Features: October '10

My Home Is My Castle wall sticker from Leonora Hammond

by Alexandra Thomas on October 26, 2010
wall sticker

Tell it like it is with this territorial wall sticker from Leonora Hammond. £40

It’s fair to say I am obsessed with typography which no doubt comes from having a background in the media and the fact my Dad was a print manager.

However, surveying my home the other day, I realised I don’t have one single piece of type displayed in the home.

That’s all about to change though, because I have found this gorgeous My Home Is My Castle wall sticker from Leonora Hammond.

Perfect for stamping your authority on your own “castle”, this wall sticker is available in an array of colours from a sunny yellow to dramatic black and virtually everything in between. And if you don’t want to be quite so authoritative, then don’t despair as there are a wide range of saying s available as well as famous quotes. And for fussy types, those clever bods at Leonora Hammond will even let you devise your own saying.

So, as they say, with these wall stickers, the writing is most definitely on the wall.

See this product at Leonora Hammond...

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Interview: Aiveen Daly

by Emma Foale on October 26, 2010
chair
Moneypenny chair and Giselle lamp, prices on application, Aiveen Daly.

We interview furniture designer Aiveen Daly

Inspired by haute couture gowns, Aiveen Daly’s collection boasts hand-upholstered designs with intricate detail and a gorgeous chic look.

Read on to find out more about Aiveen Daly’s style and inspiration...

If you had 3 words to describe your collection what would they be?

Luxurious, contemporary, different.

What inspired you to get into the world of interior design?

I love colour and textiles and wanted to spend my life doing something more creative.

Your collection is hand upholstered, how do you feel that this enhances the quality and aesthetics of the designs?

My team are meticulous to the point of obsession. We work on fabrics that come from all over the world sometimes they have been specially produced at hundreds of pounds a metre so we can’t make any mistakes! Doing things by hand allows for more creative fluidity. It makes each piece totally unique compared with mass production where a lot is done by computer and huge machines.

sofa
Love Love Sofa, £3975 plus fabric, Aiveen Daly.

You have a selection of beautiful vintage pieces, how do you think vintage-inspired furniture will continue to add personality and character to both modern and traditional interiors?

We love to revive old pieces and dress them in something contemporary. Old furniture is often magnificently built and so literally lasts hundreds of years. BBC Homes & Antiques magazine suggested the Aiveen Daly collection would be the antiques of the future. We really build our pieces to last.

Your designs are inspired by haute couture gowns and Saville Row tailoring, which are your favourite pieces and why?

My favourite Stiletto chair is the Love Knot as it is simple and classic like your favourite piece of clothing or jewellery that never goes out of style.

What is the key link between fashion and design for you, and how do you think 2011 fashion trends will influence interior design?

Fashion for me has always been more experimental and quirky than furniture design. Tailoring is big again with very classic cuts – simplicity with attention to detail will be important. I think a new minimalism will emerge that is much warmer than the last wave.

mirror
Mirror Mirror, price on application, Aiveen Daly.

All of your work is manufactured in Britain, how important do you believe it is for interior design to become more eco-friendly and to help build the British economy?

I think it is so important to keep traditional trades alive. Britain has always been renowned for high end craftsmanship. I think it should be more clearly labelled on furniture where it has been manufactured as it definitely influences customers. It is much more sensible to invest in something that you will keep for years and pass down to your children than to buy cheap imports that you have to replace every time you move.

What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?

My new Aphrodite lampshades in pale grey silk with hand braiding.

Where do you like to shop for quirky furniture pieces for your own home?

Merchant Archive and Retrouvius.

Do you have any new collections on the horizon?

We have just made a magnificent 4 poster bed called Arabian Nights with hand beading and stud work. We will be doing a lot more with embellishment in the near future.

How to... create the perfect dining room

by Alexandra Thomas on October 25, 2010
dining table
Lombok Malang dark teak extending dining table from Lombok £995

Get ready for Christmas with our guide on how to create the perfect dining room

With Christmas just around the corner (just over eight weeks to go) it’s essential you get your dining room sorted in preparation for entertaining guests. Perhaps this is your first time hosting the main event or you just want to give your dining room a makeover. Whatever your budget, style and reason, our guide shows you how to create the perfect dining room for the festive period and all year round.

