Thursday, 31 March 2011

Glorious David Hicks & Jo Malone collaboration

I am bewitched with my new scented candle – ahead of public release too – the collaboration of Jo Malone and David Hicks.  
I have the wonderful scent coursing through my living room as I type this. Jo Malone best know for their luxury bath and home scents has embraced the designs of David Hicks, arguably one of Britain's most influential interior designers of the 20th century.  They have released three fragrances in this limited edition collection - Lime Basil & Mandarin in Riviera, Pomegranate Noir in Herbert's Carnation, and Red Roses in Hicksonian.
I purchased the glorious Lime Basil and Mandarin in Riviera. The simple glass candle container has been stylishly upgraded with a great burst of lime green and a fantastic geometric pattern reminiscent of Moroccan style trellis.
Whilst the collaboration is headlined as David Hicks, it’s actually his son, Ashley Hicks who has reinterpreted the patterns. The modern-graphic style makes my heart go pitter patter.
The candle smells amazing and makes the perfect gift, should anyone like to purchase me another – I’d like Red Roses in Hicksonian next.

Monday, 28 March 2011

London Design Week - March 2011 – Part deux

G P & J Baker has been producing beautiful prints and weaves for over 100 years. The G P & J Baker umbrella also includes Mulberry, Lee Jofa, Threads, Parkertex and Baker Lifestyle. The showroom at DCCH was vibrant in their new Baker Lifestyle collection, which seems to take a fresher less formal approach to its fabrics, but no less interesting and certainly very appropriate for family rooms – many items are washable. Taking centre stage was a wonderful indigo ikat style print.  Two trends in one hit – IKAT and INDIGO – and great for the wallet too.
Mulberry home was resplendent in their wonderful collection of opulent upholstery velvets from the heirloom collection. Renowned for its craftsmanship and quality these velvets made me want to sink down and take the weight off my feet.
They also had a really playful wall of flying ducks wallpaper from their new collection.  It was a fun tongue-in-cheek take on Hilda Ogden’s flying duck ornaments from Coronation street. For me forever to be associated with living rooms and hallways across Britain in the 1960’s and 70’s. BUT it would actually be possible to use this wallpaper in a scheme without the kitsch factor and a very nice repetitive pattern it makes.
US tile specialist Ann Sacks recently opened showroom at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre was a first time visit for me.  With lots of bathroom mockup’s showcasing their design it was easy to visualize how to incorporate some of their unique products. New designs by internationally recognised designers like Barbara Barry were on show. I was interested in the Frame collection with its striking architectural pattern.
I also attended the French Design Forum during Design Week to showcase French Craftmanship. The day kicked off with Rabih Hage giving a talk, which unfortunately I missed. I was really disappointed as I thoroughly enjoy his aesthetic and this round table discussion was hosted by the lovely Max Fraser.  Of the crafts(wo)men exhibiting products I was particularly taken with Ateliers Bataillard and Novidis.

Ateliers Bataillard specialises in crafting fine decorative ironwork – banisters, railings, doors, light fittings, furniture and also assists with the restoration of listed items. This 110 year old company produces a wide range of bespoke pieces, as well as original Ateliers Bataillard design pieces. They showed truly exquisite examples of banisters for sweeping staircases.
image from Ateliers Bataillard
Novidis custom-makes ornamental mouldings. They recently collaborated with artist Michèle Létang on a large fresco for the Four Seasons hotel in London, which was designed by the interior designer Pierre-Yves Rochon – its spectacular looking and I want to see it in the flesh soon.
image from Four Seasons
Back at DCCH the Zoffany windows were strong on bold colour showing the embroidered Frangipani collection and the wonderful Richmond Park wallpaper. I have already selected Richmond Park for a project and the client was an enthused as I was. It's a full of fantastic green hues and makes me smile broadly every time I see it. The other wallpapers in the Intaglio collections with their inference of ancient Rome and maps also got rave reviews from my colleagues and I. I'll post pictures of Richmond Park once ordered and hung at the clients property.

My take on all the bright colour seen at London Design Week - at the end of the day, you have to be able to live with it. And boy do I WANT to live with it.

Monday Inspiration

On Saturday the 19th March we experienced the moon at its closest point to the planet in 18 years, otherwise known as a supermoon.

The distance between the Earth and the moon during the event meant the moon was over 7.5 diameters closer to Earth than average.

This had a huge impact on tides, all full moons bring higher-than-usual tides, and the supermoon brought the highest and lowest tides of all.

Here in Brighton I got to experience a sandy beach for the first time.  As the tide was so low, I could walk out almost to end of the West Pier with my dog and only get slightly wet feet.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of the fabulous sunset as well as the low tides. The forth picture down is inspiration for the colour palatte being used for a current client - more to follow on this I'm sure.
 My gorgeous dog asking for whelks


Friday, 25 March 2011

Earth Hour – March 26th at 8.30pm

The biggest cities across the globe will turn pitch black from 8:30 PM for one hour on 26 March as part of Earth Hour - an initiative by Worldwide Fund for a Nature (WWF), raising awareness about climate change. This initiative started in 2007 and has been growing every year with iconic buildings and landmarks from across the globe switching off – The London Eye, Sydney Opera house, The Empire State Building in NYC, Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.
Earth Hour has done a lot to raise awareness of sustainability issues. But there’s more to it than switching off lights for one hour once a year. It’s all about giving people a voice and working together to create a better future for our planet. 

