Dulux Passionate Experts: Kit Miles
Kit Miles is a designer of extraordinary talent. After completing his MA in textile design at the Royal College of Art, he formed his own studio, steeped in the values of quality, exquisite draughtsmanship and a futuristic, often surprising use of scale colour and imagery.
His work is regularly featured in international publications such as World of Interiors, the Financial Times and Elle Decor Italia, with praise for his aptitude for designing striking and original fabrics and wallpapers, describing them as 'vivid' and 'ground-breaking'.
He is much sought after by the world's leading architects and interior designers. "I'm always driving towards the exploration of what print design is now and what it could be next," he says. "But more than anything else, I want people to discover joy and a feeling of bring transported in my work."
From where do you draw your inspiration?
I like to read into a subject and really immerse myself in it. At the moment I'm delving into the Dutch Masters, as well as being particularly engaged with Renaissance artists; their use of colour and scale really pulls the viewer's eye through a world of world new realities. At the very core of what I do is an attempt to open a portal into another world, so discovering how painters like Hieronymus Bosch, for instance, achieve this is hugely inspirational. I also love visiting the V&A Museum. It's like entering a time machine, connecting ancient worlds with ideas of the future. Fascinating.
What's your approach to interacting with clients - be it for interiors, bespoke wallpaper or master planning?
Simplicity, mutual values and belief in a great product. People come to me because I offer something unique and so in a very real sense they’re already on-board with my vision. Having said that, I place real emphasis on engaging in an on-going dialogue, as it’s important I understand their likes, their needs and their goals so that what I create meets their desires. That's where my seven years as a textile designer comes in; I can advise on colours and textures and together we achieve the physical manifestation of their thoughts.
People can be nervous of straying outside the norm, but your work demonstrates an extraordinary use of colour; how would you introduce that kind of colour into a neutral decorating palette?
Colour should say something about you; it should also be ambiguous enough for it to feel different with each day as you evolve throughout your life. I would use colours that trigger memories and also transport me to places I have been and special moments in my life. Be original, be yourself and learn to avoid trends. Instead be instinctive, you can make your space dynamic by bringing your personality to the fore and allow the space to change and evolve.
Which of your designs summarises your whole design ethos?
Currently I would say Diagonal Gradients, It feels futuristic and has influences from the Baroque which is a contrast I am always playing with. The concept of combining the deep future and deep past to render a lyrical new present is something I have only just began to unpack and explore.
Which colours, textures and techniques do you find yourself using regularly within your designs?
I'd say it's more a particular way of working than anything else. I often start with the strongest colours and then work backwards, so to speak. I might begin with really deep, powerful, regal reds and mossy deep greens that evoke a rugged landscape, perhaps a mountainous Scottish hillside, something really evocative. Then layer by layer I add different tones that behave like narrative hooks, almost subconsciously pulling you into the story. But then sometimes as a designer you try to analyse yourself critically and so to keep it fresh you approach it from an opposite angle. I’m always looking for new ways of creating the narrative.
How would you advise creating a unique look and feel to a room on a limited budget?
Well most people have limited budgets, don’t they, so all that’s required is a little imagination. You can pick up all kinds of treasures really cheaply if you’re prepared to scour through little stores, explore markets, something that really catches your eye. Or you can save up for one key piece and it becomes part of your family, or perhaps something you’ve inherited. Think of it as getting dressed. Sometimes the best way forward is to invest in one key piece – a great vintage designer jacket for example, that you wear with jeans and t shirt. That key piece lifts the rest of the outfit. I believe people are too keen to get everything in their homes sorted instead of building the look slowly over time. And you can make the ordinary into something amazing. If you've got loads of books, make them into a feature of your room, arrange them in stripes, pull the colours together.. just look again at what you have and be creative. Even if it's just a bit of incredible Yves Klein deep blue tarpaulin with a wisp of orange silk draped over it, appreciate the strange and precious colours and impose your will on your surroundings.
How have you used Dulux products or tools in your work?
Well of course there was the collaboration for the Tent using the Colour Futures palette, which was a challenge, finding ways of combining those colours differently, but again, my expertise in textiles was integral to the process. In my own work I use colour in such a way that it dances through space, so it was interesting to use someone else's palette when usually I invent it myself. I've recently used Dulux products as part of the scheme in my pop-up store in Brompton, painting the floor panels and walls; using Dulux paints meant I could create a strong backdrop to the collections.