The Table

The dining table is an essential bit of kit. A good option is to choose one that’s extendable, that way you’re always have room for the extra guest who just happens to turn up unannounced. The Malang Dark Teak Extending Dining Table will add a touch of oriental –chic to your scheme while the refectory-style Ash Extending Dining Table from Sweetpea & Willow is perfect for those that want something a little simpler. If you don’t have room for an extending design, opt for a round one, which is much more sociable and guaranteed to get even guests who don’t know each other chatting.

chair
Tolix A Chair from The Lollipop Shoppe £176

The Chairs

The days of having to match chairs to your table are long gone. Of course, if you want to match your chairs to your table then there are plenty of options. However, mixing and matching chairs is a great way to give your dining room a unique look. Brightly coloured chairs such as the Tolix A Chair from The Lollipop Shoppe work well with a plain, wooden table. Comfort as well as style is important when it comes to dining chairs, make sure you opt for ones that your guests will want to stay in long after pudding rather than running for the hills before the starter has arrived. If you’re going to use benches instead of chairs, make sure there’s plenty of room to manoeuvre them and add some colourful cushions for extra comfort.

furnish
Art of Entertaining - Three Piece Collection from Designed in England £30

The Lighting

Lighting, as in every room, plays an important part in the dining room. Firstly, it’s important to choose a central light to create drama and atmosphere. A pendant light such as the Clarence Pendant Shade from Heal’s is a good choice. Make sure it’s connected to a dimmer switch so you can alter the mood of the room accordingly. Candle light is a must for any dining room, whether you opt for a dramatic candelabra such as the Medium Abbey 5 Arm Candelabra from Alexander and Pearl or subtle tea light holders (Also Home has a good choice), they’re a sure fire way to add some atmosphere to any scheme.

The Tableware

Choosing your tableware is as important as the food you serve on it. White is best, it looks classic, is timeless and means should things get a little out of hand or the washing up chaotic, pieces can be easily replaced. Don’t be afraid to mix and match, decorative plates such as the Art of Entertaining collection by Andrew Tanner from Designed in England look fabulous with plain white china.

Follow these simple tips and you’re ready to entertain, now all you need is to get cooking...

Shop the look...

Serpent Dining Table by Tom Schneider
From £2360 £2006

Interview: Emily Bond

by Emma Foale on October 23, 2010
cushion
Red Dachshund cushion, £49, Emily Bond.

We interview British fabric designer Emily Bond

British fabric designer Emily Bond designs beautiful fabrics inspired by animals and the countryside.

We find out more about Emily, her inspiration and her style...

If you had 3 words to describe your style what would they be?

Eclectic, country, fresh

Where does your inspiration come from?

My life, my childhood and all people and animals in it.

What is it that you endears you so much to British countryside?

There is nothing quite like an Autumn day walking with the dogs through the country side, there Is nowhere I’d rather be.

tea towel
Dairy cow tea towel,£12, Emily Bond.

Why do you choose to feature animals in your designs and what do you feel they bring to a variety of home interiors?

I love animals on fabric it brings an element of fun into your interiors, but the way I put them together and the colours and fabrics I use it makes them sophisticated and classic at the same time.

What’s your ‘hero’ product and why?

My blue dachshund tea towel is started the business, people love dachshunds!

How important is pattern and repetition to your designs, and how do you think pattern will continue to keep interior design fresh and exciting?

It’s very important and each design is very repetitious which is what I love about my designs. I like simply fresh designs.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I love linen because it so natural.

tea cosy
Jack Russell tea cosy, £29, Emily Bond.

What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?

The last product I bought for my home was an Anta foot stool, I love their checks in my home and they complement with my fabrics beautifully.

Where do you like to shop for quirky furniture pieces for your own home?

Reclamation yards.

How important do you think it is for interior design to become more eco-friendly?

I think it’s a difficult one, as I agree we must be as eco as possible, I love old things, antiques quirky finds in reclamation yards which are not made in an eco way! So I think if we can bring it into interior design somewhere along the line that can only be a good thing.

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?

