abode.

These beautiful spaces belong to Abode, a waterside development in Greenwich, created by lifestyle magazine-of-the-moment, Cereal magazine.

Not your typical contemporary palette of white and wood, and not an Eames DSW chair in sight, this prototype offers a sophisticated alternative: contemporary and vintage furnishings sit against a backdrop of moody greys and dark-stained woods with granite, brass and poured concrete floors.

The soft, micro-fine wall surfaces have an ultra matt finish and seamless edges, flowing from floor to wall to ceiling, all in smudgy, earth tones. Polished concrete floors run through the open plan spaces, changing to ebony wood in the study. The black stained cupboards of the kitchen run along one wall, extending through the full-height glass and onto the terrace, a built-in BBQ at the far end. A pure white island unit prevents the overall palette from being too subdued, as does the lacquered brass splashback.

Classic pieces of furniture abound, including walnut Cherner dining chairs, Fritz Hansen marble-topped dining table, Charlotte Perriand stools, Bruno Mathsson daybed, and other vintage Scandinavian pieces. Marble plinths, Georg Jensen silverware and bold, modernist artwork complete the elegant, understated look. I’m moving in.

Abode by Cereal magazine and Conran and Partners, London SE10. More, here.

 

henrietta dubrey.

I first discovered the work of Henrietta Dubrey at the Affordable Art Fair in Hampstead last year, where one painting – an angular face with jet black hair and black-clad torso, set against a pale blue background – caught my attention. This year, I recognised her work immediately and determined to find out more.

Henrietta trained at the Wimbledon School of Art and then the Royal Academy Schools. Inspiration came from the Middle Generation St Ives painters who followed Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson: Terry Frost, Roger Hilton, Peter Lanyon, Bryan Wynter and Patrick Heron, amongst others. Family holidays in St Ives as a child were a strong influence in this; as was the sea and surf and sandy beaches. She now lives in Cornwall.

Her body of work is both abstract and figurative, with a palette of subdued colour – earthy tones and sky blues. Her abstract paintings are at once calm and energetic, with the occasional jolt of bold colour. Figures are naive and deceptively simple, drawn wth a bold, confident hand and economy of line. I see so many influences, not only the St Ives painters, but international modernists too – Picasso, Miro and the Cubists. I love the simplicity, composition and strong forms.

Henrietta’s extensive body of work can be found on her website, here. She is represented by Edgar Modern, Bath and has an upcoming exhibition at Strover gallery, Cambridge. The Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead, finishes today.

Feature Image: Vocabulary 2017 58 x 156 cms

Early Afternoon 2017 130 x 105 cms
Go For It 2017 38 x 49 cms
Late Afternoon 2017 130 x 105 cms
Messenger 2017 45 x 33 cms
Abstract Woman 2017 79 x 65 cms
Chalky Down 2017 71 x 44 cms
Catalan Dream 2017 55 x 41 cms
Blow Me a Kiss 2017 25 x 13 cms

All images courtesy of the artist.

forest house.

Reminiscent of house of 150 trees, this beautiful forest house is situated in a rural region of Gent. Contemporary yet traditional, the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which celebrates the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, is clearly evident here. Other influences include Frank Lloyd Wright, Carlo Scarpo and Andrea Branzi, who was a friend of the architect owners, Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

The house, as an extension of its environment, utilises natural, earthy materials. The vertical mullions of solid timber separating the floor to ceiling windows rise like tree trunks; the earth-toned, raw brick floor has the outdoor quality of a forest floor. Concrete soffits line some ceilings, others are wood with exposed beams continuing the line of the mullions. White plasterboard walls float beneath. Skinny brick walls with deeply recessed mortar joints to add texture, become the structure both inside and out.

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Forest House, Gent, by Eddy Francois and Caroline de Wolf.

Photographs 2,3, 6,7,8: Jean-Luc Laloux; image 1,5: Sarah Blee; all others, unknown.

intimate spaces, defined.

Bold, modernist spaces in and around European cities dominate the site of French photographer Romain Laprade. He seeks out the intimate places often forgotten or deemed unimportant – foyers and entry halls – transition spaces that are too often seen as a luxury. It is these spaces that in reality allow a building to breathe, provide a place for occupants to pause, a space to contemplate or to stop and chat before passing through.

Romain started working as a graphic designer, working at French Vogue for 4 years. Now 28, his obsession is photography. The places he has found and photographed – the ones I like the most – are the foyers of modernist buildings from the ‘60s and ‘70s, most often in Paris. These wonderful interiors are rich in colour and texture – black granite cladding inlaid with bronze, or rows of mosaic tiles in bold hues of orange or red; bold concrete forms standing like voluptuous, oversized chess pieces, and floors of verde green marble. All surfaces have been considered – fine, dark bricks laid obliquely adjoin a ceiling of glossy black and red tiles; a vertical screen of rich brown wood opposes perfectly proportioned piers of tiny, matt black mosaic.

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Images 1, 2 , 3,  Paris 15; image 4 and feature image, Av. Paul Doumer, 1960, Paris.
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Image 5, Carrer de Brusi, Barcelona; image 6, Le persicope, 1972, Paris; images 7, 8, Le Meridien, 1964, Paris.rl_crimee_ohl02rl_creteil_ohl01rl_beaugrenelle_ohl06
 Image 9, Crimée, 1968, Paris; image 10, Créteil; image 11, Beaugrenelle.

See more Romain Laprade imagery, including beautiful fashion photographs for John Galliano and Tomasini Paris, here.

