SPOTTED – London Design Festival – stamping with Present and Correct…

For the next two weeks on SPOTTED we are looking at some of the great stuff that is going on for the London Design Festival this year and picking out a few that catch our eye. Today we are channelling our inner stationery geeks with Present and Correct

If you are yet to discover Present and Correct, well, you are in for a treat. If you love all things stationery (from graph sheets to old erasers), vintage (like 1960’s paperclips, boxed), or utilitarian (perhaps unused ticket stubs from France), then this is the place for you. With an eclectic collection that drives us wild, the stock at Present and Correct is constantly changing, with a good balance of both new and very old items waiting to be discovered.

But, for the London Design Festival, Present and Correct are having an open studio and encouraging visitors to get stamp happy over new and old ephemera. The stamps are not of the decorative cardmaking style though – oh no – these are graphic, bold and have a nod to the vintage, almost letterpress styles…

We have our eyes on lots of stuff from Present and Correct for our own studio (and stationery collection *ahem*) and we can’t wait to do a bit of stamping. See you there…

(image via London Design Festival)

 

Monday Musings – what we are doing at the London Design Festival…

Today on Monday Musings we have a couple of little announcements about what we are up to for the London Design Festival – which properly gets underway today. A celebration of all things design, the capital buzzes every September with activities, exhibitions, displays, workshops and talks and this year we are very pleased to be part of two events this week…

First up, this Wednesday evening from 7pm, we will be with the fantastic guys at Sugru for their Love Your Stuff party at ‘Look Mum No Hands’ cycling workshop in Hackney. This is a celebration of having stuff for a long time, so if you also have something that you have loved, fixed and repaired to keep it going, you are encouraged to bring it along and get it illustrated to mark its birthday. We will be running one of the Fixing Stations, and will be there all night offering on the spot fixes for things that may be a little bit broken but still useable, encouraging the whole fixing element of design. We ran a similar workshop last year at the Brompton Pitch outside the V & A and over the course of the day, fixed everything from tote bags to bracelets and key rings. So – come and say hello and bring something that we can fix. We will try our best! Here is a little video about the whole Love Your Stuff concept from Sugru…

Next up, we will be with the wonderful Fixperts, running a workshop at the Saturday Market Project on Saturday 20th September between 2-5, which is part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle and on the ICON Design Trail 2014. We will be showing a few images of the Fixperts fixes we have completed at the studio and with the Product Design students at the University of Sussex, plus running a making workshop for one of the Fixes we designed. So – suffer from nasty, tangled headphone cables and broken wires in your bag? Not any more – book on the free session to build and customise your very own headphone holder from inexpensive, everyday household materials. And then take it away with you…and make them for your friends.

The Saturday Market Project at London Design Festival

This session will be an exercise on how problems of all magnitudes can be solved with a little sideways thinking and a quick, hands-on approach. Design comes in many forms but ultimately, fixing a problem is the crux of all design. If we are able to link back into this hands on, fixing mentality rather than worrying that we shouldn’t or couldn’t fix something then we start to gain a little bit of control over our possessions – and essentially contribute to their life cycles. This drive for repair has already started to feed back to manufacturers who are taking note – and beginning to realise that product value comes not only from the item we buy, but it’s whole life…

So – two events for us at the London Design Festival – both celebrations of the power of fixing in design. Come and say hello…

weekend colour inspiration – ball fairy lights from Cable and Cotton…

Today on Weekend Colour Inspiration we have something a little different for you. Usually we have an inspirational image, scheme or colour combination that can be used and interpreted in your own way, regardless of what sort of space you have, but today, we are looking at a product that can bring a real smattering of colour – in a completely customisable way. The coloured fairy light sets from fellow Brightonian company Cable and Cotton are just fantastic. They are bright, you can be creative with combinations and they are made ethically by craftswomen in Thailand. Three ticks.

cable and cotton mojito 1

Available in different lengths (20, 32, or 50 lights), Cable and Cotton also offer two different versions of their lights – a pick your own, where you can choose your own combination from the 47 different round, handmade cotton shades, or one of 13 pre-selected colour sets – chosen by the team at Cable and Cotton in complimentary colours.

We plumped for the Mojito (no judging please, but it is Friday…), which is a gorgeous mix of Oatmeal, Ivory and Pale Grey with a bright injection of Turquoise and Anais Green – a lovely combination of some of our favourite colours.

cable and cotton mojito 2

The lights were very well packaged and very simple to put together – just simply tease open the cut slot in each of the handmade cotton balls and push in a fairy light. A small rubber grommet holds the light in place and within minutes we had the string completed in the studio.

