Blog, Exhibitions, Press Show Picks

Top Drawer's S/S 2020 best small producers

Spice Kitchen :mother and son team Sanjay & Shashi Aggarwal

Visiting trade shows always sounds exciting, but for those of you who have been to the likes of the Ideal Home Show and The Country Living Fair, you will know just how exhausting it can be. I recently wrote a piece on new spring and summer 2020 trends. This post is different as it is about my pick of the designers, often sole traders sometimes a partnership, who also show at the big trade fairs.  Their stands are usually much smaller than the large flash companies, but this is where you will often find the truly innovative and inspiring products.

Before we get down to specifics, and despite it being a trade show, it is worth saying that the buzzwords this year are ethical and sustainable. So as well as wanting originality and good value for money the general public are less prepared to purchase at the expense of the environment and those trying to make a living in poor communities.

Many companies support charities, for example Spice Kitchen, a family-owned artisanal spice and tea company run by mother and son team Sanjay & Shashi Aggarwal (aka Mamma Spice & Baby Spice!)  What started as a discussion over the kitchen table on Christmas Day 2012, Spice Kitchen has developed into a thriving small business that has never lost touch with its roots.They  support the charities   FRANK Water who build sustainable water projects in India and Nepal and Find Your Feet who help families in Asia and Africa build a future free from poverty and hunger. They produce small-batch, freshly ground spice blends and tea blends. They source the freshest raw spices from around the world, and then hand-blend, hand-roast and hand-grind them to authentic recipes. The containers they come in are covered in old Sari’s.

The Kindness Co-op

Rainbow kindness

The Kindness Co-Op, is an online clothing and gift store for children aged 0-14 years started in 2014 as The Wee Store. It was re-launched and re-branded by Lucie Carr and her business partner Charlie in September 2018 in an effort to become more socially responsible, for example sourcing organic clothing that has been locally screen printed with their own designs. The brand makes a donation to the charity Young Minds for every piece of own brand merchandise sold. https://www.thekindnessco-op.com/

One of my favourite brands is

illustrated stories

lllustrated Stories by Kay van Bellen I love the quirkiness and originality of her work.

Netherlands-based ceramics brand, Illustrated Stories, was founded by British-born artist and illustrator, Kay van Bellen in 2019. The brand story emerged from her Dutch heritage and her love of Delft Blue ceramics and the stories that unfold behind each delicately painted image. The pieces in the inaugural collection are made from old, found objects which Van Bellen screen prints and hand decorates to create new narratives. Illustrations are witty, humorous and often sinister, each individual piece is a work of art to hang on the wall.Kay has worked with brands such as Converse, Universal Works and Size? She has recently had a solo exhibition of her work at Pols Potten, Amsterdam. Her latest commission was was to design and produce a range of bespoke giftware with Nottingham Lakeside Museum. https://www.kayvanbellen.com/

Floral Tea Towel by AMPellegrini

AMPellegrini Art & Design was founded by London based designer-maker Anna-Maria Pellegrini in 2019. Her passion for printed textiles, nature illustrations and homeware products developed during her Master studies at UAL, where she fell in love with designing homeware and illustrating the natural world. She mainly draws inspiration from the nature surrounding her to create storytelling designs, reflecting the biodiversity on our planet. Anna-Maria exclusively works with UK based companies only, to ensure all elements are sourced and produced ethically to the highest standards. The current product range includes tea towels, tile coasters, giclée prints and tote bags. https://www.ampellegrini.com

Shortbread House of Edinburgh are known around the world for the quality of biscuits that they produce. In 2018 they again won more Great Taste Awards than any other shortbread producer. However it was the Sables not their shortbread that makes me love them, they are delicious. Pea Green Boat Cheese Sablés. are made using a wonderful blend of Scottish Cheddar and Italian Parmesan, the Fennel & Chilli flavour won the Golden Fork Award for best Scottish Product at the 2019 Great Taste Awards.

