Art & Photography / Culture Talks

Patternity: The Next Chapter

The inimitable pattern pioneers give us the inside scoop on their brand new book

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When art director Anna Murray and surface designer Grace Winteringham launched PATTERNITY in 2009, their hope was that the online archive of pattern-centric imagery would encourage others to view life's myriad patterns in the manner that they themselves do – as essential tools "to inspire, explore and innovate." It's safe to say that the London-based duo have succeeded in their mission: six years on and PATTERNITY is a veritable pattern Mecca, boasting a research and consultancy department, an award-winning creative studio as well as an events and education hub.

And as if they hadn't got enough to busy themselves with, Murray and Winteringham have also compiled a beautiful new coffee table book, out later this month, which serves as a compendium of all their pattern influences across art, fashion, photography, architecture, nature and science. "It's really a five-year retrospective," Winteringham reveals, "a biography almost, but with lots of other people in it along the way." "It's also about PATTERNITY's core philosophies," Murray chips in, "Particularly the importance of curiosity, and how we should pay more attention to the world around us and be more mindful." Needless to say, the tome is overflowing with delectable imagery, highlighting the tesselations of everyday life that so often pass us by – from sundrenched swimming pool ripples to bulbous clusters of multicoloured tree fungus. Here, in anticipation of the book's release, we catch up with the indelible duo to find out more about the enduring power of pattern.

On compiling the book... 
AM: "The book has been a real celebration of what Grace and I have created together. It definitely embodies our partnership; it's like our child! We were very hands on with the entire process 
GW: "Completely – from every quote selected to every image that was paired, it was truly us all the way through and we're proud of that."

On the importance of collaborating...
AM: "Collaboration is very important to us and so forms a section of the book. We explore our own collaborations but also the essence of the idea of collaboraing, and have tried to highlight how important it is that people from different diciplines work together. PATTERNITY was always about breaking out of particular roles and being able to use pattern to bring together lots of different worlds, from genres to ages, emerging and enduring talents, as well as the natural and the man made. It's all these areas converging."

On using pattern positively...
AM: "The third chapter explores the philosophy of viewing at the earth as a whole - looking at natural patterns, biomimicry [an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature's time-tested patterns and strategies]. We always try to keep PATTERNITY really positive; a friend once described us as 'patterns for positivity,' and that seems very fitting. We’re obviously not inventing pattern, but we're revisiting it, inspiring people and encouraging them to be more curious and connected to this greater whole. We believe that when you feel that connection, it can help you through the dilemmas we are living through right now. It's powerful."



On distilling the essence of PATTERNITY...
GW: "We really do try to be as accessible as possible. We realised at the beginning, when we first started to put the imagery together, that it was initially a fashion and design-led process, but then suddenly, once the nature, science and geology fed in, it was like, 'okay, its pretty much anywhere and everything – we’ve got a pretty big job on our hands!' So it's curating, filtering and explaining it all in a way that people instantly understand, which is  the biggest challenge of all, and that’s partly why the book is so useful, because it gives PATTERNITY that tangible essence." 

PATTERNITY: A New Way of Seeing is available now, published by Conran.

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