Friday, 28 October 2011

Celebrate Halloween with Disney Villains From Graham & Brown

I do love anything that Graham & Brown does so when I heard about its collaboration with Barbara Hulanicki I was extremely excited. Together they have created a collection of flock wallpapers celebrating the dark side of Disney characters.

Inspired by the Disney classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ with a touch of Graham & Brown magic, Hulanicki brings to life the magnificent Maleficent and her cunning feathered sidekick, Diablo. This sinister collection is perfect for a Halloween makeover. Incredibly spooky and delightfully wicked ;)

So I hope you do have a lovely weekend, I will be working as I am on a fabulous styling shoot tomorrow morning. I cannot wait should be fun. Take care and see you Monday oh and don't forget the clocks go back this weekend, here's a little reminder ;(

Butterfly clock from Diamantini & Domeniconi

Thursday, 27 October 2011

One To Watch: Mini Moderns

I have some lovely chaps over on the blog today, Keith and Mark from one of my favourite brands, Mini Moderns. Fun, eclectic and completely original is best to describe their style. I am a big fan of theirs and am so proud of their success over the years. I adore their quirky designs as they just get better and better. Their wallpapers are always so inspirational with a feeling of nostalgia. Here they spend a little time answering a few questions.

When did you realise you had a passion for design?
When I was very young I was always really good at drawing and would design alternative record covers for my brother's and sister's record collections. I always dreamt of being able to do this as a career. When you are young everything is inspiring so it felt like I was bombarded with creativity from an early age, my sister was also artistic so I think it rubbed off on me too. She would do amazing interior designs in her bedroom from large murals to what we would now call upcycling. Taking junk shop finds and customising things to her taste. I then went through the usual route of foundation course onto a degree in Graphic design but my passion was always textiles and pattern. When I left college I combined  my skills and with my interests, working as a graphic and pattern designer in the fashion industry.

Mark's interest in design also started with a love of album cover graphics especially Peter Saville's work for Factory Records. In those days covers were much more tactile than cd covers or downloadable graphics therefore from an early age Mark had an appreciation of print quality and interesting production techniques with paper. When he was a student Mark earned summer money by teaching himself to wallpaper (a skill which was to prove useful to us later) He would also decorate for friends and family, often giving advice on colour schemes and interior design, aided by his vast collection of Habitat catalogues, which are now at Mini Moderns HQ. Ranging from 1971, which is a particular favourite of us both. After graduating Mark was the first of the Mini Moderns team to set up an independent designer-maker business, creating home furnishings which sold in Heal's and Harvey Nichols.

Where do your inspirations come from?
We always say this, but it's true, we take inspiration from everywhere, It can be from TV shows we watched when we were younger, holidays as children, toys, and vintage textile designs. We don't have a decade that we are most interested in - we are very eclectic in the way we work. We may be inspired by something from the 1950's for example but mix it up with something from say the 1970's and colour it up in contemporary colours.

Our work always manages to look familiar but totally new at the same time, I think it is easy to spot a Mini Moderns print design.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
This year has been an incredible year for Mini Moderns, as well as our online shop achieving sales, we could never have imagined 6 years ago when we started, that we are also starting to be recognised as a brand. We have steadily expanded our collections and have had an amazing response. This year we were also nominated for the British Design Awards in the Best British Design Brand category which was an amazing accolade when we saw who we had been shortlisted with.

What do you hope to achieve in 5 years time?
We would hope that Mini Moderns would continue to grow and that we would continue to gain in reputation, both at home and internationally but without losing our personal touch. We would like to be able to fund all the ideas we currently have to expand the brand, which could also mean exciting collaborations like the recent ones with Clothkits, Rob Ryan, Rug Designer, Brume, Magpie, London Transport Museum, Transport for London, Southbank Centre and Courtauld Gallery. Eventually we would like a physical Shop as well as the online version, as we always get a great response to the quality of our products when customers actually see them in the flesh.

What famous artists/designers do you admire or inspires you the most?
In terms of pattern we are inspired by designers from all design periods ranging from Omega workshop/the Bloomsbury set from the turn of the last century, Lucienne Day, David Parsons, Marian Mahler, Alexander Girard, Robert Stewart, the Festival Pattern Group, Celia Birtwell, Ossie Clark, Susan Williams-Ellis, Hilde Smith, Sir Terence Conran to name a few. 

In five words how would you describe yourself?
It is really difficult to try and describe Mini Moderns in 5 words, we like to think we are fun, approachable and contemporary - but ultimately the five words that best sum us up are: WE CREATE STUFF WE LIKE  and it seems to be working...

What 5 things couldn't you live with out? 
1. Our space - over the past few years our home, studio and warehouse has allowed us to grow Mini Moderns within our means and without having to worry about costly storage. It has also been photogenic and has provided us with instant locations for shoots.
2. Mark
3. Keith (says Mark)
4. Our sense of humour
5. Manhattans, we are writing this on a Friday which we always earmark for Manhattans....

Thank you Keith & Mark, for finding the time in your hectic schedules. Good luck with everything and continue doing what you love, it sure is paying off :)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

91 Magazine Launches

I am so excited to introduce to you 91 Magazine, a lovely new vintage/craft online magazine and yes it is British, hurrah! Published by Patchwork Harmony it is for the vintage craft lover full of pretty styling pictures and great articles. A real treat indeed which I am sure you will enjoy. Well done team!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Interior Inspiration: Muriel's Kitchen

Happy Monday everyone. This weekend I discovered a new place to enjoy my morning breakfast. It is called Muriel's Kitchen, producing high quality organic food. However it wasn't only the food that I was impressed with, it was the lovely interiors. With such a relaxed atmosphere it really felt as if I was visiting my friend in the country and just hanging out in her kitchen. With every single detail thought of, it was simply an enjoyable Saturday morning!


