Designer Suki Cheema is renowned for his intuitive, in-depth understanding of pattern, textiles, and printmaking, which has landed him positions with Calvin Kelin, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg. In fact, it was Diane von Furstenberg who inspired Suki to follow his dreams of launching his own line. With SUKI CHEEMA, an exclusive collection of home and personal accessories, Suki marries his love of art, textiles, and travel. The line includes throw pillows, quilts, rugs, tabletop items, handbags, and more, all featuring hand silk-screened prints and embroidery techniques that are centuries old.
I recently caught up with Suki to discuss his latest collection, Indonesia and found out his thoughts on printmaking and pattern, Spring decorating, and inspirations.
CasaSugar: What inspired the Indonesia collection specifically?
Suki Cheema: A trip to Indonesia some time ago. I was most inspired by the Batik designs from Java. Batik is unique to Indonesia and is one of its most traditional art forms. It has a special place in the culture and history of the people. My color choices for the collection were also influenced by Indonesia. You will see lots of indigo and shades of blue throughout the collection with pops of scarlet and other bright colors.
CS: How did you develop the patterns for this collection?
SC: During my trip I collected lots of batik fabrics and took photographs of everything that caught my eye. I like to take inspiration from traditional things and give them a modern twist, which is exactly what I did for this collection. I play with the scales and dimensions of patterns and reform things so that the inspiration is just that and not a literal interpretation.
Keep reading to find out more about the SUKI CHEEMA collection and to see more of the line.
CS: How do the prints for your SUKI CHEEMA collection differ from the prints you've created for Diane von Furstenberg?
SC: When you are working for someone else you learn how to listen to their direction for what a print should look like. A print will always have a piece of the designer but when I was working for DVF I was creating what she wanted. I am often hired to freelance or bespoke work for people and you need to put your own design aesthetics aside and listen to their voice. When I am designing for SUKI CHEEMA home the only opinion that matters is my own. It is my likes and dislikes and the end result is a handwriting that is distinctly my own. SUKI CHEEMA is about big, bold prints, and bright colors.
CS: How would you decorate with these items for Spring or Summer? What colors or pieces would you layer them with?
SC: The Agra Navy and Tattoo prints really speak to the Indonesia inspiration. I would layer these with the bright blue and cream pleated pillows. My favorite pillows from the collection are the Indo Taquile pillows. I would pair these with the Spears multi and canary yellow pleated pillows. These items will brighten any room and are perfect to give your home a Spring/Summer face-lift!
CS: What patterns are inspiring you at the moment?
SC: The bright and bold colors and the Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya.