Tag Archives: design

objects for living, living for objects.

In a newly stripped out shop awaiting its fate, I discovered a quirky pop-up entitled Objects for Living, Living for Objects. With as much care as a beautifully curated art gallery, lamps were displayed on simple white plinths within the discarded shell. Crossing over between art and function, these lamps are made of discarded materials, transformed into objects to be used again. And one of my favourite things is the naming: each is named and dated in the manner of the most exquisite piece of art.

I find these pieces intriguing. I’m not normally drawn to an industrial aesthetic. But in this case, components with simple forms have been selected and carefully juxtaposed. I think they would work beautifully in a pared back, neutral environment.

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They are designed and manufactured by Poppy Rott, a design duo living and working in North London. Their lamps derive from a wider art project, and a desire to make things from everyday objects and the waste we create at home: ’The title of this project, Objects for Living, Living for Objects, alludes to both the human desire to collect stuff / things / objects and our contemporary need for them. Once owned, they perform as a utility for the interior and an object for living alongside. They are, to many, totemic to the daily act of making a living.’

Their lamps are low impact, low energy and hand made and derived from experiment; the result of careful testing, chance, salvage, proportional and spatial pragmatics. More than that, they represent the almost outmoded discipline of crafting.

‘The craftsman lets us consider how we live with things and how we value them. Objects speak their own language. They are things you have to read. The craftsman unlocks the latent language of things and, here, the craftsman is a bricoleur, re-articulating objects with affection, positioning them in time and space.’
Caroline Stevenson, lecturer at London College of Fashion.

The pop-up has now ended (and everything was sold). But you can view new pieces and buy directly from the studio, here. Their next outing will be at the Car Boot Remade event at Kings Cross on the 16 & !7 April.

1. Transformational Object As Artwork, no.1. 2015
Decade resistance box, formica, oak floorboard
41 x 53 x 20 cm

2. Cascading Decades. 2015
Decade counter, formica, oak floorboard
28 x 58 x 22 cm

3. Culture Jam. 2015
Tripod, gas canister, Formica, oak floorboard.
18 x 58 x 18 cm

4. Joy Sticks. 2015
Control box, gas canister, formica, oak floorboard.
32 x 57 x 15 cm

5. To Arrive Where We Started And Know The Place For The First Time. 2015
Saucepan, tin can, plywood.
17 x 45 x 14 cm

happy halloween.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

happy weekend.

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Of all the things to see at Tent London (and there is a lot to see..), my favourite was the porcelain ceramics of Korean collective SenaGu. Quirky and fun, in the manner of Fornasetti.

Other highlights are the beautifully crafted Design and Crafts Council of Ireland stand, with refined oak furniture and beautiful, subtle textiles. The Korean contribution Consistency and Change was an unexpected highlight, with traditional crafts utilised in contemporary ways, using paper, metal, bamboo, lacquer; everything a work of beauty.

Have you visited yet?

Tent London + Super Brands until 27 September 2015, part of London Design festival.

See more on my instagram, here. Happy weekend.

happy weekend.

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A stunning display by Japanese flower artist, Azuma Maoto. More, here.

There’s a fascinating read in the NY Times Style magazine on another flower artist, Satoshi Kawamoto, the artist and creative director behind installations for brands like Filson, Gant and Mr Porter. Read it here. (Via)

Happy weekend.

drama and serenity in copenhagen.

Today, I’m drawn to these drop dead gorgeous images showcasing the work of Studio Oliver Gustav.

From a studio, showroom and boutique in central Copenhagen, a carefully curated edit of designers and artists from around the world – Faye Toogood, Michaël Verheyden and Poul Kjærholm amongst others – sit against a monochrome interior. Beautiful pieces and striking lighting create a dramatic, yet intensely serene interior that feels timeless and elegant. I love each piece of the collection, not to mention that knock-out shade of grey used on the walls and ceilings.

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Studio Oliver Gustav, here, via

house of the year 2015.

Drawing on classical country houses and Palladio, with Mies van der Rohe restraint and order, and European style courtyards, this house sets a new English country house style, without turning to mid-century language to express itself. David Chipperfield’s Fayland house in Buckinghamshire is Architecture Review’s House of The Year. Better known for his commercial buildings, art galleries and retail stores, his architecture is all about restraint.

A loggia extends across the length of the building, enabling the main living spaces to face the expansive landscape. The floor plan is laid out enfilade, meaning all doors are laid out along a single axis, providing a vista through the entire suite of rooms. This is reminiscent of grand European houses, and a style we use a lot in retail store planning.

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The palette of materials is neutral and luxe – terrazzo floors, exposed concrete ceiling, white marble bathrooms and kitchen. The rooms are lined with the same brick inside and out. The bricks are white, laid with a lime mortar of a similar tone. The technique used – the mortar applied thickly then sponged off – leaves a residue creating a sfumato effect, giving a soft, homogenous look, far from the industrial look of a regular raw brick wall. The details are sublime with nothing extraneous – skirtings, architraves and cornices are not required where junctions between surfaces align with millimetre precision. Dark metal framed windows frame the view and save the palette from feeling anodyne.

What do you think of House of the Year?
Fayland House by David Chipperfield, via Architecture Review.

The RIBA have also announced their winners for 2015, here.

happy weekend.

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I love this image of a vertical garden, which could also read as a plan view; part of a mixed-use building in Japan by Kengo Kuma & Associates. The living facade is made of aluminium die-cast panels that serve as vertical planters. More, here.

More green inspiration on my pinterest board, here (I’m researching all things green for a current garden project in Brooklyn). And it’s Chelsea Flower Show time here in London.

Happy long weekend.

mid century east.

Yesterday’s Mid Century East show at Erno Goldfinger’s marvellous Haggerston school was the usual trove of fabulous modernist finds. Apart from the pieces, what I love about the show is how everyone who attends is passionate about design. Dealers love what they do and love to talk about their wares. And, of course, the pieces themselves always come with a fascinating provenance.

A brief walk-through below, featuring just a few favourite pieces and their dealers; some known, others new.

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Mar-Den had the wonderful, on-end, angled brick wall as a backdrop in which to display, in the beautifully proportioned double-height space of the hall.

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Pink Flamingoes specialise in American design, and showed Eames classics in fabulous colours.

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Beton Brut specialise in architect-led design from post-War France, Italy, Netherlands and Scandinavia. I’m yet to visit their new showroom in East London but they have a very seductive  website in the meantime.

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Saunders Fine Art always tempt with their modern British and European art and also collectables.

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My favourite of the show was a pair of lounge chairs from the ‘50s, with a wonderful back-story, having been languishing with their original owners in the south of France until now. From The Kula.

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Lovely accessories at Fragile Design

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1934, named for Gerrit Rietveld’s ‘crate furniture’ series in 1934, has a tightly curated collection of simple, functional pieces.

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Gorgeous Vittorio Nobili Medea Chairs (and a few knock-out light fittings) at
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Dd you go? Any favourites? More mid-century show round-ups, here and here.

All images owl’s house london taken on my iPhone 5.