This beautifully illustrated children’s book The Tale of the Prince and the Magic Carpet was written by James Dyson’s father Alec, whilst posted in India during the Second World War.
The book, published by Blackie & Son of London and Glasgow, was inspired by his surroundings and was written for and features his three children – a blonde James and his brother and sister.
Whilst discussing blog content, Alice (our Head of Contract Sales and Marketing) suggested exploring the origins of the magic carpet at which point Deirdre mentioned this book.
We thought it would be lovely to share some of its beautiful illustrations and background with you.
Only one tatty copy of the novel remains which James Dyson has now copied for his siblings and grandchildren to enjoy. A lovely legacy given that Alec Dyson died when James was only 9 and a wonderful link to Deirdre’s passion for carpet design.
We are long-time affiliates of GoodWeave. For over a decade Goodweave has worked tirelessly to end child exploitation in Nepal’s carpet industry and provide education and opportunities to rescued and at-risk children.
As we all know, entire sections of Kathmandu, where GoodWeave operates, have collapsed, leaving thousands dead and injured and many more without shelter, food, water, and electricity. All of the children and staff at Goodweave’s Hamro Ghar building are safe, but the building is damaged.
Goodweave has set up an Earthquake Relief Fund and outlined to it’s affiliates the problems faced on the ground in Nepal, their strategy to address them and the potential long term impact of the disaster, which we have set out below.
What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
The earthquake has caused extensive damage to buildings, roads and communications systems. Families have been separated, their lives and livelihoods disrupted. People living in poverty and former victims of child labour and trafficking are always hit hardest by natural disasters and the recent earthquake has put them at even greater risk of exploitation.
How will this project solve this problem?
GoodWeave will deliver urgent services to the children and weaving communities we serve through:
Addressing the immediate needs of the children in Goodweave’s rehabilitation centre and schools and weaving families with food, shelter, medical care, and other necessities. Support will be coordinated with major relief organisations to ensure that our community of about 16,000 people receive the support they need;
Rebuilding of GoodWeave’s programmed infrastructure to ensure schooling for 785 children isn’t interrupted for an extended period;
Providing support for rug exporters for rebuilding infrastructure, a critical long-term economic recovery need for Nepal’s top export sector.
Potential long-term impact
GoodWeave was operating in Nepal long before the earthquake hit, and will continue to work with the weaving and brick-making communities long after the news cameras have gone. By working on long-term recovery with the children and communities GoodWeave serves, they will ensure that they are better equipped to face future disasters and come out of this tragedy stronger than before.
At such an exciting time in the company’s development, my team and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to reveal more about Deirdre Dyson the company.
The journey from initial concept to finished carpet is a fascinating one and I want to use this blog to take you behind the scenes of the entire design process.
We also want to share what inspires both myself and my team here, highlight good art and design, give updates on the exciting refurbishment project for our showroom on 554 Kings Road and most importantly showcase our bespoke carpets in their new homes.
We’re really looking forward to updating this blog regularly and hope you enjoy it!
Elle Decoration described the above image as ‘Studio 54-esque‘ with the vintage brass desk sourced by Louisa and the iconic Platner armchair upholstered in dusky pink, picking up one of the vibrant wool grades in the carpet design.
The chair was originally designed for Knoll by Warren Platner in 1966 and is still in production today.
The striking sculptural form is created by curved steel rods on a semi-circular frame and is a classic of mid-Century modernist design, described by Platner as ‘decorative, gentle [and] graceful’
The construction is hugely complex and technically challenging – the bases are made of hundreds of rods, and for some versions, more than 1,000 welds are required in construction but the effect is simply stunning and has stood the test of time.
Platner was an American Architect and Interior Designer and designed up until his death in 2006. One of his most famous interiors was the original Windows on the World restaurant on top of New York’s World Trade Center North Tower, which incorporated several different variations on this chair in the reception areas.
Described as looking like a ‘shiny sheaf of wheat’ in the original Knoll catalogue, the structure adapted to love seat, stool and fully upholstered easy chair and ottoman versions which combined lightweight form with comfort. The design was also adapted as tables with the same cylindrical base and even lamp stands in myriad different metals and finishes.
Paint brand Dulux, has selected ‘Brave Ground’ as their colour for 2021.
A staple interior choice of colour since the 80’s and dominating the early 00’s, beige is one palette that we just can’t seem to get enough of. It’s a familiar colour, it’s warm (particularly for cooler climates) and it can be applied to pretty much any interior design scheme. However, it also has an association with being boring and safe and some might say, unimaginative.
Here are a few examples where ‘boring beige’ can be just as exciting and as playful as other bold, more statement colours.
In this apartment designed by MAT Architects, the beige walls are perfectly paired with the tones of the wood panelling, making this space inviting and warm against the crisp white ceiling, lighting and cool grey concrete floors. Tonal fabrics, artwork and plant life add texture, sculpture, dimension and visual interest. As beige is an absorbing, earthy colour it sits well with a myriad of nature’s more vibrant colours.
The kitchen area carries the colour palette through by way of the beige terrazzo on the kitchen island. Just like white, black accessories silhouette perfectly against a warm beige background.
Deirdre Dyson’s EAGLE carpet incorporates the beige palette within a bold, statement design that works best large scale for a fuller impact. Keeping a neutral decorative background, a beige coloured carpet can be just as bold as something more patterned and colourful. It’s all about balance.
Beige comes in a variety of tones from more putty based to greyer and greener hues, so the scale of warmth can be adjusted accordingly, making it a hugely versatile choice of colour.
Here is a work in progress for a recent client project, using our SLIDES design.
Beige works particularly well when combined with pinks and reds.
The LIGHT FRAGMENTS design from this years’ LOOKING GLASS Collection is a testament to that. Deirdre has mixed the various abstract elements in grey, charcoal, light and dark beige with pops of Bordeaux and pink to create just the right combination of statement with subtlety.
If beige just isn’t you colour, then it’s a problem easily solved as we can adapt and change colours on any design from a choice of 5,000 colours. The only ‘possible’ problem you may have, are which colours to choose…?
We are counting down the days to our move back to the completely gutted and remodelled showroom at 554 Kings Road – the next few weeks will be a flurry of joiners, electricians and decorators as work nears completion.
Timothy has collaborated closely with Deirdre and manager Edison to create not only a light, airy and calm environment allowing Deirdre’s designs to speak for themselves, but also a practical workspace for Deirdre and her staff.
Even though the carpets will take centre stage, the architects have incorporated several surprise elements – the piece de resistance surely being the patinated steel cantilevered staircase fabricated by New York based metal-worker William R. Nitzberg of Enzo Metal.
William’s sculptural metalwork has been exhibited at Moma and the Whitney Museum and the staircase is not only a major architectural statement but also a mammoth feat of engineering, as our Site Manager Kevin will confirm!
Light has been a consideration from the beginning and both a retractable roof light on the top floor and ‘glass box’ extension on the ground floor allow natural light to flood through the building.
A totally bespoke lighting system has also been designed by Sally Storey, founder of Lighting Design International specifically to highlight the intense colour and subtle contrasts in Deirdre’s designs.
This Blog entry is very much absent of images but trust us, it will be worth the wait. All will be revealed soon and we promise it will be spectacular!