Monthly Archives: February 2013

Aria: contemporary, design-led homewares for 2013

A recent desire to revisit of one of my favourite parts of London, Islington: now an interiors shopper’s paradise, but for me, years ago was simply home: somewhere I lived and played as a small child. A little fun with filters on these images, and the shot of the Mini (shame it’s not an original model) plus the communal London square (empty here but filled with children when school is over) brings the memories back…. If I were to display these shots at home, they’d have to slot into a perspex photo cube: (Remember them? No? Click the link! Hilariously retro) they were perfect for helping your photos fade happily together….

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Nostalgia over, let’s go back with a bang to stylish 2013 with a focus on Aria. Set in an atmospheric hall in Islington, Aria has recently overhauled their website so you can shop their interesting mix of classic, contemporary, design-led homewares wherever you live.

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The high ceilings of Barnsbury Hall provide a stimulating backdrop for their mix of furniture, lighting, ceramics and tableware…..

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Expect to find design classics alongside work from young, super-talented up-and-coming designers: I I love these geometric patterned cushions by the highly regarded designer Tamasyn Gambell:

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Whilst their own Aria Selection range includes contemporary pieces, such as this Embrace coffee table / storage:

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As well as smaller pieces: this French-made Aria Selection china, with its simple dip-dye pattern and block colours, is right on trend:

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All images courtesy of Aria 

Do pay Aria a visit if you’re in the area, or visit their website, if like me, you don’t live round the corner….

Bring your walls to life; Peacock blue

Super-bright, colour-rich paint shades for interior walls are coming back into fashion, and one shade that keeps popping up on rooms and paint charts is peacock blue.

A hard colour to define, this blue is darker and more blue than aqua, greener than cobalt, yet not as green as turquoise, and just to confuse matters, it may vary in blueness from one paint chart to the next.

Researching, I discovered rooms painted in peacock blue have eclectic, sometimes traditional yet charming atmospheres. The shade is often used as a backdrop to display disparate collections of paintings, books, rugs and general accumulations of stuff…

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[images from top: The Bible of British Taste, Architectural DigestThe Decorista, Houzz.com]

Mini Moderns launched their paint collection in Autumn 2012, and these contemporary product designers included their version of this vibrant blue as one of the key shades in their new paint range.

Named Lido (so named after open air swimming pools rather than peacocks) their shot shows it’s possible to use the blue in a modern, clutter-free way:

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Mini Moderns paint has impeccable green credentials: their matt emulsion is made from waste water-based paint which would otherwise have ended up in landfill or incineration: so with up to 90% recycled content, the paint is worthy of its full name, Environmentally Responsible Paint.

What do you think? Is this blue just too bright for you? Or do you welcome a return to bright shades as a way to easily, relatively cheaply, liven up our walls?

Lives of the (usually) rich and (sometimes) famous….

If you’re bored at your desk and fancy a bit of household snooping that will leave you with raised eyebrows (and possibly the need to breathe deeply after viewing), then check out the wonderful and yes, sometimes weird, homes of the designers profiled on the admirable The Coveteur:

Manolos: just line them up on your geometric black/white stairs, after you’ve let your three year old loose with a sponge roller and some pink paint: no one will notice this decorating faux pas!

all images courtesy of The Coveteur 

It’s impossible not to admire their unique styling methods (shoes on china? shoes on stairs?) but the amount of STUFF these (usually) successful designers own frequently makes me want to lie down in a nice, empty, white room…. What do you think?

 

Beautiful fish; blue & white, part III

I read somewhere wherever you are in the UK, you are never more than 50 miles from the sea* and it may be this proximity to the seaside which provides our affinity with it, and likewise the inspiration for so many of our talented artists and designers.

Just as the with Sardine Run china from Jersey Pottery I wrote about here, these beautiful blue and white fish prints below share a love for the sea together with Japanese creative processes.

For her original artwork featuring locally caught Cornish fish, artist Susie Ray adapted an 18th-19th century technique called Gyotaku (fish rubbing) created by Japanese fishermen to visually record the fish they caught. Whilst the fishermen used ink and rice paper, Susie worked with oil paints and cotton cloth, so giving the paintings a wonderful textural depth that conveys a sense of movement and life.

Now she’s released beautiful prints of these originals, using pigment dyed light-fast inks and archival papers:

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All prints come in several sizes, and are produced, named and hand-signed by artist Susie Ray,  from The Padstow Mussel Company

If you haven’t discovered it yet, Cornwall-based The Padstow Mussel Company‘s shop and website itself is worth a look for its beautiful ceramics, photographs, artwork and tableware.

*(although according to this BBC article, it could differ between 45 and 70 miles depending on what your definition of ‘sea’ is….)

Silent protest, Art installation: workers’ hard hats, Milan

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This is one of the most arresting displays of public art I’ve seen for a long time, and even more so due to its simplicity: yet it carries a powerful, straightforward message.

The regimented lines of yellow hard hats arranged outside the stock exchange in Milan, Italy on 13 February were placed there to symbolise the devastated Italian construction industry as part of the construction association’s ‘Day of Anger’; the lost jobs and many defunct businesses, all due to the recession of the past five years.

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Pictures courtesy of Milano TodayCorriere Milano

It’s striking how one piece of everyday kit can be amassed to pack such a visual and symbolic punch.

The mass of hard hats reminded me of Antony Gormley‘s stunning Field for the British Isles, where thousands of tiny terracotta figures face the observer….

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Any thoughts on this kind of art? Let me know…

Adding colour to ice: stunning ice sculptures in Harbin, China

If you’ve always thought of ice as colour-free then think again: these mind-blowing ice sculptures in China, part of the annual winter festival in Harbin, are made from huge blocks of ice, lit up with coloured LED lights.

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All images courtesy of flickr. See more pictures here:

If you’re quick, you could take a trip and see it in the flesh: the exhibition opened on 5 January, and lasts until the end of February….

More lovely details from Denmark: Tine K Home

I watched the final episode of Borgen 2 on catch up last night….so to cheer myself up now the series is over for me for another year here in the UK (Borgen 3 is only just airing on Danish TV) and to continue my little Danish style fix, I’m sharing with you the chic Danish interiors brand Tine K Home.

Eponymous owner Tine K favours interiors accessories in cool colours: Here’s my pick of the best of her new spring/summer products for 2013….

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Textured tumblers…. (in that favourite ’80s colour combo of white, pale grey and peachy-pink)….

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Stylish bamboo furniture is one of their strengths: also bamboo gets a big thumbs up from a sustainability point of view…. Great baskets, too….  

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I use monochrome  at home with caution but it definitely has its place: especially when spiced up with splashes of coral, as on these cushions here: though I hesitate, as it’s really not my usual colour combination…. but there’s something about this mix that is right for now…. 

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Love the greys, dusky pinks, and linear black/white patterns on their china…. And the bronze pitchers? They stand out, with their unusual shapes, amongst the simple, pared-down china…. 

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Deep greys and blacks bring the white elements to life….

MMMMM love this bamboo bench….

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Cushions in monochromes, browns, creams with on-trend geometric, tribal patterns…. 

And wonderful deep baskets for everything from bread at the dining table, to folded piles of towels in the bathroom….

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Tine K Home is sold through various independent shops in the UK; however unlike their compatriot House Doctor (of which you’ll know I’m a fan) you can buy online through the Tine K website.