Monday, 22 September 2014

Design Reunion

Hosted by David Nicholls, editor of The Telegraph magazine.
Panel discussion with designers Tord Boontje, Claire Norcross, Sarah Campbell, Aaron Probyn, Simon Pengelly and Habitat's creative director Polly Dickens, exploring the theme 'inspirations'.

To celebrate 50 years of design, Habitat have invited six designers back to create and design a collection that has longevity and sits comfortably in the range. All  designers involved in this new collection have worked in various fields of design for many years and have all  been involved in designing products for Habitat in the past.

An easy flowing conversation concentrated on the different sources of inspiration from nature for Claire, to a certain 'moment' that leads to a natural process of an idea for Simon.
In turn, Polly sees herself as the provider of inspiration for her creative team, always on the look out for interesting and amusing things and snapping endless images.

The designers find that today's world of ever evolving technology is a stimulant and a great source for research and use images as reminders, but find the best way to be inspired, happens when you get out in the world and experience. Many find the process of manufacturing, technique and the learning process exciting and most rewarding.

Designers most inspiring places included The Wallace Collection, for Tord to V&A's ceramics department for Aaron. It was also intriguing to see designers favourite chosen objects that each brought to the discussion. For Tord it was his beloved dog Poppy, Claire brought a tray of scientific bottles that she likes to collect with old and unusual decanter tops. Sarah's item was a string of stones collected by her with her father many years ago, Aaron's inspiration was a classic Anglepoise desk lamp and Simon brought with him a wooden bird that keeps him smiling.

New collection by the Design Reunion creatives 

Image by Katja

Inspiration and name behind Smithfield lounge chair, designed by Aaron Probyn, leads from an area in London with historic value. The idea was to design a piece that would work in modern lifestyle but sit well in a historic setting.

Image by Katja

Bouguet pendant designed by Tord Boontje, experiments with 20 different elements from flowers to leaves. It's appearance feels romantic and unexpected but brings new depth by the use and introduction of industrial materials.

Fifty Leaves
Image by Katja

Fifty Leaves by Sarah Campbell celebrates the 50 years and the leaves of a calendar. Sarah's description of the colourful rug involves her sense of 'flights of fancy' and 'down to earthness'. It brings to life the organic yet decorative aspects of creativity.

Image by Habitat

Simon's creation was born from his desire to express functionality with this walnut dining table. The side leaf, when folded away create a nice visual interest. It appears sophisticated without being too loud nor brash. This piece sits elegantly with other timbers and finishes.

Image by Katja

Claire often finds her inspiration from nature. The idea behind Crystalline chandelier pendant is taken from the structure of natural crystals. Claire was excited to work with new materials in her 3D piece, using different patterns and surfaces and the use of refraction of light and reflection.

Image by Katja

Tessellate, gold LED wall decoration by Aaron Probyn is a statement piece with it's 3D geometric pattern. The design reflects and enhances the light emitted and it can be used as multiples to add a level of creative expression.

Image by Habitat

The Waku bed by Shin Azum highlights the sculpture quality within the functionality of it's design. It's slightly angled headboard creates clean lines, adds interest, comfort and sits well in modern decor.

New collection currently available at Habitat.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Strike A Pose

As well as a lover of all design and art, I am also an avid follower of fashion and an admirer of beautiful, elegant people.

I am obsessed with style, both past and present and I am a serious collector of glossy magazines and coffee table books from interiors, photography to all things fashion.

Image from Google Images

I am very excited by The V&A opening it's doors to a major retrospective of the works of the iconic photographer of style, Horst P. Horst. An exhibition not to be missed.

The exhibition celebrates not only Horst's exquisite works but also tells a story of Horst, the artist himself, whose career spanned much of the 20th century.

Image from Google Images

Making his way to Paris in the 1930's, the German born Horst was originally to train as an architect with Le Corbusier. Instead his career took a turn to fashion under a watchful eye of his mentor George Heyningen-Huene and the powerful publisher Conde Montrose Nast. By the mid 1930's his images frequently embraced the pages of French,British and American Vogue. 

Image from Google Images

His work was heavily influenced by classical art, architecture and the Bauhaus movement. His extraordinary flair for composition and lighting is easily seen in his famous images and it was not unusual for it to take several days creating and setting up lighting for his shoots. His sketches are an example on the vast amount of planning and preparation that Horst put into his images. Throughout his career he remained focused on timeless elegance rather than passing trends. 

Mainbocher Corset, 1939.
His most celebrated photograph of it's era.
Image from Google Images

Horst's portrait photography was also fairly wide-spread from artists, politicians to royalty, later expanding to the glamour of Hollywood and it's shining screen stars. The escapism provided by theatre and film gained in popularity with the second world war and this brought on another dimension to Horst's work and focus.

