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Truly time-poor? Key trends are written in BOLD!

Monday, 18 April 2011

MY EDIT: Milan Design Week 2011... standout pieces and trends

Light Tray by Andreas Engesvik and Daniel Rybakken at Spazio Rossana Orlandi - my favourite piece!

It's hard to distil the many thousands of products on show at the Milan Salone and its numerous satellite events into key trends. Inevitably it's going to be my personal take on what was there and, if I'm honest, what I would like to see more of but, heck, the personal take is what blogs are all about!

In a way, it's easier to say what was not big news. It seemed like there was an absence of colour, pattern, print, plastic, slick, glossy looks and seamless finishes. Instead, an awful lot of pieces sat somewhere on this scale: Simple > Plain > Functional > Utilitarian > Industrial.

This time Milan was all about integrity of materials, a certain honesty of construction and a wider respect for traditional methods and aestheticsForm followed function: in many cases chairs etc. were devised or reissued with chunky wooden legs where construction joints were the key feature. Likewise, there were many lights - generally glass or metal - that made a feature of flex or bulb: a new utility aesthetic

Barely seen in its raw, unpainted state a decade ago, wood was huge, generally smooth and blonde but looking unfinished with matt coatings. White was popular too, with lots of combinations of white and unpainted wood within single items to create a clean and beautiful contrast. There were many beautiful marble pieces, although fewer than I would have predicted, but hopefully they are on the rise.  

The industrial was very much present with stunning metal storage lockers and Tom Dixon's brilliant kitchen full of rusting finishes and exposed pipesThe industrial look could also been seen in more subtle forms, with metal being used as wire / lattice / chain / mesh in the construction of numerous sofas, tables, etc.

By contrast, there was a huge emphasis on comfort (see my previous post on comfort and the Bouroullec's Ploum sofa here). Sofas had a 'come on, dive in' quality, places to cosset oneself rather than make a style statement. There were even a few sofas with high backs - which look weird in the era of the low-rise but are often regarded as a more comfortable design. There seemed to be a lot of gorgeous tan leather, stretched tight, thin and matt over chairs and sofas, while chunky knits remained popular too. In an age of mass synthetics, such quality (and responsibly sourced) animal fibres and hides represent true, meaningful luxury. Also seen were lots of woven materials (on everything from rugs to chairs to table-tops), rope and, interestingly some straw marquetry (as seen in Miami, here).

Of course there were decorative devices, but these were generally within time-honoured traditions and thus felt familiar and comfortable rather than brash or crass. So there were dashes of precious metal (brass, again), studded chairs and lots of 'turned' forms, inspired by those seen in humble everyday furniture for centuries past, and used in Milan on everything from lighting to chairs. 

All in all, it was Seriously beautiful...

Hula Hoop lamp by Adolf Loos for Woka
Picture courtesy of

Calabash pendant light by Komplot for Lightyears

Modo Chandelier by Jason Miller at designjunction

Knotty Bubbles Chandelier by Lindsey Adelman for Roll & Hill

Fisherman light by TAF for Zero

Tripod lamp by Lukas Dahlén at Superstudio Più

Paddle task light by Benjamin Hubert for Fabbian

Position floor lamp by Rooms for Moooi

Bala side tables by Jaime Hayon for  at Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Arflex / Tablet tables by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Arflex

Perpignan by Jasper Morrison for Marsotto Edizioni

Puck side tables by Benchmark at designjunction

Handcrafted furniture by Amandine Chhor & Aïssa Logerot

Kimble from the Windsor Chair collection by Matthew Hilton for De La Espada

Beverly chairs by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia

Ginger by Roberto Lazzeroni for Poltrona Frau

Flow chair by JM Massaud for MDF Italia

Nub by Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World

Gothic chair by Studio Job for Moooi

Bamboo-steel chair by Nendo for Yii design

Lounge chair from the Pippa collection from Hermès Maison
Picture courtesy of

Klara chair by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso

Tufty Too sofa system by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia

Favn sofa by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen

Chester Moon, revisited, by Paola Navone for Baxter

DZ Job Cabinet by Studio Job for Lensvelt

Randomito by Neuland Industrie for MDF Italia
Picture courtesy of

Beam kitchen by Tom Dixon for Ekoij 

Pieces from the +Stone collection by Michael Sodeau Partnership for Sienave
Picture courtesy of

