Category Archives: Eco-friendly

Design of the Day – Re-vamped fine bone china

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of up-cycling, so when I came across Melody Rose’ designs I must say I got very excited! The Canadian born designer, Melanie Roseveare, lives and works in West London,  re-vamping various china with quirky images from humming birds and skulls to 50’s pin-up girls.

My favorite pieces from her collection are the skull tea cups and plates. I just adore how Melanie has fused the eerie skull image with dainty bone china. Her designs are available to buy from www.notonthehighstreet.com or you can go direct to her website for personalised commissions and enjoy the array of rather splendid designs.

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Filed under Ceramics, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, homeware, News, Quirky, Up-cycling

Interior Designer Karen Lane’s new up-cycling project!

Following on from her ‘Flower Chest’ project, Interior Designer Karen Lane, has rescued an old cabinet from her local second-hand shop and given it the love and attention needed to turn it into a beautiful piece of furniture. Here’s how she did it!

  1. The cabinet was first rubbed down and then undercoated.
  2. After another light sanding two top coats of emulsion were painted before the flower (cut from wallpaper) was applied using PVA.
  3. The whole body was then painted with several coats of clear satin varnish to protect it from wear and tear.
  4. Finally the inside was lined with an attractive but practical, scrubbable wallpaper.

Karen, “I am very happy with the finished result and now have another item to add to my range of hand decorated, recycled furniture.”

If you would like to contact Karen regarding commissions or for an interior design project, please visit her website!

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Filed under Bedroom Interiors, distance learning, Eco-friendly, higher education, The National Design Academy, Up-cycling, www.nda.ac.uk

Design of the Day – Polar bear rug speaks a thousand words

A team of designers have a taken one of the worlds most pressing environmental issues and created a piece which speaks louder than words. Designers Ricardo Casas, Alejandro Castro, Héctor Esrawe, Emiliano Godoy and Cecilia León de la Barra have produced a thought provoking rug, which contrasts it’s oft and pleasant texture with the prickly problem we have surrounding the rapid decline of the Polar bear and melting ice caps.

Ironically named ” Global Warming“, this statement piece is sure to make anyone stop and think whether its placed in a living room, waiting room or café. I’m very impressed with the rugs simple design and how it conveys this message with such impact.

I would definitely have one of these in my home as way of raising awareness of global warming.

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Filed under Design of the day, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Quirky

A treasure trove of design gems at New Designers 2011

Well I’ve made it back from the New Designers Show 2011 part 2 which is being held in London’s Business  Design Centre, feeling shattered after two whole days of intense interviews and general press duties – but well worth it! I’ve come away totally inspired and have huge admiration for design students everywhere.

The level of work was exceptional, from furniture to textiles and product designs to Interiors, if I was a robot I’d definitely have a design overload!

Firstly I’d like to say CONGRATULATIONS to all the New Designers 2011 winners, they’ve worked so hard to gain recognition from the UK’s freshest student design event and of course their peers.

Here are some of my favourites and the names of the other winners can be found on the New Designers Website.

Luke Diaz Habitat Innovation Winner - Bucks New University

Judges thoughts: “We admired his innovative construction and use of material. We enjoyed his overall charm, warmth and character. The low storage with woven sliding doors is a product with soul.”

Oksana Akishyna - Interior Design Association Winner AIU London

Judges thoughts: “Oksana’s portfolio showed refreshing clarity and at times mesmerising presentation that was refined and at a professional standard.”

Northumbria University - Best Stand Award

Judges thoughts: “Northumbria have a huge variety of inspirational products on display. The graduates have made clever use of recycled materials-creating a highly polished and professional presentation.”

Brinley Clark - Business Designer of the Year winner University of Hertfordshire

Judges thoughts: “Brinley has got design in his bones. Passionate, inspiring and intelligent, with a wicked  streak of humour. His pigeon project is ‘shit’ – go and find out more!”

The event was split into three floors and then sub divided into specific design sections so it was easy to make your way around. Although, it wasn’t easy walking around each section without stopping to look every few steps and swooning over another fantastic design.

The One Year On section, curated by award winning designer Jethro Macey, showcased 50 specially selected designers who’ve set up a business in the last 12 months. In this wonderful room, I came across Imogen Heath who launched her first ever collection at the show. Her mid-century patterned wallpaper and fabrics instantly dragged me in. Imogen was just as colourful and sweet as her designs which are inspired by her love of geometric composition, art deco and contemporary art.