Go and look for things different and look for small little company like me because we are individual, unique and fresh.

What new projects do you have on the horizon?

A children’s collection, which I’m really looking forward to designing.

How to create... the luxe hotel look

by Alexandra Thomas on October 19, 2010
sofa
Versailles Bedroom sofa £840 from The French Bedroom Company

Give your bedroom the five-star hotel treatment with our tops tips and ideas

We all talk about how we love to stay in luxury hotels, so why not create the look at home? Here's how.

Furniture

Hotels always have sumptuous armchairs or sofas and it's easy to create this look at home. If you have the space, a small sofa or chaise will add a touch of luxury. We love this Versailles Bedroom Sofa from The French Bedroom Company. Its gilt finishing and silk upholstery is just the ticket if you want to inject some French glamour. To make it extra cosy, add mohair throws and sumptuous cushions for a decadent scheme.

chandelier
Silver Chain Shallow Chandelier £1,274.89 from Tigermoth Lighting

Lighting

Lighting is all about getting the right atmosphere. Copy the chicest hotels around by adding a multitude of light sources to your boudoir. Start with a stunning chandelier such as the Silver Chain Swallow chandelier from Tigermoth Lighting and add wall lights (The Tom Tom from Diffuse lighting is a good choice). Finish the look with elegant, statement table lamps (try Brissi for a good range) dotted around on bedside tables.

bed linen
Milan Organic Cotton Waffle bedlinen from £60 from The Fine Cotton Company

Bedlinen

There's nothing nicer than sinking into a hotel bed but if you're a homebody then it's easy to create the same sumptuous feel at home.

Opt for good quality sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers - the best you can afford. The Milan Organic Cotton Waffle collection from The Fine Cotton Company is a good choice and being white provides the perfect canvass for you to add some colour to. To create a really decadent feel, layer up with scatter cushions, throws and bedspread.

So, while we can't promise room service, we can promise that with these tips, you'll turn your bedroom from the mundane to the magnificent.

Just don't forget the Do Not Disturb sign...

Interview: Tracy Kendall

by Emma Foale on October 18, 2010
wallpaper
'Stripe' wallpaper, price on request, Tracy Kendall

Tangible yet beautiful wallpapers: Tracy Kendall designs something a little bit different for your walls.

London based wallpaper designer, Tracy Kendall offers a beautiful collection of contemporary wallpapers and just recently exhibited at Decorex and won an award for her stunning Sequin design.

We caught up with Tracy to find out what inspires her to keep creating and designing...

If you had 3 words to describe your collection what would they be?

Simple, original, touchable.

You recently exhibited at Decorex and won an award for your stunning ‘Sequin’ wallpaper. What does this mean to you and what do you hope that your wallpapers bring to home interiors?

It means a great deal to me to have such a prestigious award given to me. I work in such a bubble sometimes, I don't design for anyone other than myself and all the collection are my designs so to have such a great recognition of what I do is really special to me. I hope that it can inspire people to take risk but with products that they fall in love with, to have in their home items which have won their heads, rather than their heads all the time, i.e., not the safe option.

Since starting the production of your hand-produced graphic range in 1996, how have you developed and experimented with different designs and scales?

I've moved into more textural work, adding different textures as I find different manufacturing partners along the way. Sometimes the designs can only be made in house, such as the sequins, but with others I have been able to use external specialized manufacturers for which is great.

What inspires you to keep designing and creating?

Curiosity; I love to challenge myself both visually and technically with my work.

wallpaper
'Spot Sequin' wallpaper, made to order and price on request, Tracy Kendall

You have taken 3-D wallcoverings in a new and exciting direction. So, what are your favourite materials to work with and why do they work so well?

Paper is still my favourite material; having studied fine art printmaking I am always struck by how much paper can do or be made to do.

Your wallpapers could be described as tangible, and I particularly like love the sequins and also the stitched text. Why do you think that wallpaper should be something that will create an impact and evoke a reaction when people see it?

I don't think that is limited to wallpaper, chair or cup can give the same reaction but my chosen medium is wallpaper and by hopefully creating a wallpaper that gives people more than one option of sense in which to view the paper helps to make them fall in love with it.

