Month: July 2014


Tacofino restaurant by Omer Arbel

This project by Omer Arbel may have been done two years ago, but it caught my eye in Phaidon’s new book ROOM, out in October. Room presents 100 interior design projects from around the world chosen by 10 widely respected interior designers, critics and curators. This restaurant, called Tacofino, in Vancouver, features a stunning tangled chandelier made of stiff copper tubing and glass spheres. The spheres rather cleverly feature white cavities for small plants and succulents. Each sphere houses two to three lighting elements and one or two planters with space for earth. It was made by intermittently heating and cooling blown glass by Arbel’s lighting design company Bocci. Elsewhere in the restaurant, reclaimed wood slabs serve as tables and benches and white steel tubes make up the furniture’s legs to contrast with the raw concrete floor.


Shoemaker chair by Martin Azua

The Shoemaker Chair by Barcelona-based Martin Azua is made of a copper frame with a single piece of leather to form the seat. The leather is punctuated by eyelets for laces so that the arms of the chair can be adjusted and folded down. In his work in general, Azua is particularly interested in the natural processes in daily life and the use of handcrafted resources in order to preserve cultural and technological diversity. He says: Objects are usually true to some schemes and they find their identity in some pre-established premises. This chair claims its personality as a shoe and requires the care of a shoe. Often objects, as people, have problems to be what they really are. Images: Martin Azua


I wish I lived here: the home of an artist in Copenhagen

This delightful Copenhagen home belongs to artist and designer Anne Sofie and her actor boyfriend. Anne Sofie creates paintings and illustrations as well as ceramics and jewellery. You can check out her shop here. At home, she is in charge of the decor, preferring a simple palette of white with pops of primary colours. Anne Sofie suggests lamps at different heights to create life and soul in a room and dimmers on lamps to make spaces feel cosier. I think the mixture of textures in this house is perfect; the rough concrete dining table, the painted floorboards and the untreated plywood shelves. Images: Femina


Ouur Autumn/Winter Collection 2014, from the makers of Kinfolk

Ouur, a fashion brand by the makers of Kinfolk magazine, have released new images of its Autumn/Winter collection. I previously introduced them here back in May. The collection encourages a simplified lifestyle with a focus on comfort and utility and uses high quality textiles such as Scottish wool and Japanese cotton. There’s slouchy cotton trousers, linen shirts and warm jackets galore and its proving very popular in Japan – they’re now stocked in over a dozen retailers. They say: The Autumn/Winter 2014 collection is our first foray into dressing for the year’s cooler days. To help you layer up as the temperatures drop, we’ve incorporated seasonally appropriate materials such as wool from the English and Scottish countryside, as well as Japanese cotton and cashwool sourced in Italy. We’ve focused on our favourite basics—wool blazers, hooded jackets and knitted SWEATERS—to provide warmth and comfort, lightweight textiles that allow you to be active in the crisp air. They’ve also launched a new website, check it out:      


Stop Look Listen: Three things to do this week

I wish you all a happy weekend! Here’s three things you could be doing in London: an exhibition on The Moomins creator Tove Jansson, an exhibition reflecting on the transience of rented accommodation in cities across the world today, and a rooftop film screening in Peckham. STOP What: Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago Where: ICA, London When: Until August 24 To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson – the creator of The Moomins – this display in the Fox Reading Room presents original unseen photographs and material relating to her life and work, illustrated books and early first editions. Image courtesy The Finnish Institute in London.   LOOK What: A House is Not a Hotel Where: Pi Artworks, London When: Until September 10 We move from city to city, rented accommodation to rented accommodation at an ever-increasing pace. For those that can take advantage of it, this freedom of movement opens up exciting and liberating opportunities while for others it ebbs at the sense of security that stability and continuity can bring. Nevertheless, for both …


The work of California-based designer Julia Kostreva

Julia Kostreva is a California-based designer who creates beautiful products in her studio in San Francisco. (I previously featured her work as one of my favourite calendars of 2014, see it here). She sells her home goods and accessories on her online shop and this summer they include black and white wanderlust posters as well as more colourful iPhone covers (my favourite is the ‘Stay Foolish’ poster!). For these she uses a mixture of hand painting, patterns and photography to create simple yet uplifting designs. She says: My designs are one part joy, one part exploration, one part craft. I draw stories from textures found in nature, vintage patterns, and colour combinations from world travels. A lot of my pattern designs are created by hand through painting with sumi ink. Then I scan the artwork into the computer and go through a design phase where I construct the artwork into a pattern, bring in colours, make repeats. Everything starts black and white, and eventually turns into something colourful. You can check out her shop here. …