If you’re just as head over heals in love with Imogen’s designs as I am, you can bag a cushion from £48 – £55 and wallpaper for £100

As I  was interviewing Imogen, just opposite us a group of talented artists and illustrators under the name of Secret Wars, were doing a live graffiti demonstration on their white stand. Their creative flair attracted the attention of lots of visitors who stared in amazement at how effortlessly they drew – I couldn’t take my eyes off them!

After, finally pulling myself away from the One Year On section, I had a good gander on the first floor and came across a product which The Design Hub had already featured as a Design of the Day – the Tweetingseat. Created by Product Designer Chris McNicholl, who’s recently graduated from the University of Dundee in Product Design, the Tweetingseat has caused a huge stir.

The seat takes reality and combines it with the virtual world by taking pictures of anyone sat on the seat and uploading the image to a live Twitter feed. This is done by one camera in the shape of the blue Twitter bird which can be mounted above the seat and another camera inside the seat that takes an image of anyone standing in front. So in the end you get two images uploaded to Twitter – genius!

Chris McNicholl speaking to Kellie Hill

As well as the tweeting seat causing a buzz with social media lovers, some feel this idea of sharing images on Twitter of people unaware they have been papped is unethical. When asked, Chris told me he welcomes the debate and encourages it. Listen to Chris’ interview!

Innovative furniture makers

The level of talent and skill shown by the students at New Designers was breathtaking and one designer rom Plymouth University certainly took the biscuit. Michael Carroll had created a chair without using glue or nails.

Named “Tankard“, this chair is held together with…. well you’ll have to watch his interview to find out!

The young furniture maker also made a table using metal bars which resemble the shape of a mouse trap.

Another talented chap, Luke Diaz from Bucks New University, won the New Designers 2011 Habitat Innovation Award for his Eco cabinet that he bound together with hemp twine. Like Micheal Carroll above,  he didn’t use a single nail or drop of glue. I see a trend developing here!

Diaz taught himself how to weave the twine and create the doors of the cabinet, which I think make it look beautifully organic and earthly. He also designed two stools, a smaller cabinet and hanging stand to complete his sustainable furniture range.

Interiors

We’ve all had to live in a boxy apartment or a ground floor flat that resembles a dungeon (like myself) when starting out on the career ladder.  Having to cook, sleep and shower in the same room is something which the majority of yuppie’s (young professionals) put up with until the day comes and a promotion lands on the table.

And if you’re like me and LOVE to decorate but also rent, it’s fair to say that the landlord wouldn’t be too happy at the next inspection to find two walls knocked out and the living room changed into a bedroom. Renting makes it near impossible to flex those creative fingers.

Well, I met young innovative Interior Designer, Henry Parker at New Designers 2011 and he has come to the rescue with a city apartment perfect for the hard-working yuppie’s, that want to make their flat into a home.

Adaptaflat is an apartment which is flexible, moveable and totally brilliant! These living spaces are the same size as a two bedroom flat but have maneuverable walls. Yes, you heard right, you can move the walls  in the apartment to suit your needs, lifestyle or make space for Saturday night’s party. Somebody PLEASE commission this!

How does it work? There are a series of custom made tracks on the ceiling of the apartment which the walls are connected to and this allows them to be moved in the desired place and clamped down when positioned. Want one? Then listen to Henry Parker’s interview with The Design Hub and learn more about this clever design or click HERE to go to his website.

 
 
 
 
 
Images: New Designers 2011, Imogen Heath, Kellie Hill

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Filed under Chris McNicholl, courses, distance learning, Eco-friendly, higher education, Home Acessories, Interviews, Kitchen Interiors, lighting, Living room Interiors, modern design, new career, New Designers 2011, News, Quirky, sustainable interiors, upholstery

A trip to Philips HQ for the lowdown on the LED lighting revolution

Do you consider yourself as a “dark greeny” or a “ bright greeny?”. I can hear the screams, “what the heck is she talking about!” Well, let me put it like this, do you fit in the “must stop driving, turn all lights off and stay inside before we burn the plant to a crisp category” Or are you the “we can still travel, have fun and live a super dooper life whilst tackling our carbon footprint category”.

