monday musings – Natwest Venus Awards Brighton and Sussex…

Ok. We are doing a little bit of trumpet blowing today. Last week, on a blisteringly hot day in Brighton, we went to the Grand for afternoon tea with the Natwest Venus Awards for Brighton and Sussex. We were delighted that we had been nominated for the awards in the Green Business category and even more delighted that we had made it to the semi-finals of these very prestigious awards.

Natwest Venus Awards 2

We met a raft of other, very inspirational women who work across a variety of sectors and we were shocked and very humbled when we were announced a Finalist in our Green Business category, with the winner being revealed at a red carpet event in October, also at the Grand hotel in Brighton.

Natwest Venus Awards 1

It is absolutely wonderful to be recognised in this way for the work that we do in eco design and we are ecstatic to be finalists in the Natwest Venus Awards, but ultimately we wish that eco design and green business was not segmented at all and it was just the way that everyone went about their business – with ethics and care for the implications their actions have.

It can be harder, it can take longer, but ultimately we think this is just the way it should be done, or to quote one of our lovely clients and fellow Natwest Venus Awards Finalists, hiSbe – it’s just how it Should be.

(photo by claire potter)

wednesday walls – hidden features of architecture…

There is something rather magical about discovering something which has been hidden for a period of time. As Interior Architects, we have an incredible excitement when we start a new project with a client – discovering things about a space and weaving it into the new story. What was the building used for before? Are there any original features that we can work with? What is the character of the space? As we work a great deal in the industrial aesthetic of interior architecture and design we believe that finding these hidden features are essential to creating a rich experience. So we are always fascinated with the story.

Arundel window

And whist out and about yesterday (yes, the studio is on leave this week, but we had to publish this today) we spotted this rather fantastic example of a discovery of the old beneath the new.

Situated on Arundel High Street, the building in question was undergoing a series of renovations to both the interior and the exterior façade, but it was a particular panel that caught our eye.

Opened up for all to see, the rendered front wall had been stripped back – not as a solid wall but as a boarded false façade, revealing a timber structure below and beyond – a beautiful, original flint wall.

It is always amazing to think that these sorts of original details have been covered over, but remember – architecture goes in an out of fashion too and there was probably a point in time when the flint was not desired. It could also have been failing and leaking (or collapsing onto the street below), so covering it over with a second façade could have been the quickest and cheapest option.

We found a little window in one project we worked on that had been boarded up from the inside, but uncovered and refurbished it added precious light to the bathroom area.

But even though the Arundel example is an old building, dating probably around 1650 or so, do not forget that even ‘modern’ buildings can have little features and quirks that are waiting to be rediscovered… hidden features are everywhere – just do a bit of investigation…

(photos by claire potter)

weekend colour inspiration – pink and grey


Today on weekend colour inspiration we are looking at yet another colour combination that includes grey, but we are mixing it up a bit today with a bit of pink. Now, we are not well known for our love of pink. At all. But, in the right context and with the right tones, you could do something rather wonderful.

pink and grey fishNow, this rather lovely fellow is a Red Gurnard – which we caught just off the coast in Brighton last week. And what a handsome fellow he is too – check out those pinky orange tones, plus the blue green in the eye which are echoed in the fins (which you can just see).

Combine these pinky tones with the steely grey of the bucket and you have got a really interesting pairing which has a good balance of the urban industrial and a touch of femininity. With a contrasting pick up tone of the blue or green and you have got a very, very interesting set of colours to play with.

Take this into an exterior scheme with galvanised steel planters, silver foliage and pink / blue flowers, or perhaps a steely bedstead with a shell pink and orange spread and a bright blue lighting cable… Pink and grey with a touch of blue…

Nothing fishy about that combo. (sorry)

(photo by claire potter)


a few of the newest New Designers…

Today on the Ecospot we are taking a bit of a look at the second part of New Designers that we visited last week up at the Business Design Centre in London. Packed to the rafters with the best new blood of the next generation, New Designers is the culmination of years of hard graft for designers across a multitude of disciplines.

We were there firstly to support the lovely designers who we have had the pleasure of tutoring and lecturing over the past year or so (and who graduated yesterday!), but we were also there to spot the latest new and exciting things from the other universities. So, we have chosen a very small selection to share with you today.