Marilyn Monroe
Image from Google Images

Horst also photographed and documented his travels and a personal project to capture images of patterns from nature has also been published.

In the 1950's Horst produced a set of nudes, unlike his previous works, that celebrate the ideal human body and resemble classical sculptures with a huge emphasis on light and shadow.

Image from Google Images 

Exhibition currently showing till 4th January at the grand settings of the V&A, London.

'Fashion is an expression of the times. Elegance is something else again'
Horst, 1984.



Monday, 8 September 2014

London Design Festival 
13 -24 September 2014

London is buzzing with design inspiration and creativity as London Design Festival rolls into town.
London Design Festival celebrates all the essentials of modern day living from textiles, furniture, colour, pattern, art to product design.

The festival presents a vast mixture of events, exhibitions, debates, product launches , installations and pop-ups,  not forgetting all the parties.

Here I have gathered some info on my "not to miss" happenings in town.

The V&A is the hub of all activity for the duration, hosting a few different exhibitions, talks and workshops and is home for a few astonishing installations. 

Multi-disciplinary designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have been working in conjunction with BMW to create an installation of kinectic sculpture of mirrors on the ceiling of the Raphael Gallery.
The installation promises the viewer to appreciate the space and create a different perspective when viewing the art and architecture of the room.

Precision & Poetry In Motion
Image from V&A

Whilst exploring the stunning V&A and it's galleries, do drop by the John Madejski garden to check out the engaging feature, Crest, designed by the internationally credited Zaha Hadid Architects.

Crest- by Zaha Hadid Architects
Image from V&A

A Place Called Home

Trafalgar square has been transformed by four designers - Jasper Morrison, Patternity, Raw Edges and Studioilse, to design their vision of a room in a Place Called Home. The shell of each home will be similar in construction but individuality will most likely suprise, intrique and amuse all passing visitors. A great interactive way to showcase the sense of private space and belonging in a busy everyday world.

Trafalgar Square
Image by LDF

Design Destinations

100% Design, 17th-20th September, opens it's doors at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, 17th-20th September.
It is the largest design trade fair of it's kind in the UK, covering interiors both commercial and residential, not forgetting the ever increasing emerging talents. 100% Design also hosts a world-class talks programme with many famous names.

Image from 100% Design

An empty London sorting office will be transformed this month to a must-visit event DESIGNJUNCTION, 18th-21st September.
This event has a more trendy, street market vibe to it rather than a more composed traditional design trade show. This show is celebrating it's fourth year and showcases product launches, installations, pop-ups, bespoke eateries and a flash factory. It is also the space for a high end lighting show LIGHTJUNCTION.
Make sure you bring your wallet as cool stuff is also available for purchase. You never know what you might pick up.
If feeling fit, super cool bike brand, Tokyobikes,  will also be hosting guided tours around the West End Design Quarter. Bookings vital.

designjunction 2013
Image by Katja

Trendy Tent & Super Brands London, 18th-21st September, can be found  in the Old Truman Brewery in East London. 
It has a strong showcase for national and overseas talent and it's inspiring exhibitors will lead the way in trend spotting and new design directions for now and time to come.

Tent & Super Brands London 2013
Image from Tent 

Decorex International, 21st-24th September, is moving to a new, bigger and better location this year, Syon Park.
Decorex holds the trophy for longest-standing interiors and design show during the London Design Festival. It is the venue to discover contemporary, traditional and bespoke interiors of outstanding quality and craftmanship. It is the place to go for inspiration on high-end luxury design from exhibitors both homegrown and international.

I will be working this year alongside Nicky Heard of Nicky Heard bespoke furnishings. An outstanding collection of unique throws, cushions and wallhangings bursting with colour, luxury and elegance. Be sure to visit stand G60, it would be lovely to see you all.

Image from Nicky Heard

Last but not least,  Design Centre Chelsea Harbour presents Focus/14, 21st-24th September. A well established hub for all interior needs and home for a vast selection of international brands.  Focus promises a mix of inspirational talks, workshops and product launches.

Image by dccd

Design Districts

With the sheer number of events and venues to visit, it can seem a little daunting at first to plan your days. To help you,  you might consider dividing London to sections by their location and think of them as their own design districts. Each district has it's own appeal, their own style, vibe, late night openings and functions throughout the duration of the festival. Districts to check out are Brompton Design District, Chelsea Design Quarter, Clerkenwell Design Quarter, Islington Design District, Queen's Park Design District and and Shoreditch Design Triangle.

Shop windows and displays will also provide endless inspiration and "food for thought" but beware of the many temptations...

Display at the Conran Shop
Image by Katja

Display at the Conran Shop
Image by Katja

I hope you have a great festival, my diary sure is bursting at the seams!


More info on LDW, visit