Interiors UK 2013 Highlights – Starbay

star

MARILYN Vanity / Make up Trunk

Starbay is an international brand of upscale furniture in solid rosewood.  Their Avant Garde series was inspired by classic furniture from the British Colonial past and could easily have adorned a luxury ocean liner or colonial mansion in the time of the Raj. The style reflects the Parisian Art Deco era of the 1930s and would provide an excellent range for any designer trying to re-create the atmosphere of that period.

dresser3

Marie Galante Vanity / Makeup Trunk Walnut

Emanating from France, their collection includes distinctive colonial pieces not commonly found in ranges today. Beautifully crafted in American Black Walnut with a range of leather trims and upholstery, this range is distinctive and would undoubtedly create a talking point in an art deco, colonial or plantation style setting.

Alexandrie TV Cabinet

Their ranges include Bedroom, Office, Living Room and Dining Room furniture and also includes lighting.

VERA CRUZ SIDEBOARD

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Interiors UK 2013 – Highlights

interiorslogo

The weather was not particularly kind to those exhibiting and visiting at Interiors UK in Birmingham this year – with most of the UK under quite a few centimetres of snow – however, it did mean that browsing the show was actually surprisingly relaxing!

Its always great to use these exhibitions to see what trends will be in the retail stores in the coming years, get inspiration and ideas for upcoming projects and find new suppliers – and this year’s Interiors UK was no exception.

Over the next few posts we’ll share our favourite highlights of the show – and also  look at the New Design Britain Awards Winners, from our colleague at the NDA Interior Design school, Anthony Rayworth who was on the judging panel again this year.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 83,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Fond farewell from the Editor

As Autumn sets in and the leaves turn amber and fall from the trees,  my time as the Editor of The Design Hub has come to an end. I do hope you have enjoyed my posts over this last year, I have certainly enjoyed  sharing them.

The Design Hub will not end with my departure, it will continue to explore the exciting world of Interior Design with inspiring articles and industry coverage.

I am leaving to pursue a new career in freelance PR, photography and videography.

I wish all you all the very best in your journey with interior design, whatever guise that may be.

Cheerio!

Pete Morris

2 Comments

Filed under News

Tent London: Bright Shining Beacon for Contemporary Designers

In its sixth year, Tent London continues to be a bright shining beacon for independent contemporary  designers. Drawing consumers, interior designers and specifier’s with an eye for the not-so-ordinary. But why is it called Tent?

The show is actually split into two parts both conceptually and physically. The Ground floor was subject to ‘Super Brands London'; a rare opportunity to see a selection of the worlds most progressive furniture, lighting and interiors brands outside of Milan Saloni, who have long been absent from trade shows held in the UK.

The first floor is the main event, ‘Tent London’, and is dedicated entirely to fresh independent designers. It was where I headed first, knowing it would be the larger area to explore, however I hadn’t realised it would be quite so large, and quite so rammed to the gills with interesting people and products. After an hour I realised I hadn’t even made it down the first row yet. Already I could tell this was unlike any other interiors trade show I’d been to before; I was enjoying myself too much.

Tent was a joy to explore, I think it is because it champions the small independent designers so well, providing an affordable way for them to present their wares to the market.  Most of the actual designers and craftspeople were manning their own stalls; who better else to tell you about their great products than the people who made them and care deeply about them?  I’ve included a host of brief video interviews throughout this report that will give you a glimpse of the enthusiasm pouring out from these people.

StudioJonMale

Jon has turned his hand to many creative endeavours over the years, and his current interest lies in lamps that he creates by merging parts of old light fixtures he finds on Ebay.

Interview 09 from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

Alex Garnett

For some oversized spray can tip stools, giant submerged I ‘Heart’ New York mug chairs and ice cream and skull lamp shades, Alex Garnett is your man. Some weird and wonderful items that could easily be used in the right interior to add a bit of interest and surrealism.

 

Sarah Turner

We have featured the work of Sarah Turner on this blog before, most recently when she was commissioned to create recycled sculptures for the Olympic village. Here she introduces us to her new lamps.

Sarah Turner from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

Popalipana

The Silva Patio chair by Popalipana is an unpretentious patio / lounge chair with a great Caribbean aesthetic.

