BIG NEWS! We’re one of Kevin McCloud’s Green Heroes 2017!

Wow. More big news – we’ve just been listed as one of Kevin McCloud’s 10 Green Heroes for 2017!

Selected by Kevin himself, we have been included on the very prestigious list for our circular economy work using marine plastics to create new products – in particular our lighting range, ‘The Smack’ which we exhibited at Clerkenwell Design week in May this year. The jellyfish type lights all use PET plastic bottles which were collected en-masse when we helped lead a beach and street clean in February and have proved a very thought provoking design indeed. As designers, how can we reinvent a material? How can we positively impact the crisis of marine litter? What can we all do as consumers?

We had some great comments from Kevin in the selection process too… ‘We should not just recycle (plastic bottles) but reinvent them, says McCloud, “and upcycle them into beautiful and useful objects”.

So – you can see The Smack exhibited at Grand Designs Live at the NEC in Birmingham from 11th – 14th October and again in 2018, 5-13 May at the Excel in London.

Thank you again to Kevin McCloud for choosing us as a Green Hero!

(images courtesy of Grand Designs Live + by claire potter)

*** REVIEW *** a lovely cream table lamp from First Choice Lighting…

We have a bit of a thing for desk lamps here in the studio. We have amassed a collection of anglepoise lamps from the 60’s onwards that we use daily in the studio and regularly use them in our residential and commercial projects – they are just too nice to be reserved for the office. But sometimes a gentler slant is required, and we were delighted when we were asked to review this cream table lamp by First Choice Lighting.

First Choice Lighting 1

Created by manufacturers Där Lighting, the table lamp has some very lovely components – the hanging vintage enamel style shade and the elephant grey twisted fabric cable sit very well together indeed and offer up a contemporary feel. It fits really nicely with the more eclectic, industrial interior design aesthetic too.

First Choice Lighting 3

We really fell in love with the detailing however – the simple softwood frame features a delicately curved arm reminiscent of a branch, from which the cream shade hangs and rocks gently. Very lovely.

First Choice Lighting 2

So, looking for a feminine table lamp alternative to the anglepoise? This may be one for you.

Available for £69 at First Choice Lighting.

(images by claire potter – butterflybird print by Penelope Kenny, all other items studio own)

our Ghost Gear Chandelier for the World Cetacean Alliance pt4…

Since December 2015, we have been working on a very lovely project for the World Cetacean Alliance, as part of a group of artists and designers responding to their ‘Untangled’ brief – a project to highlight the hugely destructive issues with ghost gear. This abandoned, discarded or lost netting, rope and filament floats about our oceans across the globe, maiming and killing marine life of all sizes, and as it is usually plastic based, the material never truly degrades.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 13

So, we have been collecting Ghost Gear from the beaches of Brighton, to create what we dubbed our Ghost Gear Chandelier – a large bubble formed light that was inspired by the ‘bubble netting’ hunting technique of some humpback whales.

Netting was found, washed, dried, washed again, washed a third time, dried again and then shredded and put into clear plastic bubbles…

Ghost Gear Chandelier 9

And now the Ghost Gear Chandelier is done.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 3

Ghost Gear Chandelier 1

The Chandelier uses a salvaged bike wheel for the main ring, with a variety of Ghost Gear filled bubbles hanging in a cascade of blues, greens and oranges.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 10 Ghost Gear Chandelier 4

The central point of light is a huge clear ball eco-filament light from Factorylux, connected to a bright blue fabric cable flex and wall plug. Hanging from chains at a height of around 1600mm, the Ghost Gear Chandelier is quite a statement- and we are delighted with it.