First up is the lovely re-imagining of the beehive by Daniel Leaker, which has been designed as an educational tool for schools. Based around natural beekeeping methodology, the new hive is also made from 100% recycled materials, including recycled plastic and reused cardboard postal tubes that have been impregnated with a beeswax and linseed oil solution.


It is also on a pulley system to allow children to view the hive safely, then allowing it to be hoisted back up into its permanent location, such as within a tree. A lovely project – check out Daniel’s site for full details on the manufacture of the project.

We also were quite taken with the ‘Brace’ seating and shelving system by Douglas Pulman, who also won the New Designers 100% Design Award. With its simplicity of form and materials, we thought it was a lovely winner.

Douglas Pulman shelf


The system can be flat packed with ease and is also flexible, so can be altered into seating. We do love a bit of galvanised metal and wood, so we thought it was a very worthy winner.

Last up, we are heading into the graphics and illustration department, where we fell in love with the illustrations of fellow south coast resident Jenna Clarke.

We really liked the illustration of Jenna – it was full and varied and showed a real illustrative skill, as well as a recognition of wider world issues. Check out her full portfolio here.

So – just a few picks from New Designers – we will have another couple next week…

SPOTTED – the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft

Last week we trotted up to the rather beautiful village of Ditchling, which sits on the northern side of the South Downs just above Brighton to attend a lecture by Simon Garfield about type. As well as looking forward to the lecture, we were also itching to see the buildings of the Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft.ditchling museum of art and craft

We were certainly not disappointed. The architecture was absolutely beautiful with the Grade II listed cart house and original building being stunningly connected with a new addition by Adam Richards Architects. A really sensitive adaptation of the existing in an honest way, using traditional materials has resulted in a space that is not only contemporary in feel but one which also feels very much in respect of both its location and heritage.

ditchling museum of art and craft

Exposed rafters in the cart house, which acts as the entrance, shop and cafe show the original structure of the building beautifully, plus the numbered tour of the elements are a clear and minimal way to engage visitors with the architecture.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The exhibits and collections at the museum are rooted with the artists who are connected with Ditchling, plus there is a substantial type influence, as Eric Gill, the designer of the Gill Sans typeface was a resident of the village. All signage throughout the museum is in the typeface, with both lettering and symbols used to great effect.

ditchling museum of art and craft

There is also a significant amount of both lettering and print based exhibits from all ages, all displayed with sensitivity in a variety of interesting ways.

ditchling museum of art and craft

The Ditchling Museum of Art and Crafts is not a huge affair, but it is bursting with clever architecture, character and heritage, not to mention wonderfully enthusiastic staff and fantastically stocked shop.

Plus, the museum is currently a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2014

A must visit for print and architecture junkies alike. Which we are both.

(photos by claire potter)

monday musings – the New Designers…

Well – here we are again in July. We cannot believe how quickly the year has gone, but we are back in July – which means that New Designers is already in full swing. Based at the Business Design Centre in London, the exhibition runs in two parts, with the second part about to begin this week – showcasing the newest up and coming designers in illustration, interior design and architecture, furniture design and product design.



We love attending this exhibition each year. The variety of concepts that have been developed over the final year projects of the students are both interesting and show how the next wave of designers will be influencing the design sphere.

As with attending all exhibitions, there are always a few things that perhaps are reinventions of the old or existing, but there are also products and styles that are completely new. And this is what we love to see – how the boundaries of design are being pushed.

Plus, I am personally delighted to say that the Product Designers from the University of Sussex that I have had the pleasure of teaching this year are also going to be there, showing an incredibly wonderful – and exciting range of products for the first time to the wider public.

We will have a full run down of the show and our top pick of the newest designers here on the Ecospot next week, but in the meantime, visit the show and support the next wave of new designers at New Designers…

(part 2 runs from 2nd-5th July at the Business Design Centre, London)

weekend words – a quote on – comic sans…

This week, as we are uber geeks, we attended a lecture that was given by Simon Garfield all about typography and the history of type in general. We love fonts. We love typography. But there is one font that we do not like. At all. And we are not the only ones… design agency kent

We love this as much as we hate comic sans. And we’re sure that lots of you will agree with us and the lovely peeps at ifour.

