Homegirl London’s Interview: Lisa Todd Designs. Interior designer turned artist and homeware product designer, Lisa creates bold geometric patterns. Influenced by her South African roots, the award-winning Ndebele Collection is a homage to the Ndebele People. Lisa’s designs adorn wallpaper, cotton drill fabric, wool rugs, linen cushions, round birchwood trays, bone china mugs and even scarves. I caught up with the owner of Lisa Todd Designs to find out more.
Meet the Owner of Lisa Todd Designs
Lisa tells me about her background – “Many, many years ago I studied Interior Design at Middlesex Polytechnic, where I received my BA (hons). This was a great course not only because I got to study my favourite subject, but also because I met so many like-minded people who were all as passionate about interior design as me. During my career as an interior designer I spent twenty years on various commercial and residential design projects, including the interior design of Princess Margaret’s old home for the Crown Estate. This was a real honour and I felt so privileged to be able to come up with designs and ideas which she was enthusiastic about. To be able to say you’ve worked with royalty during your career is fantastic.”
Thirteen years ago, Lisa had an accident that resulted in a neuro-muscular condition called Cervical Dystonia, which impacts on muscle movement in her neck and shoulders. As a result, Lisa had to give up working as an interior designer and completely re-think what she was going to do. Lisa tells me – “I knew I could never give up being artistic and wanted to continue in that area but I also had to find something I could do physically so I started painting. After realising I had a distinctive style I started transferring my paintings onto greetings cards and cushions, then began exhibiting my paintings in Windsor library in 2012.”
Ndebele Collection Designs
From there, Lisa decided to develop a range of homeware product designs from her paintings. She says – “I have always loved colour, pattern and decorative interiors and found that my paintings complemented homeware products. This new venture took off in 2015, she comments – “Having a design business is still fairly new to me and so far, it’s been a hard but very exciting journey.” As the sole owner of the company, Lisa runs pretty much everything herself, she reveals – “I make all the big decisions, I come up with all the designs and then put those design ideas onto paper to help create the finished piece. Thankfully I’ve got friends and family (her husband Jeremy and daughter Olivia) who help and offer opinions so I’m not totally on my own!”
Ndebele Collection Trays and Mugs
The business base is at Lisa’s home in Windsor, Berkshire. She tells me – “Due to my medical condition I have limited mobility so travelling to an office or studio every day would be extremely difficult, so I’m thankful I have the space to create from home. Windsor is such a lovely place as well, it’s surrounded by countryside and of course, the Royal Family aren’t too far away!”
View Lisa Todd Designs Collection
Originally from South Africa, Lisa finds her home country a source of inspiration. She elaborates – “I take a lot of inspiration from the vibrant landscape, tribes and animals that live there. Visually, the land is bursting with colour and the people are full of life and express themselves in so many ways. I try to capture this in my art and share it with everyone.”
Ndebele Collection Trays and Tea Towels
This inspiration can be seen in Lisa’s current collection called ‘Ndebele’ which features bold and bright geometric prints on trays, cushions, mugs, scarves, rugs, wallpaper and textiles. These have all been sourced from the highest quality suppliers, predominantly within the UK. The trays are sourced in Scandinavia using sustainable and organic Birchwood and Melamine while the rugs are hand-tufted in India. Lisa says that colourful and contemporary are the best words to sum up her design style. She adds – “Whether you go for a cushion, a mug or wallpaper, my designs will brighten up your room… and hopefully make you smile!”
Ndebele Collection Cushions, Wallpaper, Fabric and Rug
The Ndebele collection has won Lisa awards, she elaborates – “I won the Elle Decoration Print and Pattern Designer of the Year Award in 2016. This was followed by a European Product Design Award in 2017. I grew up in South Africa and the patterns are inspired by the Ndebele People who are also South African, so this design is very close to my heart. I researched the tribe, spent time in South Africa and was then able to develop my own interpretation of their patterns and colour palettes. In the early stages, when I was brainstorming, designing patterns and coming up with ideas, it was very important to me to try and stay true to these indigenous people, to somehow get down on paper how they live and their joy at life.”
Ndebele Collection Cushions, Rug and Tray
As an interior designer, Lisa has always loved working with textiles and colour. She enthuses – “I read many magazines, both hard copy and online, also drawing ideas from art and design movements including the art deco period, aboriginal and tribal art. I also draw inspiration from established artists and friends Gillian Ayres (painter), Gordon Seyward (painter / colourist) and Sarah Campbell (textile designer). Coming from a country like South Africa, where there’s such a diverse population and such amazing wildlife, it’s hard not to take inspiration from there as well. I also Bluebellgray because they have taken their unique painterly style and applied this to a wide range of distinctive household products. I find their story amazing; I aspire to be like them.”
Buy Lisa Todd Designs Products
To find out more go to the Lisa Todd Designs Website. You can buy products online and these can be shipped anywhere in the world. To give you an idea about prices points – rugs are £785-2375, round birchwood trays £45, bone china mugs £18, tea towels £12 and cushions are £120. If you are looking for a quantity run bespoke product, Lisa would be happy to discuss this with you. She is also open to collaborations with designers or retailers.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Lisa Todd. Thanks: Lisa and Simon Midgley.