HBL Analysis: A forager's tabletop

Thursday 31 March 2011

Cook It Raw, Lapland, 2010

The practice of foraging is enjoying a resurgence, with many restaurants now serving a foraged menu of local ingredients that diners can hunt and gather from, displayed using platters and piles of food served on natural surfaces. As a result of this, consumers are beginning to show an interest in bringing the foraging spirit into the home.

In our latest report, WGSN-homebuildlife investigates tableware for foragers and examines the key approaches taken by chefs and designers to add tactility and meaning to our everyday eating experiences.

HBL Analysis: The return of the general store

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Father Rabbit

The general store, once a prominent part of any shopping street, is enjoying a revival - with retailers taking inspiration from community-based shops like American-style general stores and European-style epiceries.

New Zealand-based online store Father Rabbit is a perfect example of this, selling household goods across twelve categories including the kitchen, the dining table, the linen cupboard, the shed and the bottom drawer (which equates as haberdashery and mending supplies).

HBL Exhibitions: hiddenSkin by Benjamin Graindorge

hiddenSkin by Benjmain Graindorge

French designer Benjamin Graindorge has created a collection of seating called hiddenSkin which can be arranged in a variety of configurations. Made of oak and black metal, the collection fits perfectly with the ethos of WGSN-homebuildlife macrotrend for A/W 12/13, Radical Neutrality, which forecasts a new minimalism: "This serene revolution focuses on intelligence, function and subtle decoration. Textures are soft and smooth and inviting to the touch."

HBL Book of the Week
Edward Burtynsky: Oil

Burtynsky: Oil

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky has spent a decade photographing oil, and his expertise shines through in this week's book choice. Burtynsky: Oil is a photographic documentation of the part played in our lives by oil - from the many and varied objects it allows us to create, and lifestyle it allows us to enjoy; to its manufacture, the destruction it can wreak and the potentially disastrous scenario we may face in the near future: the end of oil.

Treehugger's Best of Green 2011

Sayl chair by Yves Behar for Herman Miller

Voting closes on Friday for Treehugger's Best of Green awards 2011, which aim to celebrate the best eco-friendly launches of the year  - so if there's a project on the shortlist which you think deserves recognition, it's time to cast your vote. The awards are split across eight industry sectors, with categories in the design and architecture section including Best Design Idea and Best Furniture Design.

HBL Retail: Guts for Garters

Guts for Garters, London

In our latest retail report, WGSN-homebuildlife takes a closer look at Guts for Garters, located in Camden, north London. The concept store offers vintage and commissioned pieces of art, as well as tabletop, soft accessories, furniture, fashion and accessories - and its name is inspired by the building's previous life as a Victorian butchers.

Campana brothers for Klein Karoo:
Milan preview

Tuesday 29 March 2011

A range of furniture designed by Fernando and Humberto Campana for ostrich leather brand Klein Karoo will be on show at the Triennale di Milano during the Salone.

HBL Analysis: Silence by Johan Brengesjo

Silence by Johan Brengesjo

Design engineer Johan Brengesjo has devised a concept for an alarm clock that avoids using sound altogether; instead, Silence wakes you up using a gentle vibration. Wearing a wristbrand embedded with a wireless transmitter, the user can delay the alarm with a simple shake of the hand - the twist is that it requires a more forceful motion each time it is reset.

HBL Blog of the Week: Plenty of Colour

Plenty of Colour

Since discovering this blog recently, more than a few members of the WGSN-homebuildlife team check it regularly for inspiration. Plenty of Colour is the brainchild of Chloé Douglas, a "Vancouver-based designer obsessed with colour", and is updated daily with anything she comes across that uses colours both vividly and beautifully.

WGSN loves: that the blog is also a joy to use. It features a clear and pared-back layout with a scrolling right-hand display and a static left-hand column - making it visually consistent and extremely easy to understand.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Baselworld

Rolex at Baselworld 2011

WGSN reports live from Baselworld in Switzerland, highlighting the emerging trends in the world of haute horlogerie.

