The Order of Chaos

Random sequencing with Patternity

Text by Elle Hankinson

Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham are the duo behind design and creative consultancy Patternity. They are “pattern professionals”, exploring the occurrence and deployment of pattern in whatever its guise or environment. “From the natural to the manmade, macro to micro and the mundane to the magnificent,” they use pattern to communicate and innovate.

Though initially a fashion company, Patternity has since expanded to include architecture, social anthropology and science, with clients as diverse as the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, the BBC, the V&A and Nike.

The pair’s mission is to “explore pattern beneath the surface.” Accordingly, happy accidents are celebrated, whether they are a coding error in data mapping or a misaligned leaf vein. These supposed imperfections offer a sense of realism and are often the quirks that inspire a design.

For Murray, a disruption in pattern can assist with social issues. Recently Patternity and the BBC hosted a workshop for children with autism. Pattern and, specifically, breaks within it was used as a way of helping the young people understand the world and their own disorder. “Pattern underlies every aspect of our lives,” says Murray, “as well as being part of the basic structure of the body and mind. It’s a universal language that communicates a message we all understand.”

Patternity’s latest project is a month-long takeover comprising an exhibition, talks and workshops, in which the duo will explore the seemingly simple stripe. “We will be looking into how we can use technology to further understand and be aware of the things that make up the world around us,” says Murray. “Science and technology will play a crucial part of this project; how it engages and inspires our audience both locally and globally. The showcase will remind us of the powerful presence of stripes in our everyday environments and behaviour.”


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