I’ve just been listening to the most lovely interview with Enid Marx from the 1980s with Oliver Green from the London Transport Museum’s archive. I’ve linked it to the image above, Marx’s moquette design ‘Brent’. It gives a lot of information about how she was commissioned to work for London Transport and the criteria for creating the moquette designs.
Marx was commissioned, along with Marion Dorn and Paul Nash, to come up with designs for the moquette material which would be used to upholster bus and tube train seats for London Transport. Frank Pick, managing director at the time and founder of the Design and Industries Association, brought in a house style for London Transport which included a redesign of all posters, tickets, maps, moquette fabrics, station interiors and architecture. It is now an iconic style and featured the work of many prominent artists and designers from the period.
In this interview Marx talks about the issues she had working with the moquette manufacturers who, anxious about divulging too much information to their competition about the capabilities of their machinery, were vague about the repeat sizes and proportions of the looms they employed. Therefore Marx was shocked to find a square design returned as an oblong because the loom could not produce squares. As a rigorous designer she challenged the samples and attempted to ensure that the finished fabric looked like the design she’d come up with.
Marx also talks about colour choices and the considerations she had to make about tonal contrasts to ensure that the fabric stood up to wear and tear and that the pattern was still visible under the dirt and grime. Its a great interview and a real insight into a design process. Link beneath or click on the image above.