Bodging Milano One Year On at Designersblock

Friday 29 April 2011

Long Bench by Gitta Gschwendtner

Bodging Milano One Year On is a project with a rich back-story. British furniture designer Chris Eckersley developed an interest in 'bodging' (back to nature woodworking) and after trying out the process for himself, invited eight UK designers to come along with him for the next go. A week was spent in Clissett Woods, Herefordshire, creating chairs by hand from unseasoned timber, and the results were shown at Designersblock in Milan 2010.

They proved popular. So at this year's show, prototypes of the now refined collection of 12 chairs were on display - and are available to order now from Warwickshire-based furniture-makers Sitting Firm.

Autoproduzione Italiane

Travasi by Andrea Gianni at Autoproduzione Italiane, Milan 2011

Subalterno1 showed a collection of imaginative furniture, lighting and accessories by Italian designers under the umbrella theme of "autoproduzione" (self-made) in Ventura Lambrate during Milan design week.

HBL Analysis: Doreen Westphal

Doreen Westphal

German designer Doreen Westphal presented Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers at Designersblock Milano last month: a collection of vases made from Quantz concrete and based on the first weather forecast following the ousting of Mubarak earlier this year.

HBL Analysis: Michael Verheyden
at New Times, New Heroes

Michael Verheyden at New Times, New Heroes, Milan 2011
Belgium-based designer Michael Verheyden showed a collection of finely crafted leather accessories at New Times, New Heroes during Milan design week - a perfect example of our Honest leathertrend for the next few seasons.

Royal Retail

Thursday 28 April 2011

Liberty London as seen on
Retailers have joined in the royal wedding festivities, featuring windows bursting with commemorative goods and merchandise that screams British patriotism.

Consumers are expected to be buying up royal wedding goods; but retailers expect a footfall slump on the big day. Retail Week reported that the royal wedding celebrations will cause mixed retail trade, speaking to Inditex UK managing director Dilip Patel who said: “Half a million visitors should be coming and they’ll be shopping when they’re here.” But hopes are that consumers will be celebrating the wedding tomorrow by shopping: “hopefully they’re also out spending money as part of the festivities” said Harold Tillman, Jaeger chairman.

HBL Analysis: Urban Fog

WGSN-homebuildlife's Eco Hedonism macrotrend for autumn/winter 2012/13 talks about how designers are moving towards designing an atmosphere, an experience or an object with meaning. This trend is becoming ever more present and the opening of exhibition Urban Fog in Dalston, London next week further confirms this as an emerging theme.

The Makers Project

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Lena Corwin, the printer, from The Makers by Jennifer Causey

Brooklyn-based photographer Jennifer Causey is the force behind The Makers, a photo blog which beautifully documents the studios and making processes of creative companies all around her local area, including a ceramicist's studio, a chocolate makers, a florist's and a perfumery.

At Liberty magazine

Liberty London

Luxury department store Liberty London will be launching a bi-annual glossy magazine titled At Liberty. The publication will present the best of Liberty’s product offer- showcasing what’s new and exclusive for the season. The magazine’s team will be headed up by consultant editor Melanie Rickey; currently fashion editor-at-large of Grazia. Produced by River, At Liberty magazine will be available in targeted consumer magazines and weekend broadsheet supplements. The first issue will launch in September.

HBL Book of the Week: A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares

A Taxonomy of Office Chairs by Jonathan Olivares

American industrial designer Jonathan Olivares takes a zoological approach to design in this categorised guide to office chairs, published by Phaidon in February this year. Recently reviewed by Alice Rawsthorn for the New York Times (read her verdict here), A Taxonomy of Office Chairs caught the attention of the WGSN-homebuildlife team at Viennese museum MAK's design shop by virtue of being the only design book on the shelf to offer something completely different.

HBL loves: the innovative approach to design analysis. Olivares details hundreds of office chairs, categorising each component (head rest, angle of tilt etc) and chronologically tracking the evolution of the office chair from the 1840s to the present day.

