Beautiful prints and repetitive motifs are key within this designers style and we were thrilled to ask her a few questions on where to find inspiration as well as her newest collection ‘Rekki in Reykjavik’.

Here’s our 5 minutes with designer Ella Doran…

Ella Doran portrait (Woodgrain wallpaper and fabric in blue) mid

Tell us about the first place you called “home” and how did you make it your own?

The first place that comes to my mind is my bedroom as a child. That has always been a space to make special – as a child I used to cover my wall from top to bottom with a mixture of my own paintings, drawings and photographs, and with posters and magazine tear outs. I took delight in moving the furniture around or painting a wall a new colour. I was lucky that my mum was cool about my passion for interior decorating.

As a young adult, when I returned to London from Bristol where I went to school, I moved nearly every year for the first 10 years.  Every time it was important for me to make my space feel cozy and mine with personal and found objects, textiles and artworks!

Your designs are full to the brim of wonderful photography and motifs – what or where is your main source of inspiration?

I always say there is inspiration in every moment – you just have to be open to it. So I guess my main inspiration is the here and now. I am influenced by the wonderful eclecticism of where I live and work in Hackney, alongside the travels that I go on.


The actual physical movement of walking or cycling or driving around and seeing new places in natural sunlight with my camera in my hand does spur the creativity in me!

“My main inspiration is the here and now”

‘Rekki in Reykjavik’ is your latest collection, tell us more about the range…

I travelled to Iceland last year and explored the southern and western side of the island by car and by foot. The mountainous ranges with giant waterfalls, volcanic rock and bubbling geysers and blue lagoons draw you in – it’s hard to describe – the landscape is saturated with rain, it has a special density and feels alive as a whole.

Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik coasters 2
Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik coaster, £21

“Iceland – which I dubbed ‘Scotland on Acid’”

Reykjavik, with the uplifting colours of its brightly painted corrugated houses is also a wonderful place to visit and walk around! I visited in June, so it barely got dark at all. For the collection I amalgamated lots of individual photographs of candy coloured houses and other objects into the signature repeat ‘Rekki in Reykjavik’. The other designs of the collection, ‘Wood Grain Blue’ and ‘Corrugated Chic’, engage close-up with the rugged texture that the strong, salty air and the sun create on man made surfaces, wood and metal. To convey the visual intensity of Iceland – which I dubbed ‘Scotland on Acid’ – I deliberately exaggerated the scale of Wood Grain to make it slightly unreal, and to round the collection off, I will eventually add a nature inspired design, but I still haven’t decided for which product this would work best.

Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik cushions and Wood Grain Blue wallpaper
Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik cushions
Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik tea towel
Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik tea towel
Ells Doran Rekki in Reykjavik costers 4
Ella Doran Rekki in Reykjavik coaster, £21

What’s next for Ella Doran, is there a new line of products or exciting projects in the pipeline? Perhaps some more work with the Great Recovery?

There are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline and new products in development, in line with our commitment to support and promote the circular economy.

Unfortunately, I can’t talk about them yet in detail, but to give you a clue: we do have an exciting event lined up for the London Design Festival 2015: a day around re-upholstery with the Great Recovery at their Fab Lab home in the city

Finally, what would be your top 5 tips for any budding product designers out there…

Keep defining and refining what your unique take on design is.

Challenge yourself and go where your passion takes you.

Be open to opportunities and collaborate when and where you can.

Experience first hand as many production processes as you can of the area of design you are interested in.

Be curious, be inquisitive and most of all: be YOU!

Great advice! Thank you Ella for answering our questions, we can’t wait to see future projects and your work with LDF.

For more info on Ella and to shop her collection click here and follow her on Twitter here!

David & Mark x

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