Designjunction: Milan preview

+Stone by Michael Sodeau and Sienave

Designjunction, curated by British designer Michael Sodeau, will present a selection of pieces from primarily British designers and manufacturers at Zona Tortona, aiming to offer an "alternative to the usual trade show environment". Highlights include +Stone, a joint project by Sodeau and Sienave which has now expanded into a range of tableware and furniture.

Megan Geckler at Urban Outfitters

Monday 28 March 2011

Los Angeles-based artist Megan Geckler has installed Seeing Thoughts in Repeat at Urban Outfitters in Hollywood, CA. Geckler created the colourful installation using only flagging tape, hardware and the existing architecture. Urban Outfitters' latest VM display is another confirmation of our A/W 11/12 colour direction, which HBL reported with a Neon Brights colour report here.

Diversifying Design

Alice Rawsthorn's article in the New York Times last week, Design Gets More Diverse, confronted the issue of race in design and discussed why there are so few black designers in the industry and relatively few black teens choosing to pursue careers in design.

Possible reasons discussed in Rawsthorn's article include a dearth of black role models in design, a lack of funding in arts education, poor perceptions of art and design as a career, and the dominance of European modernism and standardisation in the 20th century.

HBL Craft: Goldilocks by Groupa Studio

Israeli designers Groupa Studio recently completed A Piece Per Week, a speed-creation project which saw a new object posted on their Facebook page every Tuesday for ten weeks. Of the results, Goldilocks is WGSN-homebuildlife's favourite: a stool which presents an unfinished piece of embroidery as a decorative feature.

Mindcraft11: Milan preview

Friday 25 March 2011

Tool Boxes by Line Depping

Situated in the Venture Lambrate district during the Milan furniture fair, Mindcraft11 will be highlighting the best of Danish craft and design, showing pieces from thirteen different practitioners that range from one-offs and prototypes to objects already in production. The organisers describe the overall ethos thus: "This is back to basics, it’s quality, function and an emphasis on materials."

HBL Exhibitions: BIC celebrates 60 years

Daisy Vase by Jim Termeer

To mark the 60th anniversary of stationery brand BIC, London's Museum of Brands is to host an exhibition called Inkspiration: the story of BIC Cristal. Running 1 April to 1 May 2011, it will showcase the creative use of BIC products by artists and designers, including a recreation of Vermeer's masterpiece, A Girl With a Pearl Earring, drawn using a single BIC.

HBL Retail: Mademoiselle Oiseau

Mademoiselle Oiseau by Lovisa Burfitt for Rörstrand

Swedish porcelain brand Rörstrand has teamed up with Paris-based fashion designer and illustrator Lovisa Burfitt to create a new collection of painted bone china inspired by Burfitt's fantasy muse, an eccentric character named Mademoiselle Oiseau.

"She's a woman who has withdrawn from a decadent life. She lives with good friends, cats and birds in an enormous apartment in Paris", explains Burfitt. "They all read newspapers to one another and eat pastries, in an indeterminable era where anything is possible."

View the collection here.

HBL Pattern: Josef Frank

A Josef Frank pattern-filled interior by Lukas Göthman, as seen in Plaza Déco, May 2011

Plaza magazine's latest newsletter highlights a revival of the patterned wallpapers and textiles by Austrian-Swedish interior designer Josef Frank (1885-1967).

Artist Lukas Göthman has created an interior decor scheme dedicated to the designer's work - and has even gone to the lengths of having Frank's patterns tattooed onto his own arm.

HBL Analysis: Dipped design

Liga collection by Elise Gabriel

Dip-dyeing may not be an innovative process, but it is definitely becoming more popular, as its usage spreads from fashion and beauty to furniture and home accessories. From handcrafted to mass-made, an interesting variety of materials are being used. WGSN-homebuildlife analyses how conceptual inspirations become commercial items.

