A Memphis-Inspired Wall Mural Pops Up in Melbourne
File under “when awesome people collaborate”: We were pretty beside ourselves last week when the news floated our way that not only was the terrific Melbourne art and design shop Third Drawer Down opening a second location but that its exterior was going to be hand-painted by Camille Walala, the French-born, London–based graphic designer and illustrator whose work we’ve been obsessing over for the last year and a half. Walala first came to our attention when she collaborated on a print and textile line with the London concept shop Darkroom. More recently, we’ve been avidly Insta-stalking her; Walala’s eye for color and pattern is one of the best and most inspiring we know. As for Third Drawer Down, owner Abigail Crompton specializes in bringing the cool, cultish American designers and brands down under (think Kiosk, Ben Medansky, Fredericks & Mae, Confettisystem) but her commissioned artist editions with the likes of Nathalie du Pasquier, David Shrigley, Ai Weiwei, and Louise Bourgeois have us wishing she’d open up a New York outpost. Today we’re sharing with you some photos of the finished store, as well as excerpting part of a great interview with Walala that originally ran on The Design Files, one of our daily reads.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, what did you originally study, what path led you from France to London over 15 years ago, and how did you get into design and art direction to begin with?
I grew up in South of France in a little tiny village of 300 people. I went to university and did a French Literature degree, but it really that wasn’t my thing. I always wanted to do something creative but didn’t know what to do (or have the confidence for it).
During this time my father ‘forced’ me to go to London and learn English, thinking that would be ‘helpful for my future.’ I hated him at the time as I couldn’t speak a word of English and was petrified to leave my comfort zone. I was supposed to go to London for three months only but never come back. That was 15 years ago! THANKS DAD, that was the best parenting move you did!
In my twenties I had the best time in London. I learned English, worked in hospitality, felt free for the first time in my life, wore all the eccentric outfits I could possibly wear (the beauty of London), went raving, worked as food stylist assistant, and had a catering business for a little while. I slowly but surely started study again, initially doing a two-hour drawing class a week, and finally taking a big step to go back to uni to do a degree in Printed Textiles for Fashion. That’s when I originally fell in love with Sydney, as I came here originally to do my work experience for Akira Isogawa.
After Uni, I started my own brand and used my patterns by making garments, accessories and homewares. But it’s only been in the last two years that I have found what I really love doing, which is working on a BIG SCALE. Foot mat by Baron Von Fancy X Urban Outfitters © Ulrik Perkins
Abigail Crompton of Melbourne retail institution Third Drawer Down recently brought you to Melbourne to create a graphic façade for her new store in Prahran. How did this commission come about, and what inspired your design for this?
I discovered Abi’s shop a while ago, as she was the one and only working with my favourite textile designer of all time Nathalie du Pasquier from Memphis Group. It was amazing to see Nathalie du Pasquier’s prints from the 1980s brought back to life again on homewares.
When Abi originally contacted me about doing the exterior of the new Third Drawer Down shop, it was the kind of email you just don’t say no to! It made me so happy to learn that someone I admired seemed to like what I was doing! JOY!
Door to Third Drawer Down Studio by Camille Walala and Pendleton towels
Can you give us a little insight into the inner workings of WALALA? Where are you based, how does your creative process usually unfold?
I have a studio in East London that I share with some lovely creative people (from a jewelry maker to an illustrator). I work a lot on the computer, creating patterns or doing mock ups for various project.
I spend a lot of time also trying to find color combinations that work well together by looking at paintings or other imagery. I also take a lot of pictures myself of everything that inspires me (patterns tiles, buildings, street signs) that I can recreate or use as part of my work. But the real pleasure comes when I am done with the design on my computer screen and I have to recreate it in the real life at a super enlarged scale. That makes me feel especially good!
Which other creatives are you inspired by / loving at the moment?
Can you list for us your top resources across any media that you tune into regularly?
I love the blog and especially the Instagram of Appetite for Decoration. She has an eye like no one else, with a very strong sense of style or very ‘tropical pop’ as she would say.
I also love the It’s Nice That, which features amazing articles on new creatives, the French graphic magazine étapes, Vogue Living and The Gourmand. Echo Park Pottery pinch mugs and scarf by Nathalie du Pasquier © Ulrik Perkins
What would be your dream creative project?
My ultimate dream project will be to paint over some ugly building estates. They can be so depressing, and I would love to be able to paint bright bold graphics patterns on them and make them alive.
Click here to continue reading the full post — plus more pictures — on The Design Files!© Ulrik Perkins© Ulrik Perkins