Through a Glass Darkly

18.06.2012 | Blog | BY:

Darkroom, is a very modern boutique. Placed on Lambs Conduit Street it’s monochrome interior expertly filled with the most eclectic and almost unreachable accessories for man, woman and home.

Founded by duo Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck the unique store holds rare pieces largely inspired by Africa that push boundaries between art and design.

Twin spoke to Rhonda, who explained the mysterious, yet hellishly exciting concept that brings majestic product, fit for a museum, to our homes…

Can you describe Darkroom in three words?
Bold, Crafted, Design… arrgh, that”s a hard question!

How do you go about seeking new brands/designs and keeping the store’s content so original?
We tend to steer clear of known designer brands, unless there”s something in the accessories part of a collection that really stands out, and isn”t already well represented in London — We prefer to source more off the beaten track, so we literally scour the world, [and its tradeshows!], mixing London finds by graduates and lesser known designers with pieces sourced anywhere from Africa to Australia, Brazil to Belgium…

A lot of product in the store is African-influenced, why is this?
I”ve been collecting African fabrics for many years, and before we started Darkroom, I developed a signature range of cushions made from my archives of wax print fabrics that I wholesaled to places like Liberty etc. This was something that was also brought into the Darkroom aesthetic when we were developing that, and has proved really successful here, which is great.

We really like the way the vibrancy of the textiles and colour palettes found in Africa work so well alongside contemporary Western design. The contrast really creates a dialogue between all the products we present.

Can you tell us about any particularly interesting products you stock?
We love to present pieces that use an unexpected process or material — one of the best examples is the series of poufs by Dutch designer Chrstien Meindertsma. She uses jumbo thick felted wool, and hand knits them with needles the size of broomsticks!

What’s your favourite piece?
I”ve just ordered one of these amazing bags by Nigerian-born designer Buki Akib.

Tell us about your own design aesthetic and   White Coat’s Call Room 4 Unique Chief Complaints Buy buy сialis online on November 30, 2013 Buy buy сialis online USPS Fast Delivery. process.
Before Darkroom, I worked as a graphic designer, and this graphic approach is definitely the way I work here too — I respond to boldness and bravery in design, but also really enjoy simple items made really well. When designing products here, I”ll always look outside of the industry of “retail” for a starting point, I see little point in responding to trends.

My own design aesthetic is very much what you see at Darkroom, I pretty much live it — my home is very similar. I”m currently close to buying a new place, and am looking forward to hand painting tribal-esque motifs and shapes on all the walls. I like design to be visually challenging and unexpected, but also to be realistic — I hate homes that look like show homes, or when people dress top-to-toe catwalk.

What events have you recently had or are coming up at Darkroom?
We just had a party to celebrate the window installation that launched Buki Akib”s bags [see above], and we are now working towards our Pagan themed season that launches on 21 June — Summer Solstice.

Do you support or stock graduates?
Yes we do — although it wasn”t one of the original theories behind the word “Darkroom”, we like how it has the connotations of developing new talent. The nature of what we do, in selling one-off and hand-made pieces, works really well for graduate designers.

Would you ever branch out to apparel?
At the moment, no — we really enjoy the creativity that is inspired by selling accessories only. The way we mix interior and fashion accessories allows for so much scope and means we have a unique voice that we can build on in many ways. Ultimately though, our shop size limits us to how much we can present. There”s no doubt that we”d love a bigger space, and who knows what that would bring!

What’s next for Darkroom?
There”s the Pagan launch, which is a really exciting mix of specially commissioned pieces by several jewellers including Michelle Lowe-Holder, CCCHU and Na”ama Rietti, alongside some new Darkroom pieces and a selection of beautiful items sourced from New York and Madagascar.

We are also working on our inaugural Darkroom knitwear collection which will launch during the London Design Festival in September — we”re working with the amazing designer and set-builder Camille Walala on a major window installation for that, which is extremely exciting.


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Fright Night

28.10.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

With Halloween looming, Twin checked out artist and filmmaker Quentin Jones’ window installation for cult home and accessories store, Darkroom.  HAUNTED brings Jones’ illustrative style to life in a three dimensional window display featuring spooky hands and twisted and chopped cartoon characters. Darkroom invited Jones to fill their windows and her darkly surreal take on Dorothy from Wizard of Oz and the wholesome white picket fence brings a playful note to the store’s interior. Covetable pieces by Fleet Ilya, Maryham Keyhani, Jonathan Saunders, and Darkroom’s self-designed collection blend into the hypnagogic landscape. Go get spooked!

HAUNTED is at Darkroom, Lamb’s Conduit Street, London until 6 November.

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