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TOM DIXON A/W 2019

The designer Tom Dixon is based in a fabulous old building called The Coal Office

in Kings Cross. He has his headquarters, studio, and shop there. He also owns the adjoining restaurant/cafe , which uses many of his products. I was there last week with other journalists to view his new products, mainly his new fragrances that come in the form of candles, room diffusers, soaps and hand lotions. There were also a couple of new  drink ware ranges  for hot and cold drinks and some very nice coat hooks and other artifacts called Swirl. Whilst I was there I took the opportunity to view his furniture, textile and lighting ranges that he sells in his shop. everything is thoughtfully designed and very beautifully presented.

            Tom Dixon started his recent adventures into the peculiar world of fragrance a few years ago with his Eclectic collection that was structured around the exotic smells of London, Royalty and Orientalist.

This year he has refreshed the vessel form that hold the candles, with an elegant, new slim waisted metal container and added two more refined perfumes to the collection – Underground and Alchemy.

Underground is described thus, ”In the dark subterranean, hidden below the surface, rhizomes secretly grow and slowly develop the fresh, sharp intense fragrance of ginger. This is combined with woody Haitian cardamom to make the unique scent of Underground.

Alchemy is influenced by the endless search to transform basic materials into a valuable substance, sharp black pepper, woody cypress, eucalyptus, exotic patchouli and smoky guaiac wood combine to create the precious perfume of Alchemy.

The London fragrance captures the smell of red brick and London parks with crocuse and nettles, and the salty smell of Thames at Dagenham. Encased in a copper vessel with marble lid.

Orientalist is inspired by the faint memory of an Indian wedding with rose petal garlands, giant cinnamon sticks on beach stalls and the musky smells of the Chinese herbal market. Encased in a brass vessel with marble lid.

Royalty is a reminiscence of tea time with a pot of Earl Grey, scones, strawberry jam and the drive home in a ‘52 Bentley with tatty leather seats. Encased in a nickel-plated brass vessel, with a marble lid.

Tom Dixon has also created travelers gift set with a  trio of mini scented candles contained within a hand-spun vessel formed of copper, nickel and brass. The scents are created to capture the essence of travelling, trading, and the nostalgic past within the future of British life.

Swirl is a mysterious new material that resembles 3D marbled paper yet has the weight of stone. Tom Dixon has designed some new Swirl hooks that celebrate the little details that are often missed, the hidden bits of functionality that are often the first touch point in a space yet go unnoticed. A series of small and large hooks made from powdered residue from the marble industry, mixed with pigment and resin to create a variety of surprising colour combinations.

Brew kettle and filter set recognizes coffee making as a form of art and coffee drinking as one of our few remaining contemporary rituals. In response to consumers now being more educated and curious about coffee, Tom Dixon have introduced the Kettle and Filter set to the Brew family to encompass the different ways to create a good cup of coffee.

The Kettle and Filter set allows you to prepare and serve coffee simply and quickly, whilst still retaining the flavour and quality. The unusual thin and elongated shape of the kettle spout is essential for precise pouring and taste.

Tank is characterised by a hand painted copper band, Tank takes its sculptural cue from the functional shapes and volumes of scientific glassware. Minimal yet decorative for a multiplicity of purposes of drinking, pouring, storing and displaying drinks, the new Tank copper gift sets recognise our love for drinking stories.

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Oliver Bonas autumn and winter range 2019

This week Oliver Bonas showed both their new interior and clothing ranges for this autumn and winter to the press and influencers.

This is a company that goes from strength to strength in both their home-ware and fashion collections. They know the look their core customer wants, that being a mixture of sophisticated, modern with some humour thrown into the mix.

There are two main themes running through both the home and fashion collections. The main theme is Enlightenment and Orient Express is the capsule collection. This could also be described as Art Deco or Luxe.

There is a great deal of glass , mirrors and glamour. Oliver Bonas produce cocktail ware, including drinks trolley’s which, a little bird tells me, always sell out. Talking of cocktails there are drink mixing kits, and gorgeous glasses, lovely mirrors, rattan furniture, picture frames and planters.

Velvet chairs and fringing on lamp shades carry on from this season but with new twists of colour, shapes and length of fringing. 