https://www.shortbreadhouse.co.uk/retail/cheese-sables/range/

Tea Cosy by Poppy Treffry

Poppy Treffry is a  Cornish based company, producing a range of quirky textile based products. They have been going a few years now but always come up with new products of a high standard. These include bags, rucksacks, totes, purses, tea and coffee cosies and much, more. Their latest exciting product is a reusable sandwich wrap.

https://poppytreffry.co.uk/

Sea Garden

www.materiarica.com are  a husband and wife design team who laser cut walnut which they are then paint to make very imaginative jewellery. Their motto is Choose Your Style, Wear Your Story. Here is their story :

Tea Time

Destiny united the paths of Marta, a Polish artist who lived in London and painted pictures of peculiar characters, with Joan, who was passionate about both design and technology and was running a laser cutting company for creative projects. Together they began to transform Marta’s illustrations into small works of art to wear: brooches, earrings and necklaces, which Marta sold in local creative markets in the English capital.

Roar

In 2014 Marta and Joan set sail for the Mediterranean and founded the Materia Rica brand. In recent years the growth and international projection of the project have allowed the team to grow, incorporating Oscar, Clara and Sonia.

British Colour Standard original book of ribbons

British Colour Standard was originally conceived in 1931 by the British Council, cloth -bound earthy green ‘dictionaries of colour’ crammed with 100’s of brightly dyed ribbons were created to standardise colour reproduction throughout the British Commonwealth.

paint from British colour Standard

When the art/design team of Jackie Piper & Victoria Whitbread discovered an old colour dictionary in an Oxfam shop, they began a journey to re-establish this long forgotten brand.produce a range of products based on the book of coloured ribbons.  They were original colours not used since 1958. The designers turned entrepreneurs now produce paints, ceramics, basket work glasses in bright colours www.britishcolourstandard.com

Stylish Tea Towels by Rye & Moor

Rye and Moor were another fabulous find. They are a partnership who have designed  a collection of contemporary  furniture, textiles, home wares and prints using their own prints. As it says on the tin. Simply Designed. Thoughtfully Made. Remarkable objects for modern living. www.ryeandmoor.co.uk

Rye and Moor Bench

As you may have gathered I love quirky and one of the originators of this genre is Donna Wilson. She produces strange cushions, animals, toys, many knitted and felted. She has recently added platters, trays and mugs to her range. www.donnawilson.com

Pretty Bee fresh DIY bees wax wraps

As a replacement for cling film, Beeswax  wraps have been round for a while. wwwprettybeefresh.com have come up with a new and fun idea, a DIY box with everything in it to create your own beeswax wraps. They too, are supporting a charity and have teamed up with www.workforgood.com For every purchase of on of their larger packs a tree is planted.

Dalmation design by Scarlett

There are lots of stationary designers around but I was particularly drawn to the work of Scarlett Josse. Her work is whimsical feminine and romantic. All made in England and her greetings cards either come wrapped in compostable plastic sleeves or naked. www.byscarlett.com

Bowls made at Selbourne Pottery

I definitely have a thing for blue which given it is Pantone colour for 2020 is probably a good thing. So my next recommendations are all have blue elements. I met Robert Goldsmith from Selborne Pottery. He makes beautiful hand thrown and curated stone ware. He has used some beautiful blue glazes. on his work. www.selbournepottery.co.uk

I like be meeting makers, and Lisa Reddings of  www.indigowares.com was no exception, particularly as she was her hands were covered in indigo dye, and her work is beautiful. She runs workshops and sells her goods at shows and on line.

Arashi workshop

Another lover of blue is Hayley Potter RCA. She works from her studio in Dorset creating works on paper and ceramics inspired by the wild, folklore and magic. She uses the image of the hare in much of her work. www.hayleypotter.co.uk

Card by Hayley Potter

I love lino-prints as a medium and particularly these made by Sarah Cemmick her work consists of original Lino cuts of predominately British wildlife with exclusive editions of only 25.

