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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Atomic Antiques

click on images to enlarge

This morning I had coffee (and birthday cake) with my sister in Borough Market - for 3 weeks of the year we're the same age (34) and so we split the weeks down the middle and take the time to congratulate ourselves on this recurring oddity. On my cycle back to Islington, I passed Atomic Antiques - one of those quirky little shops tucked in between bits of Shoreditch cool. Their window displays are confidently understated and they seem to change daily/weekly which I think is a sign of a healthy business. If you're in the area you really should pop in. Each time I do, I fall in love.

Current pash: the teal/blue early 50's sofa which is in great condition and the bronze round mirror that lights up, casting a warm (read: flattering) glow. I'm also quite taken with the 1940's writing/dressing desk and very reluctantly - because I want this desk but I really don't need it, I will tell you that it's £490. (In mint condition.)

The Forties and Fifties seemed to be about capturing a flattering view of life. What do you think they'll say about the early 21st Century?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Farrow & Ball's Joa Studholme knows her colours

                                      Images from Living Etc.

In the UK, colour consultancy is a little known field of expertise but thanks to Farrow & Ball's in-house consultant Joa Studholme it will soon be just as popular here as it is in US, Canada and Australia. One of the more impressive projects undertaken by Joa was the Long Room at Lord's cricket grounds - a pretty tough brief, just try picking a colour that'll please 22 000 MCC members...

In her own house (images above), she uses F&B's colour Downpipe (#26) on the walls in the hallway and Slipper Satin (#2004) on the floors; reversing them in the living room - dark floors; cream walls to maximise on the huge amount of natural light. In the kitchen, every surface area is painted the same colour creating a seamless and serene environment.

Using colour to create rooms that are both atmospheric and understated is something anyone can do; the key is to pay attention to how the light moves in your home and chuck out that 'Rule Book'. Especially that one that says 'never mix blue & green together'. Believe me, there are shades of blue and green that will love each other! Besides, does the sky not love a green field on a Summer's day? Let nature be your guide, it has all the answers.

Here are some of my favourite blogs on Colour:

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

a world gone by

There isn't much more that needs to be said: these beautifully melancholic photographs of buildings that once stood proud, do my job for me. Aren't they just extraordinary? The endless streams of colour palettes make me feel a little heady and crazy alert at the same time. (It's a problem...)

You may wish to have a look at this guy's photostream; I had a really hard time deciding on which ones to use as he has so many great shots.

Monday, 22 March 2010

London Design Week: Chelsea Harbour talks...

London Design Week is an international event that takes place biannually, showcasing all that is new in the world of interiors. Design lectures are held at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre and this year's Rooms with a View was a talk about the favourite rooms of leading interior designers Lulu Lytle, Suzy Hoodless, and Charles Rutherfoord, who revealed, through open conversation, how various inspirational spaces influenced their work today. The diverse topics, covered everything from a Highland moss colour palette to Byzantine art, to Mies van der Rohde stairwells.

Lulu Lytle explored the play with scale and pattern (think armadillo) and her clever use of maps in high end international apartments. She also had interesting things to say about tiling every surface area so that when lit, pools of light intensified the colourful tiles.

Suzy Hoodless worked on a brief that included the words '1950's Ski Chalet'. The client gave her the project on condition that Suzy never contact her until the project was completed - which must have been interesting! The inspiration for this project came from a Patrick Caulfield painting and it has to be seen to be believed. Just brilliant. She also spoke about when to use mood boards and her message was: 'more reality, less conceptual'. The key point is to build the relationship with the client, so that the process remains an organic one.

Charles Rutherfoord discussed a stairwell which he designed for a 1960's house in Dulwich, inspired by a post war American prison and it could easily have been the work of Mies van der Rohde (see image above). Passionate about colour, he has experimented with pigmented plaster to striking result - walls of vibrant fiery orange and scuba diving blue have left a lasting impression on me. 

The unifying theme running throughout this excellent talk was the importance of colour and lighting - an innately symbiotic relationship as one cannot exist without the other. All three interior designers revealed an intuitive understanding of colour and I am now convinced that this is what makes a good designer a great one. 

memories of a modern childhood

Before I began my degree in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins (back in 2003), I completed the first year of a BA in Textiles at the London Guildhall (now London Metropolitan University), and although I quickly realised that it was the wrong place for me, the weekly lectures on the History of Design were absolutely brilliant. 

Our education began with William Morris  absorbing Adolf Loos's Ornament and Crime in the very same week, before moving, chronologically, through the movements: Arts & Craft; Art Nouveau; until Modernism - the beginning of contemporary design as we know it, is where things became very interesting for me. It was a language that I understood on a historic level and one that I hadn't heard since I was 13, when my beloved architect grandfather, Patrick Dore and his wife Patricia, passed away.

The furniture in their apartment was mostly of the 1950's and 60's - clearly the peak of his career. The armchairs, elegant with almost feline-like limbs (much like the reupholstered version in the image), were constants; one, placed to receive the afternoon sun, the other, next to the bookshelf. I loved sitting in Grampa Pat's chair, it made me feel like a grown up and, being an accident prone tomboy, I can't say that was a state I was particularly familiar with. I can still remember now, how smooth the armrests felt to touch and the memories that invokes are filled with muted colours and and a dignified atmosphere. 

What style or era of design, furnishes your childhood? Is there a particular piece that stirs, or perhaps it's a colour that takes you back?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Architect Oscar Neimeyer

Oscar Neimeyer

"Not the straight angle that attracts me, nor straight, hard, inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve, the curves that find in the mountains of my country, in the course of its winding rivers, the sea waves, the body of the woman preferred. Curves is done throughout the universe, the universe of Einstein's curved." Oscar Neimeyer

For a career that has spanned nearly nine decades (and counting), one shouldn't be surprised by the sheer body of work that modernist architect Oscar Neimeyer has achieved. But it is also a phenomenal catalogue of work and so I had a difficult time today deciding on what images to use. Neimeyer is without a doubt my favourite architect. When I look at these images, I feel that there is a private but definite conversation going on between us in the same way that certain pieces of art and music speak to my soul. I can only imagine what it must be like to stand inside one of these buildings.

                                                     Stairwell: 1962 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brasil

Focusing primarily on the interiors of some of his more recognised buildings, they are as relevant today as the day they were when first scribed on graft paper. What strikes me most about Neimeyer's buildings is that their point is spiritual; that they inspire in us a call to celebrate the human experience and what could be a better legacy than that?

It's worth mentioning that, at the age of 102, Oscar Neimeyer is still designing buildings all around the world. Staggering, isn't it? 

Museum Oscar  Niemeyer, Brazil 2003
French Communist Headquarters, Paris, 1967-80

Update: 6th December 2012: Sadly, Oscar Neimeyer passed away, yesterday at the age of 104. Only last week, I read that he was designing trainers for Converse - dedicated to his craft, right until the very end. What a gift to the world, he was...


Sunday, 14 March 2010

things that inspired me this week

                                                        marchorowitz & it followed me home
                                       via kibaktile via Coco + Kelley

Saving the best for last. Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

it's all about the city

I cycle to Chelsea Harbour Design Centre on a fairly regular basis to research fabrics, and if the weather is playing nice, then it's just the loveliest ride. Unusually for me, I was not in a mad rush and so there was time to take in the surroundings and the vast number of colour palettes making up the somewhat, industrialised urban landscape of south London

As previously discussed, one of the reasons I love cycling is that it allows me to observe the city at various times of the day and every now and again the timing and light will be just right and an inspiring colour palette will dance a little dance for me. 
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