When discerning interior design clients envision an ornate chinoiserie room, 19th-century French scenic wall treatment, or art nouveau interior, they turn to the U.K.-based design house de Gournay.
Founded by Claud Cecil Gurney with his nephew Dominic Evans-Freke in 1984, and now joined by his daughters Hannah and Rachel, de Gournay specializes in bringing interiors to life through the creation of some of the world’s finest hand-painted and hand-embroidered wallcoverings.
Renowned for its vibrant chinoiserie, Japanese and Korean, and panoramic interior design collections, de Gournay’s inspiration stretches back to the 17th century, when European aristocracy became smitten with the Chinese design aesthetic. The company embraced the distinctive art form, modernizing it for 21st-century tastes with a vibrant colours and varied textures in their highly decorative collections of handcrafted bespoke wallcoverings, wall upholstery, and porcelain.
Harald Donoghue, director of special projects, says de Gournay is constantly expanding the realm of possible designs it can create for its clients. “Everything is hand-painted or embroidered in wonderful detail by the company’s team of artisans, who represent hundreds of years of experience and knowledge.”
The de Gournay’s artists’ profound knowledge of techniques, processes, and materials—from porcelain glazing to panoramic painting and intricate beadwork—constitutes the company’s strength. For hand-embroidered wallcoverings and wall upholstery, talented artisans can sew designs onto a range of fabrics, including linen, silk, velvet, and wool sateen, creating sumptuous jewel-box rooms capable of transporting clients to another time, place, and state of mind.
Hand-embroidery has always been a feature of de Gournay’s collections, but its popularity has risen in the past few years. Embroidered wallcoverings and fabrics make a strong design appearance in the Influenced by the art, landscape, and culture of India, this is the first stand-alone collection produced by de Gournay in over five years. Its scenes of pink palaces, tropical gardens, and majestic elephants are hand-painted, -embroidered, and -beaded by the accomplished artisans at de Gournay’s studio in India.
The company’s most recent venture marries its design talents with those of British chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker, purveyors of fine handmade chocolates and truffles since 1875. The tasteful partnership produced an exclusive, limited-edition collection of Coronation Chocolate Boxes with the theme The Garden of England, celebrating the coronation of King Charles III. In January, de Gournay will present new designs for its In Canada, de Gournay wallcoverings are available through the Primavera showroom in Toronto.