Monday, May 30, 2011

DesignEx 2011 - the trends...

There were two outstanding trends this year seen in both product and stand design, here's a quick summary of what I saw...

Colour, colour and just a bit more colour...

Bright pops of colour ruled the show floor. Used with slick gloss surfaces in black or white or against the contrast of raw finishes such as paper and wood, colour was definitely there to emphasis the playfulness of design elements. Dominating was pink from bubblegum to magenta and yellow from citrine right through to orange. Its great to see the availability of more colour within product ranges allowing us to be more adventurous through colour.
[image top - clockwise from top left - Cotswold, Artia, The Essential Detail, Tork, About Space, Artia, & Yellow Diva]

Raw, industrial,  plywood & paper...

Plywood is the new black - its one of those everyday materials that has been embraced by designers for its gorgeous natural appearance and its Eco-friendly features - plus its super versatile. Paper too - no longer just for folds and pleats to create pretty installations [although that works too!] there's cardboard  flat pack furniture that actually lasts so it doesn't have to be temporary.So much of this raw look is juxtaposed with luxury styling or product as was the case with the Format stand.
[image above - clockwise from top left - DIA/Colourways, About Space, Architecture Media, Yellow Diva, Lump, Yellow Diva & Format]

That's all from me on DesignEx for this year, now I'm looking forward to Decoration + Design in July...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DesignEx 2011 - the treasures...

[Urggh I must apologise for the delay on this one - Blogger & Blogo issues, and it's still not appearing the way I would like - such a time waster! Anyhow...]

Here's part 2 of the DesignEx 2011 review - highlighting some products I thought were i spy worthy...

[image top via ecoconstructionuk]
I loved the Plumen globe - it was featured on the Tork stand [unfortunately for Tork I was only interested in the light but I did think they had a pretty punchy stand!] with the phasing out of incandescent lighting it's so great to see design take the initiative to further develop simple products like the light bulb into something more.
These energy saving bulbs are so great naked but also look great peeking out from pendants and desk lights. I actually thought the globes were all a bit different but its just that they look completely different from all angles so on mass they work fantastically. I haven't been able to find them in Australia but they are available pre-order at Plumen for $29.95 US.

I seem to be drawn to this look at the moment - the wire or ribbed look - and this little bio-ethanol freestanding fire won me over. The EcoSmart ventless fireplaces are such a flexible idea, you can even convert an existing fireplace with an EcoSmart grate or firebox insert.

On the Ambius stand there was the fabulous Zoie planter- designed by Helen Kontouris - which is fully recyclable and comes in a gorgeous range of colours. I got a very retro vibe from this one. I also loved the Zoie illuminated planter that doubled as a light - this is due for release in a couple of weeks so check in with Ambius for further info on it. There was also Stax [I didn't get a good pic of Stax but I thought it looked fantastic] - stacking wall planters - great for gardens or indoors with limited space.
These Screenwood linear timber panels can be used for ceiling, facade and wall, they look great and being pre-made makes them super easy to specify. I love them as a ceiling feature.

Who's sick of the same old bathroom sinks? Ive been looking lately and they really are all pretty much the same. The Hatria range on show was just that little bit different - the curves were in all the right places. Hatria is a available from E & S trading.

Later this week let's look at the trends aspect a bit. In the meantime - which product stood out for you?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DesignEx 2011 - trends and treasures - part 1...

Yes, I know - you've been waiting for it - well its always better late then never [and I'm so thankful for that saying as it too often applies to me...] the DesignEx 2011 review.

I had warned that I didn't think DX this year was overly spectacular but I think the snippets I have to share are worth the wait, lets see what you think...

[above: the amazing paper installation in the ceiling of the DIA/Colourways stand which won best stand award for thier category]

This year there were some small stands that caught my eye with their creative displays or quirky goods. About Space [above] - a small lighting and furniture store in Fitzroy Victoria - had a compact stand that was chock full of great lighting pieces. Right on trend were the industrial pendants with luxurious metallic interiors, the angular web like lines of the Lineare range and the Muuto inspired Cluster with their exposed bulbs and coloured cords.

And how perfectly packaged was the Yellow Diva stand - compact but making a statement through their furniture pieces against a backdrop resembling the inside of large crate or perhaps an area under construction. Simple vignettes were created to draw your eye to their feature pieces.