‘Highlander’ linocut & watercolour 
48cm by 58cm
Limited edition of 25

Each print is produced by hand in Sarah’s Cumbrian studio. Designs are printed on Japanese tissues and traditional printing papers which are then tinted with watercolours. A range of 90 art cards detailing the lino cuts compliment the original prints. They are produced in England on recycled board with recycled envelopes and biodegradable cello bags.

http://www.scemmick.wix.com/sarahcemmick

Earrings designed by Sally Holyoak

Using the brand name  My bear Hands Sally Holyoak hand makes silver jewellery from re-cycled silver. www.mybearhands.co.uk

This is her mission statement:

‘As a maker, I want my jewellery to be beautifully designed and well made.  But I don’t want this to be at the expense of the earth or people who live in it.  Jewellery is a luxury item, and there is really no justification for damaging natural environments or exploiting workers in it’s creation.’

The final company I am writing about is Roka. They have just celebrated their second birthday. They create practical, colourful, beautiful ruck sacs and bags. I have bought many of them in different colours from my favourite emporium ‘ Live Like This‘ in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. For any stylists out there they look great in shoots.

A yellow Roka rucksac stars as a prop on a shoot.

This bag is made using 12-15 recycled bottles. 

In order to reduce waste in the ocean, Roka has created a new line of bags. Made using 12-13 recycled bottles, the Sustainable Finchley iThe production of this bag not only uses recycled materials, but also uses less energy than traditional production methods. 

Blog, Exhibitions, Press Show Picks

Key Interior Trends for 2020

This week Olympia hosted ‘Top Drawer’ the show where the buyers go to source new, unearth the latest trends and discover emerging talent, and buy for the coming season.

         According to Flamingo Trend Predictions , there are four key trends this season the first being Playful Chromatics. Described thus, as a fun filled palette of block colours that bring modernity through mid tone brights. Varied hues are achieved through mixed material densities. 

A key colour is neo mint and it adds a fresh and positive start for 2020. Kat Burroughs, Interiors Journalist of the Times, mentions in her predictions for 2020 the Pantone colour of ‘Classic Blue’, which is more or less Royal Blue, and also lilac being used in some home wares.

From Illustrated stories, artwork that tells tales through eclectic narratives by Kay Van Bellen

Blue also features in another of her 2020 predictions, chintzy china. There was a great deal, of that old favourite, blue and white china, much of it with a modern twist.

Burleigh.co.uk

The second predicted trend is ‘Rare Bloom’ powerful, pigmented florals grounded with soft brown leathers. Florals add deep intensity of reds, oranges and purples clashing with acid lime, and tempered with soft peachy coral.

Fleurs de La Soir, Hummingbird and butterflies
from Katie Victoria Brown

The show certainly had many surface designers who have taken their inspirations from nature with fine examples of flowers and insects.

Portico Designs – Archive Rainforest Print Stationery. Photo: porticodesigns.com

         ‘Mad About The House’ journalist Kate Watson Smythe, in her predictions for 2020 describes how we are turning away from the minimalism of recent years and embracing pattern, particularly with a new take on English country style with layers of colour and pattern.

https://www.ampellegrini.com/

         Unadorned Tactility is the third trend and that is formed from new interpretations of traditional materials. Organic prints and textured layered on to geo shapes give a bio-futuristic look.

https://www.ryeandmoor.co.uk/

         The fourth trend is Serene Warmth. Described as dappled sun warmth and cool shade, colours are juxtaposed in the raw fabrics, rich prints and smooth pale marble and concrete.

https://www.raineandhumble.com/olive-grove-range

This warmth aspect of this trend fits in with Kate Watson Smythe’s prediction that ‘the fashion for brown furniture, which I wrote about last year, has now become part of the sustainability movement and will, rightly, continue to grow in popularity. We will buy more from eBay and vintage stores, we will paint and customise and up cycle more and we will continue to reupholster and repurpose.’

