05/10/16 / By

Behind The Collaboration: Lisa Joyce On The Orla Kiely Baby Collection

Orla Kiely uses simple visual language, repeating organic form with a geometric order, playful scale and a very carefully considered, pared down colour palette. Her style is so distinctive,  it has defined a category and it’s difficult to know which came first – Orla Kiely or Mid Century modernity!

Whilst undoubtedly Orla’s handwriting has nods to retro print and pattern, her designs feel contemporary and fresh but with the reassurance of familiar form.  From handbags, kitchenware, shoes and more recently a stunning collection of jewellery and a rather lovely bicycle, to own an Orla Kiely product is to own a ‘piece’.


It impossible to imagine the high street without her influence and her appeal is global; fashion, homeware, interiors and of course kids wear and nursery products,  all of which has  been inspired by her signature repeating prints and flair for bold colour. A muted floral with a pop of neon, classic retro materials are given a contemporary twist. Playing with scale and challenging the rules of design and pattern,  her attention to detail and her eye for the unusual sets her apart from her contemporaries but gives her products a consistence and distinctive look that is unquestionably her own.

Beyond her products’ appearance, her demand for the very highest quality is in every detail of every product. Orla by nature is a baby product designer.

Like Orla, as nursery product designers, we seek inspiration from our rich design heritage, whilst looking to create something that feels new. Modern parents are looking for much simpler and straightforward design solutions both in functionality and in form.


Long gone are the ‘room in a box’ co-ordinating curtains and wallpaper borders leaving us to create our own unique space for our little ones, somewhere that feels modern, stylish and most importantly –uniquely our own.   We might use patterned wallpaper, but probably just one wall as we mix and match styles, choosing conversational bold printed patterns, flat yet vibrant surfaces contrasting with simple chalky painted walls and layers of textures. We play with modern furniture and vintage ‘pieces’, heirloom toys sit alongside our latest technology to make life just a bit easier (whilst retaining our desire for nostalgia).  We favour limited palettes but we create fun, bright nursery environments that remain at their heart ‘fun’ but feel stylish too.  We have taken Orla’s creative lead in building our little one’s nests.

As a fashion and textile designer she has inspired a generation, certainly I cannot think of any other individual who has had such a profound impact on shaping consumer products today.  She is an inspiration and she is most definitely a design icon.



Lisa Joyce was Design & Creative Director at The Gro Company for 5 years before leaving to have children and setting up ‘Luverly Baby’ a nursery product design and brand consultancy.  Clients include The Gro Company where she took the design lead for them on the Orla Kiely project.


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