Clerkenwell Design Week 2019

Clerkenwell design week is one of the most anticipated design events of the year. It is a bit of a misnomer as ‘the week’ only lasts for three days.

Each year the design practices, interior companies and product designers open their doors for visitors to enjoy what is new and engaging in the design industry. Every year Clerkenwell Design Week presents new design projects and street spectacles, commissioned specially for the festival and featured prominently around Clerkenwell. Inviting some of the leading pioneers in the creative industry, these projects aim to push the boundaries of design, in terms of concepts, process and material capabilities. They are created to challenge visitors’ perception of design application, as well as to inspire and entertain them. Previous participants include Cousins + Cousins architects, Studio Weave, Gruppe, Assemble, Monotype, OKAY Studio, Johnson Tiles, Grimshaw Architects, Sebastian Cox and more.

Once Upon a Time draws on the rich and sometimes dark historical tales of EC1. Working in collaboration with UAL Chelsea College of Arts, BA Graphic Design Communication students, stories from 6 locations were brought to life by a series of graphical installations. Below are three of them.



Passing Alley – By Rory Brown

This modern memorial honours the 66 Martyrs who were burned alive at the stake for having protestant beliefs. Displaying the names of all 66 Martyrs killed in the Smithfield this design echoes the geometric style of the church’s stained glass windows.

St James’s Church Garden – By Alistair Ramage

The House of Detention has a very rich history with tales of failed escapes and destruction. In 1867 an attempted escape went tragically wrong as a bomb ruptured a nearby gas main killing 12 people. Known as the ‘Clerkenwell Outrage’ this design uses geometric illustrations to represent the explosion in a modern way.


 
House of Detention – By Natasha Lopez

The winning concept for St John’s Gate responded to the theme of history and heritage by proposing a new structure that subtly draws on the historic form of the St John’s Gate arch whilst bringing in materials and geometries that reference the design culture of Clerkenwell today.

The concept plays with the idea of space and enclosure, by inserting a densely built timber structure within the void of the archway.  This is then carved away to allow a route through and to frame the historic features of the site.  The timber frame is filled with moments of colour that intensify towards the top of the arch, drawing visitors’ gaze upwards towards the historic architecture.  This colour is created by using recycled materials and fabrics, that reference the design identity of the area.

While on the site, the pavilion highlights details of the archway and draw parallels to the 10 year anniversary of Clerkenwell Design Week.  When moved to a new location, the pavilion will take with it the geometry of the archway to act as a casting of the original site.

Another inventive, and close to my heart, installation was Bottle House. Designed and constructed by WSP Design studio, BottleHouse is made from disregarded plastic bottles and applies skills in architectural design, engineering and construction to transform an empty bottle into a building block-forming a unique shelter.

Herman Millar presented Aeron Hockey – a fun, fast paced sport played on Aeron Chairs. Not sure your boss will be too delighted if you decide to play this in your office.

The House of Detention housed some of the artisan  designer makers and start up companies. These included BLWM by Nia Rist prints, a collection of monochrome hand printed home wares celebrating all things pattern.

A new innovative company is Spitfire they have a range of very nice felt covered lamp shades and furniture.

Turbine
Turbine detail

My conclusion, a great show yet again, and I have only touched on a fraction of what was there. If you missed it this year make sure to put it in your diary for next, it is well worth a visit.

Top Drawer SS 2019

Top Drawer Spring Summer 2019

Top Drawer is the place where retailers view, inwardly digest, and then order for next season from the wholesalers and small independent companies. Due to its scale—11 curated sectors spreading across the entirety of Olympia London—and mix of brands across the lifestyle spectrum, Top Drawer attracts a range of retailers; from concept stores, museums shops, boutiques and independents to multiple retailers, garden centres and supermarkets.

The show lasts three days and can be exhausting, and just how many scented candles does a woman want?

This season they have called the show ‘Out of the Ordinary’, a great strap line and there is much to be seen that is out of the ordinary.

Talks and trails are included in the show and its diversity is such that I bumped into two friends of mine, the first a retailer on the look out for her shop, and the other a museum shop curator with a different clientele.

Gifts, hospitality, jewellery, accessories, well being, craft, cards food and home accessories are all on show and within these groups are sub sections:

 Mr: is a showcase of accessories, jewellery, design- led life style brands for the modern man.

Robin James founder of Men’s Lifestyle blog ‘ Man for himself’ said

“MR is such a great addition to Top Drawer London. I was really impressed by the brands and think that it can only get bigger and next season.”

Spotted: Is curated by Charlotte Abrahams a freelance writer author and curator specializing in design and applied arts. Think new; think market ready, original, hot talent, across all lifestyle sectors.

