wednesday walls – a cor-ten steel fence…

Ok. We are bending the rules just a touch today with this fantastic image. Not strictly a wall, today’s post is all about a fence. Constructed from cor-ten steel, the fence has a beautiful rusted appearance and allows it to blend rather beautifully with its location whilst still being a modern take on a fence.corten steel

Designed by Mikyoung Kim, the fence mimics the patternation of the oak leaves which are found on the site of this private residence in Massachusetts. The use of the cor-ten steel means that the structure is still fully stable even with the rusted appearance and does not require any coatings or paint. Even though using a weathering steel such as cor-ten is not the cheapest of options for a project, there is little ongoing maintenance required for the material which is protected by the outer ‘rusted’ layer, which cuts down on both cost and time implications.

It also gives a very lovely shifting colouration which is hard to get in metal but often found in wood, allowing it to feel as natural as possible. It is quite an acquired taste however, with some feeling that cor-ten steel just looks like rusted steel (which of course, it is), but we think that it is a highly versatile material.

And there is nothing wrong with a little rust eh?

(image via landezine.com)

SPOTTED – the first winter violas – chocolate cake with edible flowers…

We had a day off yesterday for the Bank Holiday, when, of course, it rained, but at the weekend we had our village fair in the dappled sunshine which was excellent. It is lovely to meet up with neighbours and friends and have a good old chat on the village green with a slice of something decadent from the cake stand. I did, however, miss out on grabbing a slice of the cake I made – a chocolate cake with edible flowers – with the first of the new winter flowering violas and pansies.

chocolate cake with edible flowers

We love using edible flowers in our recipes – in salads in summer, and in ice cubes, but the best way is to top a dark and lush chocolate cake with edible flowers.

Plus, the dark chocolate ganache of the cake sets the colours of the flowers off beautifully. We chose violas and pansies, which have a beautiful range of colours, shapes and sizes and look very sweet on the cake. The purple also goes very well with the chocolate (and the scattering of purple edible glitter too).

We used both violas and pansies on the cake, including the smooth variety and the new ‘ruffled’ pansies, which gave a bit more interest. And if you pick the flowers, they will produce more, so do not hold back for edible decorations for your cakes.

Fancy something else for your own chocolate cake with edible flowers? Why not try (the very last) rose petals, both wild rose / japanese rose or your own from your garden, or perhaps a bright and brash fuchsia ballerina flower – or the fruit pods?

And don’t forget lavender, which is simply stunning on (and in) any cake…

(photo by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – neon and grey trainers…

For today’s weekend colour inspiration we are looking very close to home – namely, with my new trainers – a bright vision in neon and grey.

neon and grey trainers

We know that these are not going to be to everyone’s taste, but my goodness we love them. These are the Nike ID version of the Free Run +2′s, which basically means that they are made to your exacting colour specifications throughout. As the only trainers that have really suited my feet for running, these were the ones I needed, but when it came to choosing the colours… well, that took a long time to decide.

But, really, the reasoning that I applied to designing these shoes followed the same logic as we do when we are designing anything in the studio.

First of all, what has the least amount of options, colour wise? For the trainers it was the bases, so I chose the bright neon yellow option. For an interior, this could be the colour of a key piece that needs integrating, such as a sofa or piece of art.

Then, I chose the background colour – which, in all honestly was never going to be any colour apart from grey. This helped to calm down the base and provide a neutral backdrop for the highlight colours above. Think of this like a wall colour – something ‘grounding’ for your space.

Next, came the highlight colours above, so the blue and the green were added. These work well with the yellow neon and grey and add a bit of interest to the shoe. Without the blue, it could have all got a bit disco, so it is supporting the yellow without vying for attention – vital for a secondary colour. Think of the blue and grey as your room highlights, so accessories, throws, even a rug.

Last up were the final details such as the swoosh and laces – which are finished in the neon yellow to unify the base with the rest of the shoe. Think accessories again. The (cjp) on the tongue were a personal touch – this could be something you have made for your space or even something that you have attached a memory to, such as a print, or piece of art. Something that is yours alone.

So – there we have it. How designing a pair of neon and grey trainers follows the same logic as designing a space…

(photo by claire potter)

SPOTTED – the SLEEED chair…

We have a bit of a thing for chairs here at The Ecospot. In the sense that we see a lot of new designs for them and yet, surely by now, we have invented every possible combination for sitting down? Plus, as we are filling up with more and more things, do we really need another design for another chair? Well, occasionally, yes. The SLEEED by Centimeter Studio chair is quite an interesting one too.

Sleeed chairs by Centimeter Studio

A new concept in stacking chairs, the SLEEED chair slides horizontally into the back of the next leaving a gap of only 50mm in between each one, rather than having to be lifted one atop the others like most stacking chairs do. They can then be slid along the floor on a sledge like rail system and stacked vertically, meaning that the real time action of collecting and redistributing chairs is likely to be much quicker.

Sleeed chairs by Centimeter Studio

Plus, it is a one piece design, being injection moulded, which minimises waste during the manufacturing stage, making it much simpler to create and more eco friendly than other chairs.

