UK, London. “This is the result of a year of work,” says Nicolò Rubelli, in his characteristically charming and disarming Italian lilt. “To ‘bake’ a new collection takes a long time!” The Italian company’s new collection for 2015 is entitled Substance and Extravagance and once again demonstrates Rubelli’s ability to reinterpret the past and experiment with fibres and colours to create really special textiles and wall coverings.
The London launch of the collection saw Nicolò and design director Alberto Pezzato reveal the inspiration and creative process behind the new designs.
“Our Venetian background is an endless source of inspiration,” stresses Nicolò, adding that the fact that Rubelli are still working directly with weavers means that they are able to still experiment with new yarns and foundations for the fabrics.
“The weaving capability is disappearing all over Europe,” says Pezzato. “But not in Italy. We are unique in this way, I think. For our textiles, we really start with the yarn. We work with the spinners to get the right yarn. I always like to invent something that doesn’t already exist.” Nicolò jokes that this desire to experiment with yarns makes Pezzato a spinner’s nightmare, but says that it means Rubelli’s design are always unique down to their very heart.
As well as beautiful wall coverings, some taken from several of the striking motifs of the last collection, like Lady Hamilton and Lady Roxana, Substance and Extravagance is full of exciting new textile designs. Bold, bright colourways are inescapable with this collection. “There has been a big introduction of colour,” says Nicolò. “I think there is a need for colour. Yes, there are the neutrals, but there is a fresh look at colour too.”
Each fabric that is presented is available is an array of vibrant colours. Of course, the neutral palette is there, but it is the braver, bold colours that really stand out and make the collection special. One design called Mirage features a traditional pattern with a sort of marble effect on top, a design that works particularly well in brighter colours. Terrazzo, inspired by the Venetian flooring technique (chips of marble, stone, ceramic, or glass, set in a cementitious bed and sealed), is also available in an array of colours. “We love playing with these bolder shades,” says Nicolò. “We like to do something unexpected and want our colours to put you in a good mood.”
The collection is, like all Rubelli lines, characteristically diverse. There is Delaunay, its first velvet drapery, for example, a light textile inspired by fashion fabrics, with lots of movement (“It’s a rich viscose, cotton that feels like silk but its not,” says Pezzato). There is a beautifully soft cotton and wool blend with a subtle geometric weave (“a very rich textile,” asserts Pezzato). There is Dorian Gray, a silk with a mirrored motif in metallics; extremely tactile, with lots of body.
With its textiles already in palaces, stately homes and superyachts around the world, and a rich heritage that could easily make it old fashioned, the fact that Rubelli consistently manages to release fabrics that push the boundaries but remain true to the company's Venetian soul is quite remarkable.
An in-depth look at Rubelli's headquarters in Venice and the company's impressive heritage can be found in Q19 of SuperyachtDesign, which subscribers can read online here.