Famed American interior designer Sheila Bridges has collaborated with Wedgwood on a limited-edition capsule collection of tableware and teaware pieces. The design is inspired by traditional French toile and celebrates a complex history and rich culture, with the designer reimagining her acclaimed Harlem Toile de Jouy pattern in a bold, playful and colourful design on Wedgwood’s fine bone china. Shiela created Harlem Toile de Jouy initially as a wallcovering then expanded the collection to include fabrics, bedding, plates, glassware, umbrellas and clothing.
The special Wedgwood collaboration launched exclusively at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship in New York City and Bloomingdales.com for SS22 and following the exclusive US launch, the collaboration became available globally on wedgwood.com from August.
Sheila became intrigued by Wedgwood when she learnt that in addition to being a successful entrepreneur, designer and craftsman, Josiah Wedgwood was also active in the British anti-slavery movement of the 18th century. Committed to societal change and regarded as a reformer of his day, Josiah Wedgwood campaigned alongside abolitionists and used his influence to help bring public attention to the movement. A historical political and social stance that has many similarities with today’s cultural conversations and community actions being taken to address issues around diversity and inclusion and improve life choices for everyone.
“Usually when you think of Wedgwood, you think of Jasperware and very classical motifs and a lot of symmetry” explains Sheila, but when considering the creative approach to the collaboration, the designer wanted to play with the classic Wedgwood codes slightly and introduce an unexpected creative twist and visual surprise. The surface patterns on individual pieces are intentionally placed off-centre and some pieces even have pattern inside and on the base alongside the collaboration backstamp, an intriguing visual interpretation that allows the design narrative and social conversations to continue.
The initial launch at Bloomingdale’s has a personal connection for Sheila as her first job after graduating from college was with the retailer. When she moved to New York City in the 1980s, Sheila joined the company’s management training programme to become a fashion buyer, before leaving to focus on her interior design career. “I love that here I am, thirty six years later, collaborating with an iconic British luxury tableware brand with my designs being sold at an iconic New York department store, it’s really exciting and definitely a full circle moment.”