Monthly Archives: January 2012

Best of Interiors UK 2012 Part 1: Contemporary Interiors

The Design Hub went to the latest Interiors UK event this week to scope out what’s hot in the world of interiors. Held at the behemoth that is Birmingham’s NEC, Interiors UK has been a valuable trade resource for over 25 years and an essential event for British Interior Designers; a useful place to research trends, make new connections and gain some inspiration.

For discovering cutting edge contemporary design we found The Design Village to be a welcome and friendly place to hang out, here’s what caught our eye there:

Modern Windsor Chairs by Sitting Firm

Classic Windsor style chairs receive a fantastic contemporary twist thanks to small family run business Sitting Firm. The workmanship and use of wood is fantastic. For chairs that feel modern and yet are steeped in tradition you need look no further.

Mensa Coffee table by Lazerian

The special edition carbon fibre edition of Lazerian’s dazzling Mensa Coffee table grabbed my attention straight away, as did the price tag: £9,000, which isn’t surprising once you consider that gram for gram carbon fibre costs the same as gold. The more affordable birch plywood version is available for £2,000.

‘Outside in’ reclaimed wood lamps and furniture by Nic Parnell

Tucked into one corner of The Design Village were these vibrantly coloured lamps and furniture created by designer Nic Parnell. Using reclaimed materials (apart from the Nylon Flock covering them of course) these lamps and coffee tables offer an original visual feast. Whilst not commercially yet available, Nic is finding himself busy creating items for commission. He plans to develop the range further by using other materials to cover the wood such as rubber and metal.

Illuskate tables by Stuart Melrose

Taking inspiration from skateboard art and materials, Stuart Melrose has produced a colourful range of tables/benches that I’m sure will prove to be very popular in homes and retail spaces.

The Design Village also hosted the The New Design Britain award which recognises up and coming design graduates and provides the winners with industry work placements.  The two notable stars of this years awards were James Uren who won the first prize for furniture design for his elegant, modular Chaise Longue design called the Luso Lounger (pictured below).

Lucy Alice Porter won the Highly Commended award for her multi purpose storage/seat/table design that uses woven material to create her highly unique style, which we would love to see commercially available! You can read a full report on these awards at The National Design Academy’s website as their Directors of Studies was on the judging panel.

Moving away from The Design Village and into the trade stands, there was still some commercial contemporary tid bids to catch our eyes. Whitebox Lighting are the UK retailers for italian design collective Emporium who make these wonderfully psychedelic lamps and lampshades.

Finally my last tip for contemporary interiors comes down to comfort as much as style. With the rising popularity of family media rooms and lounging about in ‘wearable blankets’, I found myself adding these modern bean bags by Beanbagcrazy to my ‘must have’ list for 2012. You can even use them outdoors thanks to the special outdoor fabric as these rather nice photo sets show.

Part two of this report from Interiors UK will focus on more traditional interiors, so if you are into heritage interiors stay tuned!


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Top trend tips direct from the experts

I’ve spoken to some of the tutors at renowned Interior Design School, The National Design Academy, to find out what their top interior design trend tips for 2012 are, here’s what they said:

Vicky Arbuthnot

“Pantone has just announced their colour of the year for 2012, and tangerine is most definitely in! Tangerine Tango (Pantone number 17-1463) is a dramatic and seductive twist to Pantone’s former 2011 colour of the year, Honeysuckle. Many forms of orange have, over the years, become increasingly popular with designers, so this is the next step in the orange evolution. Much more energizing and attention grabbing, the colour is now finding its way into the interiors product market, with the likes of Tom Dixon (pendant light), Designers Guild (stripe fabric) and the Carl Hansen ‘Wishbone Chair’ all having the tangerine treatment. It’s not a colour for the fainthearted, but exudes confidence, cool sophistication and vivacious energy.

Kim Moore

“Thanks to Kate’s royal wedding dress and our love for all things British, mixed with the 2011 trend of vintage glam, the UK’s design industry is rediscovering the power and charm of lace.”

Natasha Wymer

“My top tip for 2012 is to mix the old with the new for a really eye-catching interior!  Pieces of furniture designed and made centuries apart can sit happily side by side if you are clever with how you go about it. You can also add a beautiful modern look to old furniture by changing the upholstery to a modern fabric. This is an affordable way to update the look of a room and is eco friendly as you are reusing antique pieces!”


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Love is in the air…

Valentine’s Day may be a month away, but if you want to get that ‘special someone’ something special, then now’s the time to start thinking about what to get, otherwise you could find yourself on the 14th of February in the checkout queue at Clinton Cards with an ‘I love you’ teddy bear.

So to help you out a wee bit I’ve compiled some gift ideas with an obvious Interior Design twist for you to browse at your leisure.

Help them ‘unwind’ after a hard day with these wine scented Rewined Candles made from hand cut recycled wine bottles and hand filled with soy blend wax candles available from

Also from Esty is this very cute ‘A little bird told me…’ Valentine bird A3 print.

