Creation of a water garden – Mizu Garden by Mokum Studio

“The palette is nuanced, anchored in mineral green foliage, accented with feminine floral motifs, expertly hand painted in shades of pinks, reds and purple.”

Mizu Garden is Mokum’s first foray into designing a panel print and required a more bespoke approach than usual with the studio having to abandon their traditional textile and wallpaper repeat systems, and instead focus on a larger continuous artwork.

Mokum’s intent for this panel design was to create a modern interpretation of a traditional Japanese hand-painted silk screen, which could then be translated onto both textile and wallpaper substrates.

Our research and background discovery developed our creative perspective as well as forming the commercial restraints we would have to work within.  Through researching motif references and painting styles, we quickly established our creative direction, also influenced by Mokum studio’s recent releases and interpretation of global trends.  More tangible limitations were uncovered as base-cloth options were refined and technical limitations reviewed.  Finally, our discovery of contemporary products already available in markets both locally and internationally shaped our final specified direction – there is a need to fit-the-norm while also being unique and distinctive.

For motifs we returned to Mokum studio’s original intent and looked at traditional hand-painted Japanese artworks, particularly birds, floral motifs and landscapes. We also reviewed motifs from our previous La Primavera prints and chose to include Peony and Wisteria flowers to link back to the original print designs, Papillon and Peonia. Revisiting and reinterpreting previous themes extends our creativity while grounding it within a larger body of work, making new creative directions tangible to to designers and users of our products.

Elegant Cranes were chosen as the focal point for the landscape, which in Asian culture are a symbol of luck and longevity. 

Waterlilies and peonies were selected to edge a water garden, with bamboo and wisteria trees to complete the scene.

There are practical implications of producing a panel artwork and ensuring a creative and agile design which works both as a panel wallpaper and continuous drapery. The studio needed to resolve the chosen substrates to refine the appropriate print sizes and take into account wall and window heights alongside digital printing restrictions. We focussed on using an elegant non-woven paper, replicating the aesthetic of handmade parchment, printed with a subtle iridescent finish, adding further sophistication, which linked to the original ‘silk screen’ inspiration. 

The drapery solution is a semi-transparent, wide 100% linen base cloth, creating the essence of calm with the feel of contemporary drapery. Further fabric development was undertaken to refine the finish including a tumbling process, creating a soft, elegant drape. This provided us with a luxurious and soft to touch fabric, that people would love and that would elegantly age alongside the interior space, with the semi-transparent drapery creating a dreamlike scene which is both serene and theatrical. 

Mokum studio’s creative process begins on the pattern repeat, drawing motif references, as a placement guide for the commissioned artist. This forms the basis for the artists brief, along-side references of the chosen painting style, in this case watercolour, and additional motif references.  

The connection and creative alignment with the artist is critical in achieving a superb looking design that will also be commercially successful.  Mokum’s favourite artist, based in Europe, expertly hand paints the artwork, sharing progress photos with us via email, which she delightfully calls “over the shoulder”. This is an exhilarating stage of the development for the studio as we start to visually witness our creation take shape.

The complete artwork is scanned at high resolution and digitally cleaned before we begin the most important stage of colour work.  Why most important? This is where the secret sauce is added, colours are not all equal and colour spectrum preferences a nuanced throughout our markets.  So final colourway design is a critical stage – part science, part art, part intuition.  The final colourway we settled on for Mizu Garden was a warm parchment base, with a more traditional colouring of the flora and fauna, creating a serene landscape which spoke to the concept of Ikigai, the master collection.

The final result is a serene hand painted oasis inspired by Japanese watercolour paintings. The red crowned cranes are elegantly wading within the “Mizu” water garden, which features floral motifs referencing waterlilies, peonies and wisteria flowers. 

The name Mizu derives from the Japanese word for water. The palette is nuanced, anchored in mineral green foliage, accented with feminine floral motifs, expertly hand painted in shades of pinks, reds and purple.

Mizu Garden has been printed continuously onto a soft 100% linen base cloth, creating a semi translucent, atmospheric watercolour print with a coordinating wallpaper panel. We hope this hand crafted design brings you joy!

What’s your favourite colour? Are you intending to repaint your walls this summer or maybe you want to change up the colour palette of your living spaces. If you are stuck for a colour idea then that’s where colour forecasters can help inspire you.