What is your best selling design from your collection and why?

It’s probably still the fork design, the first but it is so simple, so easy to use in the home or commercial spaces, it is big but not over powering, it makes a statement but doesn't yell for attention all the time, it just works very well, thank goodness.

wallpaper
'Eat' wallpaper, price on request, Tracy Kendall

How do you feel that patterned wallpaper will develop, and what direction do you hope it will go in the future in order to keep interior design fresh and exciting?

There are so many new and exciting wallpapers coming out, I hope that they continue to have a aspect of respect for the environments they are going into and don't try to over whelm them, its wallpaper, it is meant to have mirrors and pictures on top of it and chair in front of and your back to it as well!!

How important do you think it is for interior design to become more eco-friendly?

Very, not always in such obvious "what materials" do we use way, it's more about how much we change interiors rather than grow them and how much material we waste as a part of the manufacturing process. as I make to order, I have very little waste, all my waste then goes into sampling for sending out which works very well for me.

What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?

Nothing new, brought some amazing brass table legs to make a table up with and then had a friend make the table top for me, a lovely mix of old and new.

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?

Have passion, lots of passion.

Is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with in the future and if so why?

I never plan who I am going to work for or with, I love not knowing what or which client will ask me to make whatever for them next, the element of surprise helps to keep everything fresher and better for the client as well.

What are you working on now or do you have anything in the pipeline?

I’ve just finished a new design to be launched at Maison and Object in Jan 2011 and I’m also working on another to launch there as well and doing lots of projects for mainly domestic clients at the moment but have a restaurant in London that I am also working closely with and a shop opening in Vancouver which will stock my work which is exciting as well.

Happy Birds cushions by Roddy & Ginger

by Alexandra Thomas on October 13, 2010
cushion

Add some retro flair with these Happy Birds cushions from Roddy & Ginger. £25

I have a thing about retro textiles, which I mostly attribute to a 70s bedspread my Mum had when I was growing up. It had huge, brightly coloured flowers and was my favourite, so the passion for all things retro obviously started at a young age.

Which is why I adore the range of cushions from Roddy & Ginger. The sweetest owls sit alongside bold geometric prints but my pick is these Happy Birds cushions.

cushion

Available in teal and turquoise and grey and olive, they’re screenprinted onto natural linen and hand made.

I love the vibrant colours and gorgeous attention to detail in the design.

Perfect for adding a pop of colour to a living room or bedroom, I’m going to use mine on a neutral chair.

See this product at Roddy & Ginger...

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Interview: Somerville Scott & Company

by Emma Foale on October 12, 2010
rug
Six Beetle Rug, price on request, Somerville Scott & Company.

Bringing together traditional English craft with a fresh and modern approach, Somerville Scott & Company’s collection will embellish any home interior

Devoted to producing beautifully crafted furniture, Somerville Scott and Company’s collection of furniture, rugs, cabinetry, desks and tables offers distinctive style and a modern elegance.

We caught up with Amy Somerville and Stuart Scott to discover more about their ambition and style...

If you had 3 words to describe your style what would they be?

Sumptuous, precisionist, modernist.

What is your company’s ‘Hero’ product and why?

Our curiosity cabinets encompass what Amy and I are able to achieve but the Minx chair was the first product that got us noticed – so it would have to be that.

As a British based design company, how do you feel about interior design becoming more eco-friendly? And how will this improve the quality and durability of interior furnishings in the future?

Product longevity is important, if you design with that in mind with the use of better quality materials and construction methods then the piece becomes eco-friendly, you’re investing in a product for life. If it becomes tired over time then you can simply re-upholster it, instead of throwing it away. Designers can help in considering schemes that have a longer shelf life.

side table
BGB Side Tables, (in solid walnut £3150, and in white gold leaf £3525), Somerville Scott & Company.

What inspires the combination of modernity and traditional style of your furniture and cabinetry?

Just looking at antiques and how pieces used to be made. Some of the furniture that came out of the Art Deco period was so rich in its use of materials and finishes. Nowadays it’s difficult to replicate these details as materials increase in price, and the craftspeople that are able to achieve this level of quality in furniture are becoming increasingly rare and sought after.