Format Furniture featured the eclectic Maison Martin Margiela Collection (a collection of objects and familiar furniture forms reinterpreted and united with white linen covers) keeping the stand fairly austere and letting the quirky furniture elements do the talking. I really liked the way they displayed the pendant lights - a good solution for something that can be difficult to effectively display on mass.

I love a stand where the product does all the work - I think that's the case with the Ambius display. I loved the bulbous shape of the planters that also acted as a soft glow light - how fantastic for your outdoor entertaining area. The Ambius stand had such a fresh look with great product display and bright popping colours.

A lot of the large stands were very corporate looking and not particularly creative or inspiring. I think they really let their products down in that way, I know from experience that some serious money is spent on these events and it's wasted when you don't inspire or captivate the people attending the show - designers love to be wowed. Even Laminex [above] was a little uninspiring - a stand I usually look forward to seeing at DesignEx, they seemed to opt for a very conservative approach this time around, I'm sure they had their reasons for doing so but I was disspointed.

One large stand that I thought was done well was Ilve - they created the drama needed to get the attention of the exhibition visitors. I loved the high gloss finish of the black against the magenta lighting and the follow through of the theme. Although the graffiti aspect is nothing new I still love that look [you can see it if you look closely at the splashback].

Part 2 coming up - with trends and some products I loved...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

[Image above via Down To The Woods - I love their stuff - super retro cute!!]

Yes - DesignEx is still on its way to you but with the current projects I have on and Easter holidays you'll have to wait a little bit longer...

So enjoy your Easter break, no matter what you decide to get up to! We're relaxing at home this year, Im reading some great design books [more on those later] and doing some baking - what about you?

Monday, April 18, 2011

A taste of DesignEx

DesignEx is over for another year and it was interesting. Different in a lot of ways from previous years and some would say not as good due to the exhibitor mix [some industries were barely represented such as soft floor coverings - not great for the carpet industry seeing there was so much in the way of hard flooring] but I still came away with some inspiration and a few good things to send your way over the next week or so. Stay tuned for more on stand design, some cool new products [or at least new to me!] and other interesting finds!
[above - the DIA & Colourways stand - winner of one of the best stand awards]

Friday, April 15, 2011

Formosa is beautiful in any language...

I first saw a Formosa fabric on the dining chairs at Reissued - the lovely redbacked wren & wattle design - and I needed to know more about this fabric and its story.

Formosa, meaning beautiful in latin, creates handprinted textiles of Australian nature in a way that makes them covetable to any discerning fabric lover. The designs are delicate and intricate yet modern and contemporary - just the right amount of pretty.

Jennifer Berney is something to admire, her goal when creating Formosa was to draw attention to Australia's lesser known natives through her gorgeous illustrations, inspiring us to plant native flora to attract the lovely native birds. She also aimed to run a sustainable business being socially & environmentally responsible, in part by using water-based inks and organic cotton/hemp fabric.

It seems Formosa are on hiatus as Jennifer Berney relocates to Asia on a new adventure but I cant wait to see what she does next.

[all images via Formosa]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

OK so you think all I do is read online mags...

Well, thats so not true! OK sometimes it does take a big chunk out of my day, maybe out of my week - like over the last week when I was reviewing them to give you guys our fav's and now yet another charming online publication has been launched - so I have to review that one don't I? - it's only fair!

Fresh in the inbox this morning was the news- Trad Home has launched! Trad Home is a collaboration of Lonny and American print publication Traditional Home with an aim to show that traditionalism still has relevance in today's world -and I think it's the perfect time for such a statement. Not only is traditionalism alive and well but we have seen it have a new lease of life with so many designers re-embracing traditional construction, manufacturing and decorating methods in the development of new designs, a 'back to the roots of their crafts' type trend. And the eclectic mix of styles that makes up todays modern interior celebrates traditional in many ways. So it was with anticipation that I clicked the pages of Trad Home to see if they had managed to capture this movement.

The first thing I am loving is the video - Jonathan Adler vs. Charlotte Moss - one of the reasons I LOVE online mags - you cant do this in print! The video captures the personality of the two designers as they playfully but simply explain their take on traditional design and how they incorporate it in their own individual style .

There is a fab feature on the Louis XVI chair - I think this chair is one of the most classic dining or side chair that works in almost any space so I loved the modern makeover given by the 6 designers to this much loved icon.