Well, we say minutes, but of course, this was only the first combination of colours. As the cotton balls can be placed wherever you like on the string, we went though a few iterations until we plumped on the final sequence. Which we changed again when we put it up…

cable and cotton mojito 3

The cable on the Cable and Cotton lights was plenty long enough to wind happily around our old antlers, and being transparent, blended into the pale wall quite well. The colours also picked up the colours in both paintings that sit around the antlers, which worked perfectly.

cable and cotton mojito 4

But as well as creating a delightful bauble style effect when switched off, the lights really come into their own when they are switched on at night.

The antlers were transformed into a festooned centrepiece for the studio – bright and cheery in the dark stairwell. They were fun and made us smile.

cable and cotton mojito 5

And this is the lovely thing about the lights from Cable and Cotton – they are fun. Choose your colours (warning – this could take a while), or choose one of the brilliant colour sets to suit your own style, stick up up somewhere obvious and have a smile.

We put ours on the stairs, but what about a hallway or entranceway? In a nursery? Around a room for a party or event… there are as many possibilities as there are colour combinations available. Plus, you can swap the coloured cotton balls about a bit, as you can also buy replacements, in sets of 5…

So, as the Cable and Cotton box says, Get Creative.

(photos by claire potter, lights courtesy of Cable and Cotton)

SPOTTED – the London Design Festival…

We are pre-empting the start of the London Design Festival today, which runs in the capital from 13th – 20th September and this year will play host to over 300 events in 2014 over a wide raft of design disciplines.

We are delighted that we will be both visiting the London Design Festival and taking part in two events next week – more of which will be revealed on Monday…

But until then, here is a little video which introduces just what the London Design Festival is all about.

wednesday walls – a shock of colour…

Today on Wednesday walls we do not have a particular product for you, but a way to inject a bit of life and interest into a tiny space. Not a huge amount of decoration, or fuss. Just a massive shock of colour…

Alexandra Residence / NatureHumaine

This tiny little domestic WC by architects NatureHumaine is a beautiful example of how even a miniature room can be a delight. Within the dark grey clad exterior, hides the bright blue interior of the room.

The use of a shock of colour in interiors is nothing new, but it can work particularly well on the small scale as you can get away with so much more. This overload of colour in a large room would not really work at all as it would be far too much, but in a little space (and a space that you are not in for any length of time), it works perfectly.

Do bear in mind however, how the wall colour could effect appearances in the mirror, particularly if you do not have any natural light in the room and are relying on artificial light. Remember those badly lit club, pub and restaurant washrooms…

But, think of a shock of colour to get a simple, yet bold amount of interest in a small space. It can really work. Just not pink please. We will hunt you down…

(photo by Adrien Williams)

SPOTTED – the spotted mountains of David Pirrie…

Today on SPOTTED, we literally have a spotted. A spotted mountain that is.

David Pirrie - large scale spotted mountains paintings

These marvellous illustrations by Canadian David Pirrie are just gorgeous – I have a personal affinity with all things mountain and all things repetitive and graphic, so these prints hit the spot, if you excuse the pun.

The mountains featured in Pirrie’s work are not my own beloved Alps, but the Rockies of British Colombia, but really, a love of the mountains is satisfied with any snow covered craggy view. And these are beautiful.

And they are huge. As mountains should be.

See David Pirrie’s website for more details about these wonderful works…

(images by David Pirrie)

monday musings – the contextual narrative of the Jerwood…

Sometimes it is good to do things on the spur of the moment, and yesterday was one such day. The sun was shining – the last hurrah of summer – and so with nothing else planned, a trip was hatched to visit Hastings, and specifically, the Jerwood Gallery which had an exhibition by Quentin Blake – a personal childhood hero.hastings Jerwood 6Even though I had not visited Hastings for a very long while, I remember far back in the depths of my architecture education when I became obsessed with the tall, pitched roofed net houses on the Rock-O-Nore road. There was something about the honesty of their construction, both in terms of orientation, structure and materials that made them incredibly appealing. Like stretched sentinels they stand over the Old Town beach, with the fishing boats and fresh fish huts below. I loved them.

hastings Jerwood 4So when I found out a while back that the Jerwood would stand within touching distance of my beloved net huts I was a little wary. Without a deep connection to this site, the new building could stick out like a very modern and very sore thumb. However, when I saw the resulting building on the pages of architecture blogs and the design press in 2012 I was delighted. The building looked sensitive yet unapologetic and well, fitted.

hastings Jerwood 7But – architecture is something that you experience, not read about. A well composed photograph will tell you so much, but it is not until you are in any space that youdiscover the delights of the building as well as areas which perhaps do not work as well. Noise, smell, light, how the building copes with few people, masses of people. How the building feels in its skin and its surroundings.

