Month: May 2014

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Thisispaper shop: homeware and the best canvas and leather rucksacks

Thisispaper, one of my absolute favourite visual art and design websites, has a fab homeware and gardening collection on its online shop. From their Warsaw-based studio they source and make by hand sustainable and well-designed products, from rucksacks and cosy knitted socks to scrubbing brushes and kitchen dishes. The designs are simple and functional, using vegetable-tanned leather, durable cotton and canvas, and water-based dye. Summed up by founders Alexander and Zuzanna, who say: ‘We value timeless over trendy, few over many and plain over fancy’. The homeware lookbook shared here has its own story: Every Wednesday at around 1 p.m. two friends and amateur cooks open the doors of their Warsaw apartment to their friends, friends of friends, or sometimes complete strangers, and serve a three course lunch. The food is outstanding, and so is the set. In a room with high ceilings, wooden floor and white tiled stove, the table bends under the weight of fresh vegetables, home baked bread and healthy desserts. Given that the price of this treat is roughly an equivalent …

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Inspiration: Nils Strinning's String shelving

  The String shelf is a Scandinavian design classic– simple, functional and much-loved. I’ve also noticed it keeps popping up in my ‘I wish I lived here’ posts so I thought I’d dedicate a post to it and show you mine (above)! Swedish architect and designer Nils Strinning designed the String shelf system with his wife and designer Kajsa Strinning for a competition initiated by the Bonnier public library in 1949. Each component is designed to fit together, allowing a multitude of possibilities and configurations, whether it’s just the Pocket shelf for personal momentoes or a whole wall system and desk. It is also extremely structurally sound, it may look lightweight but it is able to hold even the heaviest designer ‘coffee table’ books. More recently they’ve also been doing it in lots of different colours, including black, grey and pink. Below are a few of my favourite ways of styling the String shelf. 1. The home of A Merry Mishap blog 2. A mish-mash of furniture styles in Sweden 3. The home of Lisa …

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I wish I lived here: black and white in Norway

This home in Torpa, Norway, a few hours north of Oslo, takes my love of white walls to the next level– literally everything, from the walls to the floors, from the furniture to the pictures hanging on the walls, is white. The light and airiness of the flat is further emphasised with white cabinets and shelves lifted off the floor and lots of interesting hanging lights, be it a simple flex and bulb or a shiny reflective copper dome. And they even have as many mis-matched chairs as I do at home! The best bit though is the desk space in the bedroom, with its modern take on fluorescent strip lighting.         Images: Vastanhem

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Eating out: Merci Marie, Dalston

Housed on the second floor of a former shoe factory, Merci Marie is one of Dalston’s best kept secrets, a simple, homely restaurant run by French chef Marie Gonfond. Originally from Provence, Marie conjures up delicious home cooked meals using fresh and local ingredients and the menus change weekly. She says: ‘My family has been farmers for generations, producing olive oil, fruits and vegetables. My mother and grand mothers are amazing cooks and they have nurtured my love for what is on the plate. After working in various restaurants I knew I wanted to have my own place serving simple, fresh food, cooked and produced with love.’ Throughout the week Merci Marie is open for breakfast and lunches, while on Fridays she hosts ‘Sweet Fridays’ with a BYOB policy. When we visited last Friday the calm white space was candlelit and the French film Amelie was being projected onto one of the walls. The atmosphere, partly down to the long shared wooden benches, fold-up chairs and informal decor, was like that of a good friend’s dinner party (further heightened by the fact …

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Highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week 2014

Clerkenwell Design Week is a three-day festival focused around four exhibitions housed in Clerkenwell’s most historic buildings. The area is abuzz with activity, from open studios and showrooms to exhibitions, seminars and workshops. This year the Farmiloe building looked much the same, with the trend for Scandinavian designs shouting loud and clear. There was also Additions in the Crypt on the Green at St James Church showcasing small design pieces and accessories and Platform, which exhibited talented up-and-coming designers in the subterranean Victorian prison at The House of Detention. It’s in its fifth iteration this year and below are some of the highlights I discovered. 1. Smith by Studio Weave Studio Weave has created Smith, a pavilion that pays homage to the trades associated with Clerkenwell through the ages. The project showcases the making processes of a number of ‘smiths’ synonymous with the area, such as silversmiths, goldsmiths and watchsmiths. Studio Weave worked with UK company Equitone and used its fibre-cement façade materials for the pavilion.     2. Candy Collection by Auxilium Salvage Auxilium’s …

