With over a decade’s experience developing textiles for fashion brands both in Brazil, her country of origin, and the UK, Natália Nicolau started her company focused on knitwear development. The love of fashion and architectural forms lead to Ambar, a homeware and lifestyle brand that joins visual and tactile comfort and personal style to help you transform your house into a home. Knits are machine made, nevertheless, Ambar’s knit fabrications have an artisanal look and feel to them – and many times, an artisanal scale of production! Projects range from limited editions to a larger scale without compromising quality or comfort.
We speak to Natalia Nicolau, the founder of Ambar about why he started the brand and what makes her textiles so special
Tell us a little about yourself, and what inspired you to create Ambar Homeware?
I draw inspiration from traditional textile techniques such as hand-weaving and embroidery. My love of fashion and architectural forms lead to Ambar, a homeware brand that joins visual and tactile comfort with personal style, to help you transform your house into a home.
The main draw of creating homeware collections is that it is entirely inclusive, which is a huge contrast to much of the work that that I had done for fashion houses. Our products are versatile; they’re fashionable and still reflect your personal style, without being restrictive.
What makes Ambar Homeware completely different to all the other homeware/lifestyle brands out there?
We collaborate with a wide range of creatives that span different fields, to translate their artwork into textiles and give them a new platform to show their work. It’s always an amazing process seeing something evolve and enabling these designers to see their work via a different medium.
Our products are solely made in the UK and we have total trust in the British textile tradition. I oversee the entire production process from design and yarn selection through to the finished pieces, which enables me to guarantee the highest level of quality.
How do you choose your fabrics for your throws and cushions?
We make all of our fabrics from scratch and every project starts with yarn research, always having in mind its impact on the environment and the overall design concept. All prints and textile structures are created in-house by myself, or designed with our collaborative partners.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My personal collection of objects, including ceramics and vintage finds, as well as my vast collection of books on art and architecture is always where an idea begins, and they serve as visual reference throughout the development process. I also draw inspiration from traditional craft techniques such as weaving, marquetry and embroidery.
What has been the most rewarding feedback you have received from a customer who has purchased one of your products?
A customer recently got in touch with us after purchasing one of our 100% Woolmark-certified merino wool Wood Block throws. The feedback listed every quality I strive to perfect; the weight, size, texture and most importantly design and versatility. The note ended with “It’s just what one wants in a blanket”. Knowing that this person understood exactly what I was looking to achieve is a huge boost.
Of the Ambar Homeware products that we are featuring on myza, which is your particular favourite, and why is it a must-have for our customers?
We can say hands down that the whole Ambar team’s favourite piece is the Woven throw. It’s generous dimensions and unique structure ensure that it is a versatile staple and will upgrade any living space.
Where do you see Ambar Homeware being in the next five years?
As we draw inspiration from so many different product categories, the natural evolution of Ambar would be to move towards creating an all-encompassing lifestyle brand, whilst remaining unique and true to what I set out to achieve when we first launched.
It may be a bold and adventurous deadline, but we hope to eventually guarantee that our products have no negative impact on the environment. We are working towards becoming waste-free and we already ensure that we work with suppliers who are making responsible decisions.
Finally, a few pearls of wisdom from you! Run us through your recipe for a great night’s sleep, and some do’s and don’ts that you recommend following, or including in a pre-sleep schedule.
My nighttime routine starts with a skincare ritual that helps get into the bedtime vibe, and I find that planning the day ahead is key to unwinding from everything that has happened throughout the day.
I’m a huge fan of soothing pillow sprays and Myza has an amazing selection. My go-to is the Sleep Zen spray by Drowsy Sleep Co.