17 Patterns, a London based company, is the hub of creativity, individualism and pattern. Founded in 2014 by art director and designer Nosca Northfield, 17 Patterns has stepped away from the conventional to produce a range of highly individual, bold and creative designs with a 21st Century twist. We were lucky enough to question Nosca about his exciting and creative business venture…
1. How did 17 Patterns all begin?
I started working on the debut collection in early 2014, with the brand launching in September 2015. I started 17 Patterns to produce Luxury art interior products in collaboration with the network of artists with whom I had developed strong working relationships throughout my years in the art industry. It is this strong creative relationship, with established and emerging artists that drives my passion for the brand. It’s a shared vision, where curation and collaboration are paramount. It’s about believing in the talent of artists and their work; commanding skills and developing ideas through experimentation, whilst maintaining the visual harmony of the interior. The brand was forged around the belief that 17 Patterns and its artists could deliver something new and fresh to the industry.
2. 17 Patterns is a unique business name, what was the story behind that?
The company derives its name from the mathematical classification of a two-dimensional repetitive pattern, first proven by Evgraf Fedorov in 1891. Fedorov concluded 17 distinct symmetry groups that enable a pattern to repeat infinitely. These pattern symmetries run throughout our designs, it’s impossible to create a repeat pattern without using one or more of the 17 Patterns, even for our competitors. For a wallpaper brand, it’s the perfect name.
3. Where do you draw your inspiration from for your wallpaper designs?
The artistic influences of the group are; Yaacov Agam, Yayoi Kusama, Georgia O'Keeffe, Hokusai, Augustin Lesage, Walton Ford, Gustav Klimt, to name a few. The wallpaper industry doesn’t have an influence in what we produce, as an interior art brand the majority of our inspiration is taken from nature and the world around us. If you scratch beyond the surface, our patterns often turn elements that are perceived to be ugly or negative into beautiful things.
4. The process that you go through to create your designs is very unique. Describe this process?
Each pattern has its own unique story. For example, when producing our Cloudbusting pattern, we were inspired by satellite images capturing the formation of toxic waste on earth. We developed the idea of physically using the earth’s pollution to naturally forge the bases of the design. The textures and gradients were produced by leaving freshly painted artworks outside, exposing them to all of nature’s elements, such as the wind and rain. We like to think of the pattern as ‘Nature’s own selfie’.
5. We LOVE your wallpaper! Which is your all-time favourite design and why?
My personal favourite is Cloudbusting; it’s a design that optimises our brand and its ethos. The original painting was weathered naturally in the English countryside to enhance movement and texture within the watercolours. The rain and wind were instrumental in the development of the pattern. In its raw form, the painting took a great deal of time to work into a repeat pattern and then colour. The result is an artistic backdrop that works beautifully throughout both modern and traditional interiors.
6. You recently visited New York, has your visit influenced any of your current or upcoming designs?
New York and its culture has always been a major influence for 17’s artists. In the 1980’s, the introduction of the book Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant inspired a generation of UK artists to pick up a pen or spray-can. Today, I still get a buzz when I visit. New Yorkers embrace modern art; on every street there is the smell of creativity in the air. What I find intriguing is that Art as a medium seems to enjoy far greater applications in the US than it does in the UK. New York is a bold city with a big attitude and unique atmosphere. I guess this is why our patterns have been so well received in the city; we share the ethos of statement design.
7. Your collaboration with the artists that you work with is very personalised and unique. How do you make these collaborations work?
The idea of creating something without anything specific in mind other than the desire to create is a truly powerful thing. I believe these steps should never be discarded; elements should be revisited, merged and manipulated to produce something new. The Fluxus art movement has always inspired me, because of its ethos for strong experimentation across varying artistic media and disciplines. It is this foundation that is the backbone to 17 patterns statement designs. In the same way that an orchestra of musicians plays together, each owning their part, layering their distinctive tones together to create a composition with far more depth and beauty than if they just played their notes individually, our ‘ensemble’ at 17 Patterns brings the talent and individual strengths of each artist and their discipline into one vision - the pattern. This type of collaborative journey is achieved through a mutual trust and respect; artists need to feel comfortable with their work being reinvented. It is this unorthodox and often experimental approach to our design that enables me, 17 Patterns, its artists, and other industry collaborators to deliver unique interior patterns beyond their original art aesthetic.
8. What is your favourite room in your home and what does it look like?
My hallway, I recently installed our Whirling Dervish Panel Wallcovering into this area. The patterns lucid, sinuous lines exhibit a hybrid style of Venetian grandeur fused with urban painting aesthetics. This monotone bold statement creates interest and variation into this small area without the need for additional furniture and artworks. I absolutely love the scale of composition and its intriguing organic veins.
9. What’s next for 17 Patterns?
This month we are excited to announce the launch of our new range of cotton velvet cushions. Whilst behind the scenes we are extending our patterns further, across lampshades, homewares and furniture. 2017 will also so the introduction of further wallcoverings.
10. Finally, list 3 RSG products that you love!
Quick Fire Questions:
I am most happiest when… Creating
My favourite magazine is… Self Service Magazine
My dream holiday would be… A sunny one!
My ideal day would be spent…. Laughing
My personal motto is… “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
My guilty pleasure is… Ben & Jerry's Core Karamel Sutra Ice Cream
The last film I saw was… The Lobster
My favourite book is… The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
In five years’ time I will be… Living in the British countryside
The three things I can’t live without are… Music, Art and Love