Weekend Words – a spark of inspiration…

Today, we are heading up to Here London – the day long creative symposium curated by It’s Nice That, having a day full of inspiration. So, it was quite fitting that we have put together a little Weekend Words poster all about inspiration too…

sparks of inspiration

(imagery and photography by claire potter design)

SPOTTED – KORXX cork building blocks…

Many of us have really fond memories of using building blocks as children. I would love to think that my architectural profession grew from using said wooden blocks as a tiddler, but in reality I was mostly concerned with building a tower taller or more complex than my brother. Healthy competition. But, wooden building blocks, whilst being robust and traditional can actually be quite heavy – or very damaging if thrown. They also hurt like blazes if you stand on them (which I did with my nephews) with nothing on your feet… So, we were very interested to see the KORXX cork building blocks on Kickstarter…

KORXX brings fun by testing the limits

Looking like beautiful chunks of Wheetabix, the KORXX cork building blocks are constructed from dense, yet soft cork which is FSC registered. And, cork is a very sustainable choice, as the Cork Oak needs harvesting of it’s outer bark every few years to flourish. If harvested sustainably, the Cork Oaks can live to well over 200 years old, can be harvested 20 or so times and can bind in up to 30% more CO2 than many other trees. They are pretty much the stars of the sustainable natural material world.

The cork also has a quality of friction that the standard wooden building block just does not have, so structures that literally cling to one another are possible.

Incredible construction characteristic

The KORXX cork building blocks also come in a variety of child-safe, non-toxic colours, just like their timber counterparts, but we quite like the natural finish. We do like Weetabix though.

KORXX Rainbow

A lovely little project that is up for backing now – check our the KORXX Kickstarter page here.

(images via the KORXX Kickstarter)

REVIEW – the Factorylux workshop at Clerkenwell Design Week 2015…

We love a good workshop. There is nothing better than getting away from behind the desks at the studio and doing something hands-on. It is even better if it has a real relevance to the everyday work too – allowing you an insight into exactly what goes into doing, making or creating something that you specify on your projects. And so, it was with great delight that I attended one of the first ever Create Your Own Simple Light workshops with the fantastic Factorylux as part of the Clerkenwell Design Week this year.

Factorylux 4

Based in the courtyard of Look Mum No Hands, (a great cafe – fabulous Red Velvet cake too…) Factorylux had temporarily decamped from their home in Yorkshire to the depths of central London, bringing with them a selection of their simple, beautifully made industrial fittings – and a huge Linotype machine… Factorylux 8

Arriving at the our workstations we were confronted with a range of neat and tidy cables, plugs, tools and machinery. Choosing our own cable colours and plugs (neon green for me of course, plus a rather fetching orange plug), we set about starting the workshop, led by Technician Sophie.

Factorylux 5

We learn about the exact precision that goes into creating the lights in the Factorylux workshops – and how detailed the attention has to be to ensure that the end result not only looks fantastic, but that it works and is safe. Working to British Standards BS 4533 & BS EN 60598 certifies that the work has been carried out to the strict guidelines – which we are not joking – is strict, but completely necessary to ensure a safe light. Factorylux 7

One millimetre over or under when cutting your cables made a difference. Nicking the protective sheathing on the cable meant you needed to start again. Talk about pressure. But, quite soon (well, about an hour and a quarter), and after lots of guidance and support from the wonderful Factorylux technicians, all of us around the table were ready to test our lights. We were also delighted to see that Factorylux had gone to the trouble of printing our own names on the cable end wrap – along with our own tracing number, unique to our light…

Factorylux 6Testing the light was a worrying affair. It it buzzed at one point it was fine. If it buzzed when connected to another testing machine, it was not fine and had to be rejected. Fortunately, due to the expert guidance of our technicians, we all passed and were able to package up our lights and choose our bulb.

I plumped for their quite beautiful new, large round eco filament bulbs.

factorylux bulb

Factorylux 1

Heading back to Brighton with my bag full of goodies I was delighted – not only was I coming away with something that looked fantastic, there was the immense satisfaction of knowing that I had created it. There was also an immense feeling of appreciation for the Factorylux technicians, who work to incredibly high standards with an attention to detail that is incredible. Every step of the process was as critical as the last, but the results are of the highest possible standard. These are the real crème de la crème of lighting – and it was a real honour to see, and experience the workshop first hand…

Now. Where to hang that light?

