In Good Company: Michal Silver

By Matt Balmer
October 11, 2018

As one of the founding directors or cloth house Christopher Farr, Michal Silver is known for, among others, reviving the archives of designer Anni Albers. As the Tate Modern prepares to open a retrospective on the German artist’s work, we spoke to Silver about inspiration, best-sellers, and what’s next…

When was the company founded?

How many staff?

Where is it based?
Chelsea, London.

What is your latest significant achievement or project of note?
Working with the Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation to launch our second collaboration with two monumental designs – Orchestra and Temple. Celebrating Anni’s life achievement to coincide with the retrospective show opening at Tate Modern this month.

What is your best-selling product?
Carnival, Carnival, Carnival Green. It’s a design we launched in 2003 as our first collaboration with the archival collection of the late Michael Szell. We sell it as fabric, wall covering, outdoor performance fabric… .Every December I say to myself “not this year”, but then we calculate the MTS and it is once again Carnival Green.

I‘ve just discovered…
The autobiography of Claude Lanzmann, the French journalist, writer, and film director who recently died at the age of 92. Lantzmann was best known for his film Shoah (1985), a nine-and-a-half-hour documentary on the Holocaust. A high school student during the occupation post war, he made his way into Sartre’s circle to be regarded as one of the supreme narrators of modern French experience.

Who inspires me…
Every person I meet, every book I read, exhibit I visit, my travels… LIFE.

I’ve always been a fan of…
Issey Miyake. He is still experimental and innovative today as he was when he launched his design studio in the 70s and changed the way we define BEATY. His work is especially relevant to me since technique and research into materials were essential to his work.

My highlight of the last 12 months…
We spent two weeks in Mexico last December, and I fell in love with Mexico City, the architecture – especially the work of the architect Barragán – the art scene, it’s a foodie heaven, … highly recommended.

My next design trip is to…
The US, in particular Miami and Atlanta. Not hugely inspirational, but rather productive working with our US distribution and meeting key clients. I aim at visiting each showroom (currently 20 in the US & Canada) twice a year, with the launch of our new collections.