‘The Smack’ at Clerkenwell Design Week – from marine plastic to lighting…

Yikes. Where have the last two months gone? It feels like an age, yet only yesterday that we were down in the underground cells of Platform for Clerkenwell Design Week 2017, showing the latest iteration of our marine plastic product research work – ‘The Smack’.

Made using 365 recovered Lucozade Sport bottles, split into their component materials and remade into fittings reminiscent of jellyfish, ‘The Smack’ went down an absolute storm. We had a huge amount of interest not only in the installation, but the story of marine plastic itself. Press interviews, TV interviews and a spot on a documentary – as well as hundreds of conversations with people staggered at awfulness, yet beauty of the piece and countless tweets and instagrams. #TheSmack was well shared!

What was really encouraging was the amount of people who knew about the wider issue. Some people knew about the Parley x Adidas marine plastic trainer, others had been watching the Sky Ocean Rescue project and some had even seen the latest marine plastic documentary – A Plastic Ocean. Awareness is certainly growing.

The few days of the event zipped by, but we are already booked in and planning what we will be doing for Clerkenwell Design Week 2018. We will be back down in Platform again with our next iteration of products made from reclaimed marine plastics. We have a VERY exciting project in the pipeline that you will see popping up here very soon… watch this space as they say.

(images by claire potter)

Monday Makers – Smile Plastics…

Today on Monday Makers we have the fantastic Smile Plastics, who we love here in the studio. With innovative recycled plastic sheets of all types, they are the first people we turn too when we need to specify plastics. We actually have a project in Brighton on site at the moment where we have used one of their recycled plastic sheets… watch this space. So – who are Smile Plastics?


Hello there! Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Smile Plastics reimagines waste into decorative art materials used by designers and architects around the world for products, interiors and displays. It’s been going since 1994 and was one of the first companies globally to recycle plastics, gaining a strong reputation for its striking aesthetics and exquisite quality. The business stopped trading from 2011-2015 but has recently been taken on by two designers, relauching a core range of panels at London Design Week 2015. The business is now run by a very small dynamic team out of several locations across England and Wales and we’re hoping to consolidate over the next year.

Sustainable chopping board recycled plastics by Smile Plastics

What do you make?

Our core business is making 100% recycled plastic panels. We have a classics collection of materials made from a range of waste streams such as plastic bottles and yoghurt pots and we also work with clients to create bespoke materials based on their preferred waste stream, colour palette or pattern. We’re increasingly also offering design and build services and hope to focus on this more in the future.

yoghurt-detail-3-feb16-lowres

What is your favourite piece/thing you create, and why?

We absolutely love coffee and have been developing materials out of recycled coffee waste for a few years and offer it as a bespoke material through Smile Plastics. We have fabricated some great pieces out of the material, most recently a coffee bar at Societe Generale with a recycled bottle top and recycled coffee panelling.

smile-plastics-bottle-and-coffee-bar-at-societe-generale-for-hej-coffee-lowres

What inspires you?

We get really inspired by the language of materials, in particular the potential of waste and how our products can communicate engaging messages about sustainability to people, inspiring others to rethink waste.

What is your favourite place?

We love to be immersed in nature when we can from kitesurfing on the sea to climbing up mountains, and we’re happy to do this anywhere in the world!

Ok – you are rulers of the world for the day. What one law do you bring in?

Everything that gets made needs to be designed for recyclability so that we all operate in a full closed loop circular economy. (HEAR HEAR! – ed)

explorer-1m-wide-lowresWhat is your company motto?

It’s short and punchy: Reimagined materials designed to inspire.

Where can we see you next?

We’ve got a number of exciting projects coming up. If you haven’t made it already to the Wellcome Trust’s States of Mind exhibition then I would recommend it and they have used our yoghurt material beautifully as displays. We also have a small stand at the Surface and Materials show curated by Materials Lab in October in Birmingham so do pop along to see our materials there.

(www.smile-plastics.com / Instagram @smileplastics / Twitter @smileplastics)


a HUGE thank you to Smile Plastics – and stay tuned for our own reveal here on The Ecospot with a new studio project using lots of recycled plastic from Smile Plastics! 

