Artists and designers have a rich history of collaboration, from creating custom murals to one-of-a-kind wallcoverings and fabric patterns. At times, artists are so captivated by the ability to transform interiors into living works of art that they opt to pursue it further—shifting career paths. William Morris, a 19th century British wallpaper, tile, and textile designer, is one such artist.
Morris, also heralded as a writer and painter, established the British heritage brand Morris & Co. in 1861 to showcase his hand-crafted home décor and textiles, heavily inspired by nature’s flora and fauna. Morris’ coveted collections exist in various forms today through products created by the Morris & Co. style library, which works to preserve the textile designer’s legacy. But it takes a skilled eye to reimagine centuries-old designs for contemporary interiors. Selamat Designs, a pioneering company, delved into this challenge.
The San Francisco-based company, founded in 2004 by partners in business and life Shannon and Thatcher Davis, recognized the potential to meld Morris & Co.’s trove with its design aesthetic, leading to a collaboration. The result: A line of stunning, truly unique furnishings, lighting, and accessories that pay homage to Morris’ legacy while appealing to contemporary sensibilities. Selamat Designs draws heavily from natural elements when creating new furnishings and fixtures, like Morris did once. The company also implements eco-friendly business practices.
“Not only are Morris’s prints and patterns exciting at a time where design is embracing color again, but his ethos, ‘Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’ has stood the test of time,” says Shannon Davis, creative director. ”Working with the archive not only presents opportunity to collaborate with their existing product lines, but also opens us up to a new audience globally.”
Each product in the collection is handcrafted and draws from the Morris & Co. design archive, including Strawberry Thief, an internationally-recognized print wrapped on Selamat Designs' Steamer Collection. While a fresh take on Morris’ classic Sussex chair is part of the Kelmscott Dining Collection.
"We’ve collaborated with current designers, such as Justina Blakeney, and with historical design archives, including those of famed Australian wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst," says Davis. "While the experiences are vastly different, we always look for a defined point of view in design."
Selamat Designs is committed to producing innovative and sustainable products, which work well across a variety of aesthetics in residential and commercial interiors. Each hand-crafted product is meant to last generations, made from sustainably grown, harvested, or recycled materials. Materials include tracked and certified teak, mahogany, rattan, seagrass, jute, and recycled metals.
The company also works to combat deforestation and destruction of natural habitats, heavily sourcing rattan, which relies on a forest canopy to mature, which leads to the preservation of countless acres of rainforest in the Indonesian Archipelago. True to the forward-thinking Bay area where they're based, Selamat strives to continuously expand their material selection to make use of sustainable supplies in new, innovative applications.