All images, courtesy Romain Laprade.

season’s greetings.

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Celebrating ‘life and all its myriad forms’, Antony Gormley’s Christmas Tree is a western red cedar with its trunk wrapped in a tapering column of light.

The Connaught Christmas Tree, Mount Street, London W1. Image by owl’s house london.

peter’s house.

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I uncovered the beautiful interior of this converted garage whilst researching materials for the transformation of an agricultural building into a residence.

As with all good design, inspiration comes from the context and fabric of the original building, in this case raw brick and blackened steel. A narrow site and desire for natural light has prompted a glass walled atrium to be cut through the three floors. The clever placement of dark mirrors throughout has created a striking effect; not light and bright but spacious and theatrical.

The beautifully considered material palette includes concrete used on vertical as well as horizontal planes, clean, white and grey terrazzo forming the kitchen island and bathroom fittings and walls, and super-wide Dinesen oak floorboards used three ways – as a floor, as a wall, and as a ceiling lining. The blackened steel is used as both perforated panels flanking the stair, and as a wall lining in the double-height kitchen.

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Downstairs, furnishings and curtains are strong of form and bold of hue – deep purples, bright reds and vivid yellows show to great effect the form of such classic furniture as the Pierre Paulin Groovy chair and the Rietveld designed Utrecht armchair.

By contrast, the bedroom and study are softened with full height curtains, in a perfect shade of nude blush.

Peter’s House, Copenhagen by Studio David Thulstrup, via

Photographer: Peter Krasilnikoff

m + o 2016: favourite things and new discoveries.

Maison et Objet is the prodigious design fair that occurs bi-annually in Paris as part of Paris Design Week, and I made it back there this September. Below are some favourite things and new discoveries.

Natural materials where strongly evident throughout the show. Netherlands based Ay illuminate produce lighting and accessories hand-woven from bamboo, sisal and other natural (waste) materials, working with artisans in Asia and Africa. The resulting designs are contemporary,  organic and very desirable.

Sika-design have been producing wicker furniture since the ‘50s, and are perhaps best known for their fabulous Hanging Egg chair and simple classic, rattan poufs (which I am supposed to call ’ottoman’).

Italian ceramicist Nina Menardi showed a vast collection of elegantly shaped and coloured ceramics, all inspired by nature. My favourite pots were called Barro, made from black terracotta and designed by Sebastian Herkner, who was also the designer behind some fabulous, smoky glass table lamps called Boule, for German brand Pulpo.

Pulpo was a new discovery for me, with the same designer responsible for a glass ceramic side table made of 100% waste material from industrial glass production in shades of ocean blue, polar white and champagne brown. Pulpo also showed striking containers in tinted and silvered glass, giving way to an iridescent effect; a trend also evident at Tom Dixon.

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Images 1 + 2, 3  Ay Illuminate; Images 4 + 5  Sika-design; Images 6 + 7  Nina Menardi; Images 8, 9, 10  Ceramics display / Barro, design by Sebastian Herkner / Grey, design by Milia Seyppel; Images 11 + 12 Boule lamp / Pulpo display.

Deep, rich hues of green, yellow and blue prevailed, either as a background colour or in the products themselves. I loved Swedish brand Linum’s Big and Bold collection with strong colours and abstract shapes.

Major Dutch brand Pols Potten have been around for 30 years, producing minimal, everyday products. More mainstream than a lot of Dutch design (which is characteristically quirky and playful – think Moooi and Droog); their products are commercial and always current. The French designer Charlotte Juillard showed a set of stunning bedroom pieces – daybed, side table and mirror – the lava stone bases giving a strength and elegance to the design.

Valerie Objects is an Antwerp based design label who work with designers, architects and artists. I always like the work of Muller van Severen (read previous blog posts, here and here), and was again drawn to the simple lines and clear colours of their products.

linum-mo2106_ohlpols-potten_ohlcharlotte-juillard-mo16_ohlvalerie-object-mo_ohlvalerie-object02-mo16_ohlImages 1 + 2  Linum; Images 3, 4, 5  Pols Potten; Image 6 Charlotte Juillard; Images 7 + 8, 9 Valerie Objects

I’m always on the look-out for new and interesting lights. Nyta are a young and dynamic German brand with a small but strong capsule collection. Stalwart DCW Editions are always big on architectural style, and showed my all-time favourite lamp, the Mantis lamp, in all its guises – floor, wall and table. This lamp was originally created in 1951 in homage to Alexander Calder. They also showed the latest incarnation of the classic Gras lamp, the poetic Acrobates de GRAS (a suspended version), and another reedit, Bernard Balas’ Here Comes the Sun from 1970.

Another Parisian lighting brand, Henri Bursztyn, showed striking, bold forms. Forestier had a strong presence with their decorative fittings showing a definite 1920s and ’30s flavour. This era was also the influence behind Gubi’s latest collection, with the Danish brand’s stand referencing the architecture of the Schindler House (1921), with geometric lines, free-standing screens and lots of oriental fabrics, black chrome and coloured glass.

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Image 1  Tilt globe, Nyta; Image 2  Mantis, DCW Editions;  Image 3  Here comes the Sun, DCW Editions; Images 4 + 5  Forestier; Image 6  (and feature image) Henri Burstyn

What do you think? Any favourites?

Maison et Objet, Paris, 2-6 September 2016. Next event, January 20-24, 2017.

All photographs, owl’s house london taken with iPhone 6.