Natasha Marshall is a designer and founder of Natasha Marshall Ltd – a textile design studio to the global textile, retail and fashion markets. She has been a 2D category judge since the category’s introduction in 2018.
Trained as a textile designer at Glasgow School of Art, Natasha set up her business in 1997. Natasha Marshall Ltd now works with mills around the world and creates collections for a number of clients based throughout the UK and Europe.
We caught up with Natasha to find out her thoughts on the Design Guild Mark.
What first turned you on to a career in the design world?
Four main points in my life come to mind immediately for instilling my desire to be involved in the design world, creating my love and fascination for architecture and design that led me to study Textile Design at Glasgow School of Art.
1. Watching my best friend’s dad design and build their home – the first Glass House in the UK built in Belsize Park designed by Robin Webster, who is now part of Cameron Webster Architects, who went on to design my studio and a house for me.
2. Visiting the area of SE1 in London with my dad to see the new Lloyd’s building designed by Richard Rogers, The Circle blue flats by Piers Gough at CZWG Architects and the Design Museum – all in SE1.
3. Visiting Paris with my mum to see a Leon Bakst costume design exhibition at the Opera House. Marvelling at his use of pattern and colour.
4. Living for a few years in Leicestershire, staying with my aunt and uncle who create beautiful bronzes LeBlanc Fine Art Foundry. Watching them work on commissions and creating pieces from start to finish, so clay to bronze, and seeing you can have a career doing what you love.
Can you sum up what design excellence means to you in a few words?
A beautiful item that works perfectly and effortlessly for its purpose.
What is it about the judging process that you enjoy most?
Being part of the judging team is a real pleasure, discussing and exploring the design merits of each product. Seeing such a broad range of products and hearing the stories behind each development. Choosing winners that are innovative and have really pushed the design boundaries rather than just products you like.
What is your favourite Design Guild Mark of all time?
In the Furniture category it is Modulo by Dylan Freeth for Ercol – for its beautiful simplicity and craftsmanship. It’s a versatile product made in oak.
For 2D it is Alchemy by Rachel Evison for Bute Fabrics. I love the combination of colour, quality and hard wearing performance. It is so versatile to use with its flecks of colour. I love the fact that it is designed and manufactured in Bute so a fully UK made product.
What is the future of design?
Exciting, as people are more and more looking for a story, authenticity and sustainability assurances behind each item they choose to buy. Having awards like the Design Guild Mark really help showcase the best of British design to help people make these choices.
Watch our short video featuring Natasha speaking about one of her favourite awardees from 2019, That’s Caffeine by Atticus Durnell.
For information on all the judges, click here.