A design icon with Hampstead roots, reworked for 21st century interiors
- Credit: Archant
A range of embossed tiles based on a 1930s London Underground textile by Hampstead designer Enid Marx has been launched in collaboration with Transport for London
The tiles are designed by product designer Lindsey Lang based on patterns sourced from the London Underground design archives. They are made in cement because it is used widely in tube stations around the capital.
The 3D chevron pattern features raised geometric shapes and can be combined to create large diamond outlines across walls and floors.
Enid Marx, a distant cousin of Karl, and a prolific designer of patterns on everything from tube seats to book jackets designed the original chevron print in 1938 from her Hampstead workshop, based in a cowshed on Hampstead Hill.
Customers for her popular abstract and geometric designs included fellow Hampstead resident, the matinee idol Gerald du Maurier.
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She was commissioned by the London Passenger Transport Board to develop a hard-wearing, cotton-velvet seating fabric (moquette) for use on London bus and Tube seats.
Marx relished the challenge involved in creating a repeating pattern that could stand up to having even the dirtiest bottoms sitting on it, using strong, contrasting tones and changes of texture.
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The red and green chevron print was used on the Piccadilly and Central lines teamed with red leather arm rests.
A second range of tiles is inspired by the 1938 roundel design seen in ceramic panels in Aldgate East and Bethnal Green stations, which artist Harold Stabler based on the London Underground logo.
Lang said: “Digging through the archives I had huge mood boards that got narrowed down to these two particular points of interest.
“I’m a textile designer so I was aware that Enid Marx is an icon the way Lucienne Day is an icon. That makes it really cool to be able to reinvent her design and bring a fresh perspective.”
Encaustic tiles, which were prevalent in medieval times and again during the 19th century Gothic Revival, have seen a recent surge in popularity and look set to be a huge interiors trend for 2016. They are usually made by inlaying different colours of clay so that as the tile wears down the pattern remains.
Lang has adapted the ancient technique, building up layers of cement by hand to create a 3D pattern and then pressing pigment into the surface.
She has also created a range of more portable homewares including trays, teatowels and mugs, for Transport for London, which are sold in the TfL museum shop.
The tiles cost £185 per m2 and are available from wallsandfloors.eu