The DockATot X William Morris collaboration is here...
Junior caught up with founder and designer of DockATot (and formally Sleepyhead of Sweden) to talk about the new Morris & Co. collection, creating stylish interiors for families and the elusive work/life balance...
The collaboration between the contemporary nursery design company DockATot and Aristot and the classic prints of Morris & Co. is an unexpected match made in heaven. Taking the world of babies children’s interiors to a whole new opulent level . Junior approves.
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris & Co. is a British interiors brand recognised for its nature-inspired fabrics and furnishings depicting swirling plants, flowers and elegant gardens found in England in the 1860's and DockATot and Aristot founder and designer, Lisa Furuland has taken these stunning maximal prints to decorate everything from moses baskets and nursing pillows to stunning teepees and floor cushions - as well as it's classic Sleepyhead pods.
Style conscious and fashion forward parents can add these pieces to the nursery, bedroom or even playroom for some stand-out style - and, in the words of William Morris himself “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” you'll be making a good start with this fabulous new collection.
You may have spotted the DockATot x William Morris & Co. collection during our Junior Design Awards social coverage - where we shared them directly - and exclusively from our judging days in September. As the collection is due to launch this month in Liberty, Harrods and John Lewis. Expect a waiting list...
Junior Meets: We caught up with DockATot and Aristot founder and designer, Lisa Furuland to discuss the Morris & Co collection, interiors for modern families and the work/life balance...
Hello Lisa. OK, so to date, you've done very few collaborations. What drew you to William Morris?
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I have always admired the works of William Morris. It was his design ethos that pioneered the Arts & Crafts movement whilst championing the idea of beautiful design for the home. By pairing the iconic Morris & Co. prints with our products, we're able to offer families the opportunity to own a meaningful piece of art history that is also extremely useful. Furthermore, Morris championed a principle of handmade production that didn't chime with the Victorian era's focus on industrialization, and as a brand we also put emphasis on quality and artisanal production close to home. We do not want to create single-use or short-lived mass produced items.
In a few words, how would you describe your style.
My personal style is eclectic. Fashion, oh fashion… A big passion! In fashion, it’s all about my mood in the moment and the occasion, but generally, I want there to be a bit of an edge, or an unexpected combination if you wish, one way or the other. I am pretty confident when it comes to dressing a bit differently. I am also into suits and ties and hats. A lot. And dresses. And coats. To put it simply, I never worry about what others are wearing; I just do my thing.
I truly believe in the same philosophy as William Morris, which is that anything brought into the home must be both useful and beautiful, which is why this collaboration made so much sense. The elegant nature-inspired works of William Morris lend themselves incredibly well to a family-friendly home.
What can we expect in 2021?
My biggest hope is for the world to be in a better place in 2021 and for the global pandemic to come to an end. As for DockATot, we are planning to continue our tradition of marrying family essentials with great design and beautiful artistry. Our devoted community serves as a wonderful resource and sounding board for our product innovations and ideas. We are always engaging them to help us better understand the wants and needs of families as we continue to create safe and stylish solutions that also surprise and delight.
The collaboration with Morris & Co. is the perfect example of the design partnerships we will continue to seek out and build upon. As to Morris & Co. specifically, we are looking forward to many years of fruitful collaboration, whereby families will get to enjoy many beautiful pieces for their nurseries and homes, as the archives with the historic artworks that Morris created are extensive and we have only just begun.
Where did the inspiration come from to design the new collection?
I truly believe in the same philosophy as William Morris, which is that anything brought into the home must be both useful and beautiful, which is why this collaboration made so much sense. The elegant nature-inspired works of William Morris lend themselves incredibly well to a family-friendly home. The launch of the William Morris items has also brought along a number of new products, such as the Tent of Dreams, the Zen bolster and La Maman nursing pillow, just to mention a few. Many of the new items work equally well in the front room and in the nursery, so the newness is far from being all about juvenile. The new items have alsobeen created with purpose and the intention that all items can be used and cherished long after the nursery has transformed into a bedroom. Our broadening of the product offering is all very exciting.
What is your design process?
