Category Archives: The Designers Block

Nottigham Eco Artist and Designer turns heads with her plastic bottle designs

Nottingham based Artist and Designer Sarah Turner, is causing a storm in the interior design world with her eco-friendly lighting designs.  From her studio in the heart of Nottingham, Sarah uses old plastic bottles discarded from the city’s cafes and transforms them into eclectic pieces.

So far she’s been commissioned by the likes of SodaStream, London Fashion Week, Twitter, the Ideal Home Show and recently secured a place in the final of this years Philips lighting competition.

Read her exciting interview with The Design Hub and find out how Sarah’s made such an impact within the design world and what’s in store for her next! Continue reading

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Filed under Art, Bedroom Interiors, Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Eco Lamp, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, Interviews, lighting, Living room Interiors, News, Quirky, Sarah Turner, small businesses, sustainable interiors, The Designers Block

What trend is sweeping the interior design world and getting everyone shouting?

It’s fantastic to see interior designers from all corners of the industry really thinking about sustainable design and showing people how they can re-use materials to create not only eclectic pieces to put inside a home or building, but taking a serious approach to their own carbon footprint. Pressure groups and political parties have shouted about eco-friendly living for years, so this new “eco-chic” or “up-cycling” trend which has swept the design world hasn’t just popped onto the scene from nowhere.  Bearing this in mind, I ask, why has it taken us so long to finally care about our surroundings and start to change our habits?

I’m sure some boffins out there have an intricate explanation, but from my point of view, attending shows such as Birmingham Interiors, Ideal Home Show and keeping track of what other bloggers, designers and tweeps are discussing, reveals one major point, people have far less to spend so are forced to make-do and mend.

I know many people and designers, who’ve jumped on the band wagon, using old wood from skips, battered doors, unwanted plastic bottles and vintage suitcases to re-create various pieces of furniture which look immense. Eco designer Sarah Turner, who I met at this years Birmingham Interiors Show, creates lights from used plastic bottles and Hendzel & Hunt who are behind the label “Made in Peckham”, also showcased at BIS, create wonderful rustic tables and chairs from wood and pallets discarded on the streets of Peckham. Watch the video below to see their designs!

Hendzel & Hunt

Sarah Turner

Sarah’s designs also featured in some of the show homes at this years Ideal Home Show at Earls court in London and it’s great to see young fresh talent really pushing through on the eco front, basing their designs around sustainability and setting a positive example.

This years Ideal Home Show followed suit and was heavily based around sustainable living from George Clarke’s Coronation Street eco-refit, that demonstrated how energy inefficient many of the UK’s homes are and how they can be improved, to Linda Barker’s eco-chic styling seminars. As well as interior design celebrities endorsing green living, other areas of the show also showed their support for green living. The stand for the Help for Heroes campaign at the event was kitted out with furniture made from various soldiers uniforms, buttons and hats which I thought was a lovely gesture.

The impact these shows have on people is huge, in one of her eco-chic seminars, Linder Barker showed spectators how to make a cake stand from old plates and glasses. I thought this was a fantastic idea and decided to make one myself and write a guide for others to do the same. To this day, one of the most popular searches I find on The Design Hub, is how to create a vintage cake stand! Okay it’s not on the same scale as investing in under floor heating or compressed insulation, but it’s still making a difference and tackling the “throw-away” culture which we’ve all been caught up in – thank you Linda!

Even Robin, the Finance Director at the National Design Academy, had a go at up-cycling and created a magnificent cupboard from bits of scrap. It didn’t cost him a penny and give him great satisfaction I’m sure, to know that he’d created something from nothing. Interior Designer Karen Lane, who’s based in the East Midlands, often gets old worn furniture from charity shops and restore’s them to sell on – check out her guide!

Which brings me to another important point, all this restoring and up-cycling is really benefitting our charity shops. I think my local one is sick of the sight of me, but I get a lot of pleasure making use of unwanted items and helping others at the same time, so it’s worth having a look to see what you can find.

Like South African designer Katie Thompson say’s, “make something ordinary, extraordinary”. (check out her Suitcase Chair’s they’re a great example of up-cycling)

In these hard economic times, people seem to be more open to all ideas thrown out there that can save money which could be the reason “eco-chic” and “up-cycling” and has taken off.  Those who have redecorated their home on a shoe string are leading the way with chic, rustic, recycled designs that all the home magazines have jumped on. If you want to achieve this look, it’s cheap and easy, just use your imagination and make use of interior design blogs/sites/forums to get inspiration, because they’re all shouting about it in one form or another.