Do you have a favourite traditional piece of furniture?

I’ve always been drawn to works by people like Jean-Michel Frank, Pierre Legrain and Ruhlmann. Amy and I both agree that the ‘Skyscraper’ bookcase by Frankl is a bit special.

You have a small range of stunning handmade rugs, what makes your rug collection unique from anything we have seen before?

Our choice of subject matter is often quite unique, the colours and the quality of weave tell them apart.

chair
Minx Chair, £3190 + 8m fabric, Somerville Scott & Company.

What is the most recent design product that you have bought for your home?

On a practical level a Dyson vacuum cleaner, on an indulgent level I picked up a Rover Chair by Ron Arad at a recent auction, although it turned out to be a fake, I was mortified!

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?

Think practically and design with the user in mind.

Is there anyone that you would like to collaborate with in the future and if so why?

Always used to be Ettore Sottsass but that wouldn’t be possible now. It would have been interesting and quite mad. In terms of a contemporary brand on a purely self-indulgent level it would have to be Aston Martin. We could do a pretty special limited edition interior.

What’s next for Somerville Scott & Company?

Keep designing! Producing more furniture that people aspire to own.

For Somerville Scott & Company's full collection, specification sheets and price list, check out their website.

Interview: Georgia Horton

by Emma Foale on October 11, 2010
furnish
Lobster Quadrille, price on request, Georgia Horton.

Naturally beautiful: Georgia Horton’s luxury wallpapers bring the colours and patterns of nature together to create something special

Designer and artist, Georgia Horton is fresh from exhibiting at Decorex where she successfully launched her ‘New Naturals’ collection.

We caught up with Georgia to find out what inspires her and what’s next on the horizon...

If you had 3 words to describe your collection what would they be?

Bold, organic, architectural.

You have described your illustrative wallpaper as “somewhere between organic and architectural”, can you expand on this?

Many of my designs originate from sketches that I have drawn from what I see around me in nature. For me this is a great way to begin because I can put a design down on paper and let it expand and grow from there. For example, from paper to print, I believe that the whole process of designing all the way through to the manufacturing can be described as organic because it feels like a natural, creative process. I think the word ‘architectural’ captures the depth and 3-D quality of my designs.

How have your childhood experiences and time spent in South Africa and Italy influenced your life and your work?

My father was an architect and my mother was an artist so I have grown up with a huge artistic and creative influence in my life. You can see that there are both Italian and wild African styles apparent in some of my designs, although I couldn’t say that there’s any specific place that I have taken inspiration from. I get my inspiration from all over the place and have my eyes open for new ideas all the time.

I particularly love the Lobster Quadrille’ in ‘The One Collection’ because of its quirky appeal. You use a lot of symmetry in your designs and repetition, how do you feel that your artistic background has helped you?

It has helped me understand perspective and scale. For example, with the Lobster Quadrille, scale is important because it offers a different perception depending on your distance away from the wallpaper. On a larger scale you can see lots more of the detailing such as the horizontal trellis.

I’m also intrigued by the patterns and symmetry found in nature which inspires a lot of my designs. I really appreciate Escher’s work because he experimented with symmetrical designs and he explored the idea of reflection.

quilt
Quilt, price on request, The Arch Hotel London, Georgia Horton.

What is your best selling design from your collection and why?

The Lobster Quadrille is one of our best sellers because it has a unique style that draws you in. This is followed very closely by the Quilt design which is also a very popular choice.

How do you feel that wallpaper will develop, and what direction do you hope it will go in the future in order to keep interior design fresh and exciting?

Wallpaper has been around for such a long time and it has gone through several periods of change. However, I think that this is an exciting time because wallpaper is leading people into a different approach to interior design, and it has encouraged waves of boldness and eccentricity.

How is the quality of your wallpaper improved by your use of hand mixed colours on hand printed paper?

Our paper is of a high quality and it’s sustainably sourced. The hand-printed paper is strong and durable which helps improve the richness of colour and it also gives an appealing tactile quality.

furnish
Follow Me, price on request, Georgia Horton.

How important do you believe it is for interior design to become more eco-friendly?