Promisedesign: Milan preview

Thursday 24 March 2011

Happy Material armchair by Pini Leibovich

Promisedesign 2011, curated by Ely Rozenberg and Vanni Pasca, will be in the off-fair district of Venture Lambrate during the Milan furniture fair next month, and will then tour around Europe afterwards. The exhibition aims to celebrate the best of Israeli design with work on show from fifty designers, ranging from well-established names to emerging talent.

IKEA Bedroom Makeover Contest

IKEA Hong Kong Bedroom Makeover Contest
Due to the nature of Hong Kong’s large population and the contrasting size of the country, homes tend be to flats with very limited floor space (therefore the ritual of entertaining guests is usually located outdoors). IKEA Hong Kong has launched an online campaign that provides the rare opportunity to view people's private bedrooms.

Via its Facebook group page, the Bedroom Makeover Photo Contest invites submissions of personal stories - with accompanying before and after photos – of how IKEA products have helped solved a bedroom nightmare. Once uploaded, friends are invited and encouraged to vote for the entry. The ten most voted photos will determine the top ten finalists. After which, the jury of the contest will select the top three grand prize winners based on the creativity and popularity of their photos and descriptions.

HBL Exhibitions: Susan Hiller at Tate Britain

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Monument by Susan Hiller (1980-1) at Tate Britain. Photo: Tate Photography/Sam Drake

Visiting Susan Hiller's current solo exhibition at Tate Britain, WGSN-homebuildlife were struck by how much the prevailing themes in her work have in common with our A/W 12/13 macrotrend Radical Neutrality. Hiller investigates memory, language and imagination largely through assemblage and installation work, and many of her pieces fit with ideas central to Radical Neutrality, such as absence, faux uniformity and quiet protest.

HBL Book of the Week: Tokujin Yoshioka

Tokujin Yoshioka, published by Rizzoli International

Our choice this week is remarkable for both its visual beauty and the rare insight it offers into one of the most poetic minds in the design industry. Tokujin Yoshioka (Rizzoli International, 2010, ISBN: 9780847834112) presents a photographic retrospective of Yoshioka's career to date, from the Honey-Pop chair to his installations for brands including Swarovski, Cartier and Issey Miyake.

WGSN loves: the clarifying structure, which first of all breaks down Yoshioka's approach into four concepts - interdisciplinarity, immateriality, novelty of structure and spatiality. Yoshioka also offers thoughts and explanatory statements throughout, which make apparent the depth of thinking which goes into each project.

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can read our recent interview with Tokujin Yoshioka here.

Multiplex by Tom Dixon: Milan preview

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Etch by Tom Dixon: the new 100cm diameter version will be launched at Multiplex

British designer Tom Dixon will host Multiplex, a pop-up viewing theatre, exhibition, shop and restaurant, during next month's Milan Furniture Fair. Working in collaboration with Blackberry, the designer will use the 400m² space to showcase his new collection across six interactive environments, including a science lab and hotel lobby.

HBL Blog of the Week: Things Organized Neatly

Things Organized Neatly

WGSN-homebuildlife favourite Things Organized Neatly is our choice this week: at least one member of our team enjoys this blog on a daily basis, being as it is a haven for all the neat obsessives of the world. Its selection criteria are described as follows: "Things that have been laid out carefully, precisely, evenly; things on shelves, in vices; studio photography, diagrams and right angles."

WGSN loves: the niche it has carved out for itself, based on an incredibly specific area of interest.

HBL Analysis: Under wraps

Monday 21 March 2011

Spool chair by Keisuke Fujiwara

Furniture that has been wrapped or tightly bound with yarn, wire or thread has emerged as a strong new aesthetic at this year's trade shows and product launches. This trend is about decoration as well as protection, combining colour with texture and recycling with craft. WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can click here to see the key pieces.

ModoLuce: Milan Preview

Icaro by Brian Rasmussen for ModoLuce

Italian lighting brand ModoLuce will present a new lamp, called Icaro, at next month's Euroluce in Milan. The design is suitable for both floor and ceiling use, with a table lamp format also available, and comes in three colourways: white, black or chrome.