HBL Analysis: Eggy Candle

Eggy Candle by KaCaMa Design Lab
Seeing countless eggshells being discarded in food production, Hong Kong-based KaCaMa Design Lab found an opportunity to create a simple yet fun candle.

Milan 2011: Eric Klarenbeek

Eric Klarenbeek at Flight of Objects, Milan 2011

Self-described "designer of the unusual" Eric Klarenbeek showed two interesting collections at Ventura Lambrate during Milan design week this month. Appearing as part of impressive Dutch design show Flight of Objects, Klareenbeek's imaginative textiles and lighting designs were stand-out pieces.

HBL Analysis: Styrofoam art

Styrofoam Art by Cheeming Boey
Armed with just a Styrofoam cup and Sharpie pen, illustrator Cheeming Boey has created a series of monochrome illustrations on a typically unvalued surface.

HBL Analysis: Minimisation through convergence

mp3 player by Giha Wood
Korean product designer Giha Wood has created a conceptual MP3 player that merges the role of the plug charger.

HBL Inspiration: Winkler 2011 Collection

Tuesday 26 April 2011

During the tradeshow season at WGSN-homebuildlife we are inundated with press CDs, releases and brochures, so it is always a pleasure to see well thought out imagery and branding.

One such company this year was Winkler, a French linen brand whose spring/summer 2011 collection is inspired by the textures and geometry of the vegetal world. The fabrics are made from a variety of organic materials including paper, bamboo viscose and ramie fibres. We thought we would share some of the stunning imagery and styling from their catalogue.

HBL Blog of the Week: Yatzer

Yatzer is one of the heavyweights of the online design world: alongside Core77, Dezeen and Moco Loco, it's a bookmark design enthusiasts all over the world click into to accompany their first coffee of the day. Founded in 2007 by Greek interior designer Costas Voyatzis, the site now receives more than 1,000,000 pageviews a month.

HBL loves: the comprehensive overview of creative events worldwide that can be accessed at a glance, every day. A useful reference guide to the world of design, from furniture and interiors to architecture, fashion, photography and graphics.

HBL Inspiration: Vienna

Hand-painted blown eggs at an Easter market in central Vienna

Here are some of the photo highlights from WGSN-homebuildlife's trip to Vienna last week, including striking architecture, elaborate Easter displays,sun-filled shopping streets and cakes at a traditional Viennese kaffeehaus.

Milan 2011: Conversation Piece by Beatrice Brovia & Nicolas Cheng

Monday 25 April 2011

Jewellery artists Beatrice Brovia and Nicolas Cheng's exhibition at Galerie Caroline Van Hoek was one of the material highlights of Milan design week. Conversation Piece Chapter One: On The Doorway showcased a series of sculpted objects acting as door handles, fixtures and fittings in the setting of a domestic interior.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Bangkok International Gift and Homewares Fair

Sunday 24 April 2011

Peakchan Company at BIG+BIH 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from the Bangkok International Gifts and Houseware Fair (BIG+BIH), highlighting three emerging trends from the show.

The ‘Pah Kao Mah’: A pattern otherwise known as the traditional Thai checked loin cloth comes to the fore. The effect of colour and pattern in different sizes is widely seen on furniture upholstery, soft furnishings such as cushions, woven lampshades and shoulder bags. Colours are strong, ranging from fluorescent tones to deep exotic purple and fuchsia as well as bright solid colours such as red, orange and blue, often used together with white, grey and black to create contrast.

Organic form rattan: Classic, straightforward wicker weave pattern is used to create 3D forms that imitate organic forms and structures. Finishes are in muted and subdued earth tones, and natural colours in matt finishes. Technique is widely used in large scale furniture or lighting, and for some small home accessories such as vases and fragrance containers.

