Renowned for his love of collecting beautiful Oriental objects, Jim Thompson amassed a treasure trove of fine art, sculptures and textiles during his life in Thailand, and it is this legacy that has inspired the new 2016 collection of home fabric and wallpaper for the legendary design house.
Designs of the Orient: Jim Thompson
By drawing inspirations from his private archives and collections, alongside having privileged access to those housed in the Royal Thai Palace; this abundance of riches was meticulously explored by the company’s present-day artists and designers in creating the new range, which serves as a charismatic legacy of Jim Thompson, almost fifty years after his mysterious disappearance in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands.
Jim Thompson’s deep interest in the culture, art and architecture of Southeast Asia can be seen throughout the designs inspired by his collections. Shimmering motifs that are intrinsically Thai and unfailingly exotic abound in this eclectic array of printed patterns for fine fabrics, wallpapers, upholstery and drapes, all exuding elegant drama and character. There are images of classical Siam, traditional Thai decorations and even whimsical drawings of rural life.
Linen and silk creations switch between casual glamour and organic chic
Undulating ethereal colours fade across the fabric, giving an impression of aged papyrus
But it’s not completely Eastern, as some designs contain pockets of other cultures to be discovered, and that’s what makes the collection an absorbing and rewarding journey of exploration. For example, Creative Director Noppadol Ou Baholoyodhin’s Bonsai of the Vanities collection fuses influences of both East and West, with motifs that trace their lineage back to old Europe, yet it’s filled with reverence for the artistry of the East, with all the designs created using beautiful weaving techniques.
Highlights of his fabric collection are Chaparral, a linen toile with intricate illustrations of rural life taken from a 200-year-old gold leaf and lacquer cabinet discovered in the Royal Palace, Conrad, depicting classic Chinese fretwork in loop-pile velvet, and Cedros, luxurious 100 percent silk jacquard inspired by bonsai trees. His wallpaper collection, The Scarlet Letter, contains delicate patterns taken directly from the archived collections. Ylang takes its cue from a 19th century chinoiserie document, while Sena’s soft palette, with a hint of metallic sheen, is inspired by a Cambodian ikat pattern.
Contrasting colours, scale and form
Classic designs of the Orient bring delicacy and refinement
British designer Richard Smith of No. 9 Thompson ventured further afield to find inspirations for his Pageant collection of fabrics and wallpaper, which contains a profusion of influences from across Asia, with conspicuous motifs and unexpected contrasts of scale and form.
Pomegranate Tree is based on an original watercolour with free-flowing shape, Marigold features a stylised flower which is almost geometric, and Chinese Panel is a reminder of hand-painted Chinese wallpaper panels he discovered in historic Belton House in the UK. He’s created Pageant wallpapers inspired by the fabrics collection, which can be used to add a further level of appeal. Agra is based on the classic Indian hand-knotted rugs of the same name, and Pavilion’s inspiration comes from a Chinese fretwork screen.