All posts filed under: escape

London Design Festival guide

Top 12 things to see at London Design Festival 2016

It’s that time of the year again – London Design Festival. From 17 to 25 September the capital transforms into a hive of creative activity, from large-scale urban installation and inventions, through pop-up exhibitions and design destinations, to open studios, design tours and trails. There’s A LOT to see and get your head around, so here I’ve done the hard work for you and picked my must-see highlights for London Design Festival 2016. designjunction, King’s Cross, 22 – 25 September Now in its sixth year, designjunction returns to vast new home in my old haunt, King’s Cross. The theme this time is Immersed in Design. Across four main sites, there will be 200 international brands exhibiting, hundreds of new products launches, plus pop-up shops and street food vans to fuel up on as part of the inaugural King’s Cross Creative Quarter (KXCQ). Monopoly-style houses will be descending on Granary Square, while Satellite Architects has designed a spectacular scaffold-like facade structure to conceal designjunction’s temporary two-storey pavilion. Made of 4,000 lightweight modular components, the structure will …

My top picks from northmodern: Mater

My top picks from northmodern 2016 – part 2

I’m back with the second part of my northmodern review (did you see part one here?). I scoured the Copenhagen furniture and lifestyle show, held at the light and airy Bella Center, for the best Scandinavian design and the most exciting, up-and-coming designers to watch out for. Here, we’ve got beautifully simple ceramics, timeless furniture with fine detailing and charming home accessories to uplift your everyday. Scroll on and enjoy… 1. Mette Duedahl Designer Mette Duedahl was already on my radar, she designed this coffee pot for Muuto, but at northmodern she also shared some lovely, elegant ceramics. She graduated in 2011 from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Center for Glass and Ceramics, Bornholm and through her work aims to combine high use-value with a simple, aesthetic and timeless design.    2. Mater Mater was one of the more established Danish brands at the show. Founded in 2006 by Henrik Marstrand in 2006, Mater creates timeless and beautiful designs based on an ethical business strategy that supports people, local craft traditions and the environment. They collaborate with established and fresh design talent …

Travel Guide: A design-packed weekend in Copenhagen

Travel Guide: A design-packed weekend in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is certainly one of the most stylish of the Scandinavian cities but it’s not bragging about it or singing it’s own praises. It’s a relaxed, down-to-earth place, with effortlessly well-dressed Danes casually cycling past, bustling cafes spilling out onto the tranquil waterfronts and smart design shops waiting to be explored. Copenhagen ranks high in surveys of quality of life, and it’s not hard to see why the Danes have it so good – that magic formula of good city planning, lively culture, tasty cuisine and a strong emphasis on community. It may have been because it was the summer when I visited in August, but people weren’t rushing about like in London; everyone seemed to be in a calm, quietly content mood, slowly going about their business. The sun was shining and Copenhagen was soaking it up. Copenhagen is a city built on decades of design heritage and culture – from mid-century icons such as Finn Juhl and Arne Jacobsen paving the way, to young contemporary designers like Muuto and Ferm Living making their mark on the city, and indeed the design world, today. …

A weekend in Venice off the beaten track

Travel: a weekend in Venice off the beaten track

Last weekend I was in beautiful Venice for the opening of the architecture biennale. It’s one of my favourite cities in the world – I’ve been a number of times and stayed for five weeks back in 2012, also for the biennale – so returning to the city of water was like coming home. I found myself fitting back in like a local, dusting off some rusty Italian and knocking back the spritz like I had never left… I wanted to share some tips and places to visit off the beaten track and away from the streams of tourists. There’s so much more than San Marco square and the Grand Canal – there’s old palazzos filled with contemporary art; little cicchetti and bacaro bars hidden down alleyways; sunny squares with shuttered windows; ornate medieval churches tucked away behind doors and narrow streets filled with washing lines and buzzing with local life. So put down the map. I really think Venice is best seen by following your feet, and noses for the food of course, wherever they will take you. …

catesthill - Lisbon travel guide

Travel Guide: a cultural weekend in Lisbon

Set over seven rolling hills with vast picturesque vistas, Lisbon is a truly beautiful city. Yellow trams chug up cobbled streets to lofty viewpoints or miradouros, ramshackle orange-roofed houses are painted in perfect pastel shades and clad in ornate patterned azulejo tiles, while sun-drenched terraces provide a welcome resting point along the way. Meandering through back alleys you’ll come across tiny wine bars playing local fado music, historic patisseries and boutiques with wood-panelled cabinets that have remained unchanged for a 100 years, next to shabby-chic shops and bold, colourful graffitied walls. Lisbon’s a bit rough around the edges, but it is charmingly so. I had never been to Portugal but Lisbon had long been on my wishlist to visit. So, when my boyfriend turned the big 3-0 and I wanted to whisk him off for his birthday weekend to somewhere sunny and warm, but not too far away, it seemed like the perfect place to explore, enjoy and indulge ourselves. We’d had quite a stressful few weeks so a couple of days email-free in a pretty city with nothing to do but let …

