Abigail Borg, Botanically Beautiful Designs

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

From 9 metre high murals to the botanical illustrations on a shampoo bottle, Abigail Borg’s unmistakable surface pattern design has a unique, eye catching style that would add something special to any interior.

‘I have always loved colour and pattern,’ says the Worcestershire based designer. ‘Instead of fashion or teenage magazines, I’d ask my mum to bring me back an interiors magazine from the big monthly shop, which I would then cut apart and make scrapbooks from of rooms, and colours I liked. I don’t think I realised at the time you could actually have a job decorating rooms!’ 

She did eventually make the connection with the creativity she saw in those pages and her own career and went on to graduate from Leeds College of Art with a degree in Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design, where her love for the outdoors and nature became the inspiration for her illustrations.

‘I really enjoy working freelance as part of a design team on a brief that I otherwise would never get the chance to work on.’

Her graduate collection of floral wallpapers won her the New Designer of the Year award at the Business Design Centre out of thousands of other graduates in 2008. After a short stint working in London, she returned to her Worcestershire home and decided to put her wallpaper collection into production and established Abigail Borg in 2009.

She then exhibited at New Designers One Year On, where Liberty of London approached her about stocking her collection, which Borg says was a ‘total dream come true.’

And the rest as they say is history.

The Liberty line still continues, who stock her wallpapers, fabrics and cushions and her products are also stocked in various cool interior design shops around the UK, Australia, America, South Africa, New Zealand, Belgium and Germany. The designs often feature English country garden flowers, with Fox Glove being a signature choice as well as Yarrow, Laburnum and Chrysanthemums. A little William Morris-esque, with repetition of strong botanical shapes and outlines, but the use of hot oranges and cerise pink making them very of the moment, spanning a whole spectrum of taste. In fact Laura Ashley commissioned a collection with her in 2011, Hot House, asking her to create a design theme which would move the brand forward in a contemporary direction.

‘I’ve never followed trends or forecasting websites,’ she says of her individual style,‘ a lot of it comes from what I feel like drawing or designing at the time. I take great pleasure that people are willing to invest in designs I have come up with from flowers growing in my back garden.’

As well as the product line Borg has her freelance bespoke work. This includes private commissions by residential clients and interior designers, but also illustrations and packaging design that include the aforementioned 9 metre mural for Zizi in York. ‘This was actually the most terrifying commission I have received,’ she laughs, ‘I spent 7 days up a scaffolding tower painting. I was nearly in tears at the time, but luckily had some help from two very good friends, who drove 5 hours to help me finish off!‘  Her other custom work has included packaging designs for Kew Gardens confectionery, Aveeno Body Washes for Johnson & Johnson and Crabtree and Evelyn’s Christmas fragrance ranges.

‘I really enjoy working freelance as part of a design team on a brief that I otherwise would never get the chance to work on,’ Borg describes. ‘I love to offer a bespoke illustration service if someone wants a particular design on a wallpaper. Freelance work keeps me on my toes!’

When it comes to her own house she has a couple of pieces of furniture upholstered in her own fabrics, and that’s enough for Borg. ‘Some people like to create lots for their own homes, but I tend to like to have the work of other designers or vintage pieces. Also I don’t think my boyfriend was keen on being surrounded by me AND all of my flowery work!’

Well, we and the many houses in London, the South East and the US which feature her bespoke work and the many more who feature her product line would beg to differ. For now we look forward to seeing the new patterns for new products she is currently working on.

Abigail Borg – www.abigailborg.com


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