Popalipana’s from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

Sonya Winner

From bright lights to bright rugs. Sonya Winner creates bold and striking rugs constructed of concentric shapes. Her designs are inspired by famous artists work and can be wall hung as well as laid on the floor.

Sonya Winner from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

Zoe Murphy

This was Zoe’s fourth year at Tent. Her uniquely upcycled furnishings are doing very well and it’s easy to see why.

Zoe Murphy from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

Node

A non-profit social business that produces all their rugs with Kumbeshwar Technical School in Katmandu, Nepal. The school was set up as an education and support centre for disadvantaged people.

node from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

The rugs are all designed by top contemporary artists from around the UK, but any design can be made if so desired. The finished rugs are entirely hand made using traditional Tibetan carpet making techniques and pure Tibetan wool. The results are beautiful, merging traditional crafts with contemporary illustrators, graphic designers and artists.

Understorey

If contemporary sustainable funiture is more your bag then Understorey have a very considered approach to funiture design. I was most impressed with their coffee table that consists of three wooden pegs, clipped to the table top and held firmly in place by rope twisted around a stick.

Understory from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

SEER and VINCENT / VERA

One of the most impressive things I saw launched at Tent was this SEER table and chair set. It was impressive because it married function and form perfectly to make a table and chairs for four people seemlessly transform into a table and chairs for eight people.

SEER Table from NDA Foundation on Vimeo.

 

Freeform International Ltd

Fresh Taiwan was a stand that brought together many talented designers from Taiwan. It was an impressive array of many different homewares, but what I liked the most were the elegant Waving Tree cup holder, ZEN jewellery stand and The Blue Bird door hooks.

 

 

KIMU design

Although these aren’t strictly interior items I couldn’t help to be charmed by the Detective survival guide Notebook by KIMU design – kawaii!

 

Laszlo Tompa

The work of Lazlo Tompa on the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency stall was very impressive. His Flower Lamps and Cube Illusion box are lathe cut geometric shapes, cleverly fitted together to create an optical trick of the eye.

 

Kristjanas Williams

Former fashion designer Kristjana Williams has turned her talents to interiors, creating a wonderful collection that features vintage imagery that has been retouched and layered to make colourful fantasy landscapes featuring a plethora of objects and animals.



Tamasine Osher Design

This was the last stand I came to before leaving Tent and what a nice way to remember the show by. Tasasine Osher has been causing quivers with her designs for a little while now. Here she was exhibiting her new space saving shelf come bike rack, spring stools and wood pendant lamps. I’d read about the spring stools before, but it wasn’t until I sat on one that I realised they can actually be springy if you want them to be; just like having a kids play park in your home, I want one!


After spending the day at Tent, I was still none the wiser as too why it was named after an essential piece of outdoor camping gear. But upon reflection (and a quick google search) I found that Tent can also mean ‘to pay attention to” or “to attend” [Middle English tenten, from tent, attention, short for attent, from Old French attente]. So actually it’s a great name for a show because that’s exactly what Tent London does, it grabs your attention, it fire hoses your imagination with icy water and hypnotises you with eye watering good design.

1 Comment

Filed under News

Talking Grand Schemes with Kevin McCloud

The Design Hub has had the pleasure of talking to Grand Designs creator and eco building champion Kevin McCloud. Since it first aired in 1999, Grand Designs has had eleven series’, and as one of the UK’s most successful design programmes it shows no signs of stopping. Besides several spin offs, including the popular Grand Designs Live exhibitions, writing books and raising a family, Kevin has also entered into the world of construction with his company Hab (Happiness – Architecture – Beauty). Taking time out from his busy schedule, here is what he had to say:

 

DH: From your experience of working with the construction industry what do you think the barriers are regarding the use of sustainable designs and materials when building new homes?