Pina, Dina, Gina, Mimma by James Irvine for Marsotto Edizioni

The Hourglass by Marc Newson for Ikepod

Mountain Spot rug by Donna Wilson for SCP 

Yachiyo metal rug by Philippe Malouin

 Rugs by BCXSY at Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Ground-breaking, breathtaking bathrooms: Bisazza Bagno’s Hayón Collection

Picture courtesy of Bisazza Bagno

I keep seeing this remarkable new bathroom collection everywhere and I felt I had to show some pictures. Presented last month at the Frankfurt Fair, it's the inaugural collection of Bisazza Bagno (from glass mosaic tile supremos Bisazza) designed by the great Spanish designer Jaime Hayón. There's a nod to Art Deco and Scandinavian design in its forms, while the colours, materials and finishes include white, black, gold, platinum, marble, ceramic and chrome steel. But it's the copper pipe look (in fact, glossy copper finished aluminum) that is wowing me. I've got a bit of a thing for exposed piping at the moment - see the pipes on show in this recent blog post. It's a backlash against the slick, seamless interiors of recent times and a bit of a yearning for authenticity. I suppose we're in an era where we feel the need to see things for what they are and this beautiful bathroom is indicative of that. 

Picture courtesy of Bisazza Bagno

Picture courtesy of Bisazza Bagno

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

MY HOUSE: Jonathan Adler and the Surreal Thing...

Picture copyright Kate Jacobs

Talking about surreal interiors recently reminded me that I meant to post this photo a while back, when I did my last Jonathan Adler post. I like surreal things in the same way that I like things with a punkish influence - because they stop a room feeling too staid or bland, and give it an edge. And the surrealist look is playful but still grown up. It’s quite hard to find surreal interiors objects but these mr & mrs muse salt and pepper pots by Jonathan Adler fit the bill - he does lots of great surreal pieces like the ones shown below - click here to see the whole 'Muse' collection. And, running with the surreal idea, I have no qualms about displaying my cruet set on my lounge mantle, rather than the kitchen table. 

Kiki de Montparnasse vase
Picture courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Dora Maar bowl
Picture courtesy of Jonathan Adler

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

MY EDIT: Next Home…

I’ve had a browse through the Spring/Summer Next Home Directory and picked out some on-trend gems. They’ve really gone big on bright, natural greens this year, which are a favourite of mine and will probably take over when I’m cured of my yellow fever. And leafy green looks great with their warm, teak-coloured woods. Other trends spotted include basket weaves, neutrals, fruit motifs and some rather stylish looking lighting.

Pictures Courtesy of Next

Caption information, by row, from left to right, top to bottom:
Folds cushion, £12
White weave rattan bottle, £30
Glass apple and pear, set of two, £18,

Wooden candlesticks, set of three, £25
Natural pompom throw, £30 
Santiago chairs, per pair, £235

Colonial lamp, £65
Large chrome sculpture, £60
Carved wood vase, £20


Friday, 8 April 2011

Moooi in monochrome, this month in London...

Pictures courtesy of Moooi

Open today and every Friday until April 29 (other days  by appointment), is Magical Monochrome, at the Fantasy House of Moooi, Portobello Dock. The stunning roomsets were put together by super-stylist Despina Curtis, a truly lovely girl I used to work with at Elle Decoration. She filled me in on the look: 'The initial inspiration came from the Moooi collection which mixes traditional design with lots of humour. I wanted to keep the element of humour in the installation as well as making it interactive for the visitor, with elements of surprise in each window and through the doorways. I chose to make the whole space monochrome so that it added to the surreal quality I was trying to create.' It reminds me of the Sixties TV show The Avengers, which was both monochrome and surreal. Moooi just needs Emma Peel cavorting around the place. 