Go check out their other A-boards that have been turning heads over in Tunbridge Wells.


join us on our Chelsea Fringe edible city foraging walk this saturday…

Hello everyone. Apologies for the few posts that have disappeared over the past few days, we have been experiencing a bit of a tech melt down… but, we are still here (actually, we are in Berlin at present with Fixperts, but more of that next week) and we will also be getting ready for our Chelsea Fringe event this coming Saturday!

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Last year, we ran a very popular guided foraging walk in Brighton, so we have decided to keep to the theme and are running another three – this time in the centre of Brighton, starting in the landscape behind Brighthelm on North Road. This will be a bit of an intro to what you can find in the city which can be easily foraged.

We will be starting at 11, with each walk taking about an hour, including a free foraged cordial drink at the end and a free copy of our very special and very new map of Brighton which you can customise yourself with the icon stickers…

Spaces on the walk are FREE but VERY limited, so please get in touch to reserve a space on one of the following time slots:

11.00 am walk / 1.00 walk / 3.00 walk – email us on to reserve a space, or use the booking form on the right of this page…

In between times, we will be at our little stand in Brighthelm selling copies of our Edible City pack (map and stickers), plus copies of our limited edition A-Z of British Apples prints, so please do pop by and say hello! If there are any spaces left on the day you will be welcome to join one of the walks but we cannot guarantee that there will be any left!

Oh – if you have previously got in touch about reserving a space on the walks, please get in touch again – we have lost a lot of emails in our recent tech fail…

We look forward to seeing you!

Wednesday walls – a tiny LEGO intervention in Clerkenwell…

Last week we tripped up to Clerkenwell Design Week (more of which will be featured on the Ecospot soon…) but for our Wednesday Walls we saw this and it just made us smile. Plus, it proves that LEGO is not just for the kids…

LEGO wall

Sitting way above the front door to the cafe, we were looking up at the skies (which were imminently going to open up yet again onto us) and Shannen spotted this lovely little section of LEGO spanning across the corner of the building.

Now, there have been lots of these types of LEGO installations across the world – especially using the multiple pieces to fix holes in the sides of buildings, or in walkways and in the edges of roads, but we had not seen one ourselves until last week.

And it made us smile. The best kind of architectural surprise we reckon.

(photo by claire potter)

SPOTTED – last of the Artist’s Open Houses – the Hove trail…

Today on SPOTTED we have the last of the pieces that we purchased on the Artist’s Open Houses in Brighton this year – finishing up with the last bit of the Hove trail. All in all, we were hugely impressed with the quality and quantity of fabulous work on show throughout the Artist’s Open Houses and we cannot wait to get involved ourselves when we open our new studio in Portland Road, Hove. Watch this space…

penelope kelly

But – back to the bits – we were absolutely delighted at everything we found at 1 Aymer Road – wonderful prints and graphics, like the fabulous prints of combined animals by Penelope Kenny, such as the moth bird above. They were colourful yet understated, modern yet traditional and we thought they were fantastic.

Also at 1 Aymer Road was a fantastic selection of stunning wood turned pieces by Barry Chillwell, but it was these very sweet cherries that caught our eye. Beautiful. Not sure which wood it is – but ironically, not cherry I think…

barry Chidwell cherries

Now, we could have left these cherries as just a decorative piece, but I thought it was a real shame as they were so beautiful, so, along with a couple of other pieces and after a trip to the Bead Shop in Brighton, they were turned into a necklace…


The button on the left you might recognise as the ceramic button by Teresa Wolfe Murray that I purchased a few weeks ago – this was added to a length of green suede, the enamel skull like key in the centre was another purchase from the weekend by Jane Cross, which I added to a copper leather thread and of course, the wooden cherries on the end were added to an antique brass chain – all of which I think work quite well.

And the lovely thing is that now I can take these three little pieces of art around with me, and talk to people about them rather than having them sitting at home somewhere…

Wearing your art is the way forward – don’t you think?

(photos by claire potter)