(images by claire potter design)

Weekend words – onwards and upwards…

onwards and upwards

(image and photography by claire potter design)

REVIEW – Revolution – a real must watch environmental film…

Whilst growing up, I was adamant what I wanted to become. I was not interested in being a princess or a fairy, certainly not a ballerina – I wanted to be marine biologist. I am sure I was not alone, and many pre-teen girls wanted to be a marine biologist too, but what was slightly different was there was a particular animal which held an incredible fascination over all the others to me – sharks. I did not see them as monsters, but beautiful relics from a long distant past that were designed so efficiently, yet with so much variety that they were enchanting. Fast forward a few years and despite not being a marine biologist, the ecology and protection of our seas and oceans hold a very deep concern for me. The beautifully shot award winning 2006 film ‘Sharkwater’ told this story too, and so, it was with great delight that I was recently invited to review the second film from filmmaker Rob Stewart – ‘Revolution’.

Revolution movie poster

From the outset, Stewart frames the issues – he created Sharkwater to save sharks, yet by creating the film, he realised the issue is far wider reaching than that. We need to save ourselves. Our continued lack of realisation of how we are effecting our home is quite staggering, despite the mass of signs in front of our eyes. Hence, ‘Revolution’ was conceived. Since its release at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, ‘Revolution’ has won 10 awards – and deservedly so.

Tiger shark, Bahamas. Photo © Rob StewartA feature length film, filmed over 5 years and in 15 different countries,  ‘Revolution’ covers many of the pressing issues that are facing our planet today, starting again with the acidification of oceans, which are leading to huge losses in corals – the building blocks of community life in the oceans, all the way through to deforestation and it’s impact on indigenous people and global climate change. It tells stories of the delicate balance species have with their ecosystems – and how we as a species are inconsiderate to fish stock levels, natural, irreplaceable habitats and how our insatiable thirst for oil has driven us almost to the end of the road.
Rob photographing a 1500-year-old Baobab tree in Madagascar. When this was a sapling there were 300 million people on earth. Photo © Paul Wildman www.builtbywildman.com from the documentary film Revolution.

‘Revolution’ shows the global impact we are having to our environments, but also those who are desperately trying to get the message to those who have the power to create change – the politicians and policy makers. Attending the Cancun Climate Change Conference in 2010, ‘Revolution’ covers the attempts by campaigners to influence discussions going on behind closed doors – many of which end up thwarted and frustratingly with no real progression in strong, applicable policy.

Rob with riot police at the UN climate conference UN CLIMATE CONFERENCE, 16TH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP 16), . Photo © Tristan Bayer www.earthnative.com From the documentary film Revolution.

It would be very easy for a film like this to leave nothing but a breathtaking image of despair – how the beautiful world we live in is being pillaged and destroyed, but ‘Revolution’ actually gives a great deal of hope. A particular story of how a group of children writing appeal letters translated into a shark finning ban after watching ‘Sharkwater’ in Saipan shows that no matter how small you think you are, you can create change.

Tar Sands

‘Revolution’ is a beautifully shot environmental film with clear and strong messages, but it is a call to action. It is about opening your eyes, changing the world and fighting for something – globally or locally. It is a must see.

And you can see it here… Plus, for every film purchased through the link below, $1 will go directly to the WWF, with the remainder going to Sharkwater Productions further projects. Money well spent we say.

(images and movie courtesy of ‘Revolution’)

 

SPOTTED – the ONDU pinhole camera that can be passed on for generations…

We are huge suckers for photography. We have just returned from a trip to Brussels where we amassed around 300 photographs over the period of just three days and we are eagerly awaiting the nod from Max for us to go and finish up our large format Intrepid Camera that we backed on Kickstarter. So, it was no great surprise when we stumbled upon and subsequently backed the ONDU pinhole camera on Kickstarter.

