SPOTTED – a table football coat rack…

I have never been very good at table football, and indeed there is a table that we rescued, part broken from a car boot fair that is still languishing in the depths of the workshop. But, of course, not everything has to stay in the same form that it started as. And we are rather inspired by this table football coat rack…

LADP Offside Coat Hook

The LADP Offside Coat Rack by Norwegian designer Runa Klock is available in red, blue or green and is a lovely example of rethinking a particular piece of design for another purpose.

It also works rather well, with the natural rocking motion of the table football people coming nicely into play when something is placed on the rack. Plus, if you have a piece of clothing that is particularly large or small, the footballers can shimmy along the rod to suit.

A bit of fun, but a nice design that works well too.

(image via funktion alley)

Monday musings – new products on show at the University of Sussex…

As well as running the cpd studio, I also do a bit of tutoring, lecturing and critiquing up at the University of Sussex within the School of Engineering and Informatics, where I am very proud to be a school associate. Mostly, I teach on the BSc Product Design course, which had a very early, but fantastic final year show last week.

design 14 2

The standard, and the range of projects was wonderful, from a new concept in sandwich packaging that can help to create a city wide edible planted landscape to a modular toaster that can be taken completely to pieces for repair.

muro 1

Another project looked at how a marine fish tank could be redesigned to be both easier to look after and more energy efficient, whilst other student designers showed products with integrated solar charging to power lighting or interfaces.

design 14

One student has invented a new type of recycling bin designed to reduce the noise generated from glass bottles – especially important in inner city areas where the communal bins are located close to homes.

But the winner of our own ‘cpd eco design award 2014′ (a bunch of Urban Cottage Industries bits and bobs) went to a project that I just adored. Maxim Grew has created a new camera, based on the original large format models with accordion style bellows of the past. The new model, the Intrepid Camera is not only gorgeous to look at and relatively easy to use, Max is planning on the design becoming the foundation of a new DIY movement where you actually download the CAD files and get the pieces to build your own camera cut out. So, the survival of a key piece of historic photographic kit, with little waste and the satisfaction of a hand built product that creates beautiful pictures? wonderful…

camera 1

It was excellent to see the standard of design thinking that the students at the University of Sussex presented – and I look forward to seeing it all again at New Designers soon…

(photos by claire potter)

*** you can also keep up to date with all the University of Sussex School of Engineering and Informatics activities at the school blog –

Weekend words – a quote on… work

We have a Pinterest board which is entitled ‘inspirational words we work to’ and is a gathering of all the lovely words and quotes that we love. On occasions they are general, but a great deal are quotes that we really relate to on a work or design basis. Which is why we love this one…

from Society6

This fantastic print by Wesley Bird pretty much sums up our attitude to a lot of stuff.

Want it? Get it here…

(image via

Weekend colour inspiration – blue and orange. On a van…

We honestly believe that you can find inspiration in anything and anywhere. Indeed, one of our favourite books is by the wonderful Paul Smith and is entitled ‘you can find inspiration in anything and if you can’t, look again’. This is also part of the reason why there are now about 2,500 photos on my iPhone. You just never know when you will find a bit of inspiration…

orange and blue vanAnd whilst in Berlin a week or so ago there was one little vehicle which stood out amongst the cars on the street as something rather special.

Painted in a lovely bright orange, the branding on the van was the perfect balance of white, black and blue. And whilst we are (generally) not huge fans or orange, the pale blue tones it into quite a nice palette indeed. Sitting opposite on the colour wheel, blue and orange are rather good bedfellows (as are green and red or purple and yellow) but you have to ensure that even within these guiding parameters, you choose the right shade of each.

orange and blue van 2

The orange in this example is the dominant colour, but is tamed oh so slightly by the blue. A stronger blue and it could be a bit too brash all over.

So – you can find inspiration everywhere. You just need to find it…

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – a flock of magpies in Berlin…

A lovely thing about visiting a new country, city or town is that you get to discover a whole range of new and interesting things. Whether these are sought out or stumbled upon, there is something very magical in finding new things. Some are grand, some are just little interventions which can make you smile. And this is how it was when we were walking from the train station to our hotel in Berlin. We discovered a flock of magpies.


It was rather unclear as to whether these magpies – caught in flight as they cascaded into the façade of the building actually had anything at all to do with the building or shop itself, but they were rather wonderful.

And we liked them a great deal.