(all images courtesy of Smile Plastics)

Flower filled interiors at Sketch, London…

As we have mentioned before, and was shown by our rather ear-splitting blog silence of late, May is ‘one of those months’ for us. It rushes by at the speed of light and it is not till June that we get to take stock and grumble about what we missed. The incredible flower filled interiors at London restaurant, Sketch, were on the list.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

Coinciding with the Chelsea Flower Show, Sketch invited a selection of floral artists to create site specific pieces in the various spaces open to the public – from the entrance to the egg shaped toilets.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

With each florist responding not only to the location but using blooms and foliage that can be found in the woodlands and countryside of Britain, the immersive environments created magical temporary spaces for visitors to enjoy.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

And we missed it. Looking at the coverage on the various design sites, we would have loved to visit and experience the soft dampness and scents that come with large scale installations. Would this have made us calmer? Choose different foods? Stay longer? We will never know.

But this type of interior design links in with biophilic design – where nature is incorporated into our built environment as part of the fabric of the building, not just a fleeting experience. Our own studio is flooded with natural light and features stacks of natural materials and living plants which not only help to filter our air, but give a green lushness to our space. Many people comment on how welcoming the space feels – we would hope it is our friendly studio demeanour and the coffee, but our chum nature has a lot to do with this.

Mayfair flower show Sketch lounge interior in London, UK

So instead of having beautiful, immersive, temporary installations, wouldn’t it be great if this was just a part of the every day interior design and architectural language? If we filled our spaces as readily with living things as we do with furniture?

Would we feel more connected with our environments and would we care for ourselves (and each other) a little more? Quite possibly. We think this is worth a try.

(images of Sketch via Dezeen)

waste is a design fault – Denmark opens first food waste supermarket…

Waste is a dirty word. Literally. Often thought of as a by-product of a production system, waste is actually something that is designed in – whether explicitly or through lack of considerations. This can be anything from the waste from the creation of products and houses all the way through to our food system, which has seen increased reporting of just how much food is thrown away before it even reaches our supermarkets. Given the fact that there are so many in need of this food, this senseless waste is criminal. And this is without considering the embodied energy that goes into creating the food, transporting it, packaging it… So, what can we do to tackle food waste?

Asda recently launched its £3.50 ‘Ugly Veg’ boxes, which are crammed with produce that in supermarket standards do not meet the mark, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have been on the case on our televisions and now, in Denmark, a charity has opened the countries first food waste supermarket.

Located in Copenhagen, ‘WeFood’ will sell its products at between 30-50% less than other supermarkets, brokering special partnerships directly with suppliers, whose ‘waste’ food will be picked up by volunteers and transported to the store. Given the fact that Denmark alone creates a food waste mountain of around 700,000 tonnes annually, there is certainly enough to go around.

WeFood

 

And despite it’s ‘waste’ connotations, the store shuns the usual discount store appearance for a slick, dark and simple interior, with a clear graphical coherence. Very Danish. And unsurprisingly, it is going down a storm with customers who are shopping there not only for budgetary reasons, but political ones too.

But whilst schemes such as the WeFood supermarket begin to tackle some of the issues, this kind of use of ‘waste food’ has its critics also. Some people think that by almost artificially lowering the price of ‘second rate’ food, then people will be less likely to buy the ‘first rate’ – and full price food instead. Will this mean that farmers may only be able to get a lower overall price for their produce? And how low before this makes it unprofitable for them and they suffer the same fate as many UK dairy farmers whose profits are continually squeezed by our desire – and the supermarkets delivering – an ever cheaper product on our shelves?

In the case of produce, many think that instead of labelling some items as ‘ugly’ or ‘wobbly’, the supermarket guidelines that dictate sizes, appearance and allowed blemishes should be relaxed. If this was the case, then more of the ‘waste’ food could perhaps be directed out of the farmer’s waste piles into stores. But this is again, a small part of the problem – and there is no hard and fast solution.

Until then, we applaud WeFood for at least trying to make a dent in the issues – very much like the independent supermarket, hiSbe in Brighton, who we created the store design for in 2013 – and who continue to go to strength to strength. These examples and pioneers will surely be the future of our supply systems. 

(images via WeFood)

hiSbe on tv!

