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Visit to Timorous Beasties, Glasgow, September 2022

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

Timorous Beasties is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most successful contemporary wallpaper designers and makers. WHS was thrilled to be invited by the company to visit their studio and HQ in Glasgow in September.

Timorous Beasties co-founder Paul Simmons shows members of WHS round the showroom and print studio. Photo Wendy Andrews

A group of 10 of us were warmly welcomed by co-founder Paul Simmons and studio co-ordinator Emma Carr. We spent a fascinating morning hearing about the origins and evolution of the company, touring their showroom of unique wallpapers and textiles and visiting their print room to see the craft skills involved in rendering designs into finished papers.

Screen-printing wallpaper. Photo Pauline Birdsall

Established in Glasgow in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met studying textile design at Glasgow School of Art, Timorous Beasties is famed for its eccentrically creative and idiosyncratic wallpaper, textile and furnishing designs. Today, the studio is a diverse operation and has emerged as a multi-award-winning, internationally acclaimed icon of the creative industries.

Photo Pauline Birdsall

Timorous Beasties’ clients have included Johnny Walker, Nike and milliner Philip Treacy, while their cultural design commissions have included the Edinburgh International Festival and book covers for Penguin. They have designed for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Brintons carpets and Liberty London. Christies, Claridge’s, the Inter-Continental Hotel Group, and Hilton-Waldorf Astoria are among their prestigious commercial clients.

Photo Wendy Andrews

Among the studio’s strong record for bespoke furnishing and installation commissions are the V&A boardroom, UK Supreme Court, Wellcome Trust, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Robert Burns Museum. Their exterior work ranges from engraved stone cladding for Bristol’s Cabot Circus to the extravagant aluminium decorative façade for Princes Square, Glasgow.

WHA members relax in the Timorous Beasties showroom

This was a very special visit, giving WHS members insights into the early challenges, the determination and resilience, and the extraordinary triumphs of the company in the words of one of its creative founders. Paul Simmons was generous with his time and with his anecdotes and observations about the founding and enduring success of this extraordinary wallpaper design company.

Wendy Andrews


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