Pebbles and stones: Pebble stones are used mainly as tabletop accessories and floor decorations as well as combining with other materials such as jute to create rugs. Imitations of the stone and pebble finishes are seen in bathroom accessories, soaps and home fragrances. The sizes are irregular and sometimes used for complementing other table top products such as bowls and vases in ceramic. Warm, neutral tone colour combinations create a raw yet soft look.

Subscribers can read the full live report here.

HBL Tradeshows: Live From Manila FAME

Thursday 21 April 2011

Hacienda Crafts at Manila FAME
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Manila FAME in the Philippines, highlighting three of the trends from the event:

Cool Wave: Furniture and accessories look futuristic and at the same time organic. Objects have fluid lines and roundish shapes. Natural materials like coco shell and water lily are fused with metal and wire

Sheer Black: Black lines are gracefully interwoven on furniture and lighting fixtures. Black looks light and transparent with see-through effects. The elegance and drama of black is made easy in abaca, buri and crochet

Rich Textures: From natural luminescence to metallic bronzes, decorative objects have rich and shiny surfaces. Gold works as a neutral and is paired with white, black or bronze. Shell surfaces are enhanced with texture, grooves, and patterns

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can view our full live report from Manila here.

HBL Book of the Week:
My Cool Campervan

Wednesday 20 April 2011

My Cool Campervan

The brainchild of London-based stylist Jane Field-Lewis and designer Chris Haddon, My Cool Campervan provides visual inspiration for all campervan aficionados - including both proud owners and those who like to live vicariously. It will be published next month, but here's a sneak peek of what to expect.

HBL Blog of the Week: Anthology

Tuesday 19 April 2011


Our favourite blog this week is Anthology, the daily digital version of a print magazine founded by two American writers in 2010. Anthology is a well-written and thoughtfully curated blog covering interiors, design and lifestyle.

HBL loves: the upbeat and warm editorial voice, which ties together a diverse range of topics and creates a rewarding reader experience.

Milan 2011: Lund University at Designersblock

Monday 18 April 2011

Lund University at Designersblock Milano, 2011

Swedish research and education institute Lund University's Industrial Design school showed a range of wooden furniture at Designersblock in Venture Lambrate last week, publicising their Bachelor and Masters programs in the subject.

HBL Analysis: Indigo

Friday 15 April 2011

There has been a resurgence of indigo this season, with the colour seen in various depths and shades not only on the catwalk, but also in the home. In our latest colour analysis, WGSN-homebuildlife reports on the most contemporary shades and applications of this ancient pigment.

Milan 2011: Lago at Salone del Mobile

Lago at Salone del Mobile, Milan 2011

One of the brands that really stood out at this week's Salone del Mobile was Lago, an Italian design company whose stand was covered in pebbles and had an airy, outdoor feel to it.

Milan 2011: Live from Euroluce

Quasar at Euroluce 2011, Milan

WGSN-homebuildlife highlights the emerging trends seen at Euroluce, the biennial lighting fair held alongside the Salone del Mobile during Milan:

Designing the shadow: Detailed patterns cut into the shades create a beautiful effect - the focus is the shadow instead of the lamp itself

Luxurious: Golden finishes appear in different kinds of materials - pieces are almost sculptural

Playful: Everyday objects or even pieces from childhood memories are transformed into functional lighting pieces

Subscribers can read our full live report from Euroluce here.

Milan 2011: Fuorisalone trends

Thursday 14 April 2011

designlabel Vij5 at Venture Lambrate, Milan 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife highlights the emerging trends seen at the off-fair districts of Milan Design Week (Fuorisalone) including Zona Tortona, Venture Lambrate and Brera.

