Monthly Archives: April 2012

A to Z of Interior Design: B is for…

Branding

A brand is a product or service whose dimensions differentiate it in some ways from other products or services designed to satisfy the same need.  A brand can take many forms, including a name,  sign, symbol, colour combination or slogan.

The word branding simply began as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp.  The word ‘brand’ has continued to evolve to encompass identity; it affects the personality of a product, company or service. It is defined by a perception, good or bad, that your customers or prospects have about you.

“Although today every trading business has a trading name or mark, no matter how large the business, only a small amount of them stand out from the rest through what we acknowledge as a ‘brand’. The word ‘brand’ now is more commonly associated, not so much with simply naming a business, but rather with businesses that are highly regarded and well recognised. This association can be made irrespective of whether or not the individual (consumer) fully understands the company or its offer.

Branding a company can lead to the creation of a mark, devoid of the trade name, that automatically identifies the company and makes it recognisable in any language, good examples of this are Apple and Nike. Extremely popular brands like these can communicate with the public about their products and services wherever their marks or signs are present.

A brand is more than simply the company name, the identity of the company letterhead, or its logo. The brand tells the public not only who you are and what you do but how you do it and what values you stand for. The brand reflects the company’s personality and reputation and it establishes its credibility relative to all competition. Although the brand image requires an identity and a mark or logo, the brand is successfully acknowledged through the value of its positive customer perception and satisfaction.

And whilst we tend to think of a brand relating to consumer products or retail companies, having a brand for your Interior Design business is no different. The principles of creating a ‘brand’ for your company has the same purpose; to reflect your personality, reputation and credibility. Kelly Hoppen, Missoni, Pantone, Habitat, Decorex, Philippe Starck….designers, interior brands and design shows all with their own distinctive logos that separate them from their competition in a striking, yet simple manner.”

- Excerpt taken from National Design Academy’s Retail Design course

A to Z of Interior Design

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Come on baby… light my fire

Thanks to spring the days are longer and lighter, the sun has been shining and we even had a ‘mini summer’ a few weeks back here in the UK. But as tempting as it is to spend more time outdoors, it is still very chilly when the sun hides behind a cloud or dusk descends.

Chimineas or a fire pit are great ways to warm up your outdoor evenings, and with so many designs available you can choose one that becomes a focal point in your garden, and not just because of the hypnotic flames therein.

Before choosing one, a few things need to be considered; primarily how and where will it be used? A chiminea is generally much smaller than a firepit and it encloses the fire and directs smoke through its chimney, making them more suitable for smaller spaces. Because they are enclosed they are safe to use on decking or close to other flammable garden objects.

Fire pits need more room, they are often open 360 degrees so need to be away from flammable objects, as embers can be blown out of the dish. Also a firepit may smoulder for long periods so you need to know its safe to be left on its own. Fire pits don’t have funnels so they generally create more smoke which can blow around depending on the weather.

Although both come in different sizes, firepits are generally bigger and better for warming more people. A fire pit bit can also be used as a BBQ when used with a grill attachment, tripod or even a spit roast.

Asides from the width and the height, the only other major consideration is what fuel you want to use; wood, charcoal or gas.

They do also come in a variety of materials, such as cast iron, stainless steel, copper, clay or stone, but this is mostly down to personal preference.

Here are some that I think are hot stuff:

Weber Fire Place

Made of heavy-duty steel and coated with porcelain enamel, this firepit will last for years, but what I like most about it is its functional design. It comes with a lid that can be used to extinguish the fire and prevent ash from blowing around your garden, and with the lid sitting on the stand, the heat from the fire isn’t lost, so it creates a very warm fire pit that will keep going even if it rains. It also has a convinent ash catcher underneath – very tidy.

Recycled Kadai Fire Bowls

Made in India with traditional methods, the Recycled Kadai is Made from recycled oil drums and riveted together for strength and durability. Each bowl is fitted with a gauze filter system that separates out the ash from rain water, allowing for a maintenance free barbeque.

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Copper Dish by Firepits UK

Copper offers a unique look compared to most cast iron fire pits, and this design looks great.

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The Tower by Firepits UK

For a taller fire pit this one stands out from the crowd.

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Modfire by Brandon Williams

Beautifully designed and individually hand built modern take on the chiminea

La Hacienda Cuba Corten Steel Chiminea – Oxidised

Another fantastic minimalist contemporary chiminea that is much more affordable than the Modfire range.


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Design a retro bin competiton!

