Love is Dark

Cleverly situated amongst Bloomsbury’s art students and book designers, Darkroom London boasts a dedicated army of followers rapidly growing in numbers. The brainchild of Rhonda Drakeford, co-founder of graphic design studio Multistorey, and fashion designer Lulu Roper-Caldbeck, the pair have weaved a bold mix of art with interior design for this concept store. “We like quite hard-edged designs,” says Drakeford. “It’s all quite graphic, modern textural pieces.”

And from February 2 to 14, the company will be hosting a sale exhibition of valentine hearts. Over fifty artists have submitted works to be sold in its Love From Darkroom exhibition in aid of charity Kids Company. The event follows on from last year’s sell-out show For Love & Haiti which raised over £3000 for the Haiti Earthquake appeal.

Available to buy are intricately designed copper hearts by Katie Hillier, an accessory designer whose works have graced the catwalk collections of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, to photographic pieces by stylist Nancy Rohde. The impressive list also includes paper artist Rob Ryan, milliner Noel Stewart and accessories designer Kuni Awai.

The brief given to the designers was simple. Create a piece of artwork based on the heart, black and white, plus one colour, and no bigger than A1 in format size.
“It’s quite nice how everyone’s interpreted it in different ways,” explains Drakeford.
Designers were also given the reins to work outside of their own medium, “so if you were a jeweller that wanted to do a painting that was fine,” she says.
While some artists have produced artworks that is very much indicative of their field; others have taken it as an opportunity to have fun, as reflected in menswear designer Carolyn Massey’s painting The Heart Is Dark. The artworks are being sold for £150 each.

Love From Darkroom runs until 14 Feb, 52 Lamb’s Conduit St, London

This is an edited feature at Spindle magazine