Daniel Heath, Long-Life Surface Design

by Becky Hoh in Bespoke stories

For something so intricate, delicate and detailed Daniel Heath’s hand drawn illustrations pack a real punch when applied to his whimsical wallpaper, textile and surface designs.

The animal motifs, bring the bespoke and salvaged interior objects to life, taking you back to childhood moments as well as adding something graphic and cool to a room.

Trained in the traditional process of silk-screen printing at the Royal College of Art, Daniel Heath grew up in the heart of East Sussex, with inspiration flowing from  the South Downs  and coastal landscape where wildlife thrived. He moved to the creative hub of East London, setting up his studio close to Hackney Marshes in 2006 in order to create bespoke, hand-printed wallpapers and crafted material surfaces. He uses contemporary processes such as laser engraving, in order to replicate his hand drawn designs onto all types of surfaces from mirror, wood, upholstery, ceramic and of course paper where he most often employs his first learned method of screen printing. Wallpaper designs include  Taxidermy Birds and circus themes such as Jumbo and High Wire.

Although in the beginning it was just Heath and ‘a print table and a bunch of screens’ he is a firm advocate of collaboration. He still designs everything that the Daniel Heath studio produces and screen prints to order but he also uses a network of collaborators to bring further skill sets into the table. ‘I had good friend John Williamson of Grain Bespoke Furniture help me design and make hand turned iroko legs for my Antique Mirrored Tables,’ describes Heath. ‘We’ve been friends for 15 years, I knew that his experience and attention to detail would help me to create a beautiful product.’

He has also been working with The Handmade Alliance on his latest fabric range and upholstered pieces, which is a social enterprise training prisoners to produce high quality hand-finished textile products for British designers. He also takes huge influence from his wife, Laura Perryman, a talented colour and materials expert, advising Heath on trends and layout for print.

 

‘Laura has helped to define the brand, which has allowed me to get on with drawing, making things and talking to my clients.’

 

These ‘things’ have turned into a set product line which is stocked in Holly’s House on the New Kings Road and online through The Mint List. He is also just about to have products stocked in a new Brooklyn based interiors shop called Grace & Favor. The set line includes screen-printed linen cushions and etched welsh roof slates. Both materials were chosen by Heath in line with his focus on sustainability and local sourcing, the linen coming from a Yorkshire Mill that Heath has a good relationship with and slate being long lasting and environmentally sensitive.

Heath also adores the completely bespoke process, which has seen him create pieces for private residential clients and interior designers as well as retail, including Panasonic Europe and renowned shoe designer Rupert Sanderson ‘I take on all kinds of bespoke work. I find it to be a gift as it provides me with a challenge and variety each and every time.’ The Rupert Sanderson project was with the architects Retrouvius, which required him to design interior cladding for the Mayfair store.

‘It was interesting because of the materials we chose to use. Retrouvius had managed to obtain some Victorian oak drawer bases that were salvaged from the Natural History Museum and had asked us to consider how to use them. We went away with the material and came back with a modular, etched design that used the inherent quality of the material. The project was also exciting because there was a finite amount of the material, which eventually ran out so it can never be repeated.’

Everything about Heath’s work references longevity, giving new life to well made but tired products that have stood the test of time, with the idea that his customisation will add even more of a lifespan to the objects. ‘I like to create pieces that are timeless future heirlooms. I am not interested in creating throwaway products,’ he states.

It is a method that is clearly working as his schedule is busier than ever. As well as buying a new house, which he is planning to use as a shoot location for his next range, Heath is currently working on products exclusively for Holly’s House, iroko chopping boards engraved with his illustrations, screen printed linen throws in a range of designs and colours, all due to be launched at the London Design Festival in September.

 

Daniel Heath – www.danielheath.co.uk


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