Textile Designer Marianne Straub joined Warner & Sons in May 1950. Most of the company’s designs at the time were for the contract trade, meaning few people outside the industry knew who designed any given Warner textile. But that changed when Straub and her Warner colleague Alec Hunter worked with the Festival Pattern Group to produce textiles for the Festival of Britain (1952). The group decided on science as a theme, and Dr Helen Megan of Girton College, Cambridge became the group’s adviser. The natural repeat of magnified crystal structures was perfect for textiles. Straub’s dobby-woven nylon textile “Helmsley” was based on the crystal structure of nylon. It is one of the summer 2012 wallpaper designs released by the Warner Textile Archive.

Straub spent twenty years at Warners, always using a hand loom to puzzle out new designs. Visit the Victoria & Albert Museum’s exhibition British Design 1948-2012 to see more textile designs by the Festival Pattern Group, and read COVER‘s review of the exhibition in the current (Summer) issue. DJ