HBL News: Category winners announced for Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011

Monday 28 February 2011

Homemade is Best cookbook by Forsman & Bodenfors for Ikea: winner of the Graphics category
The winners across the seven product categories have been announced for the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011, currently on show at the Design Museum in London.

HBL Pattern & Colour Inspiration: Sally Angharad

MA graduate Sally Angharad has launched a new collection of bespoke paper designs that take inspiration from the weathered finishes, aged surfaces and colours of Venice.

These unique tactile wall hangings are created from sourced papers which are then printed with delicate patterns. Sally uniquely manipulates and distresses them by hand and arranges them into layers, simulating peeling paint and billboard posters. The layers of paper are sensitively arranged, creating an inspiring palette that plays with combinations of pattern and proportions of colour.


HBL Product Launch: Crown paint, Originals Range

Crown Paint, Originals Range

Crown Paint has launched a range of matt emulsions that draw inspiration from the classic shades from Crown’s past. The range is exclusive to B&Q and is available in 14 colourways.

Fashion designers at Design Indaba 2011

Mohair sweater by Laduma Ngxokolo - nominated for the prize of Most Beautiful Object at Design Indaba 2011 - Photo by Astrid Arndt
The Design Indaba conference spans all forms of design and some of the most beautiful imagery and print and pattern we saw at the conference came from emerging fashion design talents who are saving traditional indigenous design work from extinction.

Rising star Laduma Ngxokolo is a Port Elizabeth-based knitwear designer. His colourful collection is inspired by traditional African Xhosa beadwork.The collections has already earned him first prize from the International Society of Dyers and Colourists, and now a nomination for Most Beautiful Object at Design Inaba 2011.

Maarten Baas at Design Indaba 2011

Sunday 27 February 2011

The recently reopened Mendini restaurant designed by Maarten Baas at the Groninger Museum featuring his clay lamps

One of the stand-out talks from the second day of Design Indaba was by Dutch designer Maarten Baas. Taking a last minute decision to change the format of his prepared presentation, Baas gave a  heartfelt and honest view of his work and his thoughts on the design industry. From revealing that, in his opinion, "his worst project" was his 2009 Shell cabinet (below), to his views on sustainability: "People use it as an excuse to create more needless design, I like to make well made products that people will keep for a long time - that's sustainable". Baas covered all areas of his work and even created his own FAQs at the end of the presentation.

Joe Saavedra at Design Indaba 2011

Friday 25 February 2011

Parsons graduate Joe Saavedra is a young technology designer who creates open source designs available for anyone to replicate via instructions and videos on his website. Presenting his work yesterday at Design Indaba, Joe charmed the audience with two of his impressive student projects.

The first was the humourous but ingenious SOBEaR which he described as combining his two favourite things, "robots and alcohol". SOBEaR is essentially an intelligent bartending robot with a breathalyser built in. By pressing a button in SOBEaR’s left foot and then blowing into the alcohol sensor above his bow tie, the drinker can see their alcohol reading on a scale of 1 – 6, displayed using LEDs embedded on the bear's chest. Then SOBEaR pours a drink with an alcohol-to-mixer ratio that he deems appropriate for your current BAC level.

HBL Blog of the Week: H is for Home

H is for Home

The WGSN-homebuildlife team highlight a favourite blog each week for our Twitter followers, and due to the popularity of the feature there we have decided to explain our choices a little further each time by publishing it here as well.

Our choice this week is H is for Home, the blog of a Lancashire-based online homewares shop whose owners publish their design findings and enthusiasms online on a regular basis.

WGSN loves: the alphabet-themed posts, which focus on one object (for example, J is for Jug or D is for Daisy) and showcase a few of their favourite items from this category.

QuaDror, A New Structural System at Design Indaba 2011

Thursday 24 February 2011

Dror Benshetrit has introduced QuaDror at Design Indaba, a new space truss geometry that can adapt to various conditions and configurations. It presents structural efficiency and several design initiatives, from product design to architectural projects.

HBL VM News: The Conran Shop spring 2011 window

The Conran Shop spring 2011 window

The Conran Shop presents its key looks for spring 2011 using a innovative faux cherry blossom tree to produce a light, uplifting window display in its London, Paris and Japanese stores.

HBL Retail: EverydayDutch at Selfridges

Bicycle Stove by Florike Martens

Opening to the public today at Selfridges in London, EverydayDutch is a month-long collaboration between the department store, the Dutch embassy and Design Cooperation Brainport in Eindhoven. Curator Jane Withers has selected pieces by a variety of Dutch creatives, from established designers such as Hella Jongerius and Scholten & Baijings to recent graduates from Design Academy Eindhoven, to be displayed and sold from The Wonder Room, a concept space at Selfridges.