Back in 2013, we were delighted to be involved in the launch of hiSbe, the independent ethical supermarket based in Brighton, where we designed and project managed the build of the store from a desolate space into the bright and friendly supermarket it is now. As clients, Amy and Ruth Anslow, the founders of hiSbe were a dream to work with – great ethics and a real understanding of the importance of brand and communication.

hiSbe exteriorFrom the outset, hiSbe was making waves in the retail sphere, showing people just how food should be done. From self serve dry dispensers, to locally produced meat, fish and produce, hiSbe became the go-to shop in Brighton for good, fair food that does not cost a fortune.

hiSbe dry dispenser

hiSbe has now turned 2, and is still making a huge impact for what they do – like being featured in the first episode of Food Rebels, shown on the Community Channel on Monday alongside the fantastic Brighton based Silo too.

hiSbe store

We are really pleased to see the store continuing to look awesome and providing a great atmosphere for everyone working and shopping there.

Want to see hiSbe in action? watch Food Rebels below…

2015 recap – March 2015 – industrial interior design – on trend or eco?

March heralded a very popular post about our specialism, eco interior design and industrial interior design, and here we were pondering… is all industrial interior design automatically eco?

(first published 31 March 15)

Often, when people find out that we are ‘eco interior architects’, they ask exactly what that means. Do we only use natural materials? Do we use reclaimed materials? Do we have a particular look? The answer varies, but the general consensus is ‘sometimes’. We do use a huge amount of natural materials and specialise in using reclaimed pieces, and whilst our style is very particular to the studio (a general honest, slightly industrial look) it depends hugely on what our client requires. But, the ongoing trend for ‘industrial’ styled spaces tends to lean towards the use of honest, raw, yet highly precise materials.

Designing a Modern Fast Food Restaurant

One such example of this type of interior is with the new fast food restaurant, ‘Simple’ in central Kiev. This innovative restaurant was given a complete identity and interior design by Ukrainian based Brandon Agency, who stuck to the use of organic materials such as plywood, kraft paper and machined timber to create a simple and unified scheme.

brandon-agency-simple-restaurant-8

With the ubiquitous grey (of which we are massive fans…) there is a good balance between the white brick and the green of the plants – another essential ingredient in the stereotypical ‘eco’ interior, which creates a fresh and welcoming, if slightly hipstery space. The design is thorough and beautifully balanced and fits the branding and ethos of the company – simple – very well.

Now, we are fully aware that even though eco interiors can be created in any style, this is the type of project which has come to represent the genre. This is great whilst the grey / green / timber space is being welcomed, but we are pretty keen to break down a myth that perhaps all eco interiors look like this. Many projects that may not be seen as an ‘eco’ interior on the face are actually very responsibly sourced and specified, so if you do not see wood and plants, it does not necessarily mean that it is not an eco interior.

Sometimes you have to scratch the surface a bit…

(images via Design Milk)

2015 Eco Open Houses a great success!

Last weekend we were delighted to be part of the 2015 Eco Open Houses trail in Brighton – opening up our workspace, Studio Loo to the public. This is the second time that we have been part of the trail as we opened for visitors in 2014, when the studio was about 80% through it’s conversion from derelict wc to the eco office space it is now. It was great to look back over the past year and recall the photos from the construction period.

claire potter design studio 2

And it was also great to welcome back people that visited last year – many had returned so they could see how we had finished the space. For instance, visitors last year saw the reclaimed parquet flooring as individual sticks in bags, but this year they got to see it down, sanded, polished and lacquered – and complete with a years worth of little scratches and dents from use.

But it was also great to welcome a load of new people to Studio Loo – many of whom had travelled a fair distance to see our converted wc and talk to us about their own projects – and how what we have done could be applied to their spaces.

eco open houses 2015

We discussed recycled paint, solid insulation, solar gain and glazing, timber certification and we even gave away a few of our secret spots for finding reclaimed furniture and materials in Brighton and the surrounding areas. 

On Saturday we had a visit from MP for Portslade and Hove, Peter Kyle, who was with us for almost an hour discussing the merits of great design and the reuse of abandoned buildings, and on Sunday we had a visit of nearly 40 people in one go, courtesy of Cara Courage and the Brighton and Hove Urban Ramblers…eco open houses 2 2015

Another great weekend of chatting about all things sustainable design and architecture – we are now gearing up the studio for our next public opening as part of the Christmas Artist’s Open Houses – watch this space!

