News and Trends

The Recurring Union Jack

The epitome of British tradition, the Union Jack has a loaded history and carries significant symbolism. Today, this prolific symbol has crept into the decor world as an unstoppable motif. Its quintessential-Britishness-meets-design-cool was sealed at the Royal Wedding in April when it was the focus of American channel TLC’s coverage of the event. The iconic Halo Bensington Union Jack vintage sofa – a Chesterfield-style couch emblazoned in part with the flag – was  at the centre of the channel’s UK studio set. The coverage allegedly gained some 68 million viewers. The emblem has been translated onto all sorts of lifestyle and decor items, many of which we haven’t been able to get our hands on in SA. However, over the past two years this has been changing. You’ll notice the Union Jack-inspired flag hanging on the September spring cover of House and Leisure. This eclectic home of Capetonians Warren Matthee and Rupert Smith, owners of the Chemistry of Living decor store in Kloof Street, is filled with several carefully curated and internationally inspired items. The flag adds character to the living room of their Observatory home and another has also formed part of their in-store display. In addition, they have been one of the early adopters and carried a line of cushions (sold out when we went to source for this piece) and doormats with the Union Jack in full display. This poses the question, is this look overdone or has it simply evolved into a popular decor trend? Our verdict? Rather than being overused, we think it’s a designer classic that brings some charisma into a space.







Naomi Larkin

Editor – House and Leisure   Captions: 1. Our September 2011 spring issue featuring the Union Jack on the cover 2. Union Jack Sofa by Andrew Martin (R46,000). 3. Mini Sneakers (R848). 4. Blue, Red and White Union Jack Scatter by Anne Colle (R690). 5. Light Blue, Wheat and White Union Jack Scatter by Anne Colle (R690). 6. Vivienne Westwood limited edition Chivas Regal 18 year scotch bottle (R2,000)