Blog, Press Show Picks

Purchase PIVOT jewellery for Christmas

PIVOT is a social enterprise set up by Alice Moxley to give young people work, pay them a living wage and to help them out of poverty. As she says we create British handmade goods with clout. We are a social enterprise which aims to alleviate long-term tenures in temporary accommodation by bringing enterprise and opportunity into hostels. We provide part-time, flexible and meaningful employment for those experiencing homelessness whilst co-designing tailored strategies to help individuals get back into work and into permanent accommodation. Every piece of jewellery bought takes our makers one step closer to their goal of leaving the hostel.

         The number of people experiencing homelessness in the UK has reached unprecedented levels. Homelessness does not just mean those sleeping rough, it also includes those living in temporary accommodation. Where a person declares themselves as homeless to their local authority, they have the right to housing. However with local authorities forever squeezed, in many circumstances are unable to provide permanent housing. As a consequence, many are placed in temporary accommodation, awaiting access to social housing or the private rental sector. Often people find themselves stuck facing long waiting lists for social housing and discrimination to access the private rental sector.

57,890 Households were accepted as homeless last year

65% of people living in temporary accommodation in London stay for over 6 months

30% of people living in temporary accommodation in London stay for over 4 years

We are at the very early stages of this exciting journey and are learning a lot. If you would like to know more, or would like to offer help in any way, we would love to hear from you!’ Alice Moxley

Crisis Pop-Up!

We are very excited to announce a collaboration with Crisis. We have been invited to set up shop at their Elephant and Castle shop. 223-225 Walworth Road, London, SE17 1RL

Come and meet some of our makers and buy some Christmas presents!

In the past 2 weeks Pivot have sold over 100 pieces of jewellery, creating more than 50 hours worth of work for four unemployed Londoners living in temporary accommodation.

“This weekend is the final opportunity to buy the last of Pivot’s first line at Crisis Elephant and Castle. We’ve only got a limited amount left to sell ,so get it while you can! All made by homeless Londoners earning London living wage. I’ll be at the shop 10-7 Saturday and 11-6 Sunday. “

Annabel Medland modelling some of the jewellery 

Photography George Harkins)

Contact if you want to reserve!

http://www.makepivot.org

Blog, Press Show Picks

How To Hygge with Anthropologie

This post is a quickie and more visual than word inspired. For Autumn /Winter 2019 Anthropologie are getting cosy, the Scandinavian way, with natural woods and welcoming – home warmth. A contrast of textures, weaves and fleeces and velvet are used in abundance.

There are some beautiful metallic small home accessories including flickering lights, organic scents and subtle glimmer.

All aglow

Beautiful bedding includes layers of plush and pin tucked texture for a guaranteed good night’s sleep.

Rest Assured

Lovely sitting room furniture and accessories including sumptuously deep cushions and a Kershaw chair.

And Breathe

The Monroe Accent Chair comes in two different shades of velvet teal as shown here and also silver grey

Monroe Accent chair

Jimena Occasional Chairs Appliqué Design

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Thinking of an interior update? Look no further than Marks & Spencers Autumn Winter 2019 range

I, like many of you, am saddened by the downward spiral that M&S seem to have got themselves into. Apart from Bra’s and pants, nothing in their fashion range has appealed to me for a long time. However they have excellent food offerings, and their interior products and furniture are stylish well made and well priced.

With the changing season as we move towards Autumn, we instinctively feel the pull towards a cosy, welcoming space to withdraw into.

Whether your interiors preferences are inspired by rich colours, warm tonal shades or restful neutrals M&S Autumn Winter collection offers simple stylish updates for any home to create that perfect retreat from the busy day.

         Contemporary designs are blended with classic influences to create a timeless collection that will give your home enduring style.

Decorative accessories and statement textiles offer an instant  interior refresh  alongside modern upholstery and furniture designed with on-the-go family living in mind.

 Seasonal colour highlights of peacock tones, sea foam and teal are paired back with an accent of warm nectarine to kick off the new season. Classics are re-imagined in casual shapes and textures, while layered textiles and metallic accessories offset easy living with a soft, modern glamour.