Back to the point, this years biggest trend is sustainable living which like all trends has levels of expense, if you can afford a £2000 chair made from old t-shirts, great, it’s still an appreciation of the eco concept and keeping that designer in business, but if your more towards the make-do and mend end of the spectrum, you have a wealth of exciting and creative eco-friendly options to try. Whatever level, whatever design keep thinking green and you’re already bang on trend.

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Eco-friendly, George Clarke, Ideal Home Show 2011, Kitchen Interiors, lighting, Living room Interiors, News, Periord Ideas, Quirky, Sarah Turner, sustainable interiors, The Designers Block, Up-cycling, www.nda.ac.uk

Design of the Day – The world’s first designer energy saving light bulb

I first came across this design at this years Birmingham Interiors Show, in the Designers Block section and since then it’s popularity has rocketed. It was displayed in George Clarke’s revamped eco-friendly house at last months Ideal Home Show event at London’s Earl Court.

Designed by Sam Wilkinson, this Plumen light bulb is the worlds first designer energy-saving bulb which takes on a snake-like shape and looks amazing set in the dark glass shade. (Above) It lasts 8x longer and uses 80% les energy than incandescent bulbs, saving you on your electric bill as well as looking hot!

The name Plumen came from “plume” which is a birds decorative feather, used to attract attention and this certainly does that! The great news is that the bulb doesn’t cost a fortune and a nightmare to get hold of, in fact you can lay your hand on one of these delights for only £19.95 from B&Q! Hurry before they’re sold out!

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Eco-friendly, George Clarke, Home Acessories, Ideal Home Show 2011, lighting, News, Plumen, Quirky, Sam Wilkinson, The Designers Block

Open your eyes to the world of The New English

I first came across Paul Bishop and his amazing collection of ceramics in January 2011 at the Birmingham Interiors Show. He was exhibiting a wonderful array of strange gothic table wear and quirky ornaments in The Designers Block. I must say I’ve  fallen in love with The New English Ceramic Collection and totally mesmerised by the fine detail of the hand painted pottery. This collection with blow your mind as functional home ware and as art! Continue reading

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Filed under Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Ceramics, Home Acessories, homeware, Kitchen Interiors, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Periord Ideas, Staffordshire University, The Designers Block

Design of the day

Mad Potters Tea Party!

Based in  Stoke-on-Trent – the heart of the potteries,  The New English Ceramics are made using over 250 years of traditional skills and techniques.  But this collection isn’t a batch of boring plain white plates and cups, it has twists of gothic art, eccentric prints and stunning hand painted gold detailing. With this lot on your dining table you’re sure to be a show stopper!

The New English Collection was founded in 2009 by Paul Bishop and his wife Judith, it reflects the increasing demand for origional products which represent our contemporary culture and lifestyles.The company launched it’s new range “The Mad Potters Tea Party” in Berlin last month and revealed to the world 118 new pieces. A written description doesnt justify how magnificant these pieces are, you just have to see them.

Follow the link to see all the products and how the show went! CLICK HERE

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Images from: The New English Collection and Annie Bertram

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Filed under Ceramics, Home Acessories, homeware, Kitchen Interiors, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Periord Ideas, Quirky, The Designers Block, The New English, The New English Ceramics

Interiors Birmingham 2011 – A profound look

By Anthony Rayworth: Director of Studies at the National Design Academy and James Pilling: Interior Design Practice Manager, NDA Private Clients.

Held at the NEC, Interiors Birmingham is the largest trade interiors exhibition in Britain. We have been attending the show and monitoring changes to the industry for fourteen consecutive years. During this period we have developed valuable relationships with suppliers as well as observing and forecasting emerging trends within interior design.

As with last year’s exhibition; this year’s event was contained within five halls as opposed to the seven halls of years gone by and there have been contrasting opinions within the industry regarding this reduced size. Continue reading

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Birmingham Interiors Show 2011 lowdown

AS THE UK’s largest trading event, this years Birmingham Interiors Show needed to prove itself after last years poor performance echoed the damaging effect the recession had on the interior industry. It had definitely improved with less pine this year however, I couldn’t help but feel the lack of cutting edge content. Continue reading

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The Designers Block at Birmingham Interiors Show 2011

Check out these fantastic designs created by the UK’s up and coming designers!

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Trendsetters of 2011 hit the Birmingham Interiors show

AFTER TRAIPSING through a maze of modern and high-end interiors at this years Birmingham Interiors Show, it all started to become like a buffet table at your Nan’s 70th. You know,  garlic bread, canapes and cheesecake repeated over and over. There wasn’t anything which was different or hooked me in, until I stumbled across The Designers Block tucked away in the corner of hall 2. Continue reading

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Filed under Birmingham Interiors Show 2011, Liam Hopkins, Marita Szkutnik, News, Quirky, Sarah Turner, The Designers Block, The National Design Academy