Local design duo Loren Penney and Sarah Bennett of Penney + Bennett are devoted to creating simple, tactile pieces that question the conventional in contemporary textile livingware.
Using only the highest quality natural cloth sourced internationally, their silks are hand-picked and the organic linen is woven and dyed specifically for Penney + Bennett. The fabrics are the base for experimental prints consisting of a range of traditional painting, drawing, photography and digital techniques.
We caught up with the girls behind Penney + Bennett to chat about how Penney + Bennett came about, their biggest influences, and what advice they would give to new home decorators...
Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to set up Penney + Bennett?
Sarah’s main practice was conceptual art with themes exploring community and human relationships, and Loren’s was an idiosyncratic practise exploring formalism in painting and drawing. We shared a studio at Art school and became good friends and as we were nearing our degree, over tea we decided to use our artistic sensibilities and apply them our our mutual love of design that can be used in everyday life.
How would you define the Penney + Bennett style?
We like to keep things clean by removing anything unnecessary and to let one main element shine whether it be; a function, an expressive brush stroke gesture, a texture or a colour. It is important that our designs are androgynous and minimal so the new owner are able to be interpret and experiment within any given space.
We love the colour palettes that you're working in. What is it about these tones that most appeal to you?
We couldn’t help but use our fine art and painterly influence when it came to colour selection. We experimented with the colour relationships and what happens when you put them together, and the effects these can have on your mood.
Who are some of the people you most admire and respect for their sense of style and eye for aesthetics?
Phillip Lim for his minimal yet playful and unexpected designs Luc Tuymans for the interesting way he selects images and his treatment of colour when he translates these into paint. Toba Kedoori for her delicate, meditative and meticulous renderings.
What has been the single greatest influence on your work?
Japanese culture and design, we are always influenced by their harmonious, simple approach to art and design, and their ability to create a balance between nature and advanced technology in design successfully.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone decorating his or her first home, what would it be?
Its best to invest in fewer useful quality, beautiful things collected slowly over time. It will pay off in the long run and will minimise waste put into landfills.
Any exciting plans for summer?
We will be going away to remote places in New Zealand together as it helps us to contemplate new designs and ideas.
See a selection of Penney + Bennett available in store and online [here]
Top image features: Penney + Bennett White Thatch Pillowslip $199
Image above features: Penney + Bennett Ceremony Large Cushion, $245
Image above features: Penney + Bennett Grey Water Pillowslip, $199