KM: Though there are some fantastic things going on in the industry; there are some developers who have fully embraced sustainability and all it entails and all it means. One of the first problems within those camps is it is very hard to get the rank and file to join in. It’s very easy for the board and the senior management to buy-in, but to actually get buy-in further down the chain is harder and that’s because the wider industry is still pretty anti ‘green’ and to admit that you like building ‘green’ is tantamount to admitting your gay, and as far as I can see nobody in construction is gay. It’s one of those few primitive parts of the world which is yet to catch up the 20th century and it’s a shocking thing I’m afraid. It’s just a bizarrely macho male dominated thing, there are no women working in construction, it is a very very primeval world. I work in it, I’ve worked in it and I continue to work it and I’m repeatedly shocked by the attitudes within it, and I’m not talking about the Directors of companies. I’m talking about builders, I’m talking about the ground workers, the sub contractors. It’s a very gung ho world and as a result, anything that hints at namby pambyism is considered as highly suspicious. I’m talking about the industry in its widest sense here, there are pockets of good guys out there. Some companies are really trying to change these entrenched views, but others are less enthusiastic. For what I’ve done I meet with quite a lot of suspicion from large developers; but you know, I’ve been slagging them off for years.

DH: Despite the growing imperative to build sustainably, why are housing developments like The Triangle the exception and not the rule? What needs to change?

KM: I don’t know how much of an exception it is actually, it’s a project we’ve been working on. We’re working on several more now and with more enlightened builders and I’m very pleased to say there are constructors out there who do understand our objectives and share them. We’ve got some big legislative targets coming up, like the 2016 Zero Carbon in Construction and the 2050 Zero Carbon Britain target. The 2016 is a big one and I think it’s fairly safe to say that the industry is not ready for it. It’s getting there and the professionals get it;  by which I mean the quantity surveyors , engineers and architects. The MD’s get it, but it’s the rank and file who don’t, it’s about getting that big culture change down to the root.

It’s a shame we can’t do more, but had we not been in recession there might have been a bigger change. I think at the moment the entire construction industry and development world is in crisis and shock and is need of therapy. On the one hand we needed this recession, this shock, but on the other hand had we not had it perhaps we’d be building more, and building more adventurously.

DH: Building eco homes is one thing, but what do you think the key to changing people’s behaviour is, with regards to living less environmentally impactful lives?

KM: You’re absolutely right, you can build an eco home, but you can’t control how someone lives in that home. The real interesting stuff and the culture change all happens in the public realm. My social housing partners Greensquare Group who I am working on schemes with in Stroud and in Swindon are really good at coaching residents and that’s very helpful and I think very much a part of working in communities. However the really interesting stuff is happening in the public realm. If you want people to have a car club, a bicycle club, an allotment, some food growing plans, or just sharing lifts and having a healthy environment for kids to play in and a green space which is good for the soul and promotes sociability; all this stuff, plus traffic management and rain water harvesting is all down to your landscape architects. We work with Luke Ableback, who is a great Landscape Architect. I firmly believe that good social sustainability happens in the public realm, it is down to your landscape architects. It’s quite a controversial idea because traditionally architect types took the credit for that.

DH: All the homes at The Triangle in Swindon include a touch screen device called a ‘Shimmy’. A bit like an iPad that monitors energy usage and useful local, community and travel information. What other sustainable home technology has impressed you in recent years and why?

KM: I’m not an enormous fan of technology, it has its purpose, but the more complicated you make a home, the more things there are to go wrong. It’s one thing to think as an enlightened home owner that that’s what you want to do with your life, it’s quite another thing when you start to push it on to other people, and at The Triangle I think we learnt that. We had systems which our engineers were really excited about but which our residents thought were less than fascinating, because unless you are an engineer you are not that interested in spending your evening sorting out your heating controls. So we should be making our homes very very straight forward and I think that was a big lesson there.

DH: In the spirit of making things simpler, what do you think about providing communal spaces for meetings, sharing meals etc, similar to co-housing principles?

KM: We looked at that, and it would be very interesting to be in a position where we could afford to provide huge sociable spaces on projects, and pre-recession these things were a little bit easier. On the scheme in Stroud we are putting in an allotment building which is a sort of social space, come vegetable selling space, come storage space, come shelter from the rain. The building is very plugged into its environment, into the allotment itself. It’s a very simple shelter and I really like the idea of making buildings which aren’t too flash, but do a really important job.

DH: The Grand Design Live shows do a lot to educate about sustainable materials, systems and products*. Do you think that schools and universities have a responsibility to teach students about sustainability as part of any design based course?