But of course the highlights of the magazine are the homes in the feature - 20 new traditionals. Beautiful, diverse, quirky and luxurious - each one embracing traditional in the designers own style and all of them something to admire and be inspired by.

OK - I think Ill get back to work now and look forward to the next moment I get to keep delving into this new beauty that is Trad Home...

Tell me - do you love it?...

Monday, April 11, 2011

i spy's e-magazine favourites...

Hopefully you've had time to check out Est and loved it as much as I did. I thought you might like to know what other e-magazines i spy are perusing, heres a few of our fav's for you to click on and enjoy...

[image above: one of the gorgeous pages from Adore]

Adore magazine was the first of its kind for Australia. Established and edited by designer Loni Parker, it distinguishes itself with lovely lashings of colour from cover to cover, quirky editorial and great style. Its also an amazing resource with so much 'style to steal' only a click away...

Rue combines edgy fashion editorial with interior trends, hands on DIY projects and delicious food to create a magazine full of amazing style - and fun! The four lovely ladies behind Rue are stylish, gorgeous and look like they enjoy every minute of life - this is the attitude that is delivered on every page of Rue.

A bit of an all rounder American based Dabble features lots of fabulous homes and practical advice articles such as how to specify tiles. Dabble is split into three sections - design, travel & food with each issue featuring a particular destination and what it has to offer.

Ivy & Piper's Brisbane duo Melanie & Elizabeth have created a visual feast to die for with style inspirations from Manhattan to Brisbane. Featuring fashion inspired editorial, amazing retail destinations and gorgeous decorating inspiration all presented with sophisticated style.

And as previously blogged....

Lonny - read about it here. A fabulous publication thats taking online magazines to the next level.

Est - well just refer to previous post if you need to hear my rant...

Let me know your favourite and why...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

just click to flick & be thoroughly inspired!

Well you've heard me rattle on about Lonny - online mag launched last year - and now you'll have to put up with me raving on about another. This time it's an Australian mag, so I may go on even more...

Est [as in loveliEST, greatEST, bestEST - Ok that's not a word really but you get the drift!] is a new e-magazine launched just this week. I'm not only excited that it's produced here in Melbourne [at least in part - I assume from the tram zooming by in the shot of Sian MacPherson the Editor in Chief] but I'm just plain excited thats it's so visually inspiring. The styling in the shots below has me salivating, desiring to throw aside all the other work I have [piling up at the moment...] and do some amazing styling with one of my fav photographers for no other purpose than to create something beautiful, sigh.

And how the typography, combined with the relaxed Australian style and gorgeous combinations of new and old create the amazing super smooth fresh feel with just enough edge - don't get me started...

On a more practical note the content is crammed full of inspiring info with links a plenty so you can get behind the scenes of the story, one of the things I love about online media. So what are you waiting for - get clicking! And let me know what you think...
all images via Est

Monday, April 4, 2011

grand designs scandinavian house

Watching Grand Designs this week I fell in love with the amazing scandinavian inspired home designed [and project managed] by interior designer Kathryn Tyler. I just had to share some of it with you here.

Its simplicity together with the amazing treasure trove of homewares & furniture Kathryn has curated create that perfect combination of old, new, rescued and vintage. My heart aches to build a home with such modesty and character and fill it with items so loved.

all images via Kathryn Tyler
PS - have you liked my texture design page on Facebook? You'll get extra info on i spy posts, trend tips and interior advice for FREE! jump over there now for a little something extra on the scandinavian house...

Friday, April 1, 2011

pick up your pen and take this down...

Theres nothing like original and unique stationary and receiving a hand written note from someone can really make your day - I know it makes my heart melt! Which is why I was drawn to Magnolia Square find no. 2 - Boutique stationary creators Write To Me. Write To Me has that vintage feel with simple retro style illustrations on notebooks, cards, wrapping paper, invitations, postcards and even cake bags.

Designed by sisters Anna & Nicoletta and made in Melbourne, the hand printed goods are beautifully presented, making them feel even more special.

Check them out on made it

Monday, March 28, 2011

retro, revamped & restyled equals reissued

I like a clever name and I think Reissued is up there. One of the discoveries I made at Magnolia Square, Reissued takes retro furniture pieces and rediscovers their beauty 'reissuing' them with new skins. The very clever Jacqui Porter uses Australian sourced fabrics that are enviro friendly (either sustainable new or vintage) which makes these one off pieces even more covetable. The retro furniture is also mostly Australian made and found locally.

