Bringing a unique French sensibility to textiles in New Zealand - Lifestyle NZ
Bringing a unique French sensibility to textiles in New Zealand

Bringing a unique French sensibility to textiles in New Zealand

When they met almost 15 years ago, Pierre Frey and Ken Fulk discussed ideas and the overlap of their design ideals. It culminated in a new collection of textiles from Pierre Frey, which would feature prints designed by Fulk. Thus, the Surreal World collection was born.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

It started with a chance meeting in San Francisco in 2008.

Pierre Frey, the head of communications for the renowned global textiles supplier Pierre Frey — named for his grandfather of the same name, who founded the company in Paris in 1935 — met Ken Fulk in his office beneath the loft where he lives. The two talked for hours, familiarising themselves with each other’s products and designs, and eventually the topic turned to working together.

Fulk, a prominent designer known for his opulent, atypical interiors, was enamoured with Frey’s vision for textiles, and decided that the two brands could achieve something spectacular if they joined forces.

So that’s exactly what they did — marking the formal beginning of the collaboration between the two studios.

The collaboration continues on to this day, and is accessible in New Zealand via Atelier Textiles, the sole distributor of Pierre Frey’s products in the country. Matthieu Frey, Pierre’s younger brother and managing director for the company’s Asia Pacific region of operations, says the collection still resonates after over a decade after it began.

“Our work with Ken has been really successful,” says Matthieu. “Through the teamwork with his studio and wider team, they brought us some ideas we might have never thought of.”

Matthieu says the fact that the two studios’ creative styles and visions complement each other so well isn’t just about the converging design sensibilities — it’s also about the similarities of work ethic, attention to detail, and passion that they share.

“Ken is a brilliant creative mind — and this works really with our studio,” says Matthieu. “We bring each other to another level. It has been a very inspiring journey.”

The collaboration began after a chance meeting in San Francisco.

The Surreal World Collection

Three years ago, the collaboration was taken to the next level: Pierre Frey announced a new collection of textiles, which would feature prints designed by Ken Fulk. Thus, the Surreal World collection was born.

The collection features several offerings of fabrics, wallpapers and rugs — emphasising a bright, dreamy pastiche, it plays with a mix of eras and cultures, Matthieu says.

“The motifs celebrate neoclassical or brutalist architecture, gardens and landscapes, canine portraits, and make reference to illusionist works or surrealist parties,” he says.

Conceived as a collage of colours, textures and fantasies, the collection presents a ‘cheeky sophistication’, with a goal of moving the needle towards a new golden age of decor.

The collection presents a ‘cheeky sophistication’.

Pierre Frey: Iconic textile design

It’s not just the Surreal World collection that New Zealanders can choose from when it comes to Pierre Frey’s eclectic fabrics, carpets and other textiles. Atelier Textiles, the New Zealand distributor of the French company, offers many products that cater to different design sensibilities, but as a collective, comes together as a cohesive range.

“Our latest collection of printed carpets & rugs is based on 27 iconic designs, or ‘dessins signatures’, chosen by the Pierre Frey studio,” says Matthieu.

“Our clients can then have it printed with the option of three different qualities — cut pile, loop pile or shiny shaggy pile,” he says. “They can also choose the finishes and bindings.”

This range, like the entirety of the Pierre Frey catalogue, Matthieu says, offers the quality, style and sophistication that have become synonymous with the company’s name.

“These printed fabrics, wallpapers, and carpets express the entire personality of the Maison Pierre Frey: fantasy, designs and the love of colour!”

Learn more about Atelier Textiles and its distribution of Pierre Frey products.

Recommended reading