Alvar Aalto at Pitzhanger Manor

An exhibition on my favourite architect Alvar Aalto is currently on at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing. (In 2011 I made a bit of a pilgrimage to Finland to see his work, such as his studio here and his house here, which you can see in previous posts if you want to find out a bit more about him). Reason & Intuition: Alvar Aalto & Ola Kolehmainen places Aalto’s creations around the historic rooms of Sir John Soane’s country villa. You think it wouldn’t work– placing Finnish modernism in an 18th century house– but I loved the interaction between old and new. In the breakfast room there is some of his glasswork, including the ‘Savoy’– so-called because Aalto and his wife Aino used it in their interior for the Savoy restaurant in Helsinki– and the Aalto flower, a set of stackable vases designed for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In the library there is his table and chairs, while the small drawing room has two fascinating films on his home in Helsinki’s Munkkiniemi neighbourhood and his …


Kerferd Place by Whiting Architects

Australian Whiting Architects has designed a family home in Melbourne, inspired by vernacular barns and warehouses. The black extension to the existing brick building creates a ‘complimentary opposite’ to the surrounding architecture and provides the parents with a self-contained home away from the children and guests. Inside, space is saved by not using doors and corridors, while a simple staircase rises to a neat mezzanine office space. Next to the master bedroom, instead of a corridor, there is a cosy window seat with wooden joinery that carries throughout the home. An open kitchen eating area in the centre of it all provides a large table to spread out and doors opening out to the back garden. Here it is eloquently put by the architects: Avoiding the typical flat-roof response at odds with site and and surroundings, the new should contribute to a “sense-of-place”, transcend fashion; remain contemporary and robust. In getting back to architectonic basics we wanted to avoided the cliched, heroic-modernist box, or worse still the one-liner gimmick-piece in which the fabric of architecture …

Hitomi Hosono,‘Colouring and Carving - Tropical Island Project’ 2014. Porcelain, dimensions variable. Photo by (2)

Hitomi Hosono at Jerwood Makers Open 2014

Hitomi Hosono has created these truly beautiful porcelain ceramics as part of this year’s Jerwood Makers Open. Now in its fourth year, the Jerwood Makers Open recognises rising stars in the world of applied arts. It offers crucial support in the early stages of their careers, providing five or six designers with £7,500 each. This year it went to ceramicists Hitomi Hosono and Matthew Raw, artists Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, glass artist Shelley James and FleaFollyArchitects. Hitomi Hosono, whose work is shown here, is fascinated by the intricacy of botanical forms; the veins of a leaf, the shape of its edges and the layering of a flower’s petals. She studies plants and leaves in microscopic detail before transforming the forms into delicate porcelain sculptures. For the Jerwood commission Hosono has produced bright tropical colours, where previously her work maintained a natural porcelain colour. She experimented with pigments and oxides to create a family of natural forms that take inspiration from the foliage of the South Pacific Islands, in particular banana leaves, mangrove, hibiscus …


Travel: Hauser & Wirth Somerset

Contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth, which has spaces in London, Zurich and New York, has just opened a new art venue in Bruton, Somerset. I headed down to have a look last week (keep an eye out for Blueprint’s September/October issue, out at the beginning of September, for my full review). The gallery is housed in Durslade Farm, at one time a working farm and also the location of the film Chocolat, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. The former piggeries, cowsheds and threshing barn have been converted by Paris-based Laplace & Co into galleries and extended by two new buildings to form a courtyard in the middle. A crisp colonnade of sandstone provides a resting place to stop and admire the artwork, and indeed the architecture itself, outside. There’s currently an exhibition of Phyllida Barlow’s work, carrying on from her commission for Tate Britain. Her colourful creations, including a series of dangling pom-poms, extend throughout the intimate old galleries, meaning you really get up close and personal with her work (unfortunately pictures weren’t …