Homewares & Interiors

Inside Utopia Goods HQ | A Close Encounter

By Ellie Schneider - 10 Sep 2014

If you're partial to buying homewares online (we'll be the first to put our hands up!), here's fair warning – you're about to blow your pay cheque. There's just something special about finding a beautiful, one-off item to spruce up your home. Be it a cushion, throw or new bed linen, we'll happily spend hours trawling the net for a little slice of happiness. And this is where we stumbled across Australian homewares brand, Utopia Goods.

The brainchild of Sydney-based creatives Sophie Tatlow and Bruce Slorach, Utopia Goods offer gorgeous, hand-illustrated homewares, soft furnishings and accessories that we think you're going to like. Employing traditional, old school methods of screen-printing, their bold, colourful collection is a testament to the duo's design background.

We step inside Utopia Goods HQ in Surry Hills to find out more about their beautifully bespoke products.

TUL: Tell us a bit about your background, how did Utopia Goods get started?
Sophie Tatlow: Utopia Goods kicked off in December 2012, however we'd been working on the illustrations, product range, branding, web and catalogue for nearly two years before we officially launched.

Since 2000, we've run our Surry Hills design studio Deuce Design and Utopia Goods is the offspring of Deuce Design. We've been working in graphics, branding, textiles and the public domain realm for more than 15 years. Bruce has being designing bespoke textiles and prints since art school.

TUL: How would you best describe your style?
Sophie: It's a print safari! Part maximalist, part sumptuous fabric feast. Mixed up prints and colours for the courageous, and subtle, one colour prints for the minimalists.

TUL: What inspires your beautiful illustrations?
Sophie: There are many influences… Art and artists through the ages. The history of textile design from French provincial textiles to traditional American and English prints. Australian flora and fauna, historical botanical drawings and the Australian bush.

TUL: Tell us more about the 'Print Pioneers' collection.
Sophie: 'Print Pioneers' is our third collection with a focus on Australian birds. There are three major prints, the Crimson Rosella, the Laughing Kookaburra and the Mountain Fern. Key to the range is the introduction of bed linen, quilts and luxurious linen.

TUL: What does a typical day involve for you?
Sophie: I work across both Deuce Design and Utopia Goods so there is no such thing as the 'typical day'. Lots of client meetings, emails, briefings, copywriting, art direction, range production meetings, wrangling and then some more emails.

TUL: What are the best sellers?
Sophie:
The best sellers change from time to time and it's often a surprise. Customers tend to buy something because they love the fabric. The flowering gum and the firewheel are really popular prints.

TUL: Talk us through your philosophy of 'Cultural Bingeism'?
Sophie: The 'Cultural Bingeism' was a spin off from our attitude of turning the 'cultural cringe into a cultural binge'. We wanted to create a textile and soft furnishings collection that had a distinct handwriting and that was mash up of influences.

TUL: Have you got a favourite piece in store?
Sophie: The Rosella backpack and the bedding range. I recently used the backpack for a sales trip to New York and I was stopped everywhere I went.

TUL: Where in Sydney do you like to shop?
Sophie: The Standard Store for clothing and Poho for flowers.

TUL: And for a bite to eat?
Sophie: Nine out of ten meals are Japanese. Komachi (for lunch) in Surry Hills or Yachiyo in Darlinghurst. Otherwise it's Apollo or Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point.

TUL: Sydney's best-kept secret?
Sophie: Bruce's cooking grin

TUL: What's next on the horizon?
Sophie: Possibly a wallpaper range, a salon/store if we could find the right location (and rent) and I'd love a sales trip to Japan and the U.K. And more commercial work for the fabrics.

Shop Utopia Goods online or in store at Koskela, MCA, Art Gallery NSW or the Collector Store.

Image credit: Rebekah Schott
 

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