Monthly Archives: March 2012

A to Z of Interior Design: A is for…

Spring has most certainly sprung, in fact today it feels like summer has pounced!

To celebrate the warm sun on our faces, The Design Hub will be doing an A – Z of Interior Design, starting with…

A is for Alessi, to coincide with the release of a special limited edition of one of their most famous pieces, the ‘Anna Etoile’ corkscrew by Alessandro Mendini.

It costs a whopping £30,000 and is made with gold, diamonds, topaz and coral!


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Last chance for funded Interior Design Degree

Distance learning Interior Design School, The National Design Academy (NDA), is reducing its Diploma course fees to make them even more affordable and to encourage more students to fast track onto a Degree course before the government cuts higher education funding, causing huge fee increases from September.

Until 30 April, NDA’s Diploma in Professional Interior Design and Diploma in Professional Curtain Making & Soft Furnishings will only cost £250 (down from £395) for those students eligible for funding*. A further £50 off is available if the course is paid for in full before the start date, reducing the price to £200.

These courses are flexible and can be studied via part-time distance learning allowing students to continue with existing work and family commitments. For students who would rather study face to face with a tutor, the funded* cost for the In-Studio course has dropped to £400 (down from £595).

These new Diploma prices apply regardless of whether students intend to progress onto a Degree or not and no special entry requirements are needed, but once completed they do provide a basis for starting a new career in an exciting industry or access to a Degree programme.

NDA’s Diplomas are validated and accredited by AIM Awards as being equivalent to standard A-Level and provide a great introduction into interior design that will develop the skills and confidence required to work on projects for family and friends and the qualifications essential to progress onto a BA ( Hons ) Degree.

To enrol visit to and complete the enrolment form, or call their enrolment team on 01159 123412 and start your education today.

Points to remember

• Degree funding ends on 30 August. Students must be enrolled before this date to still receive funding for a Degree. After this you can access a student loan.

• Diploma prices dropped to allow students to ‘fast track’ onto a Degree course before the government cuts its funding and fees go up in August.

• Instalment plans are available to help spread the cost.

*Funded prices apply to residents of England, Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands, Gibraltar and BFPO. Please see the website for full funding eligibility.

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Don’t forget mum!

This Sunday is Mother’s day, so whatever you do, don’t forget mum. Here are some homely gift ideas to help you remember.

Franchini Fuchsia Bath Robe – The Designers Guild


This is the perfect gift for the mother who likes to be pampered (show me a mum who doesn’t!). Beautiful pure cotton soft white towelling bath robe with a woven striped trim of smart pink and white, or smart black and white.

Nkuki Frames – Dalani Home and Living

From £13

Wide variety of gorgeous photo frames, finished in creamy hues, made from distressed wood and designed with intricately carved details by talented artisans. These antique-inspired frames are a perfect way to display those precious moments and some add provincial-chic style to her home.

Magnotag Kitchenware – SUCK UK

From £12

She’ll never burn her fingers again cooking a sunday dinner with this handy set of magnetic oven gloves and tea towels.

LOVE canvas prints – MADE.COM

£49 (on sale until sunday, RRP £129)

What better way to say ‘I love you‘ than with four large canvas prints that spell love? Designed by Lucinda Ireland, these 40cm x 40cm prints will always remind her of how you feel.

Prints are also available that spell ‘Me & You‘ and ‘HOME

Personalised Enamel Tin – Not on the high

From £28

A fun way to get a hand painted personalised message displayed, especially if your mother is a grandmother, because all grandmother’s need a biscuit tin.

Flower Bouquets – Marks and Spencer

From £25

Add some fragrant floral beauty to any home with a fresh flower bouquet, it is spring after all. M&S do a great range for mother’s day and they deliver.

Mother’s Day Cards – Not on the high

From £1.99

Great choice of card designs, including ones that can be personalised.


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The ARC Show: Tripping the light fantastic

Here at The Design Hub I’ve been getting excited about the bright future of LED lighting (pun intended) for ages, so you can imagine how excited I must have been to be going to the UK’s premier architectural, retail and commercial lighting show.

The show was held at the Business Design Centre in London, an exhibition hall that is also home to lots of local business’s. Each business unit has clear glass windows so you can clearly see what’s going on in each one, there is even a fitness/boxing gym where you see people sparing. With the trade show on two floors in the centre the place feels alive. However after wandering around for half an hour my initial excitement was somewhat squashed. The promotional material sent out prior to the show had led my overactive imagination to believe that my eyes would be assaulted from all corners by dazzling displays of mind bending light installations, but that was the evening before, I’d come just for the trade show.