Wallpiercing by Flos

Wallpiercing, part of the Soft Architecture series by Italian lighting specialists Flos, has scooped a handful of design awards already this season and is now on show as part of the Brit Insurance Designs of the Year 2011 exhibition at London's Design Museum, where it has been nominated in the Product category.

Vessel Gallery and Candy Black at London Fashion Week

Wednesday 23 February 2011

The exhibition room at the Freemason's Hall

London's Vessel Gallery have collaborated with new British creative studio Candy Black for the latest Vauxhall Fashion Scouts event. Candy Black worked on the branding, promotion, website and interiors for Vauxhall Fashion Scout; curating two exclusive spaces at the Freemason’s Hall in Covent Garden, London.

HBL Colour: Any by Piodão Group

Portuguese textile company Piodão Group have launched a new range of rugs created from the wool that is left in the factory after their other rug collections have been made. Each rug is a one-off and reflects the popular colours from the factory's output that week.

Direct from: Sunbury Antiques Market

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Vintage inspiration captured by the WGSN-homebuildlife team at Sunbury Antiques Market, London, this morning:

Over time, this rug has become worn and faded, distorting the pattern as well as enhancing the colour combination of bright red and mustard, with washed-out tones - a good example of Homebuildlife's Hyperculture macrotrend for A/W 12/13.

HBL Retail News: Wim Crouwel limited edition wallpaper

Wim Crouwel limited edition wallpaper
Cole & Son has teamed up with London’s Design Museum to launch a limited edition wallpaper inspired by the works of Dutch graphic designer Wim Crouwel. The collaboration is to coincide with the first UK retrospective of Wim Crouwel, entitled Graphic Odyssey, at the Design Museum from 30 March – 3 July.


Nacho Carbonell, the Arte Povera darling of the design world, has a show currently on at the BSL gallery in Paris, which will run until April 16, 2011.

For the first time, Carbonell has created fifteen original light pieces.

« The origin of the title ‘Luciferase’ means ‘light carrier’ »  explains Nacho, referring to the systems used by the flora and fauna that live in the depths of the oceans.  « Rather than calling these lights, I consider these pieces to be creatures that produce light. »

HBL Inspiration: Christmasworld 2011

Alicante at Christmasworld 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife's full report on this year's Christmasworld provides an array of inspiration for the seasonal gifting sector. Our in-depth coverage of the event includes key trend analysis, colour trends and separated product categories, allowing you to go straight to the area which most interests you.

HBL Collection Review: Spring 2011 Serena & Lily

Thursday 17 February 2011

American brand Serena & Lily has launched two collections of well-tailored sofas and chairs for spring 2011.

HBL Contract: Yill by Younicos

German renewable energy specialists Younicos will launch a new mobile energy unit at Milan Design Week in April. Called Yill, the unit is designed by Werner Aisslinger and can provide energy to a workstation for up to three days.

HBL Analysis: Home scent goes high-tech at Ambiente 2011

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Stadler Form at Ambiente 2011

Following our recent trend report on the increasing importance of scent in interiors, we've been tracking the trend as it develops at this season's tradeshows. Home scent was a strong trend at Spring Fair this month (read about it here), and this week's Ambiente saw a further development in the field with several new and high-tech designs on show at the fair.

Diane von Furstenberg Home

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Diane von Furstenberg has launched the new DVF Home line at New York City's Bloomingdales to coincide with New York Fashion Week. The line features bold colours and patterns that are consistent with DVF's fashion brand, and is produced in partnership with Springs Global US.

HBL Retail: Pie timer by Joseph Joseph

During tradeshow season, some objects consistently catch your eye. British cookware brand Joseph Joseph's latest kitchen timer, Pie, was on show at a number of the main fairs - incuding NYIGF and Frankfurt's Ambiente - and is one such product.

Launched in late 2010, Pie is based on the simple but ingenious idea of cancelling out the numbers that you don't need: a plastic semicircle creeps round the timer counting off the minutes.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Ambiente 2011

Fehling & Piez at Ambitente 2011, Frankfurt
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Ambiente, Frankfurt's annual interiors and gift trade fair, to highlight three key trends seen at the show so far:

1. Tactile serveware
Moving away from the traditional option of ceramics, manufacturers show serveware in a range of tactile and natural materials, including cork, oiled wood and beaten metal

2. Gold decorative detail
Gold was the prevailing trend in tableware, used in one of three ways: blocked, as edging, or for a final decorative flourish

3. Wrapped
In lighting design electrical cables become more than just a functional component as many designers choose to incorporate wound up or loosely wrapped cables as an aesthetical decoration. Across other product categories, designers used tightly wrapped yarn instead of bolts and screws to fix joints and connections

HBL Digital Analysis: Modern Romance

Friday 11 February 2011

The original Cartolina iPhone app
Accessing and sharing information has never been easier; the advent of the iPad and rise of the smartphone has produced a new way of communicating with consumers. Brands are starting to re-think strategies and generate a strong digital presence and as a result are fuelling the demand for an amplified offering of apps and digital platforms. This trend has permeated almost every aspect of our lives, even extending to romance.

