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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sitting Still - Matthew Hilton's new Windsor chair collection, made by Ercol for De La Espada

Picture courtesy of De La Espada

I’ve fallen in love with this series of five new Windsor chairs by Matthew Hilton for De La Espada (launching at the Milan Salone in April). Even before I read the blurb I was reminded of a childhood school trip to the High Wycombe Chair Museum (yes, really). Turns out these chairs were manufactured by Ercol in High Wycombe. Sadly, Ercol are the last of the HW furniture makers, though it’s great that at least one firm is keeping the tradition alive and bringing it into the 21st Century.

I feel like the charms of these chairs speak for themselves. They’ve got such an honest simplicity about them,  if there's such a thing as a chair with integrity then this is it! I love the mix of the two timbers - walnut and ash,  the matt finish, the way they link modernism with traditional artisan design. I particularly love the higgledy-piggledy look of the five designs together and would buy them like this if I could – perhaps with a second one of the ‘armed’ designs so that they could go at either end of a six-seater table. And if were going to pick just one, I’d have to test drive them and just plump for the most comfortable.

*Matthew Hilton

Friday, 25 February 2011

Space to Think... at Ligne Roset's cave-desk

High-end French furniture company, Ligne Roset, seem to be on a bit of roll at the moment. I loved their recently launched Ploum sofas by the Bouroullec brothers (see my earlier blog) and this image of their stand at Paris Maison et Objet, late last month, really captured my attention. 

Picture Courtesy of Ligne Roset

It's a serene and simple look, while the warm woods stop it getting too clinical. But the real scene stealer is the desk. Called Rewrite and designed by GamFratesi, it was first seen in 2009 but only put into production last month. On a practical level it's a great desk if you don't have a dedicated study and work in your kitchen, bedroom, lounge etc . GamFratesi call it an 'isolating workbubble' because while you're working it reduces the visual and aural distraction factor and when you've finished the detachable soft fabric hood hides the inevitable desk detritus. 

Picture courtesy of GamFratesi

There's something of the cocoon or nest about it, concepts that were big interiors trends just over a decade ago. Perhaps these ideas are already due a revisit, because of a desire to escape our troubled times? Interestingly, its designers refer to the shape as 'cave-like' - which ties into the pre-history idea I've mentioned before and really must do a proper blog on. For now though, I salute the offbeat good looks of the Rewrite desk. 

Picture courtesy of GamFratesi

*Ligne Roset

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Wood for Good - the medium is the message

Picture courtesy of Ernst Gamperl

My obsession with raw wood was indulged when I stumbled upon German designer Ernst Gamperl’s work. They're simple, unpretentious and draw attention to the unique beauty of the raw material itself. 

Picture courtesy of Ernst Gamperl

Monday, 21 February 2011

All wrapped up: an eye-catching light from the Stockholm Furniture Fair

Born in Scotland but working in Stockholm as part of design group Made By, lighting designer David Taylor created these rather wonderful pendant lights for the Biologiska section of this month's Stockholm Furniture Fair. Being a yellow nut, I love them first and foremost for that. But I've always had a thing for wrapping in art and design too. These two combine to offset the fact that the lamps are plastic - a material I can't work up much enthusiasm for these days. Anyway, a great little product that I had to feature here.

Picture courtesy of David Taylor / Made By

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The latest Farrow & Ball paints: colour combinations for a (beautiful) new Age of Austerity

Some very inspiring images (and what I think they tell us about coming interiors trends)... 

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Picture courtesy of Farrow & Ball

I was completely wowed by the images that accompany the launch of paint company Farrow  Ball’s new colours. Of course, it goes without saying that Farrow & Ball produce amazing failsafe paints. Almost every room in my house is painted with their shades and I’ve never had any regrets – more than can be said for some of the non-F&B rooms!

Colour-wise the combinations shown here are unexpected, but still easy on the eye. And there’s a reassuring amount of green, which I think is going to be huge in the years to come, as we try to find substitutes for the greenery that is lacking from our now predominantly urban lives.

But what I really admire most is the canny eye that has put these unusual colour combinations together in such cool, yet real, settings. The look reminds me of institutional, civil service type buildings from the Thirties to Fifties. In such rooms there might be a nice old mahogany desk, with a black bakelite telephone, a large utilitarian tea urn, a plain metal ‘coolie hat’ light-shade, plus some incongruous exposed pipe-work, and walls painted mushy-pea-green. It's a look I've always devoured when watching old British films.

To try and get to the core of what makes these pictures so great, I suppose they are an antidote to years of swish, glossy, seamless finishes and suggest a future when we will have to (re)embrace the austere idea of ‘make do and mend’ – but still manage to have beautiful homes. I for one am well up for it – especially after looking at these inspiring images.