British designer Zoe Murphy promotes the idea of ‘Loving what belongs to you’ by printing onto recycled furniture and textiles using imagery inspired by her seaside hometown.
Zoe graduated from Loughborough University in 2008 with a first class degree in Printed Textiles. Having always been fascinated by the potential of re-use and rejuvenation of unwanted items, she works closely with the idea of encouraging others to consume more carefully and with more responsibility.
The prints she uses to upcycle existing furniture and textiles draw their inspiration from her seaside hometown of Margate, Kent. This South East resort hosts its own theme park, Victorian rollercoaster, 1930’s cinema, and England’s first beach for donkey rides. However, with a sad lack of love and attention for these British seaside icons, and with many tourists choosing the quick fix option of foreign holidays, many of the landmarks have been closed, burned down or removed. Zoe uses Margate, with its gaudy unpolished potential, to reflect her core values. It is a place and thing that with loving attention and good design can be brought back to be something beautiful, desired and respected.
Through her re-use of mid twentieth century furniture pieces and patterns inspired by Formica clad sea-side cafes, her work takes on an appropriate nod to the fifties. Bright colours and optimistic images are printed onto re-veneered drawers, footstools, side tables, and Formica wall pieces. Particular emphasis is placed upon the importance of re-using as much of a material as is possible. As well as having designed a range that is visually appealing, her work is also ethically strong and offers a more ecological alternative to the ‘throw away’ designs of today.
Since graduating Zoe’s work has been selected for the ‘New Designers’ showcase in Islington where she was one of five shortlisted for the ‘New Designer of the Year’ award. In the same year she was chosen to exhibit in the Tent London ‘Talentzone’ section and at ‘Meuble Paris’ as part of the Maison Objet shows in Paris.