(photo by claire potter)

wednesday walls – industrial styled design and the art of looking up…

Whenever we go travelling, it is very important that whoever we are with realise that we will spend a great deal of time looking up and down at stuff and taking no end of photos. Details of buildings, signs, textures – it all gets loaded into our phones for possible usage later as inspiration for our own projects. And so it was when we were in Berlin. And there was one very industrial styled design that we took lots of photos of…

industrial interior markthalle neun Berlin The Markthalle Neun in Berlin is a wonderful place indeed. Situated in an old market hall, the daily gathering of Slow Food Berlin devotees offer up a huge variety of foods and produce to eat in (on the lovely communal benches and tables) or to take away.

Our group had specifically gone to find the micro brewery Heiden Peters, which was tucked in the back corner and offered the most delicious black Porter, but I was blown away by the beauty of the space itself.

industrial interior markthalle neun Berlin The old hall is a gorgeous cavernous space of brick and glass, with the industrial styling being true to the origins of the building, not added in at a later date. Original ironwork, enamel lighting and peeling paint warning signs reassure you that you are not in a pastiche of a building that has been injected with the industrial style, but one that is true to its foundations. It is what it is.

industrial interior markthalle neun Berlin

And it is beautiful. 

Oh – and the food is pretty awesome too.

(photos by claire potter)

SPOTTED – Berlin buildings… (photo special post)

Last weekend we tripped over to Berlin for a few days to do a bit of exploring. And we spotted a whole load of fantastic sights indeed, but it was not until we get back and were talking to other people about the trip – and the resulting photos – that we realised that we are subject to the ‘arty designy photo shot’ disease. We are unable to take ‘normal’ photos. We have to take photos in a range of strange shots. So, when we went spotting for lovely Berlin buildings, they were all on a bit of an extreme angles…

First up, we went to the fabulous Jewish Museum…

berlin buildings - the Jewish museum

Then we went up the Reichstag to visit the beautiful dome by Sir Norman Foster…

berlin buildings - the reichstag berlin buildings - the reichstag berlin buildings - the reichstag

And last up on the Berlin building extreme shot list is the wonderful, glass Hauptbahnhof…

berlin buildings - hauptbahnhof berlin buildings - hauptbahnhof berlin buildings - hauptbahnhof

Fabulous Berlin buildings – all on an angle…

(all photos by claire potter)

Weekend words – a quote on… sharing your ideas.

We like to work with other people. We like to share ideas and create new things from the shared ideas, so when we spotted this over on the Pinterest feed by Innocent…

 Colin Greenwood - Radiohead, "Share your ideas with other people, and make something new."

A very lovely quote indeed – so go out there, share a few ideas and create something new…

(image via Innocent Pinterest)

Weekend colour inspiration – a coloured light installation in Berlin

Today on weekend colour inspiration we are looking at something a little different. Using light to create a colour installation. We spotted this lovely installation under a bridge in Berlin, which was nothing short of beautiful.Berlin light installation 2

The linear lights were arranged in a very large, slightly squished circle on the underside of the bridge and provided a beautiful swathe of coloured lights as they grew brighter and faded in turn, creating a phasing effect.

berlin light installation 1

Now, this sort of light installation is perhaps too large for the average residential space, and perhaps a bit too disco, but on a smaller scale, this sort of effect could be used in a stairway, or even in a garden space. Static, or fading slightly would be less distracting, but any coloured light adds real drama to the space.

Give it a go.

(images by claire potter) go see a video of this on our Instagram feed…

SPOTTED – Brick detailing in Berlin…

Ok. I admit it. I do tend to get rather snap happy when I go travelling about, much to the despair of my poor iPhone which is heaving with around 2500 photos at present. But, it is not until I get back and start to look through them all that I do tend to find a bit of a pattern running though. And so it was with this trip to Berlin. Cue lots of photos of open landscaping, imposing architecture, awesome graffiti and brick detailing – both old and new.

modern brick detailing

Brick detailing is something that is often overlooked in modern buildings, quite often as brick has been ditched in favour of a cladding or curtain walling system, but actually, the humble brick can actually be quite wonderful.

ghostly brick detailing at the BASF building

Whilst in Berlin we spotted a range of brick buildings spanning perhaps 200 years or so – all with an incredible level of detailing.

brick detailing under the bridge

Different shades, shapes, arrangements and positioning were explored within the structures to great effect. Spirals, towers, relief sections and recessed sections. Standard bricks and specially formed bricks specific to the design.

brick detailing tower

A really wonderful set of very different buildings which led us to think about why bricks are not considered as much in contemporary buildings. Yes, the cost of construction will often be higher for a brick built façade, but we should not forget the humble brick. After all, it is the LEGO of the construction world.

(images by claire potter)