Cats – that’s a good start. Elegant elongated cats and a spiral staircase to boot – even better. Heal’s in Tottenham Court Road know this. They’ve had a cat guarding their Cecil Brewer staircase since 1916, a slim elegant feline perched on a window ledge surveying all that passes. Now, to celebrate the staircase’s centenary, they’ve commissioned ten designers to decorate replicas of their cat, and the results couldn’t be more different.
The original is a pure black cat, dark against the light that floods through the windows, an enigmatic feline with a superior air.
The new cats are different – colourful, witty, surprising and cool by turns.
Japanese designer Ikuko Iwamoto has given her cat a decorative neck piece made from old telephone flexes and gold edged ceramics.
Squint has covered the cat in irregularly shaped fabric patches, making it the most colourful and tactile of the collection.
Printmaker Cressida Bell’s design, intricately painted in black and gold, is my second favourite in the collection. The Egyptian eyes give it character and life.
Donna Wilson’s cat is hand painted in blue and gold and has a sweetly naive expression.
Rachel Cave’s design is covered in flower and thistle shapes inspired by mid-century fabrics.
Ceramicist Mia Sarosi hand painted her cat using her signature Octopus design.
Sunny Todd’s cat is in stark black and white.
Ora Kiely’s cat is decorated with one of her characteristic retro-inspired prints.
Louise Lockhart uses everyday items like teapots and armchairs to give her blue and white cat a folk art appeal.
Zoe Bradley has covered her cat in hundreds of painstakingly applied petals with a pearlescent glow and decorated it with flowers. The texture and originality of this cat make it my favourite of the collection.
All the cats will be auctioned on 8th December in aid of the Great Ormond St Hospital Kiss it Better appeal.