Part of Enlightenment is Sanctuary. This includes mosaic, ironwork ,ceramics and plants, and baskets. Oliver Bonas now sell real and faux plants in their larger stores.

There is a vast array of baskets, pouffés, throws and cushions. The pouffe’s are particularly original.

Another best selling line for Oliver Bonas are items decorated with letters of the alphabet, and also the letters themselves.

Always great with decorative patterns, from August the company will be selling some very nice bags and cushions with lovely surface designs.

New this season, are Oliver Bonas own brand of decorative filament light bulb.

Last of all I must mention the very the simple ,but lovely art works in the form of textural wall hangings and bright prints.

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MINTED

On the 4TH July The Royal Mint launched its first jewellery collection ever, designed and made by in-house experts in silversmithing techniques at The Royal Mint .  

          The collection, envisioned by luxury jewellery designer Philippe Cogoli, has been made at The Royal Mint from start to finish, using traditional coin pressing techniques that pay homage to the heritage and expertise gained from over one thousand years of coin minting expertise.  The designer, took inspiration from the design of the first ever £2 coin which was minted in 1997, and has deconstructed details of the design to create a truly unique collection that references the original coin. The range includes elements that capture and reflect the evolution of technology, with individual geometric designs. 

The Motto collection is named after the “motto” that is stamped into the original £2 coin and attributed to Sir Isaac Newton’s famous saying “Standing on the shoulders of giants”. The geometrically designed range is made from sterling silver and includes unique items ranging from cufflinks and tie pins to earrings and bangles, along with other stylish silver gifts. The collection is a beautiful handcrafted range made in-house, a new and exciting step for The Royal Mint. 

Helen Cooper, Director of Gifting at The Royal Mint, commented: “We are thrilled to be working with Phillippe Cogoli, a talented designer who has built on the heritage of The Royal Mint and the silversmith craft to create this beautiful new collection. The Motto collection is the first range of jewellery to be created by The Royal Mint’s experienced team and is an exciting development for The Royal Mint brand.”

Philippe Cogoli, designer of the Motto collection, added: “The main inspiration behind the Motto range was the fantastic design of the original 1997 £2 coin.  When we saw the potential of the geometric pattern which is stamped onto the coin face, we realised that it reflects an evolution of technology. The idea was to transform the motifs, and design them in a way that is unique but also aligns with The Royal Mint heritage. It was a fantastic collaboration with The Royal Mint team and I feel privileged to have been chosen to work with them. 

In contrast to Motto is the feminine, yet contemporary ‘Sprig’ collection is a first for The Royal Mint and marks an exciting development in their gifting range. The collaboration with Sarah Jordan was designed and made in the UK with the oak and acorn motif featured on many coins throughout history proved vital.

Taken from the original 1936 design of the silver Sixpence, the acorn design appealed to Sarah due to her childhood spent in the Derbyshire countryside. However, the motif was updated to create a sleek, unique theme which formed the basis of the Sprig range, from stud earrings through to a choker necklace.

Sarah Jordan has been designing and manufacturing jewellery for 30 years having won a number of prestigious awards including UK Jewellery Designer of the Year. Sarah set the trend of the organic, fluid style seen in the jewellery industry today which has been beautifully transferred into the Sprig collection.

The new collections are  now on sale, available from www.royalmint.com/gifts

With the art of silversmithing having first emerged in Britain in approximately 300 A.D, both collections build on the amazing heritage of craftsmanship that is still alive in the UK today. 

 Silver has long been an important part of human lives. Having once been available only to the incredibly rich, imports from South America resulted in the precious metal becoming more widely available and the desire for fine jewellery increased. Silversmithing is an age-old tradition that has stood the test of time, innovating as technology has changed, ensuring the craft is still maintained to this day. 

Pieces start from £80 and are available from www.royalmint.com/gifts  

About The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,100 years. Based in the Tower of London for over 500 years, by 1812 The Royal Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in South Wales, UK, to accommodate the minting of UK decimal coinage. 

Today, The Royal Mint is the world’s largest export mint, supplying coins to the UK and overseas countries.

The Royal Mint has also diversified into a number of other complementary businesses, building on the values that have been at the heart of the organisation throughout its history – authenticity, security, precious metals, craftsmanship and design:

  I was lucky enough to attend their press launch and see for myself the elegant, classic and timeless designs. As well as the jewellery, later in the year, they will also  be selling a fine china money box, a beautiful teddy bear and Sterling silver  Christmas tree decorations. 