One of my favourites spied in ‘Spotted’ is a collection of fun textile products designed by Lorraine Ireland. Her company is called Oh Sew Home. Based around her love of mischievous and cheeky seagulls. www.ohsohome.com

Many companies are homing in on the need to be more sustainable and ethical, whether it is finding replacements for, or the reuse of plastic. The aptly named

Bees Wax Wrap Company have a reusable alternative to cling film. www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk

Another bees wax wrap company, who take their mission so seriously they don’t even produce business cards but put all their details on a chalk board so that you could photo them. www.GoodToBee.co.uk

As the owner Madeleine says

‘With GoodToBee I had the chance to create something from start to finish. Not just the wraps but a commitment to myself, and everyone else. Everything I now do and in every way I can, I will be as sustainable, ethical and low impact as I can be. Our fabric is  Global Organic Textile Standard. The beeswax is sourced from sustainable local hives just a few miles away, and we use only organic jojoba oil. Our packaging is 100% recycled post-consumer waste and my beautiful stamp is made from sustainably managed oak with a sapling being planted for each one the company makes. And we never use plastic in anything we do.

Eliminating plastic can be a daunting prospect but my hope is that family, friends and customers will feel able to make the swap to GoodToBee beeswax wraps and feel empowered that their efforts ‘ are a third Bees Wax wrap company they also sell cushion covers made from luxurious silky feel recycled polyester and organic cotton, all their thread is made from recycled bottles, all cotton is organic, their mailing bags are recyclable, they have a range of reusable products designed to divert waste from landfill or the oceans, their waste is donated to charity and non recyclables put into eco bricks. Their packaging is recyclable and they always try to support local suppliers.

https://www.harrisandhall.com

Bamboo is being used to make many products including fabrics, socks, bowls and cutlery, one of these products is Bamboo Cup designed to reduce the 2.5 billion plastic lined single use cups that go to landfill each year. Made mainly from sustainable, fast growing bamboo fiber and tested to the highest standards by TUV Rheinland, these cups feel lovely to hold. There are over 50 contemporary designs in the collection

www.blueeyedsun.co.uk

Lola and Mawa is décor and lifestyle brand based in the UK selling beautiful products sourced in Africa. The baskets and the indigo fabrics are particularly fine. They also produce a range of baskets made from recycled waste.

They say ‘We value traditional skills and will do everything we can to help artisanal communities to thrive. Every purchase at Lola & Mawu generates meaningful income for the makers and their families. We believe that diversity, the blending of traditions and the partnership between peoples of different cultures is the way to a better world.

Our name is a symbol of that partnership between Lola, the Founder, and Mawu, the African goddess of creation, embodied by the incredibly talented artisans we work with.

Another socially conscious and environmentally aware company is https://paguroupcycle.com/

 Their products are made from recycled materials including leather, inner tubes, wood. As they reclaim, reimagine and reinvent they produce jewelry.

My choices are not all up cycled. There are lots of people with new twists on old techniques or ideas. For example Michelle Harvey from Melbourne creates under the name www.crayonchick.com.au

Crayon Chick has designed and made a range of covetable original products including wall hangings, weave bowls and knot necklaces.

It was nice to see the much loved company Thornback and Peel designers of tea towels, coaster, trays, cosmetic bags and cushion covers. They tend to use one or at most 2 colours and produce very desirable sophisticated designs. www.thornbackandpeel.co.uk

If what you are looking for is a simple natural skincare, bath and beauty range then look no further than the new company Divine and Handmade.

On the food front it was a real treat to find Isle of Wight based company called pinks. Their logo looks like a flying snitch. They make butters, jellies and curds all of which are suitable for vegetarians and are delicious.

www.pinksfoods.co.ukh

With so much interesting design I have only touched on a tiny portion of what is available, but you will see it in the shops and on line in the coming months. Juliet Bawden www.creativecolour.org

Graham and Green

Below are the Spring Summer 2019 key looks from Interiors company Graham and Green . Many of the key trends seem to be carrying on from recent seasons these include Berber Rugs. Metallics are still around : rose gold and copper being the most popular. Neons and succulents are still with us, as are fifties and sixties inspired cane chairs on spindly legs. Talking of legs, G&G are selling a fine line in patterned and embossed ceramic pots that stand on tiny feet so they are slightly elevated from the surface on which they stand. Velvet in strong acid yellows and rich royal blues are still being used to cover sofas and chairs. There are some metallic mouse lamps – sure they are cute if thats your thing but personally I can’t stand rodents and prefer the birds shown in the image below. To sum up, it is a strong cohesive collection all fabulously styled.

Metallic bird lamps
Velvet covered arm chair

Spatter designed enamelware
Ceramic plant holders with tiny feet

Dunelm Spring Summer 2019

Dunelm have pulled out all the stops and come up with some lovely home wear product for the end of this year and going into next year. They are even selling artificial cacti, flowers and plants. They had a very personable and enthusiastic Anna from Jar and Fern  running a  terrarium workshop, although she admitted to me this was the first time she had used fake cacti. The results looked pretty impressive.

https://www.jarandfern.co.uk

The Cinnabar collection  includes both soft furnishing and ceramics.

The textures used throughout their range are imaginative and beautiful,  they  include printed , woven and appliqued  textiles.

Love the velvet sofa and button down pouffe.