I think it’s beginning to happen. Sustainability is beginning to be woven into design courses as a principle of design. I wrote a book a few years ago called 43 Principles of Home in which I sort of took the Vitruviun principles of firmness, commodity and of delight and I added a fourth which is sustainable.  I think that all products, all things we make should be well made, durable and fit for purpose. They should be beautiful, delightful and fun to use. They should also have done the minimal amount of harm in their manufacture and design, and that’s a very hard thing to ask or to police but I think it’s a fundamental requirement which, as we move toward a more sustainable way of living, that all our products and environments are ecological in composition but in performance as well. Yeah, why not, it seems like a reasonable ask really.

With regards to the show, we keep plugging away at the green agenda, we are promoting green self build, we are promoting the Governments ‘Green Appeal’. We have a green trail around the show for visitors to follow. The promotion of sustainability has and will get bigger and bigger. When we first started it was a drum I was banging in the corner and now it underscores the whole exhibition, even the way we put the exhibition together because it’s assessed for its green credentials as an exhibition; we have waste management policies, waste is hand sorted if it is not pre-sorted by consumers. We have a lot of recycling of carpets and of the fixtures and fittings. As an exhibition it’s a very green event itself.

*For further information about design courses that feature sustainability as a core module, visit our education partner National Design Academy.

 

DH: With the rise in popularity of Interior Design as both a hobby and a career these days, do you think too much emphasis is being put on what the inside of a home looks like stylistically and not enough on how a home functions as a living space?

KM: Well that was what my book was about! I wrote 300 pages about people saying to me, ‘what’s fashionable? What’s trending at the moment?’ and I’d say ‘I have no idea’, and if I did it would be pointless me telling you because it will be out of fashion next week by the time you go to print.

Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect said there’s no point to try and be fashionable because it takes so long to do; it takes ten years to put a building together, so you know it’s out of date.

Taste changes with time and age, with socio-economic class. We all have different tastes, we all believe our taste is better than our neighbours and it’s not true. Buildings get torn down and skirt lengths get shorter and longer, but in the end the one thing I do know is that taste is a nonsense. Good quality design, a well made thing, quality of design and quality of manufacture; those things are tangible, you can recognise those, we can all recognise those. We all know a well made thing when we see it, handle it and use it, and it lasts, and that’s what matters. So I deliberately avoid all the questions about ‘trending’.

DH: You live in a 15th Century Farmhouse, have you had to make many compromises regarding retaining the original heritage features* of the property against modernising it for sustainable living?

No, not hugely. I’ve done that thing with an old building if you want it to be sustainable; I grow trees, I burn wood in wood burners and I heat it with a wood pellet burner. I put in Photovoltaic Thermal Panels connected to a heat pump for the central heating so that the system is relatively off the grid now and I’ve got the straight forward Photovoltaics as well. All these you’d consider retro fitted, the panels are all ground mounted. I’ve also been experimenting with one or two insulation products to see how well they perform in an old building. No, it hasn’t compromised the aesthetics or the historical narrative of the building at all. I put secondary glazing in but everything is reversible, its removable, I haven’t double glazed it, I’ve just put a secondary glazing panel in and… I wear pullovers.

*For further information about Heritage Interior Design courses, visit our education partner National Design Academy.



DH: What do you think the most valuable thing people can do to improve their homes is?

Spend the money on the bones for sure; on insulating it,  draft proofing, making it comfortable and then double insulating – because it’s money well spent; you can earn it back in a few weeks.

The other thing I like to see people spend money on is design. Services of professionals that make the project go well and be the most useful and beautiful thing it can be. I also think people should spend money on light switches and taps, and hand rails, and door handles; all the stuff you touch. Your lips can tell the difference between cut glass, fine cut lead crystal and cheap pressed glass. In just handling it you can feel the difference between porcelain and terracotta and you can tell the difference between a cheap, nasty cast handle and a beautifully made stainless steel European cast one. The hands, lips and finger tips are the most sensitive parts of the body, and after sight and smell the touch of our hands on objects is the most important way by which we judge them.

DH: Finally what do you think makes a design grand?

Very simple. It’s not money, it’s vision – and the vision can be extreme. It can be spending very little money on doing something outrageous or adventurous and with that vision always comes risk, the two are intertwined. Those are the key things; vision and risk, and they are inseparable.

