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The Monkey Puzzle Tree’s new award-winning fabric collection

Innovative Leeds-based interiors brand The Monkey Puzzle Tree has been awarded a Design Guild Mark – an award for excellence in British design – for a second consecutive year for its bespoke design ‘All Tomorrows Futures’. Described as a vibrant new fabric that tells the story of climate change and combining a stunning, large-scale print by artist and illustrator Alexis Snell,  ‘All Tomorrow’s Futures’ locally produced fabric is a joyfully intelligent collaboration that, in addition to its beauty, comments on the world and its journey to sustainability.

This exuberant design has a subversive undertone, where flocks of swallows morph into aeroplanes and shoals of fish merge into skulls and snakes. Monkeys, butterflies and panthers are set alongside exploding volcanoes and arid deserts. The layered, hidden message about humankind’s impact on the planet reveals more of itself every time you look at the fabric.

Alexis says,“I wanted to explore the way in which the natural world and urban environments collide. Climate change is a major concern of mine, so I created an image that will make people think about what’s happening to our planet. The name ‘All Tomorrow’s Futures’ refers to the fact that the future of our planet could go in two different ways. We’ve got to act now to prevent disaster.”

Conceived in lockdown during a phone call between Charlotte Raffo, founder of The Monkey Puzzle Tree, and artist Alexis Snell, the initial design was sketched out in pencil before being carved into a lino block and printed by hand. Charlotte commissioned the linen cotton blend base fabric which was woven locally into a luxurious crepe texture by heritage mill Mitchell Interflex in Lancashire. 

The fabric was screen printed with waterbased inks at Stead McAlpin in three, nature-inspired colourways – Lobster Orange, Ocean Blue and Seaweed Green.

I was astonished to receive this award for a second time,” says Charlotte Raffo, founder of The Monkey Puzzle Tree. ‘‘It’s a complete surprise to get this kind of recognition, as our approach to design is often willfully obscure! ‘All Tomorrow’s Futures’ tells a story that is important to both Alexis and I and the award will be a great help to spread that message further.”

The prestigious Design Guild Mark is awarded annually by The Furniture Maker’s Company charity to recognise excellence in the furnishing industry and raise the profile of British design and innovation. 

The 2D design category is judged by a panel of six leading industry professionals including Daniel Hopwood, Natasha Marshall and Clare Johnston. Lino Print artist Alexis Snell is a renowned illustrator who has been commissioned by the V&A and the BBC as well as writing and illustrating her own children’s book for Puffin.

When Charlotte founded The Monkey Puzzle Tree in 2017, her mission was to create uniquely beautiful interiors whilst supporting local artists by paying a generous royalty. The highly distinctive fabrics and wallcoverings which are designed in collaboration with a handpicked group of talented artists are all manufactured within 100 miles of her Leeds HQ. The Monkey Puzzle Tree has gained a cult following amongst interior designers and homeowners who enjoy both the function and aesthetics of these highly individual fabrics and wallpapers. 

See the fabric collection here.

Website: themonkeypuzzletree.com

Find other design stories here.

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