I was not disappointed. HAT have created a delightful building. Passing the fading ‘No Jerwood’ signs on Rock-O-Nore Road towards the gallery, it felt a little sad that a few of the local residents felt this way – and enough to keep the signs up well after the gallery’s opening.

hastings Jerwood 2

The immediate appearance blends beautifully with the surrounding net huts – the monolithic building is certainly wider, but being clad in black shimmering iridescent tiles both the literal cues and the poetic cues to the fishing buildings and heritage are apparent.

Hastings Jerwood 1And the building is exceedingly clever. It is always a personal marker of a great building when I become obsessed with the structure and details perhaps a little more than the objects that the building contains. Details and junctions between flooring, the slatted walls looking up towards the rooflights, the cor-ten steel signage, the oak handrails that already feel polished, the shadows cast across the concrete floors…

hastings Jerwood 3But, one of the areas that I was most impressed with was how the building dealt with its location. The net huts surrounding the building are not hidden. They suddenly appear, framed within floor to ceiling windows in galleries – so much so that their height and scale can be fully appreciated in a way that is not possible at ground level. The building at the top of the East cliff lift is also framed and celebrated too, along with the low timber clad fresh fish huts at the rear of the Jerwood.

hastings jerwood 5Even in the courtyard area, the net huts sit nicely above the lowered fence line and talk to the oily Jerwood tiles beside beautifully. Like distant cousins, but with a similar family trait. Pitched rooflights on the top of the Jerwood also mimic the roof lines of the huts, creating another line woven in the contextural success of the building.

The art, is of course, wonderful. Interesting, well displayed and beautifully lit. But for me, the building is the real stunner.

(Photos by claire potter)

Weekend colour inspiration – a vintage mini…

Today on weekend colour inspiration we have a fantastic vintage mini advert, which screams 1978. But, the blue and the yellow that features in this advert is actually quite a nice combination - go for mustard yellow and a pale sky blue and you have a colour combination not out of place in the 1950's...

Today on weekend colour inspiration we have a fantastic vintage mini advert, which screams 1978. But, the blue and the yellow that features in this advert is actually quite a nice combination – go for mustard yellow and a pale sky blue and you have a colour combination not out of place in the 1950’s…

Wednesday walls – a hexagon facade…

Regular readers of The Ecospot will know how much of an obsession we have with all things hexagonal. We have written about the lovely hexagon here, here and here and my own watch is the white hexagonal Kisai Spider. So, we are always delighted when we see the joy of hex spreading around a little. These wonderful offices by Format Elf Architekten in Germany are certainly spreading the hexagon about – all around the single storey building in fact.

hexagonal facade

But even though the pattern is delightful, it serves not only as a decorative treatment, but as a solar gain control screen which has been computer generated. The perforated hexagonal facade relates to the natural shading components, ie, the trees, and has larger openings where shade is already existing. Where the facade is more open, the shading perforations have been adjusted accordingly.

This change in the hexagonal facade allows for a gentle ebb and flow of pattern across the building, but in a way which is completely linked to it’s surroundings – not an aesthetic treatment alone.

The choice to use aluminium is also closely linked to the previous activities in the town, which used to house a major aluminium manufacturing plant.

A really lovely example of how design can be aesthetically beautiful and also be contextually driven also – one should not be divorced from the other.

(photo by Bettina Kirmeier)

SPOTTED – The Butterfly Project at Kings Framers, Lewes…

Last weekend we had to travel over to Lewes to pick up a few bits for the new studio, so took the time to have a bit of a wander around. We always head to Kings Framers as they invariably have a lovely shop window to tempt us with prints, but we were very pleasantly surprised when we discovered The Butterfly Project by local artist Jamie White.

the Butterfly Project

The whole of the front window had been transformed into a gallery of framed butterflies, moths and beetles – all beautifully set in white mounts and frames to best show off their incredible colours and forms, including my personal favourite, our native Elephant Hawkmoth.

the butterfly project

Now, framed butterflies do tend to divide people – is is a celebration of their beauty, or is it macabre and sad? A lot of these judgements are based around where the specimens are sourced (and at what point in the life cycle), but The Butterfly Project is certainly different – each of the bugs and butterflies were sourced from non-profit breeding programmes which supports research into habitat protection and ecology through localised education programmes.

the butterfly project

No endangered species from the wild was collected, and the sales of The Butterfly Project going towards helping the survival and conservation of the species in both the UK and farther afield.

So, the beautiful results of The Butterfly Project area not only stunning, they are as ethical as you can get for a real specimen.

(photos by claire potter)