Kevin McCloud is the ambassador for Grand Designs Live Birmingham (12th– 14th October 2012, NEC). This leading contemporary home show is based on the  popular TV program. For more information and to buy tickets visit www.granddesignslive.com or call the box office on 0844 854 1348.

If you missed Grand Designs Live in London back in May you can read my report here and part two here.

 

2 Comments

Filed under News

A to Z of Interior Design: K is for…

Kartell

Kartell is an Italian company that was founded in 1949 and quickly established themselves as innovators of new production methods and technological advances in plastic. originally manufacturing car accessories, the company turned its attention to home furnishings in 1963.

The modern design and modern contemporary furniture collection from Kartell contains a vast array of classic design icons created by a team of designers of international fame: Ron Arad, Anna Castelli Ferrieri, Antonio Citterio, Michele De Lucchi, Patrick Jouin, Ferruccio Laviani, Piero Lissoni, Vico Magistretti, Alberto Meda, Enzo Mari, Paolo Rizzatto, Maarten Van Severen, Philippe Starck and Patricia Urquiola.

Kartell continue to produce modern, award-winning furniture designs for the home, office and retail sector.

http://www.kartell.it/

1 Comment

Filed under News

Asking the experts: How do you design a Digital Media Room?

It’s hardly a revelation that digital media is such an important part of our everyday lives; smart phone’s, tablets, digital TV, games consoles, music systems and computers are the basis for most of our entertainment these days, and as such private clients expect Interior Designers to be able to integrate these elements together in a digital media room.

But how exactly do you bring all of these elements together in a way that is easy and fun to use? Gone are the days of hiding a cathode ray tube television set in a cupboard, now anything from a 40 up to a 103 inch flat screen TV is the main feature and portal for every home entertainment desire and more.

Designing a Digital Media Room is very technical and it is advisable to consult an expert, at least when it comes to integrating digital entertainment systems and making them simple and intuitive to use. But regardless of the actual technology side of things there are still a lot of elements that Interior Designers should be aware of to help them create the digital media room that their client wants.

To help determine what the important considerations are for designing a digital media room I spoke to Miguel Soto who is the Consulting and Design Director at Diamond Technology Limited, a firm that specialises in designing custom integration systems for Electronic System Contractors (ESC’s).

 

DH (Design Hub) – What considerations should be made when planning a digital media room for a client?

MS – The most important considerations are:

1. Budget – How much money does the client want to invest in the space at that particular time?

2. Dimensions of the space – This will determine what equipment will work best in the space.

3. Purpose of the space – Exactly how does the client see themselves using the space? Do they want a cinema like experience or something that the whole family can use?

4. Furniture – What furniture will be used the room?

5. Size of the flat panel display and/or projection screen.

6. Space for a projector if needed – Now projectors can be placed basically anywhere, in front or behind the screen or hidden out of sight in the ceiling or furniture. But there are some other considerations to have in mind, like the size of the projection screen, shape of the room, proper ventilation and appropriate space to fit the projector.

7. Size of the speakers – This will be determined by the budget, size of the room and the client’s preference. There are thousands of different choices based on design, colour, quality and performance.

8. Lighting design/control – I think this discipline is one of the most important and interesting areas of a digitally integrated system. Done correctly it gives the sensation of living in an intelligent home, without the need to even touch a button. The predetermined lighting scenes change effortlessly between a traditional lit interior to an extraordinary interactive experience that enhances digital entertainment and comfort. Different lighting plans work for different uses, so it is important to know how the client plans to use their digital media and how lighting will affect each experience.

9. Do they want it to be integrated with other sub-systems such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, health care for assisted living, window treatment, CCTV and security?

DH – What are the first questions to ask a client?

MS – 1. What is the desired Functionality of the room?

2. What are the Expectations of the room?

3. What is the Budget?

In the world of system integration there are a lot of variations in design, price and performance. Everything is related to the lifestyle of the client, how they plan to use the room, and how much they want to spend.

For example a £10K media room will be completely different to a one with a budget of £100K. Even if the system consists of the same types of components. An analogy that I always use is comparing a Volkswagen Golf to a Ferrari. They are both functional cars that will get you where you want to go, however the Ferrari is made of extremely high performance components and as such costs ten times as much. It is the same with the components of the loudspeakers, audio/video processors, control and amplifiers, if it is super high performance that the client wants, then they will have to pay for that experience, and believe me it’s an amazing experience.

