A biophilic home featuring the Summer Breeze Greta Rug by Kasthall
British textile designer Claire Gaudion is a respected figure on the British interior textile scene known for promoting the power of colour, pattern, and texture in interiors. Her eponymous rug company features designs inspired by the seascapes and coastal landscapes of Guernsey where she grew up. Her rugs feature unique colour combinations and rhythmic geometric and abstract patterns inspired by natural processes such as the ebb and flow of the tides or the shifting clouds in the sky.
However, in her latest venture, Claire has taken her interest in nature’s ability to inspire our home décor choices to a whole new level. Drawing on the concept of biophilic design, Claire has launched Décoraii, a natural home decor store that curates a considered collection of home furnishings from ceramics, rugs, and blankets to baskets, wall art, and tableware.
When I first saw this new store, and what Claire is offering, I immediately fell in love with the whole concept. You all know how passionate I am about biophilic design so imagine how happy I was to see such an extensive and varied collection of homewares available to buy in one simple location. I just had to catch up with Claire to hear all about her mission to help us create a biophilic home.
Claire, can you tell us a little bit about where this all started?
I have always been fascinated with making things. My dad weaves traditional Guernsey willow fishing baskets and crab pots and I watched for years, then one day decided to have a go. Just as he learnt from his Great Uncle, Dad showed me how to weave willow. This, and that my mum taught me how to make clothes, led to a wider interest in weaving and textiles.
So later on, as a second career actually, I went back to college to study Fashion and Textile design, and this is where it all started, and my work has become interwoven with my love of nature.
So how did the idea for Décoraii come about?
I’ve been fascinated by this whole topic of biophilic design for years and the idea of referencing nature was sort of feeding into my design work. As I explored more and more about biophilic design, I realised that I wanted to encompass even more of that in the whole of what I do.
There was a hint of it in the work that I do, the thinking was there in the background, but it wasn’t translating my full vision of natural design and craft for the home. I’m really inspired by this very tactile, experiential way of design impacting our every day. I began to feel pulled towards exploring a more all-encompassing approach to decor with different textures, materials, and colours. I soon realised that I had to start Décoraii as a separate entity.
The natural landscape provides inspiration for the biophilic home
So, tell me more about Décoraii. What is the mission?
The mission is really to celebrate nature and naturally, crafted design. It’s about treasuring connections with nature, from the nuances of natural materials and textures to the colours we see transitioning through each day and the seasons. My understanding is that these characteristics are part of the bigger concept of biophilic design, but I love that we can appreciate individual pieces and details as well as a whole biophilic design scheme.
I want people to see that natural materials have a real beauty and authenticity that we connect with and actually, they can bring a lovely sense of joy to the home. Décoraii is about celebrating the enjoyment of everyday things and the way we use them. For example, the feel of a hot mug, the natural curve of a product, the very different textures that we might bring into soft furnishings, the uneven surfaces and organic forms. All these things are part of biophilic design for me, and a way of slowing down and taking in each moment.
And Décoraii isn’t just your own products, is it?
No, for Décoraii I have a new role as curator. I’ve always loved collaboration. So, the idea is to connect with other designers that are making the most beautiful, often hand-crafted things, all connected by this natural thread that runs right through from the raw material to the making process.
I really wanted to bring different product groups into the mix. I wanted to bring in ceramics as well as rugs and other textiles. And, very soon I am adding some beautiful locally made willow baskets by Catherine Beaumont to the shop as well.
I wanted to curate a collection and offer this as a way to shop natural home decor where you can just explore without necessarily needing to understand that it’s biophilic design. I really want people to explore the range of products I have curated and see what feels right and what resonates.
I want to encourage people to browse and shop for just one item, but the idea is to create a varied offering so if people want to style their whole home from Décoraii that would also work.
How would you describe the style of Décoraii?
Décoraii is all about a natural, crafted aesthetic, without a particular style as such. There are lots of different ways that you can make it work for you and make it your own.
Beige Grey Moss Rug by Kasthall is reminiscent of autumn-colour grasses
Can you tell me about the Nature Stories?
Nature offers us so much inspiration across colours, textures, patterns, and forms. So, I have created a series of Nature Stories as a jumping-off point if people don’t know where to start. It allows you to tune in to which nature story you feel drawn to by choosing the landscape and colour palette which resonates with how you wish to feel at home. The nature stories are about encouraging people to take notice and experience nature – its colours, and textures.
The stories represent curated collections that offer ideas on how to combine colours, textures, and materials in ways that reflect nature’s landscapes, helping you to style your home with a natural aesthetic.
Take for example the nature story of the landscape along the coast of Guernsey, where you’ve got these beautiful grasses swaying in the breeze, you’ve got the rugged rock formations of the granite reef and you’ve got that glistening on the sea. So, I start to think about how those different natural elements translate into a material thing in the home.
Serene Elements Rug by Knots Rugs is reminiscent of the ocean landscape
How can these Nature Stories help you to create a biophilic home?
For example, the tufted windswept grasses might be referenced by using a long pile rug – like the beautiful new rugs from Kasthall which have a long pile and short pile all mixed in together. The harder, rougher and more rugged elements of the rock formations could be brought in through irregular shaped ceramics or furniture. And then perhaps the light glistening on the water could be suggested by glossy glazes, or even a rippling pattern in a weave.
Where does your fascination with colour come into it?
I grew up in Guernsey, by the sea, and still have a strong connection with the island’s coastal landscape. Feeling the breeze and watching the movement and the changing natural light, not just through the seasons but through the day. It’s ever-changing from the soft tone of light in the early morning, through to warmer shades in the evening and how everything is just constantly in flux.
Colour is so important for me. When you start to think about how colours work proportionately in nature and in combination with other colours, it always works. The dynamic light in nature makes colours work harmoniously together. The tone of the colour that you choose can really affect the feeling of a space.
Rowan Raheen Throw Blanket by Cushendale is reminiscent of Meadow flowers
So, what’s next for Décoraii? Do you have any plans to branch out into interior design services?
Possibly. I’m not an interior designer myself, but I love the idea of collaborating with an interior designer who’s got a similar ethos and work with them to offer a design service that would sit alongside Décoraii, but I think that’s quite a long way down the line yet. Right now, Décoraii is a great resource for interior designers who are sourcing natural, crafted products.
I am thinking about how I can offer a more personalised shopping experience and a more curated presentation of the amazing products we have in store. Perhaps introducing online exhibitions as a way to explore how products resonate with nature.
Some of the brands that I work with offer customisation in terms of colour and design which adds a really personal element. This allows people to be part of the design journey and means that things become more meaningful as people are given the opportunity to think in more detail about the nuance of design and the nuance of the colour palette and what really works for them.
For the moment, I’m working on the blog which I want to be full of inspirational stories around natural materials and natural colour, and also about the making process and the craft side of Décoraii. I also want to keep sustainability front of mind. Sustainability, biophilic design, natural materials and craftsmanship are all so interconnected. This is a really important consideration for whatever’s next.
If like me, you have embraced the idea of the biophilic home head on over to Décoraii to find out what your nature story is.
And don’t forget to pin this post for later so you can create the biophilic home of your dreams with the help of Décoraii.