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Decorex 2022: Holly Suzanna Clifford

It’s less than a week until the celebration of excellence in design and craftsmanship that is Decorex opens. Long regarded as Europe’s premier interior design event, Decorex is always a treasure chest of remarkable interior product, refined, spectacular, and with great attention to detail and finish. Design-Nation will be there as usual: we’re taking eleven great talents, some of whom we’re talking to on the blog over the next week. We start with Sheffield-based metalsmith Holly Suzanna Clifford, whose beautifully detailed yet modern pieces conjure a sense of place.

Design-Nation asked: What are you showing at Decorex?

Holly replied: A range of framed topographical map wall pieces created from brass, featuring several iconic landscapes from across the UK and further afield.

DN: Is this a new collection? Tell us about the development and the ideas behind it.

HSC: These pieces are from two new ready-to-buy collections, Landmark and National Parks. Previously I purely made my maps to commission, creating highly bespoke pieces of unique locations. I continue to offer my bespoke service, but after recognising that there are many special places that a great number of people feel strong connections to, and will be
requested time and time again, it made sense to produce a core library of these treasured locations. Landmark and National Parks are ever-growing ranges of work, encompassing these beloved areas, like the Lake District, London, Paris and National Three Peaks (which will be displayed at Decorex).

Customers will also have the opportunity to personalise these maps, for example by adding favourite trails and markers for important locations, to allow the map to truly tell their story. I have found that these maps are often purchased to celebrate life’s milestones, especially anniversaries, as the tales of their owners’ relationship can be woven into the map, adding details like where they met, the family home, memorable holidays and favourite frequented footpaths.

These new collections have been a little while in the making, as I decided it was time to make the transition from hand cutting every map, to outsourcing this work to a laser cutter. This has been a big step for my business, daunting but exciting, physically allowing me to produce multiples of these more commercial pieces which I just could not do by hand. It’s been a steep learning curve, wrapping my head around how to create the CAD contour files from geospatial data information. Now that the process is up and running, the possibilities for growth are very exciting. It’s important to point out that although I now use a laser cutter to cut the flat brass maps, there is still a lot of work I do by hand to finish each piece. Every map must be sanded, engraved rivers are cut, trails and locations are marked by set stones, silver granules or punches. I solder metal legs to the reverse of the maps for mounting, meticulously finished the surfaces, and then of course shape each one into the lay of the
land before it is mounted.

DN: Walpole Magazine said that Decorex “continues a legacy of excellence" – what does this mean to you?

HSC: Decorex has such a fabulous reputation within the interior design world. I’m extremely excited and feel very lucky to be part of that this year. It can be very difficult to get your work in front of the right audience by yourself, so coming to an event like this is an incredible opportunity.

DN: Do you have a dream location or interior design client in mind for your work? Where do you imagine it being displayed?

HSC: Dreaming big, I would love to create a huge, dramatic contour map piece that spans an entire wall; I can imagine this in the entrance lobby of a company HQ, like Patagonia or Rab. It would also be wonderful to create maps for places of learning,
where the topography and geography captures minds and creates excitement. On a smaller scale, I would love these maps to find their way into the hearts of more homes, hotels (especially in the hills!) and bespoke interiors shops.

Discover Holly’s new work here:

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Clare Edwards


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