My top picks from Stockholm Furniture Fair

From 9 to 13 February, Stockholm positively buzzed with all things design. Not only were there more than 80 events, installations and parties across the city for Stockholm Design Week, exhibition centre Stockholmsmässan played host to around 700 brands for the largest gathering of Scandinavian design, Stockholm Furniture Fair. It was design heaven. Here I’ve gathered together all my favourite finds, from reissued classics by Danish masters, through design studios developing innovative ways of working with materials, to up-and-coming, young designers you need to know about. So grab a cuppa ‘cos this is a long one… Enjoy! Air Wardrobe by Mathieu Gustafson for Design House Stockholm With roots both in Paris and the Swedish province of Småland, Mathieu Gustafson finds inspiration in their two different approaches to furniture design. Air is a light wardrobe and sideboard that doubles as a room divider. A little French je ne sais quoi can be seen in his panels of traditional natural woven cane, while the graphic pattern of white ribs brings to mind the strict clean lines of Scandinavian design. ‘My Swedish …

Paris Je t'aime

Paris Je t’aime

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been to Paris, the city of Love – with a French other half, it feels like a home away from home. I always love coming back and there’s always new places to discover. Wandering along the Seine, sipping coffee outside a quaint cafe, gazing up at the shuttered windows and coming across pretty quiet corners – Paris is just perfect for a weekend, whether you’re exploring it by yourself or have someone’s hand to hold along the way. Last weekend we hopped on the Eurostar (literally hopped, we live in King’s Cross…) and explored the city like locals. Avoiding the tourist trail and bustling museums, we instead wandered from coffee shop to coffee shop, meeting friends and family en route. The whole weekend revolved around food and drink, from hot chocolate and crepes to a glass of vin (or several…) and oysters – we returned full to the brim and with huge smiles on our faces. Here are some picture postcards from the weekend, along with a couple …

A staycation in London

A staycation in London

Have you ever had a staycation in your own city? It’s always nice to get away, but sometimes just switching off from work mode and exploring a neighbourhood you don’t often venture to can give you a new perspective of the city you live in and leave you feeling refreshed, ready to face the daily grind once again. It was the end of January and we did just that, finishing off the month on a high for a night at citizenM Bankside in south London. Living north of the river, we don’t often go south and I can go for weeks without actually seeing the Thames. Just escaping for the night, not having to put the dishwasher on, tidy up or answer any emails, was a lovely, much-needed break. Going on a Friday night to celebrate the end of the week also made the weekend feel that bit longer. Even just leaving our phones in the room while we went out for dinner made us feel like we had escaped elsewhere and no one could contact us! CitizenM …

Travel Guide: two days in Nice

Nice is, well, very nice. I headed there for work a couple of weeks back and couldn’t resist extending the trip over the weekend for that last little bit of sunshine before the darker evenings and misty mornings kicked in. With its long, sweeping pebbly beach, stretching along the Promenade des Anglais to the picturesque Old Town (known locally as Le Vieux Nice), it’s the perfect getaway for a mixture of culture and relaxation. I often get a little restless on beach holidays, keen to get up and go explore, wander around art galleries, sample the local cuisine or simply walk around aimlessly soaking up the atmosphere. Nice is definitely a place for art and design lovers, not only does it have some of the best contemporary art galleries and collections outside Paris, there’s a host of cultural gems outside the city centre just waiting to be discovered. You can see Matisse’s chapel in Vence, Jean Cocteau’s murals at Villa Santo Sospir in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, or Eileen Gray’s modernist masterpiece E-1027 and Le Corbusier’s Le Cabanon Retreat around the coast …

Travel: St Ives

‘It still makes me feel warm; as if everything were ripe; humming; sunny… The gardens gave off a murmur of bees… The buzz, the croon, the smell… it was rapture.’ Virginia Woolf I’ve been sharing a couple of my stops from my recent trip to Cornwall and the South West in the past few weeks, and this is the final one, the beautiful town of St Ives. The seaside town, just north of Penzance, arcs around a sweeping harbour – fishing boats bob up and down as the tide drifts in and out, children build sandcastles on its strip of golden sand, while cobbled streets lead to picture postcard cottages behind. The stretch of sea is remarkably crystal clear and bright blue, while the smell of sea salt and fish and chips, freshly wrapped in newspaper, lingers in the air. St Ives is a town steeped in art and culture; it attracted artists Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth in the Thirties, while writer Virginia Woolf holidayed in the town as a child, until her mother died when she was …