06 Mar 2024

Spotlight on: Madeaux

Spotlight on: Madeaux
We’ve worked with Madeaux since the start of Haines in 2020. Owner and Designer of the brand, Richard Smith, produces seasonal capsule collections of printed, embroidered and woven fabrics. His designs are inspired by his great passions, nature, travel and architecture.
Keep reading as we talk to Richard about the inspiration behind his creations, his early career and the importance of sustainability for Madeaux.

Richard, you’ve had an immensely impressive career spanning 30 years working with some of the most prestigious interior design houses, what inspires you when you design? 

I loved my early life as a freelancer - I learned so much from some incredible creative directors who weren't afraid to tell me (quite bluntly!) when something wasn't working. They were all incredibly generous with sharing their knowledge and trying to get the best out of me. I often return to their “bon-mots” in my head when I'm drawing out a layout or making colour alterations.

Every day is an inspiration, although walking in nature does allow my mind to wander in an unhindered fashion, and of course, the more you create, the more ideas you have! In the studio, we design up to twelve collections a year between my own brand, Madeaux, as well as No9 Thompson for Jim Thompson, which I've been doing for the last 16 years, plus various other clients.


(Image - Richard designing in his studio)


What was the first design you created, and is it still in the collection?

I had a very good client in New York who regularly bought designs painted on paper from my portfolio. On one trip, I prepared some simple one and two-colour designs that I printed on hand-woven silk. He loved them and encouraged me to produce them with a very generous deposit!) and these two designs are still in my collection. “Anthea” is a simplified damask in ethereal colours, and “Bazaar” - inspired by a “Tabriz” carpet and printed on a chunky hand-woven silk and linen. 


We’ve seen a resurgence of the 80’s design style more is more. If you could one fabric to cover the walls, furniture, and curtains in a room - what would it be? 


I have a design, “Rose Trellis,” which we do as a fabric and wallpaper. I had the idea from the iconic photo of Cecil Beaton in his winter garden and reimagined this as a trellis with random leaves and flowers scattered across the repeat. It’s not really a classic design; it’s more about the randomness of nature contained within the bamboo structure. It’s a huge repeat, and so there are lots of different elements to enjoy. I have it in a bedroom and bathroom where it appears as both curtains and wallpaper on the walls and ceiling - it truly brings the outside in and connects the room with the garden. Like all patterns, it disguises some awkward corners and is a great reminder of the transformative effect of colour.


(Image - by @andersgramerphotography. Bed canopy - Rose Trellis 03 Verdure and Hourglass 02 Emerald by Madeaux)


What role does sustainability play in your brand?


Coming from a family where my mother took the same pair of curtains between three houses over forty years (Kate Fassett for Designers Guild in Caramel and Blush Pink - I remember them well!), I've always believed in buying well to last. As a small producer, we print and weave our fabrics in small batches, and our wallpapers are all printed to order. We make things as locally as possible, with all our printed fabrics and wallpapers made in the UK and the vast majority of weaves in Europe.