Light up your lovers life with this nifty looking LED desk / book light. This innovative little number is charged via USB and can be removed from its base and taken to bed clipped on to a book. Available  from

Nothing says ‘I love watching you sit’ than an Eames designer chair, but if you are struggling to afford (or justify) the cost of an orginal, then for £50 these Eames style RAR lounge chairs on Ebay will surely make your wallet/purse/partner smile :¬)

Wouldn’t it be romantic if your other half remembered to put their pants in the wash instead of leaving them on the bathroom floor? Now you can remind them with a personalised quote wall sticker! Available for £18 from

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Blinded by the light

Regular readers may have noticed that I get quite excited about lighting here at The Design Hub (see previous posts: The Future’s Bright; Best of Decorex 2011), and its true, it only takes one fancy bulb or lamp to turn my head and cause involuntary wolf whistles, but this one is different; do you believe in love at first sight?

So what is my latest crush?: AlessiLux

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Designed by Alessi and manufactured by Foreverlamp, these LED bulbs and bases move away from the original incandescent, filament glowing bulb design and instead invoke memories of traditional gas lamps of old, from a time before electricity lit the home.

Alberto Alessi himself sums up the designs: “The topic brought us towards a kind of evaporation of the boundaries between light bulbs and lamps in a most natural way: actually, some of the projects are probably closer to a real lamp than to a simple bulb. It’s as if hiding those boring, anonymous and often truly ugly light bulbs will no longer be necessary”.

You can browse the whole range at Foreverlamps European website:

And while I’m on the subject, just check out this other gorgeous light by South Korean based designer Doolight.

Called the Droplight and Droplight mini, its modular design means the lights can be used independently of its hanging base which charges them up.

Its no use, I can’t just settle for one new light design, monogamy just wont work for me; I think I’m in love with more than one bright young thing.

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Do you know your design classics?

The Interiors UK show is just around the corner and they have launched a Facebook game for Interior Designers to test their knowledge of design classics. Some of the designers featured in the game include: Sir Terence Conran, Robin Day, Eileen Gray and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Do You Know Your Design? offers prizes to everyone who plays the game. Each participant is entitled to two Design Museum tickets for the price of one. There are also two main prizes available to interiors professionals – a Chesterfield bed from Frank Hudson and a vintage Glove Armchair from Content by Conran. Both of the brands are exhibiting in Hall 1 at INTERIORS UK between 22-25 January 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham.

So if you think you know your design, go here: and play the game.

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New year. New career?

“I wish I could make a living doing something I loved” – Sound familiar? Many of us think along these lines at the beginning of a new year; Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are over and people are faced with going back to a job that they most likely aren’t very excited about.

But that doesn’t have to be the case! The beauty of being a Human is that we can make choices and we can change things. It’s often just our insecurities that prevent us from taking the plunge, our overactive imaginations asking questions like: “What if I can’t make it in a new career?”, “What if I try it and don’t like it?”, “What if I don’t have time to study a new course?”

The problem is they are all negative “What if” questions, try asking yourself some positive “What if” questions too, like: “What if I start on the path to a new career and find it inspiring and rewarding?”, “What if I discover something new about myself?”, or “What if it makes my life more satisfying?”

The problem with asking yourself “What ifs?” is you can never truly know the answers unless you take a course of action, and with a change in career that often involves doing a course and re-educating yourself, which in itself is a scary prospect and adds to the negative “What ifs”.

Distance learning means that you can fit doing a course around your job and your home life, yes it will be hard work, but changing your career should be a challenge, albeit an enjoyable one.

The biggest “What if” around education at the moment is of course this years hike in enrolment fees; “What if I can’t afford to do the course?”, but if you are interested in learning Interior Design then I must remind you that if you enrol and start a degree course with our friends at distance learning college, The National Design Academy, before July this year, you will still receive government funding.

If you don’t qualify for a degree course yet, NDA also provide Level 3 Diploma’s in Interior Design from £395 that anyone can do and then progress on to a degree. If you are unemployed and receiving benefits the diploma is only £105.

I know I’ve gone on about this before, but if money is an issue (when is it not?) then now is the time to decide if you can start on the path to a new Interior Design career, because it might never be this cheap to study Interior Design in the UK again.

More information about funding and course fees at The National Design Academy can be found here and here.

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Welcome back to the Hub!

We hope you all had a great festive break and enjoyed your new year celebrations.

Now that 2012 is in full swing we would like to welcome our followers back to Hub where we are busy making plans for the year ahead; here’s whats on our mind: Interior Design events and lots of them, soon!

Here is a brief run down of the events coming up in January and February:

HOME – Homeware and Interior Accessories

15 Jan 2012 – 17 Jan        Earls Court 2, London

Interiors UK – Furniture, Lyfestyle and design

22 Jan 2012 – 25 Jan       NEC, Birmingham

Winter Fair – Antiques, Mid-century Modern, Textiles, Art

24 – 29 Jan 2012               Battersea park, London

Hotelypmia – Cafe, pub, bar, restaurant hotels and other commercial interior design

26 Feb 2012 – 01 Mar 2012          Excel London

We’ll be bringing you reports from some of these events, so keep coming back to The Design Hub for the latest Interior Design news.



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