Ghost Gear Chandelier 7Ghost Gear Chandelier 14Ghost Gear Chandelier 5

So what now for the light? Well, as part of the Untangled project by the World Cetacean Alliance, each piece of work created by the designers and artists taking part will be auctioned off to raise funds for the issues raised by ghost gear – which includes our Ghost Gear Chandelier. Watch this space for details on the auction and also, keep your eyes peeled for our little film, which will show the making of the Ghost Gear Chandelier…

(all images by claire potter)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt 3

Things are coming together for our Untangled Project – the Ghost Gear Chandelier which we are creating for the World Cetacean Alliance – which will be exhibited alongside the work of other artists and designers very soon. So – how have we been progressing? We have been sorting and washing our netting…World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 2World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 3 World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear washing 4

And with our ghost gear netting colour sorted, and through four water changes to get rid of the grit and smell, we turned our attention to the hardwear element of our Ghost Gear Chandelier…

We are massive fans of Factorylux – and use their stuff in many of our projects (including our own Studio Loo) as the gorgeous coloured fabric cable, fixtures and fittings they produce are exceptional quality, and it was not long until we had decided on a bright blue lighting flex and antique brass lamp holders. The bulb – one of Factorylux’s stunning eco filament bulbs will be revealed soon as we start to build our Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear lighting hardwear

Watch this space!

(images by claire potter)

The Untangled Project for the World Cetacean Alliance… pt2

Earlier this week we introduced the Untangled Project we are currently working on for the World Cetacean Alliance – taking washed up fishing netting known as ‘ghost gear’ from the beaches of the UK and highlighting this as a global issue by creating something from the waste. As part of a troop of designers and artists, each piece that is currently being created will be first exhibited in London, before being auctioned off, raising funds for the World Cetacean Alliance.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 8

And today, we can officially reveal glimpses of what we are designing and making… the Ghost Gear Chandelier.

claire potter design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear concept detail

We started by looking at the hunting behaviour of the whale given to us in our brief – the Humpback – and we discovered that some groups have learnt to collaboratively hunt using a technique called ‘bubble netting’. This highly developed form of hunting requires each whale to play their part – first, one individual locates the shoal of fish and swims beneath them, circling them from below whilst blowing bubbles and surrounding them with a confusing ‘net’ of bubbling water. The fish get disorientated by these bubbles and bundle together, allowing the group of whales who have been communicating by song to rise from the deep together and scoop the fish into their mouths. We became fascinated by this as a behaviour.

claire potter  design World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear conceptSo, taking the concept from the ghost gear baubles we created at Christmas, we are scaling up the design to create a large (and we are not sure exactly how large yet) chandelier, made from clear bubbles filled with cleaned, shredded and colour coded ghost gear netting… and whilst this concept is linked to the undeniably beautiful bubble netting behaviour of some humpbacks, the fact that ghost netting is regularly eaten by mistake cannot be ignored.World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 7 We are hoping that this light will talk about both humpbacks and ghost netting on many levels.

World Cetacean Alliance ghost gear 6

Watch this space for more info on the Ghost Gear Chandelier, as we start to mock up the design in the next week, and don’t forget to head to the Creations for Cetaceans Facebook page that has been set up by the World Cetacean Alliance and will be showcasing the other projects as they develop…

(photos by claire potter)

Zero Waste Week – the recycled plastic lights of Sarah Turner…

Plastic is something we have a bit of a bugbear about. Whilst we recognise it is a very useful and incredibly durable material, it is considered a single use material, which is just wrong. Recycling plastic is good, but keeping it ‘in the loop’ is a good thing to do, and creating stuff with plastic bottles is an interesting twist. We looked at the zero waste work of Sarah Turner back in February this year…

Bringing a bit of light into the depths of winter is a tradition that has long been part of human nature. The Yule log for instance, is one attempt to revive Mother Nature back into life and lighten the dark evenings. And lighting designer Sarah Turner has brought another tree to life with her recent installation for Nottingham’s annual Night Light event – with a string of recycled plastic and LED lights.

Adorning a bare magnolia tree in the grounds of St Mary’s church, the lights led from the path to the tree, with each shade being individually constructed from sandblasted, waste plastic bottles, hand cut into the shapes of the blooms. Turner also states that the installation takes what is essentially the waste of mankind to bring nature back to life in as naturalistic a form as possible.