Many traders at the show were selling their skills as masters of complex architectural and theatrical lighting, creating incredibly intricate and large scale projects on a bespoke basis. This meant many stands consisted mostly of case studies and images of previous projects. But beyond this there were still many things that impressed me from an interior design point of view, here’s what I found:

°on line – design by Bart Lens.  Available through Vista Light Ltd

Vista Light’s stall  showcased some brilliantly designed products, but the one that stuck out the most was also the most understated. Like most good design the °on line series of lights is functional simplicity. Using a magnetic track installed in the ceiling, different light units can simply be placed in the track and angled any way they need, as easily as putting a magnet on the fridge. They are sleek, unobtrusive and adaptable; ideal for using to highlight feature walls and objects. The fittings come in three types: dot – a mini adjustable spot light; knick – a positionable and angular sheet; built in or wall mounted – for discrete lighting.

At first I thought these lights were for use in gallery’s and museums, but they are actually mostly used in private residencies.

Koncept  – Ergonomic LED lighting. Available from Ergo.

This range of desk and floor standing lamps were understandably gathering a lot of interest at the show. Their slim, angular looks grabbed my attention straight away; reminding me of a 21st century version of the angle poise lamp. They move around their pivots easily, holding any position and they look very cool. Targeted to architects who are designing office spaces, because that’s where the bulk of sales are made, they are perfect to be used to add a finishing touch to a home office or bedside table.

IRIS by Spectral Lighting

Another impressive retail and commercial targeted light was the award winning IRIS. Designed as a transparent halo of light, it is moulded from clear acrylic, and uses clever optical technology to make glare free lighting and excellent performance. Available in suspended, recessed, surface and wall-mount, IRIS can be customised with the addition of opal foils and colour filters to dramatically alter its appearance.

LED Light Sheet by Appletec

This product is as versatile as your imagination. It basically consists of an plastic sheet with a grid etched into it and colour changing LED bulbs integrated all around the edge. The effect is that the plastic sheet glows bright and even and is ideal for all kinds of uses.

Some of the ways designers had used it included: Glowing recycled glass splash back; product shelves in stores; poster and exhibition displays;  ambient kitchen lighting; large scale signage.

Fibre Optic Lighting by Universal Fibre Optics

Can you guess what this company specialises in? That’s right! Bespoke fiber optic lighting. Fibre optics has many advantages over conventional lights. There is no electricity in the fibre optic, so they can be installed in wet and damp areas like swimming pools, showers and bathrooms. They are very versatile and can be used to line steps, create chandeliers, in floor lighting and so on. If you are lucky enough to have the budget and freedom to consider using fibre optics on a project, your only limitation will be your imagination.

Bespoke lighting by Inspired By Design

If you are looking for some lighting inspiration then browse Inspired by Design’s vast gallery of lighting solutions. If you are looking for advice about creating something unique, these guys have got bags of experience, and a great eye for good design.

By the end of my time at The ARC show my excitement had returned. The limitless creativity that was demonstrated by these lighting companies was astounding. I was often speaking to the actual engineers and designers themselves who were visibly excited at the possibilities that the new LED technologies had opened up for them. In the future we’re all going to have to wear shades.

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Celebrating the women who are having a big impact on Interior Design

As it is International Women’s Day today I thought I’d celebrate it by choosing five up and coming (and some who have arrived) women who are making waves in the world of Interior Design.

In no particular order:

1) Kelly Wearstler

Since setting up her practice, Kelly Wearstler Interior Design, a decade ago in Los Angeles, she’s become accepted as one of the most important contemporary designers of luxury interiors in the Hollywood Regency style. If you are looking to add a bit of glam to your own spaces, Kelly is the perfect person to look for inspiration from.

2) Imogen Heath

Imogen Heath has worked as a textile designer since 2004, selling her designs to fashion and interior companies all over the world. In June 2011, Imogen received funding from the Princes Trust, and launched her first small collection of interior focused products.

Drawing on her experience as a skilled printer and weave designer, Imogen uses her own work as an outlet to express her passion for contemporary and complex pattern design. Imogen’s ideas are endless and she looks forward to introducing more and more delightful patterns into your home.

3) Helena Karelson

Estonian born Helena Karelson has created quite a buzz on the interior design scene. A previous recipient of the D&AD New Blood award and the New Design Britain award, Helena has also curated an exhibition at the Milan Furniture Fair.

Helena has a fascination with light and shade in combination with colours and materials. Her work is inspired by the relationship between textures and colours that complement each other and create a poetic and interesting interior.

4) Louise Tiler

2011 was a great year for recent graduate of the BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design, Louise Tiler, who won the Business Design Centre New Designer of the Year award 2011 and was the Grand Prize Winner of the SURTEX 2011 designext Student Design Competition. She also wonthe Tigerprint online competition 2010 and got 1st prize at the Bradford Textiles Competition.

Louise now hopes to start up her own business designing bespoke wallpapers and fabrics. To see more of Louise’s work visit her website:

5) Ghislaine Viñas (pronounced “ghee -lan veen – yas”)

Born in the Netherlands and raised in South Africa, Ghislaine brings a special blend of international sensibility, intuitive style, humor and refreshing enthusiasm to her work. She is driven by her passion for interior design especially by form and color. “Color excites me. As a child, I would feel a rush of excitement when opening a box of crayons”.

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