 

DH – What pitfalls should Interior Designers avoid when planning a digital media room?

MS – The most important problem to avoid is the wiring. Before anything else the correct wiring must be planned and set into the walls at a reasonable stage of the construction.

Wireless technology is improving all the time and eventually the digital media in the house will all be wireless, but as an expert I strongly suggest that hard wiring a house is still essential.

Everything in a digital media room is connected via wires embedded in the walls. This gives the best signal and performance possible for audio and visual equipment. Access points are installed at various points so that equipment can be plugged into each other.

The worse thing that could happen would be for the room to be decorated and furnished, then having to tear holes in the plaster to fit missing wires. Wiring is only a fraction of the cost of the budget, but if planned well, it can enable a client to upgrade any part of their digital media room as they wish because the infrastructure will already be in place.

DH – Are there any other things to be aware of such as optimum distance from speakers, angle of speakers etc?

MS – For the speakers there is no golden rule, but generally the minimum distance of the speakers to the viewer/listener should be no less than two meters. The optimal height for surround sound speakers is 1.4 meters, as the average height of seated person is 1 meter, so positioned at 1.4 meters the sound will project above and below. However, with the right know how speakers can be placed anywhere in the ceiling and calibrated to give the right performance for any room.

It is important to remember that if the space is large then small speakers and poor quality equipment will affect the sound quality, and the sound volume will not fill the space properly.

When I started my business more than ten years ago, one of my first clients had a low budget for a large space, we fit the system in his house and after we finished he was really disappointed by the performance of the speakers and of course the blame turned to us, as we had agreed to fit a poor performance system for that specific room. I’m not saying that the speakers or the equipment where bad, they just weren’t enough for the size of the room.

So, after this lesson I would rather walk away from a client than fit something that will compromise my reputation.

 

DH – So far we have only talked about the space itself, but behind the scenes of a digital media room there is a Rack System that holds and controls all the hardware. What considerations need to be made regarding this?

MS – Yes this is a critical part of the design and installation; lots of clients do not plan for the placement of the rack system in their house, and this can compromise the performance and the life expectancy of the equipment.

There must be adequate space for the rack and all the cables in a separate room like a cloakroom. Minimum space required is 1 meter x 1 meter, and the room must have ventilation and dedicated power circuit. The minimum length of the cables for all the systems going into the rack is 2 meters. This gives room to manoeuvre so things can be modified and moved if required.

Also it is important to have a separate electric circuit for the rack system; otherwise turning on a blender may interfere with the sound and image.

DH – What other things could an integrated digital system like this do?

MS – Because we are using devices like the iPads, iPhones, Androids and other sophisticated control panel’s, there really is no limit to the amount of systems that can be hooked in. A very common one is the house alarm and security cameras, but increasingly I am working with Institutions and clients who need special automated systems to help them cope with health concerns, meaning they can live independently in their homes for longer.

 

DH – Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, is there anything else you’d like to say about digital media rooms?

MS – Always team up with the specialists recognised by CEDIA “Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association”. Working with a professional team like ours means that together we can deliver a great experience to the end user.

Feel free to contact us for any future projects or even just for advice, we’ll be more than happy to help you with your project. Just to clarify we are a Design and Consulting Firm we do not do installations, we design the systems for Electronic Systems Contractors, however we count with an exclusive and selective group of Custom Integrators who can help you with your installation, we have coverage all over the UK and Europe in the residential, marine and commercial markets.

The video above shows a time-lapse of the installation of a digital media room at the Muralto london showroom by RSAV Solutions, who design and install bespoke automation and audio visual systems for home and business. The design was done by Migel Soto and Rob Sullivan.

4 Comments

Filed under News

A to Z of Interior Design: J is for…

Jacobson (Arne)

Arne Jacobsen (1902-71) is the Danish architect who mastered the interpretation of international functionalism. His architecture includes a considerable number of epoch defining buildings in  Denmark, Germany and Great Britain. He is also perhaps more famous for his iconic furniture designs, such as the ‘Egg chair’.