Decorative florals adorn plush velvets for a new take on maximalism, while delicate blush corals are paired with deep aquamarine and petrol tones for a bold yet sophisticated interior.

Underpinning the colour stories for the season, this new take on cleansing neutrals creates a stylish canvas on which to layer your favourite pieces- creating an oasis of tranquil, that will always remain timeless. Yet again it feels as if the Scandi look is a strong influence.Casual layering and relaxed textiles in calming tones of ecru and warm grey make for easy styling and create a war, serene palette for the home.

         This Autumnal story of rich mulberries spans a jewel-toned palette of deep boysenberry, rich oxblood and delicate heather.

Highlights of dark charcoal and black give this classic colour story a contemporary feel, while statement prints in casual fabrics are juxtaposed with marble and brass accents for a glamorous feminine collection of seasonal pieces.

Press Show Picks

Marimekko takes a new direction

Finnish design house Marimekko introduces Marimekko Kioski, a curated collection of unisex streetwear pieces. The first edition of Marimekko Kioski features a range of androgynous, wearable wardrobe staples and the brand’s iconic, bold patterns from the Sixties. The collection will launch in September.
 


“The first edition of Marimekko Kioski is a collection of athleisure pieces such as hoodies, caps, T-shirts and shoppers. I wanted to create unisex streetwear that introduces our most iconic flower print, Unikko, to a new, urban crowd,” says Marimekko’s head designer Satu Maaranen.


Marimekko’s famous poppy pattern Unikko was born in the Sixties as a rebellious act of doing things your own way. After Marimekko’s founder Armi Ratia announced that Marimekko would never print a flower pattern, the opinionated Finnish designer Maija Isola protested by designing an entire series of floral prints, among them Unikko. ‘The flower of rebellion’ stands for creativity, courage and freedom, and Marimekko Kioski updates it for the modern day.


Finnish design house Marimekko was founded in 1951 and has since become known worldwide for its bold, original prints. Marimekko Kioski introduces the Marimekko brand and values to a new generation of urban youth, with reinterpretations of the design house’s iconic patterns and colors alongside products that have not been part of the collections before.

Blog, Press Show Picks

Want to know what Ikea are up to ?

Then look no further than here, to discover the three key trends for AUTUMN / WINTER 2019

This season, we’ll see stripped back interiors dominate city dwellings in the Urban Minimalist trend, with functionality and versatility taking centre stage as the next generation champions a more fluid and transient lifestyle.

At IKEA, they believe that small changes around the home can make everyday life more enjoyable. That includes something as simple as being able to switch off your smart appliances by tapping your smartphone.

The Connected Home trend showcases the next generation of home technology from IKEA, allowing you to create a totally bespoke and smart set-up within the home that works perfectly for you. Connected Home also offers a range of smart bulbs that can be dimmed, change temperature and even completely switch to a different shade with the flick of a remote.

This clever function is especially useful for when the winter months arrive, as you can create a customized feeling of warmth and light in your home. Not only is this great for setting the mood of a room, but also beneficial for overall well-being.

 “For ultimate style and functionality-opt for a sofa from the DELAKTIG range- created in collaboration with Tom Dixon. The platform for living allows you to customize and adapt to the changing needs of life, as you can customize the platform with a lamp, a shelf or even an extra arm rest to reflect your personal style.

Last but not least, for those who love getting creative with colour, rich hues take the spotlight with the Jewel Shades trend this season.

IKEA know how important it is to make a house feel like home, no matter the size or layout. Whether you are looking to completely revamp your space this season, or simply give it one or two updates to keep it fresh and interesting, included are a range of products both big and small to suit all.

Calm and well-organized homes have never been more in demand when it comes to interiors, with our increasingly busy and fluid lives, combined with smaller living spaces, demanding practical yet stylish design solutions.