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You won’t believe where I bought this !

This week I attended a fascinating panel discussion, on the latest trends and interior developments created by the Sainsburys and Argos design team for Autumn Winter 2019 The event was chaired by Kate Watson Smyth, from ‘Mad about the house’

The teams work together but Argos tends to sell more furniture, the smaller accessories are sold in Sainsbury’s.

There are five key trends this season. They reflect the different ways in which we live today: often renting, flexible living, traveling  so we only live in our homes for part of the week. Sometimes letting out our places as Air B&B and often living in quite small places . Some of us have remote working styles, which may mean we work from home.

Trend 1. Japanese inspired, called Kanso Living. This is for a home that is neat and uncluttered. It has a monochrome base.   

Colour Psychologist Karen Haller was on the panel.

‘Black, white and grey are psychologically known to offer protection, safety and a sense of space whilst at the same time being very calming. This minimal pallet lowers the emotional noise”  

Although there is no colour as such, there are many textures and patterns. Included is a ladder shelf unit that looks good, saves space and you can take it with you when you move.

From the head of design  “We did lots of mark making in the studio and then translated those marks  into different kinds of surface design using a range of scales from quite large on bedding to teeny tiny on ceramics.’

Trend 2 Highland Lodge. I would describe this look as modern country with touches of rustic wilderness, such as pale oak furniture and  country touches including images of flowers and animals such as hares on ceramics and textiles. A favourite in this range is light washed oak furniture, including a beautiful four poster bed that retails at just £400

This collection has muted colours that are excellent to use in the UK where they fit in with the prevailing  blue light rather than warm yellow as found in

Mediterranean countries. These blue based tones help us to reconnect with nature and bring the outside in, they fit in well with the grey story that has been popular over the last 5 years Interiors.

Trend 3 . Apartment Apparel This is a very vibrant and exciting collection, it is the Sainsburys Argos take on the centenary of the Bauhaus . There are some exciting juxtapositions of colours, including a much coveted harsh orange velvet sofa which, by the way, is child friendly.

Table-ware is playful and brave with a pallet of mustard and oak that work with a deep navy that runs throughout the collection. The mid century styling helps make small spaces feel bigger.

The pop of colour in this collection attracts the eye and makes the shopper curious about the pieces.  

  • Karen Heller ‘Strong colour creates emotional energy and the volume is  turned up, we see colour before we notice anything else. To work, these colours need a warm yellow base and also need yellow lighting. This is a party place for extroverts.’

Trend 4.  Palm Luxe

With it’s grey soft pale pallet , this look is quite glamorous. There are lots of metallic although mainly silver. Inspired by beautiful hotel lobbies. It is opulent and nods towards preciousness. It is quite a showy look influenced by  old Hollywood glamour. It is aspirational and has the feel of a cocktail party with soft music playing.

 Another expert on the panel pointed out that this is a look that will stand out in the rental market and also appeals to those who love Show Homes. It happens to be a very instagramable look, that is very easy to shoot.

Trend 5. Loft living   This look includes loads of natural wood.

Sainsbury/Argos sponsor new designers exhibition each year and choose a winner from those presenting their work. This collection was designed by a winner and has taken two years to come to fruition.

Designed very much with  the young of today in mind who live much more minimally than their parents did, with far less in the way of possessions. They may be working from home and so the solution is a desk storage bedding collection that is all encompassing and super flexible for easy living. It is a  continuation of the successful industrial modular look with contrasting textures carried over from last season.

Many of the pieces are multi functional such as the desk/ dressing table which is easily packed away if more space is needed.

As well as these key looks there is also a quite sophisticated non gender stereotype children’s range.

 All in all a very impressive range of products.