I think it’s extremely important! All of my designs are manufactured in the UK, and I do aim to move with technology and keep up with sustainable ways to produce my wallpapers.

What did you last buy for your home?

I’ve recently bought a typical 1970’s retro style easy chair which I have upholstered in my own fabric in the Quilt design.

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers?

I would say take initiative; listen to your clients and consider their brief but at the same time bring a new edge and individuality to your work.

What are you working on now, is there anything new in the pipeline?

Yes - In fact I’m developing a new collection for 2011 which will have bolder and braver colourways.

I have also just launched my ‘New Naturals’ collection which features organic colours such as pale sage, calico, buttermilk and stone. We created this in response to a high demand for neutrals with strong decorative appeal.

Visit Georgia Horton’s website for more information and to view her whole collection.

Our weekly pick of interiors blogs… Oct 6th

by Catherine Gregg on October 06, 2010
furnish
Leslie’s corkboard collage on A Creative Mint

Blogs to get you through the week in style.

A Creative Mint is the creative outlet for Canadian-born LA-based designer, Leslie. After taking degrees in Architecture and Interior Design and a successful career in packaging design, Leslie decided to take a step back. At home with two young children she started the blog as a scrapbook for her interiors projects and photographs. She’s interested in all aspects of design, from architecture to cooking, and this really comes across in the blog. Leslie’s a great photographer and this as well as her love of collage makes the blog really visually appealing. You’ll find all sorts of lovely stuff on here, and if you’re a crafty type A Creative Mint is right up your street.

furnish
Scavenging and DIY pays off at Adam's House

Adam’s House is a really delightful blog. It’ll be right up your street if you’re interested in getting your hands dirty with a bit of DIY; or you love period houses, architectural salvage and design history. Adam lives in small Victorian village called Potsdam in upstate NY. He teaches high school art and with his upbeat manner and creative exuberance it wouldn’t be a class I’d bunk off. He bought an 1812 Potsdam-sandstone house six years ago and he’s been working on remodeling it ever since; the blog follows Adam’s progress with plenty of design-related asides along the way. He’s trying to keep the décor fitting with the history of the house without it being too themed, traditional or stuffy. We heartily approve.

furnish
Colourful cotton reels on Lobster and Swan

Lobster and Swan is a charming, beautifully illustrated Hastings-based blog. You’ll find musings on fashion, art, craft and design with shopping tips, travel stories and interiors inspiration aplenty. There are loads of great ideas for creative projects around the home. Hastings is a bit of a Mecca for junk shopping too, so expect evocative lifestyle images with a vintage flavour. This blogger has a wandering eye that always seems to alight on something beautiful or delightfully different. Designed to intrigue and inspire, it’s an eclectic blog drawn together by a consistent and confident sense of style.

As always, get in touch if you write your own design blog and we’ll feature it next time.

Review: 100% Design

by Catherine Gregg on October 04, 2010
furnish
Sequence glassware collection by Natalia Ogneva for Artel

Our hot picks from 100% Design.

100% Design delivered a knockout show this year, with impressive displays from exhibitors across the board. Ambushed by eager designers and waylaid by wonderful objects it was easy to get overwhelmed in the throng. With beautiful things at every turn, I got lost trying to find my way back to Print, Tuft & Fold. Expect an interview with the lovely ladies soon. There were spectacular displays of both home grown and international design talent. Wandering about in a beauty-induced trance, here are just a few of the things we homed in on.

Czech Selection showcased some fabulous glassware including a sleek new collection by Bohemia Machine, featuring stylish angular forms and tactile bands of raised glass dots. Karen Feldman of Artel launched a new collection in partnership with graphic designer Natalia Ogneva. Featuring an intricate pattern of parallel and diagonal lines, the Sequence collection is reminiscent of early 20th century Czech cubism. ‘One of my sources of inspiration for Sequence was the work of Czech-born designer Josef Hoffmann…In particular, his extraordinary feel for lineation’ says Ogneva. Incredibly, each black line in the lattice-like pattern is hand-painted on to the mouth blown vessels. You can find Artel glassware at Paul Smith in the UK. Representing the best of British, RCA Alumni Rothschild & Bickers unveiled a beautiful range of glass light shades. The new Flora collection features delicate bauble light fittings topped with gold pineapple-like leaves. With glorious golden fringing, the domed Tassel Light and fluted Vintage Light have a nostalgic feel, while the distinctive colour palette - teal, gold, black and grey – gives the whole collection a contemporary edge.

