A Pattern Language - unpacking the purpose of a complex device of design.

From the bustling interior of a bistro to the elegant private rooms of the industry’s most elevated homes, pattern is a language of depth and dimension, adding texture and interest through a layer of elements that recur and connect, accent and rhyme. While often overt, pattern can also be subtle - a sequence of motifs that reverberate between rooms or are echoed in the predictable repeat of contrast, form and palette. As a device of design, pattern thus becomes complex. In the rich tapestry of an interior, its purpose can be contradictory: acting as much to separate and offset as to unify and balance.

A rich landscape of detail drawn together by a repeat of elements: the patterned floor of the Entrecôte Brasserie feels decorative and animate, featuring the Rachel Donath Wave Chair upholstered in velvet.

Architecturally, pattern divides space. The geometry of flooring in foyers, thresholds and entryways become a visual dissection of territory; marking new terrain as places of pause, privacy and intersection. From the tessellation of tiling to the simple monochromatic diamond of a black and white check, pattern disrupts an otherwise  overlooked surface with its notable change in texture. While certainly possessing an ornamental beauty that feels decorative and animate, pattern also becomes a signal - defining borders, private chambers and even, by way of warning, alerting us to steps.

The geometry of flooring in foyers, landings and entryways become a visual dissection of territory, marking new terrain as places of pause, privacy and intersection. Via @tamsinjohson

In this respect, pattern can be directional. Along paths, it shows us the way, whereas in an interior, hard lines drive our attention towards an end point and focus. Mirrored shapes in the same environment become more pronounced as the eye travels from the square of a tile, for example, to the mullion of a window and on towards the panelling of a wall and framework of art. The gentle crest and trough of the Wave Chair, Fire Screen and Side Tables similarly become sisters: familial pieces that may be clustered or strung between rooms to establish a continuity within a home that, through pattern,  begins to feel whole. The recurrence of form, thus, becomes poetic. Different objects forge correspondence and connection - a rhyming refrain finding harmony and balance as interior elements sing in concert.

The recurrence of form becomes poetic. Different objects find correspondence and connection - a rhyming refrain finding harmony and balance as interior elements sing in concert. Via @homebeautiful featuring our now sold 1940s French Jansen Curule Savonarola chair.

Pattern, furthermore, can be organic. From the vein of stone and the grain of wood to the texture of woven seagrass, nature provides an opportunity to utilise the tonal beauty of earthy elements to create extraordinary impact through otherwise utilitarian objects. The fluidity of form can also find companionship with decorative patterns that are deliberately applied to surfaces. The graceful arc of the Heron’s neck featured in a Gucci wallpaper within a baby’s nursery (see below), is filled with a fairytale charm and magic but finds balance and is grounded by the warmth and curve of a Little Petra lounge chair and bamboo floor lamp.

Pattern in parquetry flooring and a colourful artwork via @Sothebys

In kind, pattern can create cohesion through colour. The almost topographical lines within the wallpaper of a Kerrisdale Estate bedroom (see below), form a backdrop landscape to the room’s essential elements. Each pieces of furniture is allowed to feature, as masculine and femine lines are united against the warmth of the paper’s pattern and palette - its scale able to lift, rather than flatten, the bedroom’s landmarks.

Pattern can create cohesion through palette where a bedroom’s landmarks (including the Rachel Donath Wave Firescreen) are lifted rather than flattened via @kerrisdale_estate

However used, pattern is a powerful and complex addition to the design of any interior. Multidimensional, it breaks ordinary rules to become a dexterous tool through which to invite interest or establish unity. While certainly complex, it is inherently artistic - where form and flourish coalesce in a feast of detail that breaks from the monotonous to stimulate our imagination and ignite our curiosity.


From the Inventory: 

Wave side table

The Wave Side Table. SHOP NOW

Stacked marble console

The Phoenix Stacked Marble Console. SHOP NOW

The Wave Chair. SHOP NOW

The Wave Fire Screen. SHOP NOW

Exploring art in objects and history in antiques, Rachel Donath is a purveyor of designer and antique furniture, Australia. Discover The Inventory here.