I draw my inspiration from art, design, architecture, photography and fashion. I take inspiration from the world around me and I’ve been fortunate enough to move with my family to Athens which provides a plethora of inspiration. The history, architecture, flora and fauna found in Greece has contributed to a lot of my most recent work. I’ve always been interested in art and design and studied art history at Stockholm University as well as professional photography and architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
When it comes to design in general and interior design – spaces - in particular, I am embarrassingly sensitive. I know in an instant what I like and not. A stay in a fantastic location can be somewhat ruined for me if my accommodation and surroundings are ‘off’. When I create spaces, I constantly feel them, walk through them, use them in my mind. By the time I finish a space, as in physically move in, I have already spent endless hours in that space in my fantasy. Instead of putting it down to being difficult, demanding or – heaven forbid – snobby, I call it being a SHSP, a Spatially Highly Sensitive Person. And I embrace it. The world needs more sensitivity and sensibility on so many levels.
Innovation doesn't happen by schedule or majority vote. William Morris was a driven polymath who spent much of his life fighting the consensus of his times. But as powerful as intuition is, if you don't follow it with planning, skill and strong management, all you've got is a cool idea on a piece of paper. Bottom line, the more experienced we get, the more we develop an ‘informed instinct’, which may take you further than you could have ever imagined.
Every space has its own personality and there is absolutely no point in styling an entire house in the same way. It’s much more interesting if different spaces get to adopt somewhat different looks, which in turn also provides your home with more character and mood settings.
What are your essential tips for room styling?
Always start with the purpose of the room to understand how it should be used, how you will want to move in it, where the light comes from etc. and you can build out the concepts from there. I always like to layer different textures in a room as well. Every space has its own personality and there is absolutely no point in styling an entire house in the same way. It’s much more interesting if different spaces get to adopt somewhat different looks, which in turn also provides your home with more character and mood settings. Each room in your house should have personal touches, things that are unique to you—whether it be a photograph, a piece of art or an object picked up on your last vacation. Each room in your house should feel as though it’s your own.
Tips of decorating family friendly rooms?
I strongly believe that adaptation is a key concept in any family design. I think it’s important to understand the beauty of bespoke design and how almost anything can be adapted for new or additional uses. A lot of my designs are created with longevity and adaptation in mind, such as Aristot where the bassinet converts into an ottoman or table once baby has grown. Converting under-stairs spaces into reading nooks; transforming window ledges into a sketching table—use your imagination!
How do you balance the business with family life?
The life of an entrepreneur is filled with irony. People often list “freedom over my time” as one of the primary reasons they start a business, yet entrepreneurs constantly experience how hard it is to step away. And that is ok.
- There is no work-life balance, just life. And if we’re lucky, a life in harmony.
- The work-life balance is a strange aspiration for the perfect life. It implies that work is bad and life is good. That we lose ourselves in work but find ourselves in life. We survive work but live life. Work is heavy and life is light.
- So it’s more useful to not try to balance the unbalanceable but to maximise what you love. In work and life. There is never a balance, but we may achieve harmony. If you’re happy on a personal level, you become more productive and creative professionally. And if your professional life makes you fulfilled, then you’re more content at home.
- And there is no need to compartmentalise life. In fact, it is impossible to compartmentalise time for entrepreneurs. Remember, you’re on the hook 24-7. It’s about integration. You need to think about life - with family, friends, hobbies…and work - as a whole.
- Life is work. Work is life. Everything I do complements my life’s work.
- We can’t always do only what we love. But we can always find the love in what we do. And for me, this is made easier by my actual career path; that of the entrepreneur’s. Where I am actually at the reins of my destiny (somewhat at least!).
- Don’t beat yourself up when not achieving enough. Because we’re humans, we’re not perfect creatures with 100% productivity at all times. Personally, for me, my family is the major reason I’ve designed my business in a way that allows me to spend a lot of time with them. But I’m on call all the time. And it’s ok. It’s fine to take phone calls whilst watching your child play football.
- Don’t. Beat. Yourself. Up.
>> For more information visit the UK site DockATot
NOTE: Iconic Sleepyhead of Sweden becomes DockATot
This autumn the Sleepyhead of Sweden brand (launched over a decade ago) is adopting the name of its sister brand DockATot to become one global brand. In 2015 Lisa Furuland Kotsianis launched the brand in the United States under the name DockATot. Joining the two brands means better communication worldwide and its millions of fans.