Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Pellet Stoves

I have been big fan of pellet stoves as an alternative heating source for a while, but had yet to come across interesting designs until I stumbled across these two stoves by Ken Okuyama.

As stoves and fireplaces usually occupy such a prominent position in a room, form becomes as important as function. It is refreshing to finally see a more contemporary design (above left) that could be used in a minimalist setting.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The Sixixis stall at 100% East (part of 100% Design) in September was crowed with people gazing at this lovely chaise lounge. Sixixis are three graduates from 3D Design for Sustainability at Falmouth College of Arts, and their studio is in Cornwall. Using customized bending equipment they create objects from locally available unseasoned timber.

My favourite piece is this custom designed playhouse/sculpture that can be moved about into any position in your garden. It was made for children, and can be occupied, climbed on and rolled about, and is fixed in place using child-proof legs.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Floor Art

Lately, I have been very inspired by new designs in carpets and area rugs. It is as if the passion for bold design leaped from the wallpaper onto the floor. The Rug Company has an amazing selection of designs, colours and textures. Here I have shown some of my favourites: Varanasi (left) and Magnolia by Vivienne Westwood (below).

These rugs could be key pieces in many different styles of design and could subtly work to tie everything in. Most of all, they are like works of art that if cared for would add lasting appeal and pleasure to a room.

Based originally in Istanbul, Stepevi makes beautiful area rugs in a range of styles and sizes (below).

Veedon Fleece offers a custom design service for carpets as well as its own collection.

I quite like this damask runner and could see it in a variety of settings.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Belgian architect and designer Karel Vandenhende has created an apartment that is completely interactive. He calls his system maxFUS (free undefined space).

Walls , which are also storage cupboards, can be moved around to completely alter your living area. Chairs, tables and beds are all on castors. Nothing is fixed.

He has also designed furniture that can flip and fit into different functions. For example, a desk could turn into a dining table, desk or chair.

In a world where we are increasingly defined by what we purchase, where we seem to all march to the same marketing drum, I am increasingly interested in the idea that we can interact with these products and the environment that we place them in. That they don't define us, but we define them.

Perhaps even more importantly, is that with this type of design, they could last and not become a part of an endless cycle of the desire for new. Smaller objects could come and go, but the overall structure would be lasting; as it could change with your tastes, needs and whims over time.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Livingstones by Samarin are another great example of design that you can interact with.

These wonderful cushions, made to resemble oversized pebbles, can be rearranged and moved about from room to room. They come in a range of neutral colours and one bright red accent colour.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dream House

My favourite residential architect is Tom Kundig. I find his ability to combine raw, industrial elements into elegant residential structures simply breathtaking. These houses are not ethereal, pristine and glossy works of glass and steel, where residences feel like museums; they are buildings grounded in the earthy mechanics of everday.

For example:

Concrete walls expose the lines of wood forms.

A modern stainless steel kitchen will have doors that swing open on large metal wheels.

Fireplaces look as if they were salvaged from turn of the century factories.

Quirky domestic elements are added so that you could not help but feel at home. Everything can be touched, opened and closed.

The overall design combines the interior and exterior seemlessly, as if these houses were always meant to be there.

Incredibly elegant design that ties itself to the earth and landscape...

with a good sense of humour. ("You'll have lots of time to rest when you're six feet under")

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Beaux Objets

While I am on the theme of avant-garde art movements, these stunning ceramics from Kose, that I came across at Maison Objet in January, look as if they escaped from a cubist still life. The vases are handcrafted with a thin clay and each one is painted with water-colours or finished with precious metal effects: platinum, shiny grey-green or copper. They can also be enamelled inside to be filled in with water. The placement and combination of these beautiful shapes are limitless... Make your own still life.

The designer behind Kose is Rosaria Rattin, who also designs beautiful things for ISI.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Launch

Design is my passion. I see it as a place where fine art, practicality, craftsmanship, theory, functionality and beauty intersect.

I begin this blog today to establish an online portfolio of my work as an Interior Designer, and to create a forum for my tastes and opinions on design in general.

Currently, I love interiors with surrealist touches, where the
juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context can give new meaning to familiar things. A good example of this can be seen in the work of Seattle architect and furniture designer Roy McMakin. (see photos) When these touches are added in subtle ways, the result is a refreshing jolt from the hum drum of overly stylized interiors and jars the observer into questioning what is the meaning behind it.

Another good example of this are the rocking chairs at the Boston Logan Airport. (Also at San Diego, Dallas and Charlotte, NC) The rather bleak contemporary international waiting lounge is lined with over sized white rocking chairs that look as if they were robbed from a Norman Rockwell painting. They are so out of place in the context of that building, that they demand responses from the individual. Who put me here? and why? Instead of the usual painful task of setting your jet lagged self on an uncomfortable vinyl placemat, you sink into an enormous rocking chair and watch planes take off. Kind of strange, kind of fun and very practical.