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Travel: Istanbul

Last week I was lucky to take a short trip to Istanbul, partly to meet Tabanlioglu Architects, who are curating the first Turkish pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale next month. We had a chance to see a couple of their projects, from the tallest tower in Istanbul, Sapphire (there is a mini golf course on the 50-something floor!), to residential projects and Istanbul Modern, a former abandoned warehouse transformed into a modern art museum in 2004. Istanbul Modern has a great exhibition titled Past and Future, which showed the transformation of modern and contemporary art in Turkey, from early work, which attempted to copy the European artists in the 18th and 19th centuries, to the present day. There was also a couple of sculptures some of my favourite artists outside of Turkey, including Olafur Eliasson. During my visit I stayed in the Pera Palace hotel, one of the oldest hotels in the city, with one of the oldest (and slightly rickety) lifts to match. It was the first building in Turkey to be powered by electricity other than …

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CRU Kafe for Nespresso coffee machines

While I am addicted to my trusty Nespresso machine, there’s nothing quite like getting a really good cup of coffee in an artisan shop (my favourite being Telescope in Paris and Continental Stores and Allpress in London). Now thanks to new company CRU you can get the same taste and experience conveniently at home, with their new eco-friendly Nespresso-compatible pod, ‘chock full of artisanal, organic and 100% Arabica bean coffee’. CRU was launched by former model Bodil Blain, who came up with the idea when she caught her Portuguese friend stuffing fresh coffee into empty Nespresso™ pods and brought it to life with her entrepreneur friends Matt and Colin and chef John. CRU only uses 100% high altitude Arabica coffee, meaning the beans have complex flavours that result from the extremes of sunny hot days and cool, brisk nights (I’m not quite sure what that exactly means, but it sounds good!). It has also partnered with specialist producers, for example an Ethiopian collective, a Peruvian cooperative and a community estate in India, resulting in natural …

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Another Country's new showroom opens in Marylebone

Another Country, the contemporary craft furniture company set up by the founding publisher of Wallpaper* magazine, has opened its first showroom in London’s Marylebone. The 1,400 sq ft space houses its tables, chairs, desks, stools and daybeds, as well as a collection of ‘Evergreen’ products, a series of items from companies around the world that complements Another Country’s aesthetic for the simple and functional and celebrates the provenance of the product. For example, there is David Mellor cutlery, 31 Chapel Lane and Ian McIntyre pottery, alongside Le Typographe handmade stationery from Brussels and lights from Brooklyn-based design studio, Workstead. Paul de Zwart, who set up Another Country said: The showroom in Marylebone will be a window into the ‘world’ of Another Country. We hope that it will help our visitors appreciate the workmanship that goes into all our products. I also hope customers will fall in love with what we feel is great, sustainable, reasonably priced design that people can enjoy every day. Another Country, 18 Crawford Street, London, WIH 1BT

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Travel: Fez, Morocco

Last week, we jetted off to Fez in Morocco for a whistle-stop tour and a traditional wedding ceremony. We stayed in a Moroccan riyad (for full details see bottom of post) right in the centre of the maze that is the Medina in the old town– all the rooms looked onto the stunning central courtyard and there was a sunny terrace for breakfast looking over the city. A lovely Moroccan couple looked after us, giving us tips on where to visit and made us delicious crepes and freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast. Although we only stayed for a couple of nights we managed to pack a lot in: a visit to the tanneries to see the vats of dye and the hundreds of skins laid out to dry on the rooftops, an unusual and brilliant sight; we got lost in the souks and picked up some glasses (after much bargaining!); ate tagines as well as the local delicacy pastilla, a pastry filled with meat and quite bizarrely topped with icing sugar; and also visited a traditional hammam. Our real reason …

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Ouur, a new clothing brand from Kinfolk

My favourite lifestyle magazine Kinfolk has launched a new brand offering apparel, publications and home goods called Ouur. The products, like the magazine, encourage a simplified lifestyle with a focus on comfort and utility, using natural materials such as cotton and linen. Here’s how Kinfolk editor in chief Nathan Williams describes the collection: The Ouur line has been influenced by both the Scandinavian and Japanese cultures. Both of these regions have consistently focused on simplicity in design, and have placed high value on doing more with less. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we like to wear in Portland, Oregon [where we live], which leads us right back to our core values: functionality, timelessness and beauty. Don’t forget to like their Facebook page here. via Miss Moss photographs by Tec Petaja, styling by Julie Pointer