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  • Paul Simmons, co-founder of Timorous Beasties

Posted 09.03.16

In Pictures: Tactile textiles, bugs and bedsits, Timorous Beasties take over The Gallery

By Sarah Packer

Panels of striking wallpaper adorned The Gallery walls at the Timorous Beasties exhibition.

Noted for their tactile and provocative textiles and wallpapers, design studio Timorous Beasties have taken over The Gallery, transforming it in celebration of our Textile Design Season.

Founded in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, the work of Timorous Beasties could be seen as a wayward take on the often “twee” world of textiles, with heavily illustrative insects, ‘triffid-like’ plants, birds and other animals.

The creative duo have collaborated, designed and been commissioned by many brands, clients and projects, including Netjets, Fortnum and Mason, The Wellcome Trust, Philip Treacy, Kate Bush, Famous Grouse Whisky and Nike – to name a few.

Paul Simmons, co-founder of Timorous Beasties

As part of the opening night our Studio Theatre played host to a packed out talk by Paul Simmons – discussing the rise of Timorous Beasties and the history of their designs – with many describing the co-founder of the design studio as “inspiring” and “entertaining”.

From studio anecdotes to the darker nature of 18th century toiles, Paul kicked off the exhibition launch in style.

“Once you shove a big iguana in a pattern munching on insects, you do diminish its sellability.” — Paul Simmons

Following the talk, visitors were invited to see the vibrant work of Timorous Beasties ‘Bedsit’ in The Gallery – transformed into a space to inhabit; with re-constructed sofas, bespoke wallpaper and a bed to rest on, visitors were invited to spend time in this surreal and beguiling environment.

The work aims to explore the relationship of pattern over different surfaces and substrates. Taking inspiration from grotty bedsits as their starting point, ants crawl over the walls and sofas, beautiful ink stains run over a velvet bed and modern day toile ceramics adorn the table.

"That’s one of the things a designer should do out of duty, changing the way that people have preconceived ideas.” — Paul Simmons

During his visit, Paul also gave advice to aspiring textile designers from our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern programme, “Over time, people started using wallpapers in different ways.

“You have to show people how these things are going to be used, it can work to your advantage if people have a preconceived notion of what you’re doing. You can change the way they think. That’s one of the things a designer should do out of duty, changing the way that people have preconceived ideas.”

Paul Simmons (left) with Paul Singleton, Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader and BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern students.

As a result of the exhibition here at the college Lily Cummings, a second year student on our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design and Surface Pattern programme, is set to head to Timorous Beasties’ design studio for a placement in June.

Don’t miss seeing the textiles, bugs and luxe interiors from 'Bedsit' in The Gallery from Wednesday 2 March to Saturday 16 April 2016. Free and open to all.

Keep an eye out for our Gallery Short film – where we sit down with Alistair and Paul to find out more about their work – coming soon!

Photos by Dom Moore. See the full album on our facebook page and tag yourself and your friends!