Stone: Stoneware is the material of the moment. Smooth, sculptural marble furniture and tableware was seen at +Stone and Marsotto, while mineral composites were seen at Cappelini. In contrast, rough, elemental forms were offered at Studio Toogood and Nilufar. After the recent trend for raw, unfinished clay and wooden products, the strong presence of stone shows a development in the trend for reconnecting with nature through the earth and the elements

Under wraps: Highlighted as an emerging trend by WGSN last month, furniture and accessories that have been bound with lengths of thread or rope are a prominent trend at both Zona Tortona and Brera. Combining functionality with decoration and upcycling with craft, designers exhibiting at Boffi in Brera chose to wrap parcel tape around a tubular steel chair frame to provide a innovative and upcycled seating solution

Super simple: One of the prevailing trends at both Zona Tortona and Ventura Lambrate is for unadorned, simple furniture with a homemade twist. Seats, tables, lighting and decorative accessories are minimal in both form and construction; materials used are sturdy and durable. The overall impression is of furniture that will last, and that can be repaired easily – tying into both the current resurgence of craft, and the increasing desire for authenticity amongst consumers

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can read our full live report from Fuorisalone here.

Milan 2011: Live from Salone Satellite

gt_2P at Salone Satellite, Milan 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Salone Satellite, the area of the fair for emerging talent, highlighting three of the trends from the event:

Patchwork wood: Wood and wood veneers are used as patchwork pieces highlighting the differences in grain shade and direction

Alice in Wonderland: Multicoloured upholstery and finishes in dusty, pastel hues create a world where fantasy rules

Flat pack honeycomb: Designers explore the flat pack craze with honeycomb geometries

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can view our full live report from the Satellite here.

Milan 2011: Live from Salone del Mobile

Arco at Salone del Mobile 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from the Salone del Mobile in Milan, highlighting the emerging trends seen so far:

Sleek and slim: minimalist tables and shelves with elegant design and impeccable finishing

Innovative upholstery: fabrics become a highlight and get a fashion treatment with drapes, exaggerated seams or unusual details

Stained wood: solid wood or natural wood veneers are painted in bright colours, but the wood grains still appear underneath

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can read the full live report, including our top three brands, here.

Milan 2011: Established and Sons 7

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Quilt, The Thing by Erwan & Ronan Bouroullec

This year British furniture brand Established and Sons abandoned their 10,000 square foot space at Bera's La Pelota in favour of an exhibition space further South at the Versace Teatro in Piazza Vetra. At 1200 square feet the new venue is significantly smaller and the exhibition design is somewhat simple in comparison to the extravagance of previous years, however this year the products take centre stage. Their seventh collection includes new designs by  Sylvain Willenz, Erwan & Ronan Bouroullec, Richard Woods, Sebastian Wrong, Committee and Barber Osgerby to name a few.

Milan 2011: VicoloPagliaCorta

Tucked away in a courtyard in one of the main off-fair districts, Zona Tortona, is a small designmart made up of designer-makers selling direct to the public. Of the various brands on show, WGSN-homebuildlife's favourite was Vicolo Paglia Corta, a Bologna-based design duo formed in 2008 whose colourful and customizable Mattoncino tables caught our eye.

Milan 2011: Natura Morta by Studio Toogood and Arabeschi di Latte

On Monday night WGSN-homebuildlife attended a midnight dinner called Underkitchen by Arabeschi di Latte at Studio Toogood' s exhibition Natura Morta, which is showing this week during the Salone del Mobile. Natura Morta is the Italian term for "still life" but literally translates as "dead nature". The exhibition aims to examine the darker side of the natural world.

HBL Retail: Oldesign at Micasa

Oldesign for Micasa

Popular Sao Paolo design shop Micasa has begun stocking Oldesign, a collection of individually-sourced vintage products for the home. Here, HBL highlights some of its favourite pieces from the new shipment.

HBL Book of the Week:
Information is Beautiful

The 'In' Colours, from Information is Beautiful by David McCandless

Information is Beautiful is a compilation of prolific infographic designer David McCandless's creations to date. In the world of infographics (beautiful visualizations of sets of data), McCandless is one of the pioneers and his subject matter varies from tracking the escalating price of cocaine from harvest to market, to the crossing paths of time travellers in film and television, via a comparitive study of the real health benefits of 'superfoods' and a consensus cloud of the top 100 books that everyone should read. The varied subject matter is matched by his aesthetic creativity - and information really is easier to take in when McCandless has interpreted it.