Sleeed chairs by Centimeter Studio

So, perhaps there is room for another chair in this world – especially as it is so efficient and space saving as the SLEEED.

(images via Dezeen)

Wednesday walls – Silver Pines wallpaper by Little Greene…

Today on Wednesday Walls we have an absolutely beautiful wallpaper indeed, which is not only stunningly delicate, it has a lovely masculine edge too. The Silver Pines wallpaper by Little Greene is quite wonderful…

silver pines wallpaper

Part of the Oriental Wallpaper collection, Silver Pines is joined in the mix by two other colourways, Blue Pines and Golden Pines – the pattern to all having been drawn as an abstract from a 19th Century silk Kimono.

Close up, it certainly does look like pines, however, at a distance, the fluffy plumed tops of the trees feel rather like clouds. The Silver colouration feels like a moody sky too, adding to the atmosphere of the pattern.

Plus, as well as being rather beautiful, the Silver Pines wallpaper, and all the wallpapers of Little Greene are either FSC or PEFC registered and printed with non toxic pigments.

For a feature wall that requires that hard to achieve mix of both masculine and feminine, you could be hard pushed to find a paper as beautiful as the Silver Pines wallpaper.

(image via Little Greene)

SPOTTED – recycled plastic taxidermy light…

When creating a modern, eclectic interior, there are a few ingredients which are rather popular. Mismatched furniture unified with one colour, raw materials (timber and metal in particular) and for some, a piece of taxidermy or a skull or two. We have a pair of antlers that were inherited from a relative plus a goats skull I found whilst walking in Scotland, but for those who are uncomfortable or just do not want to have the real thing, there are other options. You can go for cardboard taxidermy, metal taxidermy or even a piece of recycled plastic taxidermy, like this fantastic light we spotted on Etsy…

recycled plastic taxidermy light (Boki by KraalD)

Created by studio KraalD, the eco taxidermy style Boki light is constructed from a variety of recycled plastic bottles, containers and lids with an energy saving bulb and braided cable, all in the form of antlered creatures.

The Boki light would be great for a child’s room, or perhaps in a hallway against a dark wall – raising a smile whenever you come into the house.

Plus, due to the fact that the light is created from recycled plastic bottles, you are safe in the knowledge that you are saving a little bit from landfill – and that the light will be completely individual. KraalD also offer a bespoke option where you can choose the colours of the antlers – red, blue or green.

We think this variation on the standard taxidermy light is a great alternative – plus a very sustainable option too – and only £74 or so for a bespoke, handmade light…

(image via KraalD etsy shop)

Monday musings – an ethical bank…

Money. Makes the world go round. But it also causes all sorts of headaches, particularly when it comes to banking. With obscene bankers bonuses, small print and generally not being able to get hold of anyone to help whenever you need them, banks do nothing for our blood pressure. And whilst these are the visible gripes that we have with banks, what about the hidden issues that we do not really know about – what do the banks do with our money? Who are they investing in? Can we link ethics and money together to have an ethical bank?

Well. This is certainly a tough one, but fortunately not impossible. There are a few banks that are standing up to the others and showing that it is not only possible to do the right thing, it is the right thing to do the right thing. And we are delighted that one of these banks is our ethical bank – Triodos – and they explain it perfectly with this video.

For us, deciding where to put our money is vital to how we run the studio – why create and strive to produce wonderful, ethical projects for our clients (like our clients hiSBe, who have benefited from a Triodos business loan) when we have no idea where the money is being put to work. We love the fact that our bank helps projects doing the right thing for the right people.

And to top that off, when we need to talk to someone, we pick up the phone and there is a real person at the end. How often can you say that nowadays?

So today for Monday Musings we want to plant a little seed of discontent. If you are not sure where your money is being put to work and you care where it is being used, ask a few questions. If you are not happy, move it. You can have an ethical bank.

(video by Triodos)

weekend colour inspiration – maps…

We love maps here at The Ecospot – new ones, old ones, framed ones, scratch off ones, (and we use them a lot in our schemes) but we do have a particular adoration for the old canvas maps that used to adorn the walls of our school. The sorts of ones that hang on wooden poles and get a little bit worn and battered on the edges. Luckily, these sorts of maps are still around, and are perfect for those eclectic, industrial styled interiors. And the beauty is, that as they are often rather vibrant in colour, they can prove brilliant inspiration for the rest of the room.

maps

We saw this fantastic image over on Design Sponge – a wonderful example of how you can use maps as a piece of art, picking colours from the contours to use in your design. The yellow from the map is picked up in the sofa, the light tones in with the sea and even the cushions hint at the idea of travel – in planes and boats.

It is a lovely graphic representation of the colours in the map – and easy to replicate yourself. Find a beautiful map (there are plenty of online specialists, or search ebay and charity shops) hang or frame, then pick out the colours in your interior.

Perfect.

Then look at your maps and decide where you are going to go…

(photo via Design Sponge)