Our director Matthew Wailes is no stranger to successful collaborations with fellow creative talents. He has already partnered with interior designer Juliette Byrne, and multi-media designer and artist Jan Erika, to produce exclusive designer rug collections. Now he is poised to reveal his latest collaboration, with Ilaria Perra, at London Design Week in March.
Who is llaria Perra?
Ilaria Perra is an Italian artist who specialises in multiple media and disciplines. An accomplished graphic designer, she is known for her creative vision, commercial awareness, and a background in fashion and textiles design. Ilaria’s qualifications include a National Diploma in Design & Applied Arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design. She also has a BA in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins. She also studied Graphic Design at London’s Shillington College, in addition to various courses in Illustration and Screen Printing.
Since 2004, Ilaria has been working as an associate lecturer in CAD for Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins (and at Buckinghamshire New University since 2017). In 2005, Ilaria founded her own company Stilelibero Ltd, and created the world’s first ever cork yoga mat. Over the years she has exhibited and published fashion illustrations, and exhibited and sold her brushed aluminium artistic panels at the Affordable Art Fair and Wimbledon Art Fair in London.
Italian artist Ilaria Perra and Matthew Wailes have joined forces to create a new luxury designer rug collection, which will be unveiled in March during London Design Week 2022
A new chapter
As an accomplished – and versatile – artist, Ilaria’s portfolio to date encompasses everything from fashion prints to airline branding. What is it about multi-media design that appeals to her? And how did she approach translating her work into luxury rugs?
“My background is broad, and I have a solid foundation in many areas of design,” Ilaria replies. “I guess now all my skills are merging together; they can easily translate into any surface. Rugs can really lift and add character to interiors. I think my patterns and textures can add a special touch and create a unique look and feel.”
Full details of this latest collaboration are still under wraps. But there’s not long to wait. Ilaria’s new collection with Matthew Wailes will showcase on our stand during London Design Week. However, we can reveal that the name is The Impressioni Collection (which means Impressions in Italian) – and that texture will play a key role.
Different textures found in nature will be a key feature of The Impressioni Collection, the latest collaboration between Matthew Wailes and artist Ilaria Perra, which is currently under wraps
This artist's new collection
“The inspiration for this new collection comes from my passion for the textures found in nature. This combines with the emotions I feel while creating them,” Ilaria confirms. “The colours and the marks are traces and impressions of my emotions, memories, and feelings of specific experiences captured on paper.”
As an artist, Ilaria is used to working with a huge range of different materials and media. Which processes has she adopted – and adapted – in order to create rugs from her artwork? “I love experimenting with different tools and media,” she replies. “But my favourite is creating mono-prints of textures with acrylic paint on glass using a variety of objects such as knives, forks, cards, feathers. I consider anything that can leave an interesting mark on the surface. The result is always unexpected and unique to that moment in time - the emotion, the force, the speed and the direction of my marks.”
Ilaria’s broad portfolio spans many different industries, but fashion and interior design retain a special place in her heart. “I love the way fashion can transform and empower, adding confidence as well as disguising and minimising imperfections,” she explains. “Fashion is a fundamental expression of our culture, personal beliefs, identity statements, status and aspirations. It can convey a lot of meaning, and communicate so much about what we want people to perceive about ourselves. I find it extremely significant, as well as very fickle and superfluous at times.”
Interior design, in contrast, has much more to offer in terms of depth, sustainability and longevity. In fact, this partly explains the attraction of this latest collaboration with Matthew Wailes . “Interior design has always been my greatest passion,” Ilaria declares. “When I was studying art and design at Chelsea College, my most successful projects were spatial design, textiles and product design.” She continues: “What I love about interior design is the slower pace at which collections are created and consumed. [Unlike our wardrobes] we would not change our rugs or curtains every couple of months.”
She adds: “Interiors has a more relaxing approach. You can enjoy and appreciate products for a long time, unlike clothes, which you can discard much faster thanks to fashion cycles and trends. I think...interiors can really add long-lasting value and quality to people’s lives.”
In addition to ceramics, Ilaria doodles on many other materials, including stones, candles and clothes. One of her favourite designs is flip flops and swimsuits, in line with her ambition to one day design a limited-edition beachwear resort fashion collection
This artist's vision & experience
Ilaria’s artist credentials mean she is comfortable working with a wide variety of materials, from cork to ceramics. While she is no longer making her ground-breaking cork yoga mats, she remains a champion of this material. Ilaria doesn’t discount the possibility of using it to explore other options, including rugs, in the future.
Ilaria explains: “Cork is organic, durable, practical, eco-friendly, lightweight, anti-bacterial, anti-static, sound-absorbing, fire-retardant, anti-allergenic and rot-resistant. It’s also waterproof yet breathable – just like human skin. I came up with the idea of using cork material for yoga mats, as I was unable to use ordinary PVC due to an allergic reaction. Although I don’t make them anymore, over the years, many companies have since followed suit. In fact, I’m proud to be the creator of the very first cork yoga mat in the world.”
As an accomplished artist, Ilaria is used to working with a wide range of materials and media. She even created the world’s first ever cork yoga mat under the brand name Stileblibero! Here cork rugs are showcased here
The art of doodling
Co-creating with nature is a passion for Ilaria who enjoys creating extensive doodles on beaches. Each day, the sea wipes everything away to create a clean slate for her to create another masterpiece, which finds therapeutic
Then there’s the Doodle Art Ceramics collection. “Doodling has always been a way for me to relax and flow with my emotions,” Ilaria reveals. “It helps me release negative feelings, and transmute them into beautiful patterns on paper and other surfaces. I create my doodles in a trance-like state – I never know how they will turn out. The end result is always unpredictable. I am just a medium through which creative energy flows, guided by my emotional state. I doodle on almost anything, not just ceramics: sand, leaves, stones, paper, candles, food and clothes.”
Ilaria has transformed her love of doodling – which helps her to relax and release negative feelings – into a successful ceramics collection
A powerful design force
But how did Ilaria make the leap from cork and ceramics to rugs? “I met Matthew at Decorex last October,” she reveals. “I was interested in making some samples of my prints to see how they would translate as luxury rugs. Fortunately, he loved my designs, and decided to welcome me onboard as one of his artist collaborations. I am so excited and I cannot wait to make this collaboration a great creative success.”
Ilaria is confident that her designs will translate well into rugs that suit the high-end market perfectly. “I believe my designs are unique and diverse. They are particularly suitable for private residential and boutique hotels, yachts and luxury resorts,” she explains. “My designs appeal to art and design lovers, as well as creative audiences seeking a bold and vibrant aesthetic.”
Ilaria is hugely looking forward to exhibiting on the Matthew Wailes stand at the 2022 London Design Week. This takes place at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, from 13-18 March.
She concludes: “I have always dreamt of showcasing my designs at a high-profile show. So, I feel really grateful and excited to be part of such a prestigious professional exhibition and trade show thanks to this golden opportunity.”
Watch our Instagram feed to find out which stand we will be showcasing Ilaria's works on and more details on London Design Week.