As well as being beautifully poetic, the piece does talk about the impact that our waste has generally on the natural world – especially plastic, which, although recyclable, suffers from a relatively low recycling rate. It also ends up degrading into tiny pieces which find their way into the food chain, which is a huge biological concern. So, finding ways to reuse plastic can only be a good thing.

And if they are all as beautiful as the piece by Sarah Turner, so much the better.

(images by Sarah Turner)

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)

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)

 

The Buster LED Bulb shines bright at Salone del Mobile…

It goes rather without saying that we are huge advocates of the LED bulb in our interior schemes, but until very recently there has been rather a lack of good looking LED bulbs on the market. This can be a problem, especially with the bare bulb trend that is continuing in many designs, from retail and bar design to industrial styled residential spaces. So, we were delighted when we heard about the rather lovely Buster LED bulb by London based design studio Buster + Punch. And when we were in Milan for the Salone del Mobile, we went and said hello…

Buster and Punch chandelier

Heralded as the ‘world’s first designer LED bulb’ the Buster bulb comes in three different colour varieties – crystal, gold and smoked – and looks stunning.

BUSTER BULB_HERO

‘With the design, we wanted to achieve two things. The first was, quite simply, to make LED sexy. The second was to create a more useful light bulb that would give off both an ambient warm glow and a focused spot light – something never achieved by a single light bulb before.’

And this is exactly what the Buster LED bulb does – it looks amazing and works wonderfully, with the clear resin central tube transferring and diffusing the light through the very classic teardrop shaped bulb. It is also a direct replacement for the standard incandescent bulbs, is dimmable and consumes 1/20th of the power of the traditional bulb. Plus, each bulb is a very reasonable £40 or so each.

BUSTER + PUNCH _ DETAILS

‘Buster + Punch are a small independant company that make things, so when we decided to take on the challenge to build the world’s first designer LED bulb people thought we were mad! – Clearly there was a 99% chance that one of the bigger guys would beat us to it.

As I sit here today writing this, we all feel a massive sense of pride, not just becuase we managed to build what we think is a great looking piece of design, but because this simple light bulb might just help the everyman save a little bit of money and help the environment at the same time. It could only be a small shift, but hopefully we can finally get people looking at eco-efficient design in a different light’ says Massimo Buster Minale – Founder & Co-Designer.

Buster LED bulb

And this is key – ‘eco’ or ‘green’ or ‘energy efficient’ design does not need to mean that is does not look great. They are not mutually exclusive terms. They can co-exist – and the more designers that realise this the better.

Well done Buster + Punch.

(photos by claire potter and images courtesy of Buster + Punch)

FAVILLA – to every light a voice – an innovative lighting installation by Ford and Attilo Stocchi

There have been many points in my life when I have wished that I spoke another language properly – mostly to make travelling easier on the embarrassment stakes, but sometimes because by not understanding, you realise that you are missing out on something quite special. And so it was when we saw a press preview of the Ford lighting installation, Favilla (to every light a voice) at the Salone del Mobile this year, which was formed of two, interlinked experiences.

FAVILLA external 2

The exterior installation was special, with a ghostly model of the new Ford GT being brought alive by all manner of projections, renderings and effects – many of which are used within the design stages of car production, with a great soundtrack to match.

FAVILLA external 1

Running for a couple of minutes, the GT was mesmerising with its changing skins of colour and pattern.

FAVILLA external 3

But, it was the internal installation, based in the same, black box structure that really stole the show for us. ‘FAVILLA – to every light a voice’ showcased the science of light and was curated by architect Attillo Stocchi in collaboration with Ford, examining and highlighting the way light moves in an immersive experience.

Waiting outside, we heard small rumblings of the installation and were soon gathered into the space – 27 of us – each standing on a small, white, numbered spot on the floor.

Plunged into darkness, a beautifully deep Italian voice began the narration as sections of the geometric internal panels were lit in shades of white, changing into forest patterns – perfectly supported by a stunning musical score. Patterns changed to soft light, clouds to fire and spotlights to fragmented light through the crystal which hung silently in the centre of the space.