The reason I ask is because the popularity of sustainable living is rapidly growing, with most people now actively taking part in one way or another, in fight against harmful carbon emissions by investing in technology such as combi boilers, under floor heating and efficient lighting. We’re now taking real responsibility for our energy usage, whether you chose to be an extreme “dark greeny” or a more positive and flexible “bright greeny”.

Speaking of bright, lighting is one feature an interior designer will spend many hours working out where to place in a design scheme, taking into account colour temperature, colour rendering and the psychological effect that light has. Nowadays, technology has progressed at a super pace, which enables designers to create a desired lighting plan without the huge energy consumption, heat output and cost. Great!

But the knowledge about lighting design can’t just be learned over night, it’s a skill that needs to be developed and mastered. This is why the National Design Academy in Nottingham (including myself!), traveled to Philips’ head office in Surrey yesterday, to explore the revolutionary LED light that will be used the Academy’s design studio’s and make up a possible educational display for students to fully understand all aspects of energy lighting and the bigger picture of sustainable living today.

Previous energy lights have been criticised for being very clinical and cold, however the new age Philips LED lights throws this stereotype out the window. As the largest lighting company in the world, Philips put roughly 5% of their profits back into research and have invested in a thicker phosphor coating inside the bulbs to create a warmer light. This coating can also be adjusted to create a more orange or blue effect depending on the project. Continue reading

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Filed under Eco-friendly, lighting, modern design, News, The National Design Academy, www.nda.ac.uk

Design of the Day – Meet Annie the chair, previous occupation – A shopping trolley

Today’s Design of the Day is one which will make you smile and think “what a crazy idea yet so perfect!”. Contemporary Eco design studio Reestore takes random objects like aeroplane wings, wheel barrows and shopping trolleys, then turns them into beautifully stylish pieces of furniture – another fantastic approach to sustainable interiors.

Designer and Managing Director of  Reestore, Max McMurdo, first made head way with his products when he pitched to the terrifying Dragon’s Den panel in series 5 of the show. He managed to impress the fierce Deborah Meaden and business genius Theo Paphitis, who invested in the company.

I’ve chosen Max’s “Annie” chair which in a previous life was a shopping trolley. It’s just fascinating how this symbol of the scrap yard can be totally transformed in to a perfectly functional chair. It takes 4 – 6 weeks to be delivered and will set you back £550.

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Filed under Bedroom Interiors, Eco-friendly, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Quirky, Reestore, Soft Furnishings, sustainable interiors, Up-cycling

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

Design of the Day – Anthropomorphic furniture from John Reeves

John Reeves specialises in contemporary furniture and product design. Born in Burnley, Lancashire and now living in Vietnam designing, developing and teaching, his off the wall 2010 “Sketch” collection has stopped me in my tracks.

The pieces are based on the “poised anthropomorphic tension between the stationary and the moving, the living and the inanimate, the man made and the natural; rather like a 3 dimensional petrification of anamorphic evolution.” John created the designs by using Auto CAD (computer aided design) using a drawing tablet.  Cast in recycled aluminium, the curves and shape of the collection reminds me, some how of worms which I find absolutely fascinating, I particularly like the dresser with the oddly shaped mirror.

I can’t find a price for the designs, I assume they will be priced to order and could set you back quite a bit.

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Filed under Bedroom Interiors, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Quirky

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 extraordinary Suitcase Chair

Interior Designers across the world are now firmly on the eco-friendly bandwagon and pushing their designs to new environmentally savvy heights. One designer from South Africa has demonstrated how old vintage suitcases can be transformed into chairs! Katie Thompson graduated from Design Time School of Interior Design in Cape Town with the aim to make the ordinary rather extraordinary.

The “Suitcase Chair” is my favorite of Katie’s designs, I just adore it’s quirkyness and the white linen set against the pale blue case gives this piece a beautiful and delicate personality. Also, the clever recycling of what can be seen as “junk” is a fantastic example to their designers wanting to be more forward thinking.

The chair has a steel reinforced internal structure with the body is covered in 100% white linen, with the buttons draped in floral Liberty fabric. I’m not sure how much this piece is, but going by her other designs which sell from £600 upwards, my guess is that it’s not going to be cheap, but neither is quality.

 

Image source: interiordesignsense.com

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Filed under Katie Thompson, News, Quirky, Soft Furnishings, Suitcase Chair, sustainable interiors, Up-cycling, upholstery