I have to say I really love furniture that has a past, I have been known to collect furniture from odd places - in particular I once 'found' a large high-back arm chair that had been sitting in the rain for I don't know how long. I had noticed it when on my way into college via the train and when it was still there by the railway tracks after many days my flat mate and I [Hi Kylie] took a car that was way too small and put this ridiculously wet chair in the boot, tied it down and drove very slowly home through the back streets so as not to be pulled over for dangerous driving! Once home I think it sat in front of the wall heater stinking out our flat for about a week before it had dried out. It now belongs to my Mum after it had been given a gorgeous magenta slip cover, she loves it! However I think if I did the same now my husband would disown me, Im reduced to collecting small odds and ends from opp shops - and I think he just 'tolerates' that - my man is one of distinctly modern (aka new) tastes!

So suffice to say Reissued caught my attention straight away. I was particularly taken with the pair of dining chairs [below top right] sporting the gorgeous Formosa hand printed fabric [watch this space for a post soon on Formosa - truly gorgeous stuff]. Im now thinking of a way to incorporate one of these lovely pieces into my latest design project, Ill let you know if I manage it!

Reissued can be found at Maker Handmade or check out Reissued on Flickr.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

blooming magnolia square

I took a trip to Magnolia Square a couple of weeks ago, it's a boutique market that I found had predominantly children's products with a few others such as jewellery, stationary and homewares sprinkled through. Whilst a small market, I have to say though it was a really nice experience. The atmosphere of St Kilda town hall was the perfect setting and of course I wasn't at all influenced by being able to sit and enjoy a good coffee (love Ed Dixon Food Design who happened to be catering the event) while having great options for kids - including crayons & paper to keep them busy. It was perfectly catered for the target market - Mums like me looking for unique goods that are often locally made or at least are local businesses. A highlight of the market [shown above] was a central stage & entry that featured inspiring creations all made from paper by the talented Jo Neville of paper Couture [above]

In the next couple of posts I'll feature a couple of the great retailers I discovered at Magnolia Square and next week stay tuned for the announcement of the launch of i spy kids... our new partner blog, where we will feature some of the great kids products that were there and celebrate the launch with a fab giveaway! Yay!

[PS - why not hop on over to i spy kids... now and subscribe via email so you don't miss out on your chance to win...]

[above - the great atmosphere of St Kilda Town Hall, Ed Dixon food Design's great cafe set up & some of the paper inspired displays set to inspire market visitors]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

aker collective inspires consumers to create...

Don't you just love that image - I'm inspired by it without even knowing what I am looking at, I love the combination of the colours and the natural timber and even the cardboard. I just want to get in there and do something with it all. Well, lucky for me that's exactly what Aker Collective want - for you to complete the creative vision that is their Take 'n' Make series of lights.

Aker Collective believe that the future of sustainable design will rely on involving the user - "The value of design will be it's ability to inspire people to engage". With this in mind Take 'n' Make was created, a furniture series that comes together with the consumers creative input.

The first part of the series was launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair. Consumers can choose elements of the lamps such as shades, coloured cords and tripods, as a result different sizes and styles can be created. I love the look of the slightly unpolished finished product and can imagine that's what they had in mind, to emphasise rather than downplay the consumer construction part of the design. Keeping a close i spy eye on Aker Collective for what they do next...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

lets jump right back in...

OK, Im just going to jump right back into it and hope you never even realised I was gone [actually that wouldn't be good, I would prefer it if you had noticed a little]! Lately Ive been busy planning my business - well trying to work out how to write a business plan anyway - have you ever had to do it? It's really quite daunting but it does make you focus on questions you probably hadn't had to answer before like what exactly do you want from your business and where do you want it to be in 12mths? Etc., etc. And - the 'hows' - How am I going to get there? Im not really that good at planning, I am a bit of a doer and tend to jump steps due to impatience so I guess this is a good [and probably necessary] exercise for me.

So I have been trawling the web for help on all of the above and have found, as I usually do [good ol' internet], some great resources. The most exciting stuff was the other entrepreneurs out there offering advice on how to conduct business online. My favourites being Laura Roeder from Laura & April Bowles from Blacksburg Belle. Check them out for yourself they are a bit of an inspiration!

On to the next post - some cool design stuff - I know you just lurvvve that stuff don't you?