In 1930 he established his own design office and worked independently as an architect, interior, furniture designer, textile and ceramics designer. A major source of inspiration stemmed from the bent plywood designs of Charles and Ray Eames. He was also influenced by the Italian design historian Ernesto Rogers, who had proclaimed that the design of every element was equally important “from the spoon to the city” which harmonised well with his own ideals.

The “Ant” from 1952 became the starting point of his world fame as a furniture designer and became the first of a number of lightweight chairs with seat and back made from one piece of moulded wood. Model “3107” from 1955 is often merely called “The Number Seven Chair”. “3107” has become the most important success in Danish furniture history, with over five million manufactured.

During the 1960´s Arne Jacobsen turned his focus to using classic forms such as the circle, cylinder, triangle, and cubus. Both the stainless steel tableware set “Cylinda-Line” and the “AJ” lamp series reflect this.

All Arne Jacobsen´s designs have become international design classics and are used in modern interiors throughout the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Eco designer, Sarah Turner, creates large recycled chandeliers and sculptures for London 2012 Olympics

Sarah Turner (featured previously in this post) is a Nottingham based eco designer who has been gaining notoriety for her use of recycled materials to produce intricate lighting designs for interior design projects.

Her latest high profile customer is Coca Cola who commissioned Sarah to make lighting and a massive recycled sculpture for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Coca Cola first noticed Sarah’s work over a year ago and have been in contact ever since. They decided that Sarah was the right person for the job to design and make the bespoke lighting and sculpture for their Hospitality Centre at the Olympic Park.

Thrilled to be chosen, Sarah said: “When I first started making lights from waste plastic bottles I always hoped that Coca Cola would notice me and my work and get in touch. So being commissioned by them for the Olympics really is a dream come true for me. It feels like a great honour to be working with Coca Cola for this once in a life time event. ”

The lights make quite a statement being two metres wide and are made using 190 plastic Coca Cola bottles each. There are five of the large lights in total, each is made up of rings of the plastic bottles and a globe in the middle. The globe is Sarah’s Cola 30 design which is made from, you guessed it,  30 Coca Cola bottles; each one hand cut and sculpted into decorative forms.

The Cola 30 was the first light Sarah made from waste plastic bottles when she first started her work over four years ago. This was the design Coca Cola first noticed and expressed interest in, after all it is made using their bottles and is named after them!

“I wanted the lights to have an Olympic look to them which is why I chose to make them as circular disks with rings of the plastic bottles, reminiscent of the Olympic rings. I also liked the idea of having the classic looking light bulbs visible, it reminded me of the infamous Coca Cola Christmas truck. I really wanted to include my Cola 30 light, I thought the contrast between the whole plastic bottles and the transformation they go through with the Cola 30 was a fantastic thing to show.” said Sarah

They also commissioned her to make an enormous sculpture nine metres tall made from waste Coca Cola bottles and cans. Thousands of pieces were hand cut then tied onto invisible wires in the form of a diver freeze framed in three different stages of a high dive. When the breeze catches the wires the pieces spin and move adding life and energy to the sculpture.

Sarah said: “I thought that as sport and the Olympics is all about energy, activity and movement, I wanted to somehow portray this in the sculpture. This is when I thought about showing a high diver in different stages of the dive. Diving fascinates me, it’s so precise and graceful yet quick and over in a moment. I thought by capturing and almost freeze framing the dive in its different stages we can look at them in more detail and celebrate them.”

This idea works very well in the space. The diver jumps off the high board on the first floor, turns into a pike through the stairwell and the final stage is the diver entering the water. The final stage is a personal favourite of Sarah’s, just the legs are shown entering the water and a big splash is created. She says: “I think this adds a little humour to the piece as well as intrigue to the guests as they first enter the centre. They will just see the two legs sticking out of the water and will make them want to see the rest of the story”.

The ‘splash’ is made using waste plastic bottles which are then melted to give the bubbly texture and look of water.

Coca Cola  have already commissioned Sarah for more work, she has just finished creating table centre pieces for the Langham Hotel in central London. Coca Cola have taken over this prestigious hotel for their guests to stay in for the duration of the Olympics so hopefully this is just the start of fruitful collaboration!

1 Comment

Filed under News