Pitched as both durable and simple to use, these beautiful little cameras (and large cameras) capture the purest form of photography – the pinhole image. Built in lovely FSC timbers and finished with beeswax, the ONDU pinhole camera is quite a stunning piece of product design that looks gorgeous and works well too. Plus, with the use of the timber, the camera will age well – picking up those tiny little nicks, scars and dents of memory that plastic can never achieve. This is where the emotional attachment comes in, both with the images that the camera will create and the actual camera itself, but allows it to truly be something that can be ‘passed down the generations’.

What is also key (and sparked many a discussion on our latest trip) is how image creation has become something that we don’t really think about any more. Camera phones and DSLR’s have allowed us to be extremely frivolent with our image taking. No longer do we have to savour each image – thinking hard about the composition, the colour and white balance, the right shaft of light – then wait for the image to be revealed, days later. No. We take a string of images at will, then eventually chuck away the ones that don’t work. What we learn from this process is rather questionable in many of our cases.

ONDU07b4fd10cbe83d3b0025424d2eaf1304_original

Of course, digital is wonderful, but every now and then, the slowing down of a process reveals the beauty and skill involved and allows us to be patient.

And we will have to be patient, as the 135mm panoramic ONDU pinhole camera we backed will not be ready till November 2015…

(video via the ONDU pinhole camera Kickstarter)

weekend words – make work into play…

Today for weekend words we have one of our favourite motto’s here in the studio – because playing is far more fun than working…

work into play

(image and photography by claire potter design)

SPOTTED – What Daisy Did – responsible leather bags…

It is very stereotypical, but yes, but the females of the studio do have a bit of a thing for bags. Mostly old leather bags that look like they have stepped straight out of an Indiana Jones prop box, or satchels that keep everything organised and in their place. A personal favourite is my old Finnair pilot’s bag in brown leatherette that fits under a standard aeroplane seat that I found in a charity shop for a marvellous £3. But unless you happen upon these types of bags tucked in the corner of antique shops, good old charity shops or at a jumble sale, lovely responsible leather bags can be hard to find. Step in What Daisy Did…

What Daisy Did 1Founded by Daisy and Ozric, What Daisy Did works with craftspeople in India to create ranges of bags that are either constructed from the scraps of leather that would otherwise be wasted, or responsibly sourced and tanned goat leather.What Daisy Did 2

The bags are beautiful too – with their scrap based Carnival Collection being brightly coloured and varied and their Forest Collection being right in the Indiana Jones style – multi pocketed and brown leathered…What Daisy Did 4

And it is these beautiful, goat leather bags that have really got our eyes watering here in the studio. Tanned naturally by the sun, the bags have a hugely lessened impact than other leather bags which are mostly tanned using extremely harsh chemicals which are very damaging to the local environment, polluting waterways and poisoning those using them. This is good leather. Plus, the bags are also very reasonable too, even though the craftspeople are paid fairly with a living wage and work in good conditions. What Daisy Did 3

We think they are great. Just give us a fedora and a whip and we’ll be away…

(images via What Daisy Did)

Wednesday Walls – the wet wall system by Wall and Deco…

Wallpaper, excuse the pun, still gets a bad rap for being old fashioned and limiting. But, there are many great wallpapers out there which can actually be used in lots of different applications – even in bathrooms, like this fantastic wet system wallpaper by Wall & Deco

This ‘Wet Wall’ System by wall & Deco can be put in the most humid of locations – even in gyms and swimming pools and provides a very interesting alternative to the traditional tiling or cladding systems that we usually see. We are quite taken with this geometric shaped option that is almost scratched into the white washed surface, like traces of graffiti found on the inside of an abandoned industrial building.

This sort of system can also be applied over existing surfaces (so long as they are sound), so could be a good option if you have a bathroom that needs a large expanse of wall covering, but retiling is not an option…

(images via Wall & Deco)

LAST WEEKEND TO VISIT STUDIO LOO FOR ARTISTS OPEN HOUSES!

Can you believe it is the LAST of our open weekends this Saturday and Sunday for the Artists Open Houses in Brighton? We have curated a great selection of design, illustrations, graphics and homewares in our little pop up shop for the festival – come and say hello!

We also have the most marvellous organic tea, coffee and really special cake too…

More details, map and stuff here…

AOH 2015