The Harlequin Effect Part 3
Interview continued with Luke Birchall . Harlequin’s U.K Sales Manager
Hi Elsie here,
Welcome to the final instalment to the Harlequin interview where we will be diving into the future of the company.
We are going to look at their environmental goals and achievements, equality in the company and new designs out this month.
Hope you enjoy.
E.Wolfe:- How does Harlequin intend to carry the “lifestyle” forward?
Luke Birchall: – Over the last 25 years but especially during the last decade or so we feel we have developed a strong business leading the way in terms of design and lifestyle products. We are always striving to keep abreast of current trends and will always invest in the latest production techniques at our factories to make sure we maintain the ‘edge’. Equally important is establishing and maintaining strong working relationships with our trade customers and the licensing partners previously mentioned. It is only with the right mix of all these elements and more that we will be able to maintain the position we are currently in.
Belvedere wallpaper, Dimoiselle wallpaper and fabric and Palmetto Silk All from the NEW Palmetto Collection
E.Wolfe:- You have a number of strong women in the company such as Claire Vallis (design director), Louise Draper (senior textile designer) & Caroline Geary (company secretary). In what way do you think having women in equal positions as men in the top of Harlequin will help the company in the future?
Luke Birchall:- One of our major strengths is that we have strong people in place across the business, irrespective of sex. The likes of Claire Vallis, Alison Gore, Louise Draper and Louise Stovell (to name only a small selection!) have been with the company for significant lengths of time and in many ways embody all that is Harlequin. Without these people at the forefront of the business I honestly feel the company would be a poor reflection of itself and would arguably not have achieved all that it has in recent times. However, the success we have achieved is a real team effort and the blokes definitely deserve a mention as well!!
Cranes In Flight. Palmetto Wallpaper
E.Wolfe:- Carbon footprint and sustainable energy is important for our future not only in business but in the world. Harlequin has made moves in making their company cleaner such as sourcing its raw materials from organisations that trade ethically, are bound by environmental controls and, in turn, have their own environmental management systems.
The paper base for the wallpapers is supplied by organisations that source pulp from certified, sustainable forests and are accredited to FSC and/or PEFC forestry certification systems. What plans does Harlequin have to be a “greener company” in the future?
Luke Birchall: – We will always endeavour reach the standards set by law in relation to environmental controls; in fact it is our policy to exceed any targets set out. As we operate two large scale factory operations, we are constantly trying to achieve smarter and more efficient ways of working. Our Lancaster print house, Standfast & Barracks, uses water from the River Lune for multiple production techniques. We work closely with agencies such as United Utilities to ensure any water returned to the river is absolutely clean and will do no damage to the local environment. I’m sure you can appreciate the large quantity of base paper required for the large scale production of wallpapers at Anstey. We ensure that all paper supplied to us is FSC or PEFC accredited and we go to great lengths to ensure that any forestry stock is replanted to safeguard future production.
Dardenella Fabric, Dimoiselle and Lois fabrics. Palmetto collection.
E.Wolfe:- Harlequin always seem to have something up their sleeves in the way of beautiful cutting edge designs. What direction do you think Harlequin’s designs will go in the future?
Luke Birchall: – The beauty of the Harlequin Group brands is that they can evolve in any way depending on the way design trends themselves evolve. We have three hugely strong brands in Harlequin, Scion and Anthology which cover the whole market from entry level with Scion, to higher end textural wallcoverings with Anthology. We also cannot rule out the introduction of other brands in future or the acquisition of another existing supplier. Whatever the future has in store we are in a good place to be able to react and develop accordingly.
Amborella wallpaper from the Palmetto Collection
Amborella Paterened Silk in the Palmetto Collection
E.Wolfe:- Harlequin have always created strong children’s designs, an area that many other companies have either shied away from or been very week in. How do you see this part of the harlequin brand existing in the future?
Luke Birchall: – Our children’s collections are something we are very proud of at Harlequin and we will always continue to produce these. In many ways, like our coordinating fabrics and wallpapers, we are known for kid’s ranges and we would be very foolish to move away from this kind of collection now. In fact we will in late September be launching our first Scion children’s collection, ‘Guess Who?’ which draws on the success of our Mr Fox and Spike designs and includes more character based designs, such as Felicity Flamingo, Terry Toucan and a gang of Chameleons! It’s a really great collection and will be available to view in full at Scion stockists at the end of September.
The collection featured throughout this post is Palmetto, a sophisticated collection of atmospheric designs in evocative shades.
This collection is drawing not only from the wonderfully evocative 1920’s luxe feel but also from the glamour of the Jazz age and the botanical fervour that erupted in the 19th century with the enthusiastic orchid hunters.
Yet again Harlequin have been forward thinking and inspired in this collection expertly designed by Harlequin Studio’s Becky Brown.
In Becky Brown’s own words regarding the inspiration for this collection she says……………
“Over the last 18 months I have been watching trends evolving both in fashion and in interiors, collating mood boards and experimenting with different techniques, such as mono prints, negative prints, foiling and etching. It seems to me as though the bright spring flowers of previous years have given way to an altogether more mysterious mood. The feel for 2015 is dreamlike and enchanted,
expressed through wild foliage, graphic botanicals and delicate flora and fauna.”
As previously mentioned in this interview, Harlequin and Becky Brown have expertly translated designs from the fashion world, added their own Harlequin magic and yet again created a wonderful, exotic and glamorous masterpiece. The Palmetto collection.
This collection has everything, wallpapers, metallics, weaves, silks and a coordinating velvet selection called Belvedere velvets. Palmetto is an alluring collection with a high hitting sophistication of pattern, texture and intensity of colour that has you literally watering at the mouth.
The Harlequin Group is a rich and diverse brand that is a heavy weight in the creation of top end wallpapers and fabrics. You just have to look at their two most latest collections coming out at the end of September 2015 to see this. Palmetto Collection with Harlequin and Guess Who? with Scion.
Next post coming out Monday will feature more images from Scion’s “Guess Who?” collection not to mention many others. Come Back MONDAY and take a look?
ALL IMAGES © HARLEQUIN
For more information on designs, collections, stockists & samples go to