HBL Retail: Grow! Urban gardening at Selfridges

Cavalier plant pots by az & mut

Selfridges' concept space The Wonder Room will play host to Grow!, a pop-up retail space focusing on the modern phenomenon of urban gardening, for the duration of April 2011.

Guerrilla gardening will be a major theme throughout the space: Kabloom have created Seedboms in vibrant shades of Selfridges yellow especially for the event, while guerrilla gardener Richard Reynolds will be installing a photographic celebration of guerrilla gardening to date in the Wonder Windows.

HBL Loves: Jungle in a Bottle

Saturday 19 March 2011

Jungle in a Bottle by Delication
Described as a mini eco-system, ‘Jungle in a Bottle’ is a range of terrariums from Delication, an independent lifestyle brand based in Hong Kong.

Creating a scenic landscape, tropical plants such as Ficus, Fittonia, Selaginella, Uncinata and Nematanthus ‘Cherrio’ have been carefully arranged inside acrylic boxes, crystal glass bottles and borosilicate glass vases – all of varying shapes and sizes – along with a foundation of sand, stones and rocks. In larger containers, a figurine of a little sheep is used to provide proportion and visualization of a towering jungle.

HBL Print & Pattern: Graphicairlines

Friday 18 March 2011

Street art by Graphicairlines

Print inspiration for WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers this week comes in the form of Graphicairlines, a youthful and passionate street-art and illustration crew from Hong Kong.

HBL Analysis: Ethiopian interiors

Following our post on Berlin interiors, here are some of the highlights from WGSN's recent research trip to Ethiopia; in particular, we were struck by the Ethiopian custom of displaying pots, pans and cookware on walls as decorative items. There's a wealth of colour inspiration to be found among the brightly-painted buildings, vivid textiles and intricate craftwares, too.

HBL Exhibitions: Modern Craftsmanship

'Modern Craftsmanship' at Home of Alfred Dunhill, Hong Kong

Exemplifying the Dunhill artisan ethos, Modern Craftsmanship is an exhibition that invites four contemporary designers with a love of craft to showcase their work. The selected artists are: furniture designer (and member of the WGSN-homebuildlife advisory board) Max Lamb, directors Andersen M Studio and artists Elisa Strozyk and Richard Sweeney. Each of these artists has a keen sense of exploration through hands-on processes and simple materials such as wood or paper. The works focus on the tactile - an important note in this exhibition in regards to the loss of tactility in everyday communication.

Modern Craftsmanship is a touring exhibition, with its next stop in Hong Kong from 25 April - 21 May 2011 at Home of Alfred Dunhill, Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong. Open: 10:30am-8pm daily.

Rosenthal: 50 vases for 50 years

Thursday 17 March 2011

Rosenthal: 1961 (left) to 2011 (right)
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, German design brand Rosenthal have relaunched fifty vases from their archive - with each vase characterising the popular style of that period.

HBL Analysis: Springtime blooms on the British high street

Clifton Nurseries at Cos, Regent Street, March 2011

The Oxford Street branch of Selfridges has played host to a Petersham Nurseries concession since early January, offering a range of products from the London gardenware specialists, including gardening gloves, vintage watering cans and specially selected pieces of antique furniture. Following the Springtime theme, fashion brand Cos this month installed a Clifton Nurseries pop-up shop in their Regent Street branch. Read more about the project here.

The cross-pollination of fashion, interiors and horticulture is increasingly important to product development and brand identity: to view the latest developments and also our forecasts for S/S 12, WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can click here.

Cakes for Japan: pop-up shop

Sushi pops & cupcakes from Molly Bakes made using Teapigs organic matcha powder
Miss Cakehead, founder of the Mad Artist’s Tea Party, is the curator of Cakes for Japan. The pop-up shop offers cakes inspired by sushi, made by both professional and amateur cake makers.

HBL Analysis: The Armory Show, New York

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Anna Schwartz at the Armory Show

WGSN-homebuildlife's US team were in New York this month for the Armory Show - the city's major international art fair. Tying into the current trend for neon, light writing was a stand-out feature of the show: here are a selection of the key pieces.