(images by claire potter and courtesy of Cara Courage and Eco Open Houses)

A day at The Great Recovery, with Camira, Ella Doran and Urban Upholsterers…

Quite often, it is the things that go unnoticed that have the biggest impact. Take fire labels for instance. They are a small part of a chair, or sofa, yet without these little pieces of legislative fabric, the whole piece of furniture cannot be reused. And even though they do seem small, they are often cut off as they flap about under cushions. We like things neat, so the flappy bit goes – and many of us do not realise that this then consigns our furniture to landfill at the end of its life. This is the baton that The Great Recovery have taken up over the past year or so in their ‘Rearranging the Furniture’ project. What does a circular economy sofa look like?

The great recovery sofa 4

Starting with one such fire label-less sofa, four designers (Ella Doran, Xenia Mosely, Kirsty Ewing and Sarah Johnson) set out to rethink the sofa – initially by taking it apart, learning the differences in construction between a cheap and quality piece of furniture, then developing a fabric with Camira to cover the stripped back, refurbished frame – over the process of about a year.

And so, to celebrate the end of the project, The Great Recovery held a day as part of the London Design Festival, looking at the project and with demonstrations from the designers and practitioners who took part.

The great recovery sofa 3

Patrizia Sottile and Andrea Simonutti – of Urban Upholstery are no strangers to reuse, as their pieces use rescued frames which are brought back to life with traditional methods, and the first part of the session was dedicated to a demonstration of how to refurbish a sprung chair, which itself had been recovered for a new life.

The great recovery sofa 2

Springs were connected with string, meshed together in a pattern that will be both strong and flexible, then covered with hessian, stitched, then covered again with coconut fibres. This is a craft – hand created and little altered in centuries. And, as the Urban Upholsterers explained, allows a piece to be reused, recovered, refurbished and repaired – unlike the cheap and mass produced pieces that we can pick up from chain furniture stores. Cheap construction means that recovery and reuse is often impossible.

The great recovery sofa 1

We also got to see the recovered sofa from the ‘Rearranging the Furniture’ project up close – and as well as the beautiful exposed frame, the fabric was something to behold.

The great recovery sofa 5

Created by British fabric manufacturer, Camira, in collaboration with The Great Recovery, the ‘Survivor’ fabric was developed to use as much pre-consumer fabric waste as possible. The new weave, created with 30% recycled fibres, uses offcuts from the upholstery industry – recovered, shredded and woven into a new, tweed like fabric.

The great recovery sofa 6

And whilst 30% recycled yarn does not sound like a lot, it is actually quite groundbreaking. Each time a fabric is recycled, the yarn shortens, making it unusable in a new fabric – it literally is not strong enough. However, if it is mixed with some virgin yarns, a natural recycled fabric is possible. The Survivor fabric is just that – and will soon be available to specifiers.

On the day, we were able to use the beautiful fabric to create our own cushions, in any variety of the three colourways – blue, red, or violet. Plumping (excuse the pun) for blue and red, each of our cushions was stuffed with recycled (post-consumer) yarn and finished with more traditional skills – we each learnt the ‘invisible stitch’, allowing us to close our cushions with no stitching visible.The great recovery sofa 7

The day concluded with a round table discussion between many of the partners involved in The Great Recovery, with representatives from Suez recycling, Surrey Reuse network, Surrey County Council as well as the designers themselves. Quite often the discussion was around connections – how can we ensure that bulky waste, such as sofas are directed to those who need them / want them? How can we encourage reuse and of course, how can we ensure that these pieces are not consigned to landfill or incineration as they are no longer sporting their fire labels…?

More thought early on in the design process is often the answer, or at least part of the answer. And my cushion? It got its first test on the train back to Brighton from London Bridge, as surprisingly, there were no free seats. Lucky I’d just made one.

