Samarkand Design grew out of a passion for textiles. It was founded by Hilly Grumbar and Carrie Hart; a pair bound not just by friendship but also by their shared passion for design and artisanal craftsmanship. At the beginning of 2020 Carrie retired from the business so Hilly continues to run it ably assisted by Harry (her son) who is charge of everything technical and Trish who does almost everything else.
As inspired by the classic ‘English’ look as we are by our extensive travels across India and Africa, this collection of our favourite things brings together the vibrant and the eclectic, reflecting the stories of craftsmanship from across the world.
Samarkand’s stunning collection of lampshades and lamps are designed to illuminate, complement and enhance any style. Whether it’s the cool and crisp feel of a beach house or the rich and romantic ambience of an English country house, our lampshades bring a distinctive quality to every room.
The shades come in several ranges:
The Saree Collection
The Saree Collection offers a wide variety of designs. Each vintage silk saree has been picked for its jewel-like patterns, colours and textures, reflecting the richness of India’s textile traditions. Ranging from zinging oranges and fuschias to more subtle, neutral shades, we have endeavoured to curate a range to suit every design scheme.
The Jaipur Collection
If you seek a clean and contemporary feel, we suggest our range of hand-blocked lampshades, which come in seven designs. We use fine cotton voile for these shades and the range includes indigos, grey, green and orange on white.
The Shibori Collection
We have recently launched a collection of hand-dyed Shibori on pure Tussar silk shades in two designs – Pushkar Indigo, a distinctive and stunning organic pattern and Ashvem Ecru producing a more regular, rippled pattern. Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique of tie-dye which we have developed with artisans in India.
The Ikat Collection
Sourced directly from our namesake Samarkand in Uzbekistan this beautiful hand woven ikat comes in a range of fabulous zingy colours. Due to the narrow guage of the loom we can only make shades up to 30cm in diameter.
The Cambridge Imprint Collection
Mostly recently we have partnered with the wonderful Cambridge Imprint to produce a range of smart paper shades in vibrant Dappled Red and fresh Anamlcules Bawden Green.
All ranges are available in eight sizes ranging from the smallest at 10cm wall lights to 60cm shades suitable for very large or standard lamps.
Samarkand Design’s collection of unique and unusual lampbases is designed to complement our shades.
We have four designs which are available in quantity:
The Indian Scroll Base
These bases are individually carved from mango wood and finished in a choice of aged gesso or distressed grey. The design is taken from an antique carving found in an old haveli.
The Grecian Urn Base
These bases are more traditional in shape but are also hand-carved and finished in aged gesso.
The Candlestick Base
These iron candlesticks are new to our collection and make wonderful bedside lights and work well if you are looking for a narrow base in a confined space. They are designed to work with our 25cm and 30cm shades.
We also have a small collection of individual or pairs of vintage lamps made from antique pieces which we have picked up on our travels.
The Aakriti Glass Lamp
We have teamed up with a wonderful glassblower in the the West country who makes these gorgeous organic shaped drop lamps in a choice of colours. These are made to order.
Over the last few years we have seriously branched out with our growing collection of cushions - the wonderful hand stitched cushions from Kashmir and our unique collection of hand woven cushions from Nagaland.
We can't help ourselves sometimes - so whilst we try and stay focused, inevitably we can't resist and so we do now have a small collection of rugs from Morocco and India and most recently added to that with the exquisite crewel stitch rugs from Kashmir.
On our travels in India we have managed to find some of the most exquisite examples of antique embroidery work, including pieces made by the Banjara tribe of the Deccan plateau and intricately sewn bodices taken from traditional Rajasthani dresses. We’ve framed them, giving them a new context as pieces of striking contemporary wall art.
Vintage Throws and Cushions
We also have a wonderful selection of vintage kanthas, which make for brilliant throws, bedspreads or tablecloths. Take a look at our collection of cushions made from vintage fabrics mixed with neutral linens.
Fair Trade and Ethically Sourced
The idea of Samarkand grew out of a desire to encourage and promote the traditional skills of the people we encountered on our trips. Sustainability and education are at the heart of Samarkand, which focuses on improving the lives of each of the artisans we work with, bringing hope and prosperity to communities where opportunities and living standards are often limited. We aim to build lasting and positive relationships with our suppliers based on the principles of fairness and social responsibility.