Category Archives: sustainable interiors

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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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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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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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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Design of the Day – Exposed industrial coat rack

A website called Brighton POD was brought to my attention by a colleague today and what a whimsical site it is! Full of eclectic and individually handmade pieces from up and coming designers. What I like about this site is how it acts as a propeller for new designers to showcase their work and also how buyers can contact the seller direct through the website which saves you trawling the internet for their email. To top that, buyers get a 14 day money back guarantee if they’re not happy with a purchase!

Inspired by the exposed piping in industrial buildings, Nick Fraser has created a coat rack which is made from copper pipes and brass fittings that are powder coated in bright colours. This design looks striking on the white wall and almost appears to be  part of a whole system hidden behind the wall. I love the impact this coat rack creates, it’s an instant eye-catcher.

You can buy this or any other of Nick Fraser’s coat racks from Brighton POD, this one will cost you £78 which I think is a bargain for such an origional piece.

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Design of the Day – Bahia Chair

Today’s Design of the Day is a show stopper! I’m just head over heals with the Bahia Chair designed by London based design studio, 20age. This beautiful and vibrant chair has been re-upholstered in yellow velvet cord and green checked cotton by British and Brazilian duo Emma Phelps and Mauricio Varlotta.

Not only do the yellow and green fabrics sit perfectly together, they’re surrounded by a sea of 5000 coloured ribbons stitched on the back and sides.

The ribbons are seen as a lucky charm in Brazil and are tied around the wrist with three knots, each representing a wish and when the band falls off the wishes come true . What an uplifting concept and harmonious combination of English and Brazilian heritage.

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The hottest new trend that everyone’s doing

Robin Birch, group Finance Director at the National Design Academy, has jumped on the up-cycling band wagon and embraced his creativity. Restoring old furniture isn’t just for the professionals, although Robin’s attempt is rather brilliant! He tells The Design Hub how he transformed unwanted items into a functional piece of furniture. Continue reading

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Filed under chic, country style, Eco-friendly, Living room Interiors, News, Periord Ideas, sustainable interiors, The National Design Academy, www.nda.ac.uk

Up-cycling made easy with Interior Designer Karen Lane

It’s the hottest new trend in the design sphere and I find myself banging on about up-cycling every week. But why not, Linda Barker‘s doing it, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and of course interior designers have been re-vamping tired furniture forever! If you’re wanting to save some pennies and transform your home don’t think you can’t have your cake and eat it, because you can!

Here are some examples of up-cycling by Interior Designer Karen lane, with a short guide of how to create the desired effect. So set aside a lovely Saturday or Sunday afternoon and enjoy being creative. If you need any advice on your project or want  Karen to sprinkle some of her magic on your furniture just  visit her website Autograph Interior Design or leave a comment. Continue reading

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Filed under Bathroom Interiors, Bedroom Interiors, chic, country style, Eco-friendly, Home Acessories, Kitchen Interiors, Living room Interiors, modern design, News, Periord Ideas, Quirky, Style, sustainable interiors, Up-cycling

Be quick submit your entry for the Design Awards 2011 before June

It’s your time to shine and show off that creative flair you’ve got! Entries for The Design Awards are flowing thick and fast so if you fancy your chances and want your design to be crowned Design of the Year, get those creative juices flowing and submit before it’s too late!

Organised by the publishers of  Designer magazine, the award scheme is supported by over 30 UK suppliers (including Siemens, SMEG and Candy) and celebrates innovative design across the home.  The competition categories include:

  1. Kitchen Design of the Year
  2. Bathroom Design of the Year
  3. Living Space Design of the Year
  4. Sustainable Design accolade Award for the best environmentally friendly design

The 2010 winner for Kitchen Design of the Year (over 25k) was  Ainhoa Bilbao, Bulthaup Mayfair and for under 25k Kieron Bell, Kitchens International. Joe Burns & Geraldine Maurice, Oliver Burns Interiors were the winners of the bathroom of the Year Design and Paul McAneary, Paul McAneary Architects scooped Living Space Design of the Year.

As well as the above, an additional category opens tomorrow (1st April), Product Innovation Awards which champions real innovative design and highlights the importance of driving creativity and forward thinking.

To enter the Design Awards you need to download and entry form PDF from the Designer magazine website and send your submission before 1st June 2011.

Good Luck!

Image By Joanna Ford – www.joannafordinteriors.au

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