(images by claire potter)

The London Design Festival is in full swing – here are our picks…

We honestly do not know where the year has gone – was it really 12 months since we were up at the London Design Festival with Fixperts, running a workshop on fixing and hacking? It appears it was. However, apart from being a year older, the London Design Festival is a distinct highlight of our calendar – and it gets bigger each time. Whilst this is fantastic, the bigger the event, the more you have to pick and choose the events that you go to, so we are sharing our picks for this year with you all…

First up – we will be heading to LASSCO, to drool over the reclamation:

‘Pioneers of Architectural Salvage, LASSCO supply a virtually unending stream of recklessly curated objects and materials, aided by an unerring eye, impeccable provenance and profound practical knowledge.

Over the past year the shop has contributed architectural elements to some of London’s most exciting and on-trend retail and hospitality brands across London including: Aesop, Club Monaco, St John’s, Groucho, Ralph Lauren, Hostem, & China Exchange. This inspiring exhibition documents them and shows how our reclaimed materials are being incorporated into interior design today.’

19 – 27th Sept / 41 Maltby Street, Bermondsey / £free

Next we will be heading to Interface to see their Designing with Nature exhibition, which looks in detail at biomimicry:

‘Interface is a worldwide leader in the design and production of sustainable modular flooring, suitable for all commercial interiors. Interface products come in a range of colours, textures and patterns that combine beauty with functionality to help organisations bring their design vision to life.

The effect that nature can have on your well being is remarkable. Nature has long been a source of inspiration for Interface and has led to the production some of the most sustainable and innovative nature-inspired carpet tiles. We learn from nature’s systems and our designs take cues from visual and tactile textures, also found in nature, helping to bring the feeling of outside, in to create spaces which inspire, energise and engage individuals in the workplace.’

21 – 25th Sept / 1 Northburgh Street, Clerkenwell / £free

We are also heading off to the Ella Doran & The Great Recovery Material Engagement and the Art of Re-upholstery workshop too:

‘A day at Fab Lab London exploring the possibilities, challenges and rewards of re-upholstering old furniture to give it a new life through talks, hands-on demonstrations & the opportunity to talk to the participants of the Great Recovery’s design residency with SUEZ.

This event reflects and builds on the Great Recovery’s ‘bulky waste’ Design Residency in partnership with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery earlier in the year. Hackney duo Urban Upholstery and award-winning textile designer Ella Doran join the Great Recovery at Fab Lab London to explore how to reduce the quantity of furniture going to landfill through considered design approaches and practical re-upholstery techniques.’

25th Sept / Fab lab London, 1 Frederick’s Place / £free – but book places here

Last on our list is the launch of the Fairphone 2 – an ethical, modular, repairable smartphone:

‘Fairphone is a social enterprise that is building a movement for fairer electronics. By making a phone, we’re opening up the supply chain and creating new relationships between people and their products. We’re making a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing and life cycle, while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first. Together with our community, we’re changing the way products are made.

Come to Fairphone’s launch event, a pop-up space taking you behind-the-scenes of their latest phone – the Fairphone 2, designed with a fairer supply chain and advanced modular architecture. Discover what’s behind your phone: from mines in DR Congo to factories in China and e-waste dumps in Ghana.’

26 – 27th Sept / 2-4 Melior Place / £free

But with so much to do, check out the London Design Festival site – get exploring with design…

(images via LDF15)

the IKEA hacking trend continues…

Creativity comes in many forms, and sometimes it takes a lot to realise that you do not have to design and build everything from scratch. Utilising standard components that you can adjust, hack and amend to suit your exacting needs can often be a cost and time effective decision for a project. We have used this ‘off the peg’ plus ‘bespoke additions’ approach for projects where the budget is very tight with great success – and many other studios are doing the same. And IKEA – with it’s global uniformity and relatively simple modular designs are ripe for using as the bones of a large build.

Over the weekend we spotted this story on Dezeen, where the studio CHA:CAOL used standard IKEA products, such as kitchen cabinetry and wardrobe fittings to create the skeleton for an open plan apartment addition.

With storage integrated under stairs and a simple material palette, the apartment is unified and organised – two elements which sit well with the IKEA ethos.

Duarte-loft-office-by-CHA-COL_dezeen_468_6

This is sensible approach – using the readily available and reasonable components as the skeleton can allow you to be more creative with the facing materials, and allow a bit more of a budget to do so as well.

But this kind of hacking is pretty commonplace with individual pieces (as is seen on the IKEA Hackers website, where people show how they have amended pieces of furniture to suit their needs). It is becoming more of a common thing to do this in a design studio too, as more and more designers and architects utilise the utility nature of standardised IKEA pieces.