HBL Book of the Week: Undecorate

'Undecorate: the no-rules approach to interior design' by Christiane Lemieux

The founder of Dwell Studio, Christiane Lemieux, wrote 'Undecorate: the no-rules approach to interior design' to advocate a fresh and personalised way for Americans to decorate their homes. She profiles twenty different homes whose owners have taken wildly different approaches to interior decor, each perfectly suited to their character. Read more about the book on Amazon.

WGSN loves: Lemieux's inspirational philosophy on home decor, and her genuine interest in the nitty-gritty details of each project.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Craft Design

Seletti at Craft Design 2011, Brazil

WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from the first edition of the bi-annual Craft Design in São Paulo, Brazil. Here are the key trends to emerge from the show:

Bright colours
Bright colors are a key part of decorative objects at the show. They give traditional objects a fun, modern and edgy look, and also appear on stationery, office supplies and kitchen accessories.

Durable disposables
Many exhibitors have played with ceramics, glass and other durable materials and made them look like disposable objects. Lunch boxes, plastic cups and cardboard trays are an inspiration for designers who create sophisticated and unusual objects.

Lamps with visible cords sockets
Lamps that celebrate the very materials needed to produce them - such as cords, sockets/nozzles and light bulbs - are a strong trend here at Craft Design. Pendant lamps tied by cords, without lampshades, create an interesting effect. Subscribers can real our full report on this trend here.

Dazed and Swatch: Satellite Voices

Satellite Voices: countdown to launch
Dazed and Confused magazine are collaborating with watch brand Swatch to launch a new cultural website, entitled Satellite Voices, on 24th March 2011.

The site will show off the best in fashion, music, art, film, photography and culture from around the world, with editors from Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Munich, Rome, Dubai, Shanghai and Santiago working closely with the Dazed London office. Content will include daily interviews, opinion pieces, scene spotlights, event reviews and behind the scenes news from artists and fashion designers collaborating with Swatch throughout the year. The City Editors of Satellite Voices will be announced in the week leading up to the launch.

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can read our interview with Jefferson Hack, co-founder and editorial director of the Dazed Group - including his thoughts on the future of digital media - here.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Paralela Gift

Paralela Gift 2011

The WGSN-homebuildlife team reports live from the first 2011 edition of the bi-annual Paralela Gift show in São Paulo, Brazil with the three key trends to emerge from the event:

The prestige of local artists

Mixing design with traditional forms of art, like painting and sculpture, and with the Brazilian popular art of needlework and craftwork is a strong trend that it is easily noticed in all exhibitors. Stationery, domestic utilities and clothing get new illustrations and other forms of intervention from Brazilian artists.

Wood and its imitations

Wood continues to be one of the most used materials in Brazilian furnishings and decoration objects - but now, concerned about the environment, its substitutes start to appear. A mixture of glue and cardboard gives birth to furnishings that make us think they are made of wood. And the exhibitors who still use wood emphasise the fact that it is a certificate material, working the luxury of this raw material in pieces with many textures and different types.

Cute vintage

Porcelain, stationery and decorative lights are adorned with vintage prints and girlie touches, along with a pastel colour pallette, polka dots and animals including rabbits, enchanted frogs and swans. The cuteness and  reassurance of the feminine universe are still strong trends.

HBL Loves: Superette, Cape Town

Superette, Cape Town

On our travels to South Africa last month we came across Superette, a neighbourhood cafe in the Woodstock area of Cape Town. The cafe's menu is prepared by chef Lyndall Maunder and Aisha Redpath Treppo using locally sourced seasonal produce, fresh from farm to plate. As well as providing a fantastic menu the cafe also sells an assortment of market produce, tableware and speciality foods.

WGSN-homebuildlife loves the bright and optimistic interior, which features pieces by local South African designers and artists, as well as Superette's simple but stylish own-brand packaging designs. Superette is open daily for breakfast and lunch, as well as a monthly Supper Club.

