a kaleidoscope of colours, encased in glass.


Finnish glass, whether for everyday household use or artistic display, is amongst the most covetable and collectable in the world.

While there are few design-lovers today who are not familiar with Kaj Franck’s Kartio glass series for Iittala, pieces by Riihimäen Lasi — a glass factory that operated in Riihimäki, Finland, from 1910 to 1990 — are a little less well known. The factory started out as a producer for packing and window glass, but around 1937 moved into handblown design glass as well. The factory employed a range of designers who produced a large variety of shapes and design. The works of three of them are shown here (from the author’s unassuming collection): Aimo Okkolin, who joined in 1937, Tamara Aladin, who was taken on board in 1959, after she presented her designs for a more lightweight, feminine drinks glass and Erkkitapio Siiroinen, who came to the factory in 1968.

The depth of the colours and the clean lines of the vases satisfy the viewer over and over again, and the heaviness of the glass feels wonderful in the hand. The pieces are made by encasing one layer of coloured glass within the other.

Sadly, the production of blown glass was not commercially viable for Riihimäen Lasi and was ceased in 1976. For the would-be collector, the simpler vases are not impossible to track down. A great number were ‘Made for Export’, mainly to Germany, and can now be found there (try ebay.de) as well as in the UK, with simple pieces starting at £30.


Although a lot of thought and skill went into the making of the vases, one of Riihimäki’s best known designers, Nanny Still, quipped that often the beautiful colours were haphazard, a mere mix of Finnish pragmatism and frugality: the designers used whatever was left over at the factory that day. If you are currently fretting over the exact shade of minimalist greige for your living room wall, take a breather.

Guest post and photographs by Päivi Kotro-Brenner, a Finnish born copywriter and would-be artist living in London. Her living rooms walls are painted in Atkinson Grey by ECOS. 
The Finnish Glass Museum in Riihimäki can be visited year-round except in January. The museum holds a collection of glassworks dating back 4000 years and regularly has exhibitions on contemporary glass design. (‘I often go there’, said one contributor on a Finnish forum discussing Tamara Aladin, ‘Mainly to eat. Good food there’.)


bold, with modernist undertones.

I discovered Louis Reith through Instagram, his images all bold graphics and modernist undertones. Dutch born, Reith has a background in graphic design which is clearly evident in his work, along with his fascination with book design and printed matter.

Crossing media from ink drawing to collage to three-dimensional installations, all works are nevertheless strongly connected, with monochromatic palettes and bold forms. I love the modernist quality, the images and typography from an earlier era abstracted in a new, contemporary way. I can imagine them in a very modern context – big spaces and white walls, or set against a more traditional interior of wood panelling and intimate spaces.


Untitled, collage of found book pages, 20-5x28cm


Untitled 2015 soil on wooden panel, 122x183cm


Untitled 2015 soil on wooden panel, 66x122cm


Installation view, Archiv, at Nina Sagt Gallerie, Dusseldorf
Installation view, Soil on wood, 2014, 128x189cm

More Louis Reith, here.

Feature image: Untitled, collage of found book pages, 20-5x28cm.

All images courtesy of the artist.

happy halloween.


Avifauna is a series of conserved bird species moulded in textile, by Dutch designers Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters.  More, here

Happy halloween.


fabulous finds – at the chapel.

We bumped into At The Chapel by accident, on a pit stop whilst travelling home to London from Dorset. Either that, or we were drawn there instinctively, because as soon as we stepped inside we were captivated. Set within the rigorous stone walls of a Grade 11 listed former chapel, the interior is a design delight – contemporary without being cold, restrained without being minimal. It’s also a clever mix of bakery, restaurant, wine store, club room and guest rooms, so that there is always somewhere to eat, somewhere to sit, somewhere to chat. The atmosphere is buzzy, but not bustling.

The owners are Catherine Butler and Ahmed Sidki, who have built and run the place themselves. Ahmed is an architect and cabinet maker, who also runs a furniture workshop (bowwow.co.uk) and incredibly, has designed and built everything here. Using a palette of natural materials – reclaimed timber of different textures and tones, bronze, stainless steel, and concrete – he has created functional, beautiful pieces: chairs, tables, stools, the bar. Against the simple white background, everything is strong of form and perfectly placed. The rooms (there are 8 in total) add white marble to the palette, bringing an element of luxury. For me, the aesthetic is spot on.


As much as I’d like to think we discovered this place, we are not alone. Bruton is becoming something of an outpost for all things creative, with Hauser & Wirth opening here last year (with the most stunning landscaped garden); a marvellous vintage homeware shop, Phillips and Skinner, which is full to bursting with fabulous finds (I was in vintage heaven); and now a new lifestyle store, Caro, which featured in this month’s Wallpaper magazine (link, here).

At The Chapel, High Street Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AE

Feature image + photographs 6,7,8,9, At The Chapel; all others, owl’s house london.

today’s image.


The beautiful garden at Royal College of Physicians, Regents Park, for Modernist Monday.

Follow me on Instagram, here, and join in the #modernistmonday hashtag!


redefining minimalism in paris.

This Parisian apartment mixes classical, period detailing with ‘30s ornamentation, ‘70s retro fun, and contemporary clean lines and modern hues. Located in a typically ornate Haussmann building, the vertical lines of the soaring ceilings are emphasised and enhanced with full-height window treatments and bold paintwork; the curved forms of the furniture and furnishings soften this effect and bring the scale back down to earth.

The main walls have a pale grey, distressed finish, with ghosted images of the original panelling. A deep blue, curvaceous sofa dominates the living room, flanked by other low lying, curved pieces. A traditional, glass fronted vitrine containing porcelain figures is lined with non-traditional, tangerine-coloured fabric.The kitchen juxtaposes jade green granite with gold fixtures and original parquet floors. Matt gold walls line a corridor leading to a red bathroom with black marble basin. A guest room is painted out in boldest Majorelle-Blue, the colour named after the French artist of the same name, who was inspired by the colours of Morocco.



studioko_ohl.studio-ko-paris-t-magazine-ohl.The apartment is designed by Studio Ko, a Paris based practice known for their minimal aesthetic (see my previous post, here). Featured in the New York Times Style magazine, the article defines the look as ‘spare elegance, with rich colour and quietly luxurious furnishings’. It talks of ‘redefining minimalism’. It is a bold, exuberant look, but minimal too; there are no layers, rather, each piece has space to breathe and stand alone. The colour palette isn’t overly restricted. The pieces work together because of their juxtaposition, and the backdrop serves to unify. It’s light and airy, so there is a feeling of space, even where space is restricted. The look is dramatic, but not dark, so one can inhabit the spaces without resorting to artificial light. I love this style of interior decorating. What about you?

Photos by Francois Halard.