The Valentine’s Day card sees a re-vamp for the J-Peg Generation, with apps that enable users to send their loved ones messages in a digital greeting card format.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Stockholm Furniture Fair

Tube Me by Elinor Anna Malin Ericsson at Stockholm Furniture Fair 2011

WGSN reports live from Stockholm Furniture Fair,  presenting the three key trends to emerge so far at the annual event:

1. Greenery

Pots and planters incorporated into furniture signalled an attempt to bring nature indoors and improve air quality (read our recent trend report on this). Low tables with individual spaces for pots and wall mounted displays resembling a TV bursting with foliage were the highlights.

2. Frames with loose upholstery

Simple frames with loose cushions or covers woven, draped, stuffed or piled into them provided an interesting take on casual comfort. In many cases the upholstery could be removed and reformed in new ways. These pieces represent casual style taken to the next level of slouchy flexibility.

3. Brass detailing

Brass featured regularly as a complement to plain or painted wood, adding an elegant highlight to simple forms. Often used for functional details (fastenings, handles or mechanisms) the material references craftsmanship and scientific instrumentation.

HBL Material Analysis: Copper

Thursday 10 February 2011

Max Lamb

WGSN-homebuildlife this week investigates an interesting trend in materials which sees designers utilising the malleability of copper to produce a range of strikingly different surface finishes, from expanses of high shine to pock-marked and distorted effects.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Spring Fair

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Authentic Models at Spring Fair 2011

WGSN reports live from Spring Fair in Birmingham, UK, highlighting the three key trends to emerge from this year's event:

1. The rise of home scent
Following WGSN's recent report on the topic, diffusers and other scent dispensers were a key trend at this year's fair, with manufacturers taking a number of approaches - from self-consciously masculine ranges to literary and even scientific themes.

2. 360°
WGSN's A/W 11/12 macrotrend 360 was strongly confirmed at the show. Brands showed products inspired by the Age of Discovery, referencing intrepid voyages to unknown lands and sightings of exotic species.

3. Pastels
The stand-out colour trend was for muted pastels, in a range of soft colourways including blue, green, yellow and neutrals, and usually set against washed or matt surfaces.

Read about our exclusive trends stands on show at the event here.

PAPA by USIN-e at Maison&Objet

Photos by Loic Benoit
Furniture and accessories with tufted edges, fringing or fur upholstery is a key emerging trend that was seen at last month's Maison&Objet fair in Paris. We spotted these furry, scifi-esque creations by young French designers USIN-e in the Talents à la Carte section of Hall 7.

HBL's A/W 11/12 Trends at Spring Fair

Tuesday 8 February 2011

A/W 11/12 macrotrend 360, confirmed by objects on show at Spring Fair 2011

With 300,000 product launches and 3000 exhibitors across 12 sectors, Spring Fair is a key destination for buyers to both plan and order their ranges for the following seasons.

This year sees a new area called the Trendhouse, where WGSN-homebuildlife have laid out a display confirming all of our macrotrends for A/W 11/12 using products on show at the fair. The fair runs until Thursday, and you can find us in Hall 10.

reGeneration2: Tomorrow's Photographers Today, Aperture Gallery

Untitled (shipwreck) from the belly of the whale series by Robin Friend, 2008
reGeneration2 is an exhibition of up and coming photographers from around the world, which is currently showing at the Aperture gallery in Chelsea, New York. Curators at the Musée de l'Elysée selected eighty of the most promising candidates from some seven hundred entries submitted by 120 of the world's top photography schools. The resulting exhibition offers a fascinating insight into how today's young photographers view the world, how they respect, build on, or reject tradition, and whether they choose the darkroom, the computer lab, or both, to make their art.

American Streamlined Design

Monday 7 February 2011

American Streamlined Design: The World of Tomorrow, a new exhibition at Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, OK, focuses on a design era that emerged during the 1930s and 1940s, characterized by curving forms, and smooth, clean silhouettes. The style, which suggested speed and glamour, entered American design in the post-Depression years. It was widely applied in new forms of architecture, interior decoration and everyday household goods for the home and office.