Tesco Spring Summer 2019

Steven Rowe the head designer describes of home wares at  Tesco describes spring /summer 2019 

“In Fox & Ivy , the focus is on artisan, with watercolour illustrations, chunky weaves and hand-painted decals elevating the finer details. It’s finished with flashes of matt and shine lustre, alongside a colour palette that’s decadent while remaining light, fresh and floral for the season.”

10 key trends from Oliver Bonas for Autumn Winter 2018

Now is the time of year that companies and those who supply retail outlets put on their trade shows, so that Journalists, Bloggers and Influencers can shout out to the world what is new and what will be available in the shops in the autumn. Oliver Bonas had their show yesterday and in the heat of July,  amidst silver tinsel and warm fabrics we  transported ourselves forward to the autumn and beyond to Christmas.

 

  1. Texture and pattern are still a strong trend and velvet is a fabric of choice. It is still being used on furniture and upholstery and on even lamp shades.

IMG_2807

2. Fringing, introduced last season, is still with us in clothing, fashion accessories and again on lamp shades. We are not talking the old fashioned silky kind, but  something far more rustic, looking, made from from  linen, jute, string.

 

IMG_2808

3. Deep colours  are popular  often decorated with rich patterns. The patterns are used on all surfaces including ceramics. Think midnight blue and forest green. The patterns are sometimes embroidered. More often than not, the motifs are formed of loose freehand marks, very omega workshop in inspiration.

IMG_2817

4. Metallics continue to be popular in interior accessories. Raffia  is being used to make lampshades.

raffia lamp shade

5. There are some very interesting and unusual shaped glass lamp bases.

raffia shades

6. Animals continue to be popular as  decorative motifs. Cats of  all descriptions are still very Oliver Bonas popular. They are used by OB on ceramics, fabrics and even door mats.

animals

7. Tassels are still around and are used on cushions and fashion accessories.

tasseled cushions

8. Carrying on from OB’s spring summer designs, ceramics are still  a riot of pattern, shapes and colours.

quirky china

9. Unusual and fun Christmas gifts. OB have come up with some original gift  ideas particularly for the person that you have no idea what to buy. Like this funny note book. They also are selling reusable water bottles with neoprene covers.

humourous christmas presents

10. A great range of strong fashion looks, with accessories including bags, hair slides and  throws. This dress was such a hit with those attending the show that I think will be sold out as soon as it reaches the shops.

Dress pattern dark back ground

 

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Picks from Pulse 2018

Every May, Pulse, described as ‘Where trends are born’, showcases different brands and makers, in one venue, Olympia. Retailers come to see and order for their shops. Some of the items will be available this summer and others will be around for Christmas. Here are some of my favourites.

University of Arts London, show work of some of their alumni. Designer Abigail Burch already holds a degree in illustration and is currently completing her MA at Camberwell School of Art. Her work brings a smile to my face. I adore her fat ladies  with hairy legs.

abigailburch

Fat ladies

Another UAL graduate is Shannon Hayes who studied Fashion Jewellery at London College of Fashion. Her bright playful and fun work sells under her grandmother’s name Peggy Beard.

 

peggy beard snake

Graphic and textile designer Elena Scarlata trained at London college of Communication before returning to her native Italy and setting up her company. She hand prints onto sustainable fabrics and then turns these into accessories for the home.

Elena Scarlata

sea bream

The Jewellery Emporium showed many new designers. I particularly liked the work called ‘Made by Carolinee’. Her work is created from recycled Aluminium.

Made by Caroline

The show is divided into sections included are gifts, textiles, home ware, fashion and children. In the Children’s category are  Eat Sleep and Doodle , they have been around for a while and continue to grow. Each fabric  product comes with  a line drawing on it. There are  different themes including Dinosaurs, a world map and much much more. The joy is that each item comes with its own ‘wash off’ pens so your child can have loads of fun. Once completed the design  can be washed off and they can start again.

Eat Sleep Doodle

Another inspired Kid’s idea is BKD which comprises baking kits for kids, for time pressed parents,  This company started by a mum, was originally an events company but the kits took over and it  has won so many awards that they have expanded into other kinds of kits.

 

BKD

Noodoll design are based in London. They produce  quirky cards, note books and soft toys. I like their shelves, which only became a product after they made some for a trade show and everyone wanted to purchase them.

noodoll

In contrast to some of the more fluffy designs ‘Block‘ produce a completely different look, clean cut and elegant. At the same time they are colourful and fun and would sit well in an office or home environment.

block

There is little to beat  utilitarian home ware when it is presented well. Iris Hantverk from Sweden are a company who do just that. They produce lovely brushes and also textiles.

Iris Hantverk

As a lover of most things ‘Scandiwegian’ and particularly linen towels, I was delighted to come across the Finnish Company  Lapuan Kankurit. Owned and worked by the same family for four generations, they still do their own weaving on Jacquard looms, although not using the old card system. They kindly allowed me to use their press images  for this feature, so I can’t take credit for the lovely photo shown here. I hope you have enjoyed my visual tour as much as I have done.

lapuankankurit_sade_towels

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