A fusion of muted colours and tranquil neutrals paired with edgy accessories, Urban Minimalist is all about beautiful and sophisticated functionality that is both adaptable and relaxed, with a hint of modern coolness.

Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK & Ireland says:

The urban Minimalist trend caters to your changing needs whilst exuding a sense of individuality. Less is more with this look, its aim is to create a space that is both understated and distinctive by using fewer furnishings. This will result in a calming space that you’ll enjoy spending time in.

Furnishings and home-wares with multi functionality features are key to turning rooms into flexible spaces.

In this trend whilst maintaining the comforts of home, with more of us living in urban environments, and adapting to small space living, storage has never been more key. The OMBYTE storage collection is designed to be both easily transportable and multipurpose, making it the obvious choice for city dwellers who don’t stay rooted for too long.

To achieve a minimal and modern aesthetic keep your living space tidy with the HANTERVERK hand-woven baskets, crafted by artisans in India as part of IKEA’s latest social entrepreneurs collection.

They are ideal for keeping your belongings stored away, whilst  still maintaining a neutral colour scheme.

         “A beige base colour palette is key to brining a calm atmosphere to an urban minimalist room invoking calmness and impressions of an open spacious atmosphere. But whilst this is a foundation to the look and feel, don’t view it as the only colour. it’s also the perfect canvas for bold statement pieces.

The MARKERAD collection designed in collaboration with Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Virgil Abioh, blends high cultural references with street cred to create fashion-forward home-wares. From the slogan “temporar” wallclock featuring a sleek white-on white design, to the iconic Mona Lisa backlit artwork, this collection offers accessible and affordable statement interiors for metropolitan millennials.”

Comprising of deep yet vibrant tones that add a touch of opulence to any living space, the Jewel Shades colour trend makes a bold statement this season.

A rich and sophisticated palette of emerald green, sapphire blue, amethyst purple, and ruby red forms the crux of this head-turning interiors look. All of these shades are reflective of precious gemstones that people dress themselves in when celebrating, signifying that the party season is upon us.

Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK & Ireland says:

‘The luxe tones found within the Jewel Shades trend re truly designed to dazzle creating a dramatic yet equally comforting mood in the home. Create a beautiful and eye catching setting by being brave with colour and experiment with different fabrics and finishes to get the look you desire. Textiles play a huge part in creating a feeling of decadence with this trend. Whether you decide on opulent velvet or sumptuous satin the look and feel of your furnishings will enhance the overall richness of your space.’

To make any room really stand out from the crowd this season pair complimentary colours together, such as red and green, and orange and blue. The ruby coloured STRANDMON wing chair, for example, create a luxurious look, perfect for getting cosy and reading a good book during the winter months. For a simpler change opt for something like the HILLEBORG curtains in a rich plum shade. Made from recycled PET bottles, they prove that sustainability and style can truly go hand in hand.

Although the focus of this trend is centred around colour, don’t be afraid to add some prints into the mix. The new VONSBAK rug will add a timeless and vintage look to your living space with its oriental pattern and comes in a deep teal shade.

Technology is becoming more and more integrated into our homes, allowing us to live smarter and making our everyday lives a little more seamless. Living spaces with smart home-wares that are stylish, functional, and innovative, making life around the home that little bit easier. The Connected Home trend embraces this notion by hero-ing smart products that have the ability to link and interact with each other, making the home an interconnected hub that caters to a variety of your needs and desires.

Clotilde Passalacqua, Interior Design Leader at IKEA UK & Ireland says:

‘Technology can now be found integrating its way into our homes in ingenious ways, making everyday life easier and more efficient, not to mention more environmentally-friendly. The Ikea Home smart app previously know as the TREDFRI app is currently being developed even further to clear for a wider, unified eco-system of smart products all of which you’ll be able to control at the touch of a button within the app itself. Smart speakers and lighting are a great way to create a home that  works perfectly to control at the touch of a button within the app itself. The latest SYMFONISK range blends both together to bring cutting-edge design with high quality sound to create a look that blends in and stands out simultaneously.’