Pattern — we see it everywhere, yet most of us don’t fully realize how beautiful and uplifting the design and color variations can be. I am hopelessly fascinated by this important and popular design aspect. Who doesn’t love to see the mix of small and large scale patterns or come upon a contemporary and colorful twist on a classic design? The word itself is attributed to the French word “patron” and it refers to a reoccurring sequence of designs or elements. If you think about it, pattern is everywhere: from the fleeting snowflakes of nature to the stoic brick patterns we create to the ever-changing fashions we choose. During my research on this very subject, one of the best books I have come across is Tricia Guild’s Pattern. It can rightfully be described as a loving tribute to pattern.
Pattern by Tricia Guild
Tricia Guild is an icon in the interior design world. She established her company, Designers Guild, in 1970 and has since turned it into a multi-million dollar empire encompassing books, fabric, wallpaper, furniture, a paint line, flooring and home accessories. This particular book caught my eye because of its cover — it has a ornamental black flocked pattern and every time I pick it up, I can’t help but rub my hand along the soft design. Inside, it’s like walking into a paint and pattern version of Willy Wonka’s factory: delicious, colorful and vibrant. It’s a wild ride! Ms. Guild explains how to incorporate color and pattern to create sophisticated yet fun interiors — nothing that’s ever too precious.
Pattern by Tricia Guild is broken down by sections including current and historical patterns. In fact, she explores the evolution of the four main groups of pattern: geometric, floral, pictorial and ethnic. She also examines varying fabric styles like velvet, silk and tweed along with design elements such as chinoiserie and painted frescoes. There is no stone unturned here in the 208-page book and even its size — perfect for a coffee table but a shame to just leave it there — is fulfilling.
My favorite part is how she describes pattern as a living, ever-changing spirit: “Patterns can be free or contained, spontaneous or harmonious, fluid or rigid, classical or innovative, inspirational or balanced, colored or neutral, subtle or vivacious…This alchemy is the source of continual inspiration, contemplation and delight”. How perfect is that? It’s a wonderful book if you are hoping to learn about pattern but even if you just soak in the gorgeous visuals, I know you, too, will find a joyous satisfaction in this celebration of pattern that Tricia Guild has shared with us. If you’d like even more of a Pattern Primer, be sure not to miss Paint + Pattern’s Glossary of Patterns as well!