Another example of an IKEA hack is this temporary bar by Diogo Aguir and Teresa Otto, which was built from the very ubiquitous translucent plastic containers that are piled high in all stores.

So – IKEA hacking is here to stay – with designers and architects as much as it is with everyone else.

(images via Dezeen)

SPOTTED – the Offcut Stool by Harry Hope-Morley…

In the second of our series of SPOTTED from New Designers part 2 last week, we are featuring a great stool by Harry Hope-Morley that is made from smaller components of timber – the Offcut Stool.

Whilst there was a huge amount of furniture being exhibited at ND, much of it (I’m sorry to say) merged in with the next piece and whilst beautifully finished, there was not a huge amount of differentiation from previous years. It felt safe and not forward thinking. But, I was delighted when we turned the corner to see the Offcut Stool – it was well designed, refined, with a good ethical foundation and was different.

With each of the components being created from a far smaller piece of timber than would be the norm in furniture design, the Offcut Stool celebrates these differences completely unapologetically, with each timber being true to it’s natural tones and grains.

The end result is an almost DIY kit form effect, but with a very high finish. It was also easy to see how the stool could be amended to different configurations too, with a bit of a change in components.

We thought it was delightful, and certainly challenged the view of what we perceive as ‘waste’, as the end result does not have the stereotypical view of a product created from waste.

This surely is the point of creating good, ethical new products – we need to use waste materials but reframe them in a way that speaks of their quality, precision and longevity.

Plus, after speaking to Harry at the show, we heard that they will soon be gracing the floor of one of our favourite, ethical restaurants in Brighton… Great news!

(images via Harry Hope-Morley)

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)

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)

Clerkenwell Design Week 2015 – a preview…

Clerkenwell Design Week is upon us once more – beginning today, the annual three day event in the part of London that has the densest population of creative studios, practices and showrooms, per square mile – in the world. Quite something. And each year, these doors are thrown open to all for three days of talks, exhibitions, workshops, launches and parties – for free.

We will be heading up to Clerkenwell on Thursday for a look about, plus we will be on the FIXPERTS stand in the Design Factory between 1-5 (come and say hello!) and then we are off to a very special workshop with the guys at Factorylux (Urban Cottage Industries) – more on that later on in the week, but for those of you not familiar with Clerkenwell, here are our top tips:

1 – Looking for furniture, lighting and product design? First stop has to be The Design Factory located in the Farmiloe Building on 34 St John Street. Not only is the building absolutely stunning (a real 19th century industrial beauty), the variety of work on show is staggering.

2 – want to see the hot off the press new designers in another architectural gem? Check out the House of Detention next, which features interlocking subterranean spaces filled with great design and furniture.

3 – Clerkenwell Conversations is another real highlight of the three day festival, with world class designers, architects and manufacturers – this year talking about everything from public art to the architects insatiable desire to create furniture (ahem). Take a look here for the full programme.

4 – there are multiple showrooms open too, where you can discuss projects directly with the manufacturers, or just have a nose. This year we will be heading to Camira, Interface, The SCIN Gallery and Vitra – for starters…

5 – check out the Fringe too – there are some great event on in the smaller workshops and studios…

And want to whet your appetite? Take a look here at this round up from last year.

(video via Clerkenwell Design Week)

SPOTTED – recycled paper lights at Seletti…

Today in our SPOTTED we are jetting back to Milan, where we had a rather fantastic time at the Salone del Mobile – and in particular, in the Euroluce pavilions. It was quite evident that the current trend for neon, exposed bulbs and cage lighting is still very much en vouge, but there were a few other lights that took our fancy too – including the Egg of Columbus recycled paper light by Valentina Caretta at Seletti.

Constructed from the same sort of recycled paper pulp that we more commonly associate with egg boxes, the Egg of Columbus light was actually a beautiful thing. The tinted varieties are soft, with the material giving a nice matt appearance to the shades and the shapes are equally delicate and undulating.

This is posh pulp.

And when mixed with lovely contrasting cabling, they really do come alive. 

A really lovely design that makes full use of the very short fibres of recycled paper.

(images via Seletti)