pendant light
Flora Optic Pendent by Rothschild & Bickers

At 100% France, I was struck by Atelier Polyhedre’s bold shape-shifting ceramics. Flying the flag and looking particularly dapper, Baptiste Ymonet and Vincent Jousseaume are the creative duo behind this quirky design studio. Fluctuating between minimalist rigour and baroque exuberance, between the geometric and the organic, Vincent and Baptiste have created a fresh and original collection, experimenting with form and style while retaining absolute quality. Stopping to grab a bag for all the ephemera I’d amassed, I spotted Scandinavian Surface exhibiting at 100% Norway. The four Bergen-based designers behind the brand recently launched an innovative new wallpaper concept. PanelPiece is a series of individual wallpaper panels designed to be used separately or in combination. Each panel has its individual identity and used singly will reveal a larger overall design. Mixed and matched, the different designs strike up a dialogue allowing you to create a customized wallcovering.

A cohort of British designers showcased their work as part of Design Event North East, representing the best of contemporary design across the region. Michael Armstrong of Afid Design exhibited a breath-taking collection of bespoke timber furniture. Michael’s designs highlight the beauty of simple forms, celebrating expert craftsmanship, quality materials and subtle detailing. I’m saving up for the sideboard. Design polymath and all round mischief-maker Dan Civico was on hand to demonstrate his artful ChairKit_. These AirFix-like self-build chairs and tables are sold in flat-pack/wall-art form, laser cut from a single piece of birch plywood, and are supplied with all the bits and bobs you’ll need for a satisfying afternoon of DIY. Each kit comes with a signed and numbered, limited edition screen print.

furnish
Fuse Table by Vitamin

Hidden Art was also supporting emerging talent with its fourth Hidden Art Select range, featuring the work of seven British designers. One of my favourites was Your Placemat or Mine? by Hannah Dipper and Robin Farquhar of People will Always Need Plates. Featuring eight designs, the new range celebrates British domestic architecture through the ages and can be used either individually or placed together as a table runner, charting the history of British homes. Renata Manau of Biscuit Design evoked the exploits of Winnie the Pooh with her Balloon nesting box. Complete with a four-paned ‘window’, the ceramic balloon-shaped birdhouse is designed to be strung from a tree and features a florescent pink string that dangles away underneath. This year Hidden Art also launched a new collection of seating by five independent designer-makers. It was difficult to obey the polite ‘do not touch’ sign next to DesignK’s Dandelion Stool: a tripod construction with a plump knitted ball perched on top. COAL Design’s fifties-inspired Horrice Chair was another winner, with its lacquered walnut frame and vivid yellow upholstery.

Furniture was a particular draw at 100% Design this year and the impressive selection on show didn’t disappoint. James UK’s range of hardwood, upholstered seating raised the heart rate rather alarmingly, particularly a button-backed fifties-style sofa and a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional wing armchair. Vitamin launched a new collection of furniture and lighting at the show, of which the Fuse Table was the standout piece. Out of the steel base grows an ash sapling, which splits into three branches to support the white lacquered tabletop. A fusion of geometric and organic forms, and of three different materials, each of the elements feed into one another to create a beautiful, functional object; the tabletop can even be removed to use as a tray. Leading the field in hand-made contemporary furniture, Pinch Design exhibited a beautifully crafted collection with graceful simplicity of form; we’ve got an interview with Russell Pinch coming soon. The influence of fifties design was visible throughout the show, particularly in furniture, so it was great to see the real thing in evidence as well: a much anticipated collection of original Ernest Race designs reissued by Race Furniture. The pipe-toting mid-century designer created the Antelope chair for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and the wonderful lightness of his steel rod constructions articulate the buoyant festival spirit.

It’s a spirit that seemed alive and well at 100% Design. We’ll be following up on lots of the exhibitors in the next few weeks.