S’well is joining forces with design magnate John Robshaw to bring you the ultimate summer collection that will give you a serious case of wanderlust. Robshaw brings his transportive Southeast Asian-inspired textiles to 2 limited edition 25oz bottles. Complete your summer fun kit by adding the beach towel and tote that will take you from beach to boardwalk all while evoking the beauty of Bangkok and Bangladesh.
We spoke with Robshaw about his inspiration behind the collection, as well as his affinity for the handmade and discovering design influence abroad and at home. Read the full interview below.
Tell us about your first experiences with their traditional fabric making techniques. What about block printing and traditional dye techniques piqued your interest?
On one of my first trips to India, I ended up down by a river with a family that was block printing and boiling the fabrics in massive cauldrons using natural dyes. The family let me print using whatever blocks they had around. I immediately started mixing blocks and colors–dazed by the technique, the hand printing and the heat. I printed some yardages and they tossed them on the ground to dry and watched, admiring my first prints. I loved the reality of it and the simple creation process and the lovely artisans you get to hang around with.
Can you speak about your design process? What inspires your color combinations and design motifs?
My design process varies depending of the materials and the techniques involved. I am inspired by everything I see while travelling.
Your designs are known for having strong Southeast Asian influences—how does living in New York influence you and your art?
New York is amazing since so many incredible artworks come through the city. I always beg my design team to get out and see all of the art shows and museums they can. For me, it’s the reason to live in NYC and, of course, the food.
Your designs have been featured in some of the most admired interiors around the world—what’s one must-have item that “makes” an interior?
Our painted pillows are all one of a kind, which makes them fun to collect.
What’s one place that’s always been on your travel bucket list? What’s the most inspiring city you’ve visited?
I would love to go back over to Indonesia and dive off of Sulawesi. The most inspiring city I have travelled to lately is Calcutta, with all of its crumbling architecture and spicy Bengali food.
How does the ever-increasing reliance on modern technology and computers influence your design process?
I like to draw designs by hand, I don’t think you can replace the hand. Modern technologies for sure help speed up the process and reproduction of designs, but for me, you still have to start with the hand to get to something of interest.
Shop the limited edition John Robshaw collection here.