HBL loves: everything about this book. It's an impressive coffee table read, beautifully laid out and well-made, and fascinating to either dip into or read all the way through. Highly recommended - especially as the field of infographics looks set to grow and grow.

Milan 2011: Fabrica and Secondome at Salone Satellite

Designed by Piero Lissoni, Here and (T)here is a limited and numbered production of objects designed by Fabrica for Secondome. An exploration of blown glass and oak, these pieces are hybrid, bold structures focusing on form rather than function. Seen at Salone Satellite at Stand C 41 as well as the new Benetton showroom at Corso di Porta Vittoria 16, Here and (T)here is a fine balance of fragility and solidity.

HBL Blog of the Week: Pippa Jameson Interiors

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Pippa Jameson Interiors

This week's choice has a distinctly British feel to it. Edited by Pippa Jameson, an experienced interior stylist and former Deputy Interiors Editor of BBC Good Homes, Pippa Jameson Interiors offers everything from decorating ideas and advice to events coverage and DIY craft projects.

HBL loves: its practical approach to interiors. While it's interesting to read hotel reviews and see the new collections from famous brands, it's also useful for readers who want to find out how to make a lampshade or read a beginner's guide to painting furniture.

What else is there? Milan preview

Monday 11 April 2011

In our last preview before our live coverage from Milan kicks off tomorrow, we're intrigued by the unusual curatorial approach of What else is there? Hosted by Kaleidoscope, curators LHCK have asked four designers to choose music videos that give us a look at their "visual and cultural DNA", with their latest pieces for Italian furniture brand Mattiazzi also on display.

Konstantin Grcic, Sam Hecht, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Nitzan Cohen have all made their selections, and also answer six questions about their choices. Download the exhibition brochure here to read more - or visit the gallery at Via Masera, 20124 Milano, from tomorrow until 16th April 2011.

HBL Print & Pattern: Wim Crouwel room at Andaz Liverpool Street

The Wim Crouwel guest room at Andaz Liverpool Street

London hotel Andaz Liverpool Street is marking the current Wim Crouwel exhibition at the Design Museum with a guest room dedicated to the graphic designer's work. Special edition Cole & Son wallpaper (read about it on the blog here) and a rug by Tai Ping adorn the roon, accompanied by accessories featured in the exhibition.

HBL Video: Live from High Point Market

WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from High Point Market in North Carolina. To read about our top three emerging trends from the event, click here.

HBL Kids' Lifestyle: Tapi by Dreamfarm

Tapi by Dreamfarm

Tapi by Australian company Dreamfarm turns the ordinary faucet into a fun drinking fountain by simply pressing the bottom of the rubber insert to change the flow of water.

Mathieu Lehanneur for Lasvit:
Milan preview

Friday 8 April 2011

Soft Geometry by Mathieu Lehanneur for Lasvit

Lasvit will present Soft Geometry, a spectacular new chandelier by French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, in Zona Tortona next week. The piece will be on show as part of Bohemian Rhapsody, an exhibition which will also include works by Fabio Novembre and Nendo. The exhibition will be held at Opificio 31, via Tortona 31, with its opening night on April 13th.

To read all of our Milan previews so far, click here.

HBL Loves: House of Hackney

Dalston Rose by House of Hackney

House of Hackney is a new luxury interiors brand, based in Hackney and run by couple and business duo Javvy M Royle and Frieda Gormley. Originally from fashion and product-design backgrounds, Royle and Gormley re-examine the concept of traditional British homewares, making it appealing for a new generation with their "Colefax & Fowler on acid" approach.

WGSN-Homebuildlife subscribers can read our interview with co-founder, Frieda Gormley: Frieda Gormley: House Of Hackney

Tamawa: Milan preview

Ray by Silvain Willenz for Tamawa

Belgian design brand Tamawa will launch a pendant lamp designed by Sylvain Willenz in Milan next week, which uses Bakelite balls to connect tubular lights.