Leading housewares brand Brabantia, world renowned for bringing stylish design to all aspects of kitchen and homeware, is delighted to announce a partnership with the National Design Academy (NDA).

This month Brabantia, supported by the NDA, launched a Design Your Bin competition to find an aspiring designer to create a new design for its 2013 Retro Bin range. The competition is open to all budding creatives throughout the globe – age, experience and location are no barriers.

David Slater, Sales Director at Brabantia, said: “We are delighted to be working with the creative talent from the UK’s largest and most prestigious interior design school.  Brabantia is in search of a world-class design that will go into production in 2013 and we are looking forward to seeing the creative concepts from the students at the National Design Academy.”

All students from the NDA who submit a design will enter a sub competition managed by the academy where the winning designer will receive a ‘one of a kind’ Brabantia retro bin featuring their bespoke design. To ensure your entry is included in the NDA sub comp you must email your design to pr2@nda.ac.uk as well as entering it on the main competition website (details below).

Anthony Rayworth, Director of Studies at NDA, said: “This is a fabulous opportunity for our students to show off their creative talents, and it offers a real challenge to be able to create  a design that will both stand out and work well in most kitchens. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the designs as they come in.”

The competition is also open to all members of the general public. Anyone with creative flair can submit a design – it could be a favourite photo, a piece of fine art, urban graffiti street art, or a detailed illustration or textile.  The winning design will go into production in 2013.

There are six categories: Modern art, Street art, Photography, Illustration, Textiles and handmade and Montage. Any medium will be accepted as long as it can be uploaded and reproduced digitally.  Designs need to be uploaded via www.designyourbin.com in JPG format by 10 June 2012.

As well as getting to see their design produced and on sale as part of Brabantia’s range next year, the overall winner selected by Brabantia’s international design panel will also receive a bin featuring their design and 1,500 Euros worth of Brabantia products.

Visitors to the Design Your Bin site are invited to vote for their favourite design. The designer with the most votes will win Brabantia products worth 1,000 Euros.

The winners of the six individual categories as selected by Brabantia’s design panel will each receive their choice of either a London or I’ve Bin Romantic Retro Bin.

All entries are displayed in the Gallery, where the general public can vote for their favourite designs. So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to join the ranks of the Brabantia designers?

Find out how to take part here.

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An egg is for life, not just for Easter

Good Friday! Easter’s almost here! And that means three things in my book; eggs, chocolate and a long weekend.

To celebrate the mass consumption of oodles of egg shaped confectionary and the two bank holidays in which to recover from any over indulgence, I’ve picked some super Egg inspired interior (and exterior) design objects that are simply cracking.

Nogg chicken coop

Handmade in the UK, the Nogg chicken coop is a stylish way to keep chickens in your garden.

Housing up to four chickens this coop has been expertly engineered; including stainless steel reinforced doors and ribbing to combat the possible effects of the elements and carnivorous animals.

The innovative glass top twists and lifts to aid ventilation and is just one of the details that really elevates the idea of what a domestic coop can be.



Egg shower by Arina Komarova

Although only a concept, I can’t help thinking that this is a brilliant idea, not only because it is shaped like an egg, but because it also combines a bath, jacuzzi and a shower in one neat little pod.  The doors can be closed completely to offer total privacy so it would also be ideal for a public spa.




Egg inspired table by WAMHOUSE

Polish furniture designer WAMHOUSE weren’t yolking when they designed this breakfast table.




Garden Egg Chair by Peter Ghyczy

Designed in 1968 and re-introduced in 2001 by Ghyczy Novo, the Garden Egg Chair is one of the first chairs to be made with Polyurethane. When closed it is water proof and it comes in many other colours, not just white and yellow. Available from Blue Sun Tree.








Baton Chair by Channels Design Firm

British designer’s Channels made this gorgeous modern take on the famous Egg Chair.










eiPott plastic egg cup by Koziol

What better way to devour your breakfast easter eggs than with this plastic egg cup based on the iconic form of Apple’s iPod?

Called eiPOTT, “Ei” is German for egg and “Pott” means pot. Together it is pronounced like the famous MP3 player.


Ovetto Recycling Bin by Gianluca Soldi

Named after the Italian word for ‘egg’, Ovetto is available in several bright color options as well as a stylish all white or all black.

Made from recycled polypropylene (the same material used in ropes and carpeting), the bin offers three separate receptacles to make recycling easier and it also has a plastic bottle crusher on the top.

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