of inlaid veneers. “My dad actually approached me about collaborating, but I think he was thinking of something a bit more traditional,” laughs Grace.

Murray and Winteringham use the pattern archive to inspire their own products, and they hope it serves the same purpose for other designers as well. But when asked if the two plan to restrict access to what is essentially a trend-scouting service, they demure. “If we start saying you have to pay for this or pay for that, it defeats our purpose,” says Winteringham. “We’re just trying to create a nice archive where there’s inspiration coming from all directions.”


“In our work, we try to find beauty in the things that surround us in our daily lives," say the pair in an email. "Something seemingly mundane can trigger an idea resulting in something truly magnificent. For example, these diamond security shutters inspired the print we did for our Tapestry of Dalston exhibition. During the day, Dalston is all about the hustle of the marketplace, but at night, it’s transformed into a clubbers’ district, and residents tend to disappear into their houses behind lace curtains and these shutters — they’re beautiful, but what they signify is ‘keep out.'” © Patternity


Inspiration behind your Phase Bureau: "It embodies our approach to collaboration — in this case, with Grace's father Toby Winteringham," they say. "We want to invent patterns that balance skill and concept, technique and aesthetic; patterns that elevate the design's appearance while staying true to its materials and integrity. The Phase Bureau's use of traditional marquetry, and the contrast of a colorful graphic slicing through the natural oak, makes it a statement piece with equal helpings of design, craft, and technique."


Design or art hero: “Right now they're Viktor & Rolf, Jim Lambie, Guy Bourdin, Bridget Riley, Bella Borsodi, Tauba Auerbach, Ashish, Greg Kadel, Jim Drain, Spencer Lowell, Joel Shapiro, and Inez & Vinoodh, whose amazing photography is shown above.”


Style movement you most identify with: “Art Deco is a real point of inspiration for us. From color to composition, there’s an overriding elegance, with equal helpings of glamour, function, and form — all of which we try to incorporate in our own work. Elements from modernism, Art Nouveau, and Constructivism tend to appear in Art Deco style anyway, and since they're inseparable in terms of their importance to us, we’ll say that under the umbrella of Art Deco all bases are covered!” Deco Doorway, Mexico © Patternity


Place you go to be inspired: "Just stepping out onto the street brings pattern in abundance. From buses to basements, food to fashion. There are so many things everywhere we go that trigger a great idea. P.S.: ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA" Petrol Puddle © Patternity


Strangest design ritual: “This isn’t really a ritual, but we always make sure we sit and have a nice lunch together. It’s important to appreciate the finer things in life.” Fruit Bowl © Patternity


First thing you ever made: “We launched the company and website with screen-printed leather laptop cases and tights in our signature print, a breakdown of our logo components. The logo and the pattern hearken back a bit to the Bauhaus — circles, lines, and squares being the building blocks of so much in design.”


Favorite material to work with: “At the moment it's leather. The laptop cases have worked out so well that we have bags and shoes in the pipeline, both still in the prototype stage. We’ll be collaborating with a London-based shoe company for a launch in spring/summer of next year.” © Patternity


Piece you wish you’d made: 1980s Memphis shelving, like Milo Baughman’s Prism or Ettore Sottsass’s Carlton Bookcase (pictured). “Experiments with unconventional materials, historic forms, kitsch motifs, and gaudy colors — why didn’t we think of that?”


Favorite everyday object: “Drain and manhole covers. The street-level motifs are a modest reminder of what lies below our feet and in our opinion are some of the most beautiful and original pieces of iron-mongery. It’s the art of looking up, down, and sideways to see these great details.” © Patternity


Favorite design object: “Tupperware. It's functional, practical, and sustainable.” © Jenny Van Sommers

10-Shift 2249

Patternity’s Shift table, another collaboration with Grace’s father, launched at last month’s Clerkenwell Design Week. “People tend to misunderstand marquetry, and they think the panels are painted,” says Winteringham. “But actually they’re dyed beforehand. You can pick them out from a catalog that’s kind of like a Pantone swatchbook, with different color and grain options. The underside of the Shift table is made from sycamore and the panels are dyed cedar.”


Fictional character who would own your work: “A Na’vi from Avatar. We both came out of the film obsessed with ultraviolet lighting. We went on to curate an exhibition called A Tapestry of Dalston in April where all of the artworks — printed in black ink on white paper — reacted under UV floodlights. This is a detail from our piece, Lace Lock In, which looked at the contrasts in Dalston between open and closed, light and dark.”


Last great exhibition you saw:Speed Of Light by United Visual Artists at The Bargehouse in London." © Tom Oldham


Favorite shop: “We absolutely wouldn’t be without poundshops — tacky, tasteful, and technicolor all under one roof. The shelves are stacked so perfectly (or imperfectly?) that they make some amazingly spontaneous patterns.” © Patternity


Thing you love most about Dalston: “Dalston is our epicenter, both in work and socially. The market and main drag offer a tapestry of color, texture, people, cultures, food, galleries, and music, where almost anything is obtainable within 100 meters.” © Patternity


Thing you hate most about it: “There just isn’t enough greenery or wildlife.” © Patternity


Patternity’s wall for Supermarket Sarah. “She creates these walls in her home, and you can mouse over the product to see whether it’s still available to buy. We were really drawn to her approach,” says Winteringham. Alongside their signature tights and pillows created from old fabric, their wares included a massive headpiece (right) created in collaboration with the London fashion label Tour de Force, as well as diamond-shaped props by designer Georgina Bacchus for the British rapper Tinie Tempah.


Right now, Patternity is: "Updating the diary, off to New York, meeting collaborators, setting up shop, and seeing pattern everywhere." © The Sartorialist