Monday, 21 March 2011

London Design Week - March 2011

I didn’t post the below on Friday as I was observing the Bloggers Day of Silence on Friday, March 18th along with bloggers across the globe.
My thoughts are with those in Japan and everyone connected by these terrible events.  If you would also like to contribute, For Japan with Love is a wonderful initiative started by two bloggers Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged alternatively the UK’s Red Cross Fund can be reached here 

Last week was London Design Week and I spent time at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour and other events in London.  Design Centre Chelsea Harbour was resplendent in floral arrangements and the scent of hyacinths to usher in the new collections from the major fabric houses. 
I spent nearly two whole days just at DCCH alone – so much to see so little time – and still didn’t see everything.  My first impression though was that there was a lot of colour was on show. It was so refreshing and spring like to find the showroom windows and displays brimming with every hue, and I noticed a distinct move from the neutrals of the last couple of season to more vibrant tones.

I had a game plan, as there are so many showrooms to visit and lectures to attend. I was also looking with a project in mind, which does help me to focus somewhat.  So first up was one of the most colourful showrooms Romo, who had the brightest windows paired with black and white (see my Maison et Objet posting on b&w trend).
Zinc part of the Romo group released their new Miami Collection, which filled the showroom with punchy bright colour. The collection has bold printed velvets and geometric patterns in vivid colours – the blue’s and greens were particularly striking. Given the collection was named for pool side glamour - I was certainly feeling the warmth of the sun.

The window displays for the ever-vibrant Tissus d’Helene who stocks so many lovely hand produced collections were a visual feast – and strong inspiration for an upcoming project. I want that blue and white zig-zag fabric being used as a wall covering - I'll post its name when I find out what it was. I know its by Quadrille
Still more to come on GP & J Baker, Mulberry, Zoffany and Ann Sacks.

A really big thank you to reader Jennifer Dengel who has given me the name to the wonderful fabric from Quadrille which is...... drum roll please......
Colour Periwinkle AC250-01 

Monday Inspiration

I‘m a big fab of pictograms with Otl Aicher iconic 1972 Olympic games being one of my favourites. You may recall that I posted an Architect primer in pictogram form. 

Today’s Monday inspiration is another pictogram, which is so full of colour, showing the National monuments of France. The image comes courtesy of my friend Abi at Blank Associates. What I love is it's clear concise approach and the combination of colours, plus this would look fabulous on a grey wall - another story.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Tidy office = An organised mind = Your space

British working hours are on average the longest in Europe according to a research project by The Work Foundation. With us all spending more time in our office space it is important to include details that will inspire and create a comfortable place to work.
Image from the
I recently completed an office renovation for Zircon Management Consulting (to read more visit here), which embraced a more feminine office environment rather than the traditional rows of desks approach.  Think large crystal pendants, the iconic Bourgie table lamps and patterned wallpaper.
The majority of Zircon’s staff work either remotely or from home, as are an increasing number of the working population in the UK. Below are some ideas for creating a space in your home for an office that will boost your productivity and increase creativity.

Creating a home office
Locating your home office in a dedicated room gives you the luxury of privacy and being able to shut the door on your work at the end of the day. It also means that you don’t have to consider your home office blending in to an existing scheme or having to have a clear desk policy.
Dan Brunn image via
However not everyone has the space to dedicated a whole room as an office in their homes. But with some thought and possibly some cunning, there are ways to make it fit. Consider firstly are there any spaces in your home that could work harder. Could your guest bedroom have a desk added (image below)? Do you have a large landing or corridor being under utilized? Could you make a workspace in your kitchen or living room?
Kimberly Canale's bedroom office via designsponge
Ask yourself what you really need from your home office. My good friend is a proof reader and just needs a quiet comfortable space to read with good light?  But do consider whether you will need a phone line/broadband, a printer or anything else that might require a cables, so you can plan for them.
Creating a home office space that is comfortable will increase your productivity. If you are going to be working on a computer purchasing a good quality, supportive office chair will pay dividends. Sitting in an awkward position can put your body under all sorts of stress. Do make sure you can adjust the chair’s height and angle to suit you. You’ll also need to leave between 70-80cm clearance behind the chair to pull it out easily.
Well thought-out storage is crucial no matter the size of the space and de-cluttering is a prerequisite.  Consider furniture that can be dual purpose like ottomans and also consider decorative or unusual items. This used brasso tin makes a great desk tidy and the vintage bobbin drawer is the perfect size for wallpaper samples. It reflects who I am, not a preconceived notion of what an office should be like.
Kate Durkin via designsponge
Make sure you consider lighting both natural and artificial. A well-lit workspace is fundamental to creating a productive and comfortable working atmosphere. It will also prevent eye strain, headaches and in my case silly mistakes.
My biggest tip though is to make your home office about you.  You don't have to have functional task lights, maybe you'd rather have table lamps. You don't have to have a desk, maybe an antique table is more your style. Maybe you want to use wooden wine boxes as shelving - a great way to up-cycle. Fresh flowers, absolutely. Which is why I love the below from Christiane Lemieux of Dwell Studio new book Undecorate - this is a very personal home office space
image from Christiane Lemieux book Undercorate via designsponge
AND if you really don’t have spare room in your home, you could invest in a beautiful garden home office or consider converting your garage. I'm particularly taken with the Archipod home office below, I'd feel like I was in a Children's TV show - brilliant!
This blog post is part of the ‘Pass It On Home Office series’, a collaborative blogging project. I’m passing it on to Heather Jenkinson and Erica at Moth Design
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