HBL Analysis: Marquetry and the intelligence of the hand

Detail from a cabinet at the Rijksmuseum,Amsterdam

The resurgence in popularity of craft in design has seen many young designers rediscovering forgotten production techniques, favouring skilled, handmade, and often time-intensive processes over artificial materials and machine production. WGSN-homebuildlife's latest trend analysis examines the revival of marquetry and inlay techniques, and talks to the designers who are using and updating these historic crafts for the 21st century.

HBL News: Plumen wins Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2011

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Plumen 001, "the world's first designer energy-saving lightbulb" by Hulger and Samuel Wilkinson has won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award 2011. The exhibition of shortisted designs will continue at London's Design Museum until 7 August 2011.

Read about the category winners in our previous post.

"Please help Japan" - Tokujin Yoshioka

"Please Help Japan" - Tokujin Yoshioka [Video via Dezeen]

Tokujin Yoshioka has written a heartfelt letter urging people all over the world to contribute whatever they can to the Red Cross relief fund after the terrible events in Japan over the past few days. Please donate here.

Photo Opportunities by Corinne Vionnet

Tiananmen Square, Biejing, from Photo Opportunities by Corinne Vionnet

Corinne Vionnet creates these haunting photographs by layering hundreds of tourist photographs on top of each other. The Swiss photographer trawls social media sites collecting everybody's different impressions of iconic buildings and locations, and combines them in a way that she hopes will "conjure up questions about representation and memory of places".

HBL Blog of the Week: Kitchenisms


Ele is a Canadian, London-based blogger who runs three blogs: our blog of the week Kitchenisms features "cool kitchen finds" while two offshoots serve to document her cooking and cookbook reviews. The blogs are a good source of daily inspiration, and Ele's an enthusiastic and personable guide to the world of kitchen and cookshop design.

WGSN loves: the cheerful, friendly writing style and the care taken in presentation. Photos are laid out in a 'scrapbook' style as if she is composing one big, continuous moodboard.

HBL Retail: Swarovski Elements launches first wallpaper range

Monday 14 March 2011

Feather Palace by Swarovski Elements

Swarovski Elements have launched their first range of wallpapers, designed in collaboration with British designer Karen Beauchamp. The collection features Swarovski crystals on a backdrop of foil, layers of printed ink, velvety flock - or an opulent combination of all three, as seen in Feather Palace (above).

HBL Exhibitions: Absalon at KW

Absalon, the recent exhibition at Berlin gallery KW which saw the first comprehensive retrospective of Israeli artist Absalon's work, provided a great source of inspiration to the WGSN team during our recent research trip to the city. The artist, who died in 1993 at the age of 28, described his work as "not meant to posit any solutions in terms of isolation" and instead "made for living the social.”

HBL Analysis: Kupu by Jalo Helsinki

Kupu by Jalo Helsinki
Finnish brand Jalo Helsinki have launched a smoke alarm designed by Harri Koskinen which adheres to most surfaces in seconds and can be easily tested or silenced simply by pressing down on its casing.

HBL Events: German Lifestyle Exhibition

Friday 11 March 2011

JAB Anstoetz

German furniture brand hülsta are currently hosting 'Inspired by nature - Designed for life - Made in Germany' at their West End showroom, an exhibition which brings together the best of German design from across the interiors, wellness, lifestyle, travel and luxury industries. Brands participating in the exhibition include Porsche Design, Gerry Weber, Rolf Benz, Loewe, Huf Haus, JAB Anstoetz and Parador.

Euroluce 2011: Milan preview

Fortuny Giudecca 805 floor lamp

Preparations are already underway for next month's Salone del Mobile in Milan, one of the highlights of the design calendar and a measure of the direction design will take over the next few seasons.

WGSN-homebuildlife will be highlighting our must-see events and most anticipated product launches in advance of the event; to begin with here are three key products by Italian design brand Pallucco that will be at Euroluce this year.

HBL Loves: WOOP Studios

An Embarassment of Pandas
WOOP Studios is a new UK-based graphic design studio founded by Harry Potter graphic designers Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, award-winning photographer Harriet Logan and founder and Head of Innovation at Data Explorers, Mark Faulkner.