Timorous Beasties enjoys such great success with their textiles and wallpapers that you will find their designs in the trendiest exhibitions from New York to Milan. Page through just about any fashion or lifestyle magazine and a familiar pattern emerges. The big screen, the London Olympics, museums, galleries, malls, private residences – the Glasgow-based design studio has it covered. Their wallpapers and textiles are for sale in over 20 countries, from Russia to Japan and the USA to Africa.
Back in Glasgow, from where the studio produces their hand-printed work, inspiration is found on the doorstep. The scenes depicted in their Glasgow Toile include images of young mums pushing prams, drug addicts and drunks, and council flats towering over Glasgow. With the design echoing ‘Toile de Jouy’ fabrics of Napoleonic France, a double take is needed to see the contemporary themes hidden in the traditional wallpaper design. Their work is surreal, provocative, skilful and just plain beautiful.
Timorous Beasties was founded in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art. The duo’s strength is the ability to provide a bespoke service from custom colours to original artwork. All design work takes place at their Glasgow Studio, where they continue to hand print many of their fabrics and wallpapers. In addition, an experimental approach and investment in new design and manufacturing techniques has allowed them to move into other product areas including lace, jacquards, lighting, rugs and ceramics.
Their work can be viewed in both residential and commercial settings and they often undertake projects outwith their normal parameters. This is evident in their engraved stone cladding for Cabot Circus Shopping Centre in Bristol, their use of granite over slabs for the Burns Museum in Ayr, and the bespoke gravestones and aluminium installation on the exterior of Princes Square Shopping Centre in Glasgow.
Timorous Beasties opened their first retail shop in 2004 on the Great Western Road in Glasgow and a second shop in central London in 2007. They have collaborated with brands such as Brinton’s Carpets, Nike and Famous Grouse. They produced an exclusive range of textiles and home accessories for Liberty of London and home accessories for the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. They have also produced a bespoke collection of cushions for John Lewis Department Stores.
The name ‘Timorous Beasties’ is taken from the poem ‘To a Mouse’ by Scotland’s much celebrated poet, Robert Burns.
Back in Glasgow, from where the studio produces their hand-printed work, inspiration is found on the doorstep