HBL Exhibitions: Danish Design - I like it!

Thursday 7 April 2011

Børge Mogenson

British designer Jasper Morrison has curated Designmuseum Danmark's spring exhibition, Danish Design - I like it!, which opens tomorrow and runs until October. A selection of objects from the museum's collection, hand-picked by Morrison, will be shown together with the aim of presenting Danish design in an international context.

Kundalini: Milan preview

Wednesday 6 April 2011

Clover by Brodie Neill for Kundalini

Italian brand Kundalini will launch a number of new lighting designs at Euroluce next week, including Evita by Aquili Alberg, Frame by Benjamin Hubert, and Clover (above) by Brodie Neill.

HBL Book of the Week: Arcadia

Chicken Point Cabin, Northern Idaho, USA, by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
Focusing on an idyllically rustic approach to living, 'Arcadia: Cross-Country Style, Architecture & Design' (Gestalten, Berlin 2009, ISBN 9783899552577) serves as fantastic visual inspiration for WGSN-homebuildlife's A/W 12/13 macrotrend Eco Hedonism. The book is divided into four sections: Off Shore, Cross-Country, Deep in the Woods and The Mountain Calls.

WGSN loves: the detailed research that obviously went into each section. Architecture, furniture, lighting, products, installations and quotes are used to illustrate each lifestyle, and you're guaranteed to find an amazing designer you'd never heard of before within its pages.

HBL Loves: Flux

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Flux ceramics
EDC London is currently showcasing the new collection by Flux exclusively at its showroom on 20 Margaret Street, London.

Launched at Maison et Objet in 2010, Flux is a new design company founded by staff and Masters students of Staffordshire University, aiming to revive ceramic produced in Staffordshire. Its geometrical repeat patterns, combined with Staffordshire’s craft ancestry, perfectly feeds into WGSN-homebuildlife’s A/W 12/13 macro trend Hyperculture.
WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can view all of the A/W 12/13 macro trends here.

Patrick Norguet: Milan preview

Degree by Patrick Norguet for Kristalia

Industrial designer Patrick Norguet will launch a number of new products at the Salone Internationale del Mobile next week, including a side table and bistro table for Kristalia, an outdoor lamp called Tools for Roger Pradier, and a range of ice boxes for Italesse to be sold at Rinascente's Piazza Duomo store (read more about Rinascente during design week here).

HBL News: Peter Zumthor to design Serpentine Pavilion 2011

A rendering of the Serpentine Pavilion 2011 by Peter Zumthor

London's Serpentine Gallery is renowned for its annual pavilion, always designed by a renowned architect and sure to draw crowds of visitors each time. This year's pavilion is to be designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, while the garden will be the work of Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.  Zumthor has described the concept as "the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden."

[via detnk]

HBL Events: Open House by Droog

Open House by Droog

Experimental Dutch design brand Droog have announced a new project called Open House, "a movement in which suburban homeowners supplement their income and develop a new vocation by offering home-made services and facilities to the public".

HBL Blog of the Week: Spoon & Tamago

Spoon & Tamago

Described by its authors as "art, somewhere in between New York and Tokyo", Spoon & Tamago is run by a husband-and-wife team based in both cities, and is named after the results of a personality test taken by the two which compared them to a spoon and an egg. The editorial voice is friendly but informed; the layout is clean and easy to navigate.

WGSN loves: the unusual content. Spoon & Tamago posts are 90% original, the result of independent research, which results in a refreshingly different output that you're unlikely to see on another blog (unless they have copied it over of course).

Milan preview: Top twenty events

Maarten Baas at Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan 2011

From April 12-17, more than 300,000 international vistors will descend on Milan for its annual Furniture Fair - by far the biggest event on the international design calendar. This year, the fair is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

WGSN-homebuildlife has been trawling through the invites and guides for several weeks now, bringing you individual highlights - and now subscribers can read our guide to the top twenty events.