Images via Muriel's Kitchen.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Friday Inspiration With Esther Coombs

Yay it's Friday friends :) I will probably still be working over the weekend but I am hardly going to complain as I really enjoy what I do. I just wanted to leave you guys with some images from a lovely designer that I finally got to meet at Origin. Esther Coombs is the girl in question, a homewares designer and illustrator whose quirky style is so adorable and so original.

Have a fabulous weekend and see you Monday x

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Today I'm Loving... Jonathan Adler's London Store

Have you been yet? Isn't it just divine!? I finally managed to pop round to Jonathan Adler's first UK store and I just didn't want to leave, I could literally spend hours there. Spanning nearly 3000 sq feet over two floors this showroom is set to be a main attraction in the trendy Brompton District on Sloane Avenue. Bright, bold, fun; basically everything you would expect from Jonathan Adler. Here are some images of his new store, which I am sure you will agree with me that it is definitely a place to visit.

Images Jonathan Adler.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Moods & Flowers...

Yesterday was one of those days! Not only was I frantically busy with the usual but I also discovered that my credit card had fallen victim of fraud. What does one do on days like this? Well upon my return home I decided to stop off and buy myself some lovely flowers. Yes it's the ultimate pick me up and already I was feeling better. It really is all about the simple things in life.

Have a fabulous morning my lovelies, I will be a busy bee getting things ready for Heart Home, we finally start shooting next week, Yay!

Friday, 14 October 2011

One To Watch: Zoe Murphy

I am so excited I finally managed to sit Zoe Murphy down and get her to answer a few questions, not an easy task with this extremely busy lady. I am beyond ecstatic about having her on the blog today as not only am I fan but I got to know Zoe better during our lovely shoot that we did for Heart Home magazine back in May. I like to consider her as a friend and someone who I admire so much. Full of life, charismatic and passionate about her work and Margate, she is one in a million. Here we get to discover the real Zoe and believe me you will fall in love...

When did you realise you had a passion for design? 
When I was small I used to make everything I could for my dolls houses out of recycled bits of rubbish. I remember spending HOURS paying close attention to emulating all the little details using matchsticks or paper or bits of rubber and wood. The whole thing was put together using miniature furniture pieces I made - it was brilliant! When I was a child I used to tell everyone I wanted to become an 'Interior designer', it was around the time that 'changing rooms' had first started on the BBC and I loved the theatrics and the staging of all the themes. It was all the stuff of childhood playtime though until I got to further education and university, it was there that I fell in love with textile design - surface pattern & colour and realised I wanted to make design my whole life.

Where do you inspirations come from? 
My most obvious inspiration is my home town and the social history it has. I grew up in Margate in the south east, and the place has so much character and colour in its stories and surroundings. I reference it all the time in my furniture pieces, but it is actually more than that for me. It represents a real jovial defiance and determination that I know runs through me as well, which starts becoming part of the things I make too. I affiliate most of it with the post war era of my home town, when holidays were getting back in the swing again, and lots of people visited Margate in the summers. It strikes me as being quite an aspirational time when people were positive about the future and enjoying Britain again. I think in this current decade we want to relate to those optimistic years again, and so I love mostly to look at patterns and design from that age as a foundation for my own work.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 
Some fantastic things have happened to me in the three short years that I have been set up in business. Being shortlised for the New Designer of the Year award at 'New Designers' was a really proud moment. I've also had opportunities to meet my favourite photographers and artists through what I do which still humbles me immensely in a good way - Tracey Emin stopped into my studio last year on a trip to Margate and I could not have been happier. Having my work stocked by the prestigious Liberty in London has been a constant joy over the last few years and I still consider that to be one of the best things I am involved in. But hands down, as cliche as it might sound, the most important and brightest moments for me are the ones where my local community is rewarded for my work. I've put on workshops for local young people and been involved with town restoration and promotion in lots of ways, and it's those moments/projects where I come home and feel like I'm achieving something really good with what I do.

What do you hope to achieve in 5 years time? 
I would love to push the boundaries of my process a lot more. My ethics are very important to me and I feel there is a LOT more to be done in the way of furniture re-use and developing peoples relationships with the things they own. So there will definitely be some changes/progression over the next five years. I hope to be involved in some collaborative projects by then, the best thing about my job is the people. I fully intend on travelling a bit, for work and play.

What famous artists/designers do you admire or inspires you the most? 
Martin Parr (photographer), Saul Bass (graphic designer), James Rosenquist (pop artist). All bright and colourful, all slightly humorous, and often with some social commentary in their work.

In five words how would you describe yourself? 
Driven, chatty, sincere, awake (always and very), local.
What 5 things couldn't you live with out?  
The seaside, bacon, Abi (my assistant), radio 2, coke cola.

A big thank you to Zoe for managing to squeeze me in her busy schedule. A true inspiration to many, There is so much more to her than just designing and restoring furniture. Watch this space...

Images: John Deed for Heart Home, Matthew Murphy, Osborne & Little.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Weekend Holiday At 'Agriturismo Le Cascate'

As I head back to London today I can only have wonderful memories of the weekend just passed. We celebrated my sister's wedding up in the mountains of Northern Italy literally in the middle of nowhere. We stayed in this gorgeous rustic B&B 'Agriturismo Le Cascate' in a small village of Calenzano, it was heaven. Our phones weren't working and you know what?! I loved it! Finally two days with no means of communication and it was pure bliss. Long walks, great food and great company is what made this weekend so special. Here are a few snaps of where we stayed.