In our series, Conversations In Colour, we talk to people who, much like ourselves, are inspired by and obsessed with colour. This month we catch up with Nora Nilsson, designer of the home textiles brand, Projektityyny, and former colleague of our Founder, Georgia. We talk about the art of mixing colours and textures plus Nora’s own creative process and where she draws inspiration from…
What is your earliest memory of colour?
“I have two very strong memories of colour that I often think about. An old photograph my mother used to wear in her locket - it was a photo of herself with me and my two sisters - we were all wearing Marimekko nightdresses in bright bold colours and clashing patterns. I spent many hours fondling this precious locket, opening and closing it in wonderment! The other thing I remember vividly were the patchwork quilts my grandmother had made for our summerhouse, with a bright yellow border and hundreds of colourful clashing patterned patches. I could stare at them for hours and let my mind go.”
What colours are you particularly attracted to and why?
“This changes constantly, but it tends to be a combination rather than one colour. It usually starts with a very strong attachment to one shade - and I suddenly want everything in that shade and nothing else, and then a colour that compliments and contrasts it perfectly. For example earlier this year I had a sudden crush on strawberry red, but not just red, it had to sit with soft pistachio, for a beautiful harmony. Without giving too much away, my latest crush is on a very particular shade of blue - and I promise you it will feature heavily in my next collection.”
When did you come with the idea for your brand, Projektityyny and have you always wanted to be in the world of design?
“Projektityyny was a slowly evolving idea - which started to bear fruit whilst I was working as a fashion buyer in London. As a Buyer you get to travel a fair bit and I fell particularly in love with India and its textile traditions and artisans. Going to the fabric markets there was a real eye opener and the thing that really sparked something in me. I used to bring the most incredible fabrics home and make them into things, cushions mostly. That was in 2015 and about two years later, I left my job and officially started Projektityyny in 2017. I haven’t always worked in design, but very closely to it. I worked in Buying for about 10 years before starting my own business. I am used to creating and building product ranges and it really felt like a natural next step for me. In fact Projektityyny isn’t the first brand I’ve started, a long time ago in my early 20s before my buying career, I launched an underwear brand, and funnily enough just like Dora my brand was named after our pet dog Bessie!”
Tell us about your collection, your design process and who or what inspires you most?
“With Projektityyny I really hope I can inject some magic into people’s homes. Playfulness, theatre and joy. It’s about the art of beautiful mixing. Mixing of colour, texture, pattern - but in perfect harmony. A few people have said to me that the latest collection is exactly the tonic they needed after 2020. It made them feel happy at home. It carved them an escape from the mundane every day. My design process is very organic and very instinctive. I never do something just because I think it will sell. I only create things I love, things that make me feel something, things that excite me! I am constantly on, and draw inspiration from everywhere - so a new collection can start from anything really - a colour or a pattern I’ve seen somewhere, an embroidery, a plant, a piece of old fabric, basically anything. Then I let my imagination run wild! I draw and gather images and colours and textures for days and weeks, sometimes months. I draw new patchwork designs, I visualise shoots in my head often long before I’ve even sampled anything. It all naturally comes together and I always trust my instincts. It’s a very personal journey and that’s why I often feel quite vulnerable and exposed when the collection eventually comes out. So much love and attention has been poured into it and then it’s out there for people to decide upon it what they will!”
Does your love of colour translate into other parts of your life?
“My love of colour translates to everything - but again, the art is in the mixing. What you have amongst all the colour is just as important as the colour itself. It’s the spaces in between that are essential. Giving the colour its space to shine.”
Where can we see your collections?
“My collections are sold in small boutiques around the world, on our website and also at my favourite department store, Liberty London.”
What’s coming up next for you?
“I am currently just about to move into a new space in a small town near us at the Somerset border. The space will be a fantastic next step for Projektityyny and I will be finally able to employ someone to help me (yes, ‘we’ are indeed still a one man band!). I am also starting to draft out the next collection - from mind to paper and all I can think of is colour combinations! We have an exciting collaboration coming up and a stunning luxury silk Liberty quilt launch - so watch this space!”
Nora wears the Dolly Clean Tulle Underwire Bra.
Discover Projektityyny here.