Marie Karlsson is Creative & Managing Director of Cole & Son, who will be sponsoring an Award in Week 1 of New Designers this year. Learn more about Marie’s work and design inspiration below.

What piece of design has inspired you the most?

‘I have recently been very inspired by Japanese artist, ARKO. She uses straw [taken from part of the rice plant] to create innovative wall hangings, stitch by meticulous stitch. Her use of a time-honoured natural material is very inspiring; she is definitely someone to keep an eye on.’ 

Who is your design inspiration?

‘I am inspired by those who share a strong work ethic and creative spirit. I love the work of Rei Kawakubo [founder of Comme des Garçons] for her vision that never conforms to trends, Ray Eames for bringing feminine thinking into design, and Maria Grazia Chiuri, who embraced creative change across all areas at Dior. The strong and elegant Charlotte Perriand is someone I have always looked up to; her passion for shapes from the natural world mirrors my own.’

Can you tell us about one of your favourite projects and how the process developed?

‘My love of nature can be seen in the latest Cole & Son collections, including ‘The Gardens: Vol II’, in which the changing colours of flowers and foliage have been hand-painted and created into Jacquards, satins, and velvets. Art makes its mark across all collections, such as Cole & Son’s second ‘Senza Tempo’ collection with Italian atelier Fornasetti, as well as in our revival of ‘Hummingbirds’, Cole & Son’s oldest design, which has been reimagined in joyful pastel palettes such as cornflower blue and blush pink. Later in 2024, Cole & Son will bring to the market a new collection inspired by a trip I took with our in-house artists to Japan, where I drew inspiration from traditions old and new. Part of these fabulous projects though, is remaining on the lookout for what’s next; we go where others don’t.’

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