A Tale of Two Cities: Farrow & Ball and Liberty in Milan

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A Tale of Two Cities: Farrow & Ball and Liberty in Milan

18 April 2023

Walls: Blackened No.2011 in Dead Flat® | Image: Courtesy of Lorenzo Palmieri and Electa

This April, we’re proud to be making an appearance at Milan’s world-famous design week, Salone del Mobile, in the form of two landmark exhibitions from our friends at Liberty.

This year’s fair heralds the launch of FuturLiberty, an all-new collection of Liberty interiors and fashion fabrics curated by the renowned Italian couturier and interior designer Federico Forquet. And tying it all together, a common colourful thread – the ultra-matt finish and intense hues of our own latest venture, new Dead Flat®.

"We’ve always felt there’s an incredible synergy between Liberty Fabrics and Farrow & Ball palettes," says Genevieve Bennett, head of design for Liberty Interiors, "so we naturally looked at Farrow & Ball colours for the walls of our exhibition, to really make our new collection sing."

Left: School House White No.291 | Right: Sudbury Yellow No.51 (Both Dead Flat®) | Image: Courtesy of Lorenzo Palmieri and Electa

Taking his cues from the compositions of Liberty legend Bernard Nevill, as well as his Tuscan surroundings, Forquet worked with the Liberty Design Studio to curate a collection of bold, geometric designs that challenge what we think we know about Liberty print.

Like the collection itself, the exhibitions are a masterclass in cultural exchange. The first, at Museo del Novecento, shows the work of the Italian Futurists and British Vorticists who also inspired the dynamic prints of FuturLiberty, many of them on loan from the Tate and the British Council.

The second, at Palazzo Morando, is a playful celebration of Liberty’s London origins, drawing a line from its beginnings at the midst of the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement, through the 1960s designs of Bernard Nevill, to the FuturLiberty collection of today.

Walls and Table: Charlotte’s Locks No.268 in Dead Flat® | Image: Courtesy of Lorenzo Palmieri and Electa

From Off-Black – which creates the velvety night-sky backdrop for David Bowie’s iconic Liberty-print Ziggy Stardust jumpsuit – to Sudbury Yellow and De Nimes – a cheerful accompaniment to Bernard Nevill’s legendary tie collection – Farrow & Ball colour and finish is the perfect partnership to bring the Liberty story to life.­­

"As we worked on the exhibition, we could see that the artworks had this beautiful link with the hues" says Genevieve. "In particular, the Giacomo Balla paintings and furniture, which range from vivid greens that punch against the yellow of the Babouche walls to soft plaster pinks that are drawn out of the paintings by their backdrop of Faded Terracotta."

The Palette

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