*The Fantasy House of Moooi (020 8962 5691,

Diana Rigg as Mrs Emma Peel in The Avengers

MY EDIT: Fabrics and Wallpapers from Design Week...

Picture courtesy of Larsen

Following on from my lighting highlights, here’s my round-up of the fabrics and wallpapers that caught my eye amongst the many thousands on show at Chelsea Harbour during last month’s Design Week. They’re not necessarily new - I think it’s a shame that magazines are so often obliged to concentrate on new launches when there might actually be something that feels perfect for ‘now’ amongst a designer’s back catalogue... There were lots of key trends on show, and it felt like the showrooms are now much more in sync with what is happening elsewhere in interiors than they were a few years ago when they were more, shall we say... chintzy. 

Trellis and chain links, rampant botanicals, geometrics, Moorish,  ethnic geometrics (including Africa and the Himalayas)

The nearly-new neutrals: cream, grey, beige, greige, off-white etc.
Yellows, greens and chartreuse in between

Hopsack weaves, linens, cotton prints, woven grass,  crewel-work

Captions, from top to bottom, each row from left to right:
Pelagos fabric H2/3 by Kravet London
Glicine fabric in Porcelaine by Hertex at Henry Bertrand
Tile wallpaper 89-7027 by Cole & Son

Cocoon fabric in Pebble by Larsen at Colefax & Fowler
Elina fabric in Zanj by Zoffany
Cowcumber wallpaper 89-3012 by Cole & Son

Bonsai fabric in Moonshine by Mark Alexander at Romo
Kasai fabric in Harbour by Mark Alexander at Romo
Nella fabric in Lively by Hertex at Henry Bertrand

Taplow fabric in Celery by Threads at GP&G Baker
Charlie Wilson wallpaper 80-2007 by Cole & Son
Benu Cube fabric 14102.207 by Fischbacher

Diamond fabric in Taupe by Larsen at Colefax & Fowler
Orisson fabric in Zanj by Zoffany
Poetical fabric in Belgian Grey by Barbara Barry at Baker London

Glicine fabric in Heather by Hertex at Henry Bertrand
Club fabric 1017/03 by Jason D’Souza
Wisteria wallpaper 89-10040 by Cole & Son

Leaf wallpaper in Natural Gold by Jocelyn Warner
Pennsylvania fabric in Moonshine by Mark Alexander at Romo
Taplow fabric in Dusky Mauve by Threads at GP&G Baker

Citysquare fabric H2/11 by Kravet London
Bronte fabric in Yellow / Green by Jane Churchill at Colefax & Fowler
Theta fabric in Brown by Elanbach

Backdrop wallpaper in Linen by Larsen at Colefax & Fowler
Stone Trellis wallpaper 91-3012 by Cole & Son
Earthy fabric in Lime Green by Larsen at Colefax & Fowler

Melody fabric in White by Larsen at Colefax & Fowler
Fern wallpaper in Pale Grey by Jocelyn Warner
Cowcumber wallpaper 89-3010 by Cole & Son

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A scrumptious new dining table by Russell Pinch for Benchmark...

Picture Courtesy of Benchmark

Benchmark are a Great British company in every sense. They mix work by big names like Terence Conran, Thomas Heatherwick and Russell Pinch as well as pieces from up-and-coming young designers and their own in house team. Based in the beautiful Berkshire countryside (you can visit) they are based around core values including sustainability excellence in design, materials and craftsmanship. I attended their launch quite a few years back, it was a day I'll never forget as I ended up helping a very bossy Terence Conran dole out strawberries and cream to assorted press in his back garden afterwards. 

Anyway, I'm talking about them now as I'm rather partial to Russell Pinch's new table Mrs B with Painted Legs which will be showing at designjunction in Milan very soon. I love the turned legs and contrast between bold yellow and the plain top. It's yet another reason why the British can hold their heads high on the international design stage. 

Picture Courtesy of Benchmark