FAVILLA internal

This was easily one of the most beautiful installations we had ever experienced, despite not understanding any of the narration, which is where the regret was felt. How much more powerful would the installation have been if we had understood? It was already incredibly moving, and after reading the English translation, perhaps even more so.

FAVILLA internal 1

As architecture fanatics, the structure itself was also a real statement, with the solidness of the black box exterior contrasting hugely with the Milanese buildings around, but the interior was particularly successful. The geometric forms of the panels in the building enveloped you in light and projections – making you feel like you were standing in the centre of a gemstone. It was both enclosing and spacious – plus, the decision to only let 27 or so people in at any one time meant that you had room to look around you and experience the whole installation.

FAVILLA internal 2

“A successful design requires more than pleasing aesthetics – it needs to connect with consumers, speak to their aspirations and pleasantly surprise them,” said Moray Callum, Ford’s Vice President of Design. “This installation takes visitors through an unexpected discovery process that perfectly reflects Ford’s philosophy that design is an emotional journey orchestrated around the customer.”

And this is exactly what the piece was. Truly beautiful and emotional- even when you don’t understand Italian…

See below for a behind the scenes view of FAVILLA…

(Photos by claire potter, video courtesy of Ford)

recycled plastic and LED light installation by Sarah Turner…

Bringing a bit of light into the depths of winter is a tradition that has long been part of human nature. The Yule log for instance, is one attempt to revive Mother Nature back into life and lighten the dark evenings. And lighting designer Sarah Turner has brought another tree to life with her recent installation for Nottingham’s annual Night Light event – with a string of recycled plastic and LED lights.

Adorning a bare magnolia tree in the grounds of St Mary’s church, the lights led from the path to the tree, with each shade being individually constructed from sandblasted, waste plastic bottles, hand cut into the shapes of the blooms. Turner also states that the installation takes what is essentially the waste of mankind to bring nature back to life in as naturalistic a form as possible.

As well as being beautifully poetic, the piece does talk about the impact that our waste has generally on the natural world – especially plastic, which, although recyclable, suffers from a relatively low recycling rate. It also ends up degrading into tiny pieces which find their way into the food chain, which is a huge biological concern. So, finding ways to reuse plastic can only be a good thing.

And if they are all as beautiful as the piece by Sarah Turner, so much the better.

(images by Sarah Turner)

2014 recap – October – first Eco Open House weekend…

2014 was a big year for us in many ways – including completing the building of our new studio in Brighton, which we have converted from an old public toilet into an industrially styled, eclectic space. And in October, we opened our studio to the first visitors on the Eco Open Houses tour weekend, whilst we were still finishing it up…

first published 21st October 2014…

We have been a little bit quiet over here on the ecospot over the last week or so. There are many reasons for this – for one, we were having a bit of a major design overhaul (and we hope you like the new look!) and as well as having a digital redesign we were working in the physical too – trying to complete our new studio in time for the first Brighton and Hove Eco Open Houses tour weekend on 18th / 19th October. Long days, long nights and lots of goings on. But, we are nearly there on both respects, and it was with delight that we opened our doors to the public for the very first time on Sunday morning…

studio loo front

We are not completely there, but very nearly and there was loads of stuff that we could say about the project to explain to people where we had started from, where we were and where we will be when we open again on Saturday 25th.

studio spider chandelier small

It was fantastic. We had put notes on a lot of the key areas of the rebuild and conversion from old public toilet to design studio and it was not long before our pen had nearly run out. From our Celotex insulation to locally sourced plants, recycled paint from REBORN paints to upcycled cabinets from local charity Emmaus, we spoke about a different side to the eco buildings in the city.

studio plants small

We do not have our solar panels on our roof yet, but our electricity is supplied by Ecotricity and we have used A+ appliances throughout and energy saving bulbs. Plants also feature heavily in the studio to not only create a nice environment but to act as air cleaners – removing the toxins which will be given out by our printer, computers and even as we breathe.

