Who I am and what I do
I was born in Hannover, Germany and am currently living in London. My study of Colour Design in Germany covered fields like graphic and interior design, product and surface design, and photography. While studying, an exchange with London-based Central St Martins led to working as a product development assistant for Designers Guild. After graduating I went to Colefax and Fowler, but left 8 months later to start my own business called Elli Popp.Now I work with my assistant, either from my home office or at the studio of my partner, who is an independent art and photography publisher, in central London. Some of the completed projects include commissions for „Traffic People“, a London-based fashion label; a recently finished „Homemade London“ 3-repeat design; high-end hotel projects in Switzerland and Germany; and international high-end residential projects. The future includes high-end hotel projects in Asia; and we are about to launch a „Special Edition“ wallpaper with Edwyn Collins’ animal drawings.
How I work
Once a year I take a break and focus on new input for a new collection. I go to galleries, museums, libraries, parks, forests, gardens, or just wander around town and take in what I see and like. I try to avoid any wallpaper or fabric collections from other companies – even if I don't want to be influenced by them, it can happen without noticing. Of course, I can't close my eyes when passing by shops or sitting in a pub that has one of the latest designs from another brand - but it helps not to do any focused research on other companies. What you don't know, can't influence you.
Over the year and whilst focusing on the new collection, I collect hand sketches, photographs, drawings, anything that I like. At the end I sit down and play around with what I archived and start without having any brief or subject apart from: Try to do something new vis-a-vis what I did before, whilst staying true to my own signature and style. It is a mix of drawings, sketches, photographs that get digitalised and finished off for print on the computer.
What inspires me
Being in nature is my biggest influence, it’s the source of most of my creativity, even when it is just by passing by a small but beautiful front garden in the neighbourhood. As most designers source from past artwork, I can't exclude myself: I love Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and through this of course Japanese art and fashion. It is very important to make your own unique versions and try to always surprise yourself with new ideas of making things.
My design philosophy
Good design is when a pattern carries a message, no matter if it’s a simple one or more complex. Even when the theme might have been used for hundreds of years and lots of different companies and designers have been inspired by it, adding your own handwriting, your personal touch to it, makes a rose that has been seen in a hundred different versions before, unique once again.
Contemporary wallpaper design has reached a new stage with digital printing. What has never been possible is in front of an open source and the possibilities seem endless. Modern and old techniques and styles merge and create new ways of interpretation. Though I still believe in the old way of producing and making wallpapers. If I would have the market, budget, and sources to do it traditionally, I would love to mix both.
For companies like mine, that offer exclusive and customised service as their main service, you can't go traditional. But I am trying to add products that are produced the traditional way, like hand-screen-printed cushions, or our Elli Popp Tea Set.
My stylistic influences
Coco Chanel, fine art from Klimt, Renoir, Monet, Erte; Swing and Charleston; Indie and Alternative; theatre, musicals, opera, and ballet. Carboot sales, flea markets, and vintage stores... I’ve always had an affinity for mixing and matching vintage things with a modern twist.
Anything is an influence, most of it creates itself in the subconscious, and will give you creative input if you walk through life with open happy eyes. If you see your life as a fun journey where everything and everybody you meet carries a story for you, no matter if good or bad - it will leave something with you. Good and bad experiences walk hand-in-hand and a dark rainy day viewed rightly can turn into the sunniest day of your life - if you let it be and look for the nice things.
My future goals and ambitions
More collaborations and commissions! Working with and for individuals and companies with different products, briefs, and aims can open a whole new amazing horizon. The most exiting thing for me is to step beyond my own borders and experience things outside my day-to-day view. Even when it seems to be hard, it teaches you to see outside of the box and makes you grow.
Travelling is so important - not to just meet the people you work with, but also to understand their background and culture. I can't wait to go to Japan. Travel through the South American countries would be wonderful too. Also, Scandinavia, Iceland, and Russia are on my list: although I’ve been to all the Scandinavian countries before, it’s never been long enough to experience their full beauty.
My likes and dislikes
I don't like the idea of listing negative things, so here are only things I like! Private and Professional: * honesty * truthfulness * happiness, fun and humour * positive thinking * people with energy and drive * professional behaviour and communication * life intelligence.