Palm Springs Modernism Week 2011

Saturday 5 February 2011

Get a peek at Palm Springs Modernism Week 2011. The week of February 17-27 celebrates the modernist aesthetic of the California desert, and mid-century modernist design that the area is famous for preserving. Events, home tours, lectures, film screenings, parties are all on the agenda.

The week also includes the Architecture and Design film series in association with Design Onscreen, lectures, the vintage car show and other activities that will be held in various venues throughout the City of Palm Springs.

HBL Tradeshows: Stelton at NYIGF

Friday 4 February 2011

Scandinavian design house Stelton debuted some beautifully simple designs at this year's NYIGF. Paring back on embellishment, and carefully designing each element of a product resulted in kitchenware that is stark and beautiful.

HBL Interviews: Tord Boontje

Tord Boontje; a Design Products seminar in progress
WGSN-homebuildlife interviewed Tord Boontje, Head of Design Products at London's Royal College of Art, to find out his vision for the course and how he thinks design education will develop in the future.

Boontje also discusses the influence of his predecessor, Ron Arad, on the course and the current changes being made to the entire academic infrastructure of the RCA by its new rector, Paul Thompson - in the face of significant spending cuts by the British government which heavily affect arts education nationally. 

HBL Tradeshows: Hasami Porcelain Japan at NYIGF

One of WGSN's favorite new brands at New York International Gift Fair is Hasami Porcelain Japan. Distributed in the US by Saikai Trading, a wholesaler of fine Japanese tableware and homeware, the porcelain company is based in a historical town in the south of Japan.

HBL Events: Mothers by Martin Creed

Thursday 3 February 2011

Work no. 1092 from Mothers by Martin Creed (2011). White neon, 250x1250cm. Copyright Martin Creed. Reproduced courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed is currently showing a selection of new pieces at Hauser & Wirth, Savile Row, London. The exhibition is entitled Mothers, with its centrepiece a monumental sculpture consisting of the titular word spinning around the gallery space at dizzying speed. Other works on show include paintings and photographic studies, and Creed has also released a single and video to accompany the exhibition.

HBL Tradeshows: Scholten & Baijings
at Maison&Objet

Wednesday 2 February 2011

One of WGSN-homebuildlife's favourite exhibitors at Maison&Objet last week was HAY who presented a new collaboration with Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings. The collection featured tea towels, bed linen and rugs all featuring the duo's trademark geometric designs and distinctive colour combinations.

HBL Material Analysis: Efficiency

This stool by Japanese designers h220430 is moulded from a single piece of rubber, shipped flat-packed and then ground up and recycled into new rubber products after a lifetime of use

WGSN-homebuildlife's latest report from materials expert Chris Lefteri focusses on rational design and responsible consumption. Efficiency can mean many things in the world of materials – from reduced product weight and energy usage, to streamlined manufacturing process and ultimately an easy, clean disposal.

Huge environmental challenges are forcing designers to think about how to unmake, as well as make, today's products. Consumers are equally placing increasing importance on buying products which are responsibly made, and after their use can be responsibly disposed of.


Tuesday 1 February 2011

Vitra France has recently opened a contract furniture section specifically dedicated to the hotel and restaurant industry. Their latest project is VERTIGO.

The 5-star luxury hotel is set to open at Christmas 2012, with 32 rooms and suites, restaurants, a spa and a pool. Importantly, before this grand opening, the site will welcome seasonal restaurant spaces in order to create a rich pre-history for the hotel.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Christmasworld 2011

Hogewoning at Christmasworld 2011, Frankfurt

WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Christmasworld in Frankfurt. Here are the top three trends to emerge from this year's show:

Jewel Brights: A rich jewel-like colour palette of bright red, purple, hot fuchsia, orange and sapphire blue. Nic Duysens translated the palette into an exotic theme of tropical flowers and birds; alternatively other brands used more conventional decorations such as Christmas reefs which were re-vamped using super shiny coatings and sparkling finishes in this disco bright colour range.

Washed whites and neutrals: The classic combination of white with neutrals has taken a more rustic approach. Natural wood, contorted willow and wicker are left untreated or lime washed for a subtle age worn effect. Ceramics remain raw and often unglazed in tones of taupe and grey.

Woodland scene: A forest scene is the theme for many exhibitors, where the traditional green alpine Christmas tree has been replaced with snow tipped braches. Woodland animals and birds are the inspiration behind decorations, where realistic birds, owls, and squirrels appear to be living in their natural habitat. Raw wood, pine cones, bark and feathers are key materials for this look.