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Broste Copenhagen A/W collection 2019

If you like Scandinavian design you will love the autumn winter collection from Broste Copenhagen. Throughout the Danish company’s, 60-year old history, design objects, furniture, and modern art have come and gone along with changing trends and tendencies. However a few objects remain as timeless examples of Broste Copenhagen ‘s unique idiom, and have achieved status as modern classics. Some of the basic shapes and functions are unchanged- as is the joy of meeting the designs again when they are launched as Broste Copenhagen

The Broste Copenhagen Autumn winter collection 2019 is a tribute to the simple joys in life- and to all those little gestures of love and consideration we put into seemingly insignificant everyday routines. Home is where the heart is, the old saying goes. Idealized and clichéd this may seem, but there is truth in the notion that home is the one place where love, care and thoughtfulness rule. Between the four walls of home, life happens- everyday! And we had better cherish it.

         With this in mind, Broste Copenhagen have a created a collection that offers new, well-crafted furniture for your hallway, kitchen and living room, as well as a vast number of everyday items – from the vast number of everyday items – from the vase on your window sill to the plates on your table.

Together, like small pieces of a puzzle, they create the perfect home. Or rather, they create a home for lives that are filled with uncertainty of frustration – and at other times…. Just perfect.  

         Autumn ,winter 2019 marks the introduction of a new, flexible sofa, called Ocean, that will fit into almost any space, a dining table and a set of functional chairs to go with it and a continuation of the popular tableware collections, with added items designed to complete the exciting selection. Colours this season are deep, intense and infused with warmth – a classic Etruscan red, a quintessential lichen green, a beautiful , dark Bordeaux. All are carefully chosen to either complement or contrast with one another in new, elegant ways – whether you need a pillowcase to match your favourite  candle holder or a personalized table-setting consisting of different plates, bowls and cups.

         The new season’s colours are designed to fit in with the classic Broste colours of Egret, Rainy day, Simply Taupe, Fungi, Boulder, Indian Tan, Drizzle and Castle Rock.

         Included in the collections are both mirror and wall art. Home décor is never complete with empty walls, which is why Broste Copenhagen have created a range of both.

         There is a magnificent selection of asymmetric rugs. A rug has the power to punch life into a room and to tie all the other interior accessories together. A rug can also be used to delineate space and accentuate the room’s existing colour scheme, and add warmth.

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Home inspirations for Autumn Winter 2019

If you are looking for good design at a low price point then you need look no further than J D Williams autumn winter 2019 ranges. They have produced two very different looks .

Arthouse Tonal Mineral Wallpaper £18

         The first is called Far Away and is my favourite. It takes inspiration from autumn coastal escapes, across rural landscapes and through hardened elements. There is a very strong Scandi feel in both the materials and colours used in this collection. Reflected throughout is a palette of cold, natural aquatic tones-inky blues, deep green hues and teals contrasted with pearly white, terracotta and purple grey.

Eva Smoked glass desk £129, Klara Office chair £69,
Graham & Brown Abstract framed Canvas £129, Set of 4 bamboo baskets £39

Artisan in mood yet sophisticated in design; water colour prints take center stage in dreamy inky hues paying homage to the rolling seas and rugged coastal scenery. Particularly beautiful is the Isla Digital Print bed linen from £25 for a Duvet Set.  There is the glorious Florence bedhead in cotton velvet from £299.

Watercolour lines Cushion £20,Set of 2 rush lined baskets £29,
octopus cushion £22, Navy Boucle Throw £30, Havana Rug from £55, Halo Grey Speckle 2 Piece Mug set £28, angle poise desk lamp£35, Navy Florence Curved Bedstead from £299

         The furniture is modern and clean lined and very good value.

The second collection is called Palace Design. This collection carries on the very strong Luxx trend heading towards Art Deco that has been around for a few seasons. It is a new take on boudoir design.

Gaia Foot stool £299 Blush Glass Vase £16

 The designers say it reflects a contemporary combination of feminine tones with masculine designs creating a truly refined collection. The range includes luxurious materials from brushed brass to soft velvets, softly tinted glass to satin finishes.

Mahogany, Verdigris and smoked gold are lifted with hints of light ecru, palest of pinks and soft yellow tones. Rose velvet beds are dressed with satin sheets embossed with linear floral and intricate geometric designs, whilst rose velvet button-back chairs are styled with the palest pink marble accessories and set against gold angular furniture.

Once again the prices are all very reasonable. I feel this is a look that looks fabulous if well maintained but would be unforgiving and start to look tacky if not kept tidy, polished and super clean. The two pieces of product that stand out are the Gaia Foot Stool £299 and the Blush Glass Vase £16

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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.