labels on the wall

And despite not being completely finished, we were delighted at the comments that people gave us when they visited. Some people had travelled specifically to see our studio, others were doing as many of the Eco Open Houses as possible and others were just walking along the road and happened upon us. All in all, we had just over 60 visitors, which we were most chuffed about.

reborn paints small

But, as soon as the last visitors had gone, the building materials were back in and we were back at the works, with the flooring, front door and tiling set to be finished off this week. I have the job of putting in the hanging planters that I was speaking to people about as well…

neon green flex. grey and copper

So – if you are about, pop by and say hello this weekend – we are at 201 Portland Road in Hove and will be open on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th between 10-1 and 2-5. And we can highly recommend the cafe along the road, Pelican on Portland for all things tasty, lovely and delicious.

(all photos by claire potter)

december wish list day 6 – drop top lamp shade by Plumen…

Day six already on our December wish list, and today we are choosing something nice for the home. Beautiful and responsible too. The very lovely Drop Top Lamp shade by Plumen – complete with one of the stunning and award winning energy saving Plumen 001 bulbs by Hulger.

Drop Top Lamp Shade (A) Set - Black

This shade and bulb combo is certainly something very special. The hand blown glass shade softens the side glare of the bulb, whilst still perfectly illuminating downwards. Available in a variety of colours, this darker shades of this, er, shade disguises the bulb inside until the power is on and the now iconic shape of the Plumen 001 is revealed. This is why we would plump for the black version of this beautiful combo.

Drop Top Lamp Shade (A) Set - BlackAND the drop pendant set comes with a lovely drop cap also, which you can also choose the finish of. Copper? Very big in interiors this season and would set off the black glass shade beautifully. Drop Cap Pendant Set - Copper

Depending on your combination of shade, bulb and drop cap, this complete Plumen set comes in around £100, which really is not a huge amount for a real piece of statement lighting. Only problem is that we certainly will not be finding this in our stockings this Christmas as the pre-orders are being dispatched in February.

But hey ho. We can live with an IOU…

(all images courtesy of Hulger)

december wish list day 4 – the Paul Smith anglepoise lamp…

Today on our wish list we are looking towards two British icons that you can bring into your homes and offices. This is probably because we are in the process of moving our studio, which is involving packing, dusting, sorting and general upheaval. If we had one of these on our desks to go along with our battered old type 75’s we would be rather happy indeed. The Paul Smith Anglepoise lamp is a perfect example of two brands coming together to create something beautifully perfect.

We spotted this lovely lamp at it’s partial launch at Clerkenwell this year and we were smitten. We are huge fans of both partners and this combination of creative skills has resulted in a beautiful lamp indeed – with more colours than the standard type 75 variants. And, at only £149, this very classic piece of design will not break the back. We have always fancied a piece of Paul Smith design for our new office – and perhaps this is the one…

The Paul Smith anglepoise lamp showcases the eclectic nature of the designer, whilst adding a new contemporary twist on the classic form of the type 75. We love it. See the video from Anglepoise below that talks about the collaboration…

 

SPOTTED – the Box Pendant…

Lighting can make a massive difference to a scheme. And of course, there are many different types of lighting which can be selected to create the right sort of usable or decorative statement. But when picking statement lighting – the single piece that you see when you enter a room – there are so many options it can be quite baffling. What size? Colour? Materials? Because of the options available, we keep a close track of lighting that catches our eye, based on design and materials. This Box Pendant is certainly going in our Recycled Lights category…

box pendant

Created in Germany and available at Folklore, the Box Pendant comes in two different diameters and is created using recycled brown cardboard packaging, coiled around itself to create a very utilitarian feeling pendant light. Plus the light does not just comprise the recycled card shade, but comes complete with black fabric cable and a ceiling pendant.

A great lamp that will make a very sustainable statement. Just not for anywhere damp…

(image via Folklore)