Mobius charges your iPhone in the sun

Thursday 29 September 2011

California-based company Eton has released Mobius, a solar battery case for the iPhone 4. The sleek design of this charger complements its eco-friendly function, which allows users to charge their phones simply by placing them in the sun, and can charge separately from the phone.

LED lights let users know how much energy is left, and the device doubles battery life, with an additional five to eight hours of energy. Mobius can also be charged via USB just in case.

Own A Colour

Paint brand Dulux has launched a new campaign in collaboration with children's charity UNICEF which encourages people to own a colour of their choice in exchange for a £1 donation.

Mondo Collection Opens in New York City

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Mondo Collection, a new showroom of luxury design, opened in the Flatiron district in New York City this week. The showroom is geared towards both residential and commercial designers and aims to bring international design to the North American market. Countries represented in the collection include Italy, France, Bosnia and notably Lebanon: founders Mario Eclid and Hany Boutros are both Lebanese-Americans.

HBL Book of the Week: Extremism by Tom Dixon

Extremism by Tom Dixon (Design Research, 2011) sets out the London designer's manifesto that "given the current state of consumption, new stuff must have a superior reason for existing. Not only that, but the way we make and sell it must be redefined".

HBL Blog of the Week: Revista Design

Tuesday 27 September 2011

The couple behind Brazilian blog Revista Design, Barbara Formagio and Thiago Mano, are passionate about design (they’re designers themselves) and use their blog to communicate interesting finds not only within the design field, but also news related to their passions: fashion, photography among others.

HBL loves: The Creative License weekly posts, created by N.C. Winters and then  translated to Portuguese.

V&A presents Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 – 1990

Super Lamp by Martine Bedin © V&A Images

For the third year running, the V&A became the central hub of creativity at the 2011 London Design Festival. One of the many displays launched under the V&A’s roof for the occasion is the exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970 - 1990, which runs until 15 January 2012. It is an in-depth survey of art, design and architecture from the time which examines the Postmodernism phenomena in all its complexity.

Glass by Charlotte Sale

Aqua Lichen series (2009) by Charlotte Sale

London-based glass artist Charlotte Sale is a graduate of both Edinburgh College of Art and the RCA, and specialises in hand-crafted, often blown glass pieces with a sculptural approach.

For S/S 2013, take inspiration from the fantastical aesthetic of these pieces in combination with our tabletop direction for Wonderlab, where jewel colours sparkle and shine, ceramics are strong and bright, and textured and abstract prints are featured, as are solid colours in unusual shapes and forms.

HBL Retail: Hay pops up in Covent Garden

After The Lollipop Shoppe popped up at Selfridges in July in collaboration with Danish brand Hay, WGSN-homebuildlife has been waiting to see what they would do next. We are pleased to say that Hay are now popping up again in Covent Garden for four months, this time on their own.

House Industries partners with Herman Miller

Monday 26 September 2011

American companies House Industries and Herman Miller are producing a limited-edition series of 80 Eames wire-base tables that include letters A-Z, numbers and ornaments from House Industries' Eames Century Modern font collection.

Knitted Chair by Soojin Kang

Knitted Chair by Soojin Kang

One of the highlights of LDF 2011 was Knitted Chair by designer Soojin Kang. It is currently being exhibited at Brompton shop Mint in London, as part of their exhibition Mint Explores, where it will be on show until 30th September.

Laurent Corio at Secondome

Fioriness is the new lighting bottles collection by Laurent Corio. The French designer realized this project for the design gallery Secondome in Rome.

Karma coffee in Berlin

Heroes Café in Neukölln, Berlin
The New York Times Style Magazine reports of a new coffee trend appearing in Berlin, called fliegender kaffee. Literally translated as flying coffee, it is seen as a way of giving back to the community. Coffee lovers can order a free cup of coffee one month, and pay for a few cups the next month to balance it out, in a system especially suited to struggling freelancers without a regular income. Participating cafes are identified by a sticker of a cup with wings and a halo.

Click here to read the full article. 

Formafantasma at Gallery Libby Sellers

In the new Gallery Libby Sellers space in Berners Street, London, is the work of Italian designers Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi, who together are Formafantasma. The exhibition for LDF 2011 features the ceramic series, Moulding Tradition, and a new textile series, Colony, which focuses on the geo-political issues of immigration, and the historical cross-flow of culture between North Africa and Italy.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Glee

Friday 23 September 2011

Apples To Pears at Glee 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from gardening lifestyle trade show Glee in Birmingham, UK, highlighting the key trends:

The vintage garden: Outdoor furniture and gardening accessories appear timeworn, with faded surface effects and classic colour palettes used.

Wireframe: Wireframe structures are seen in every product category from furniture to lighting and accessories.

Mexican Chimeneas: Outdoor clay garden heaters are a key product at the show, as the trend for primitive living continue.

Subscribers can read our full report from the show here.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Cersaie

Flaminia at Cersaie 2011, Bologna
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Cersaie, the biggest and most important annual bathroom tiles and furnishings trade show, to highlight the emerging trends:

Extreme proportions: Mosaics are used as raw material for massive panels that look like works of art. Big and bold graphics look like gigantic paintings.

A hint of colour: Bright colours appear as design details, especially in bathroom fixtures and fittings.

Black and white: this classic colour combination was widely seen, in all kinds of products. Although a traditional and conservative choice, it brings elegance to the bathroom.

Subscribers can read the full live report here.

The Ford E-Bike Concept

Thursday 22 September 2011

At the Frankfurt Motor Show 2011, Ford revealed their new E-Bike Concept. It promises a range of up to 85km at full charge, and could be an innovative solution for urban mobility. Although Ford is not currently producing the E-Bike, they say they will continue studying the concept which combines cutting-edge sensor technology from Formula One racing with top-of-the-range bicycle components.

Campaign: designer profile

London-based design studio Campaign specialises in unique retail spaces and pushing the boundaries of the consumer experience. Here is a selection of their most innovative projects so far.

Loft Laws in Brooklyn

Wednesday 21 September 2011

WGSN’s own Youth Trends Editor, Sarah Owen, explores the unique loft interiors of her neighbours at 151 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for today’s New York Times Magazine blog. Due to prohibitively expensive rent costs in NYC, vanishing factory activity and therefore vacant industrial space in Brooklyn, artists and those not so gainfully but passionately self-employed in their trades sought cheaper rent, over the last few decades, in buildings that used to house a variety of operations from food processing to doll-making.

HBL Book(s) of the Week:
Designers & Books

This week's book of the week is not one but 1029 books - chosen by 77 designers and counting. Designers & Books is a website which lists the books recommended by renowned designers, from Shigeru Ban to Christian Lacroix and Milton Glaser. Updated every Tuesday, highlights so far include The Canterbury Tales (recommended by Sir Norman Foster), Consider the Lobster (nominated by Stefan Sagmeister) and Line & Form, selected by Eva Zeisel.

HBL loves: that you can create your own personalised reading list on the website - providing informed bedtime reading for months to come.

Batik 2.0

Headed by young Batik designer Nancy Margried, the company Batik Fractal has developed a system using 3D mathematics, combined with traditional hand printing and dyeing processes, to inject a new lease of life into the ancient Indonesian technique.

Bottle Schools by Hug It Forward

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Hug It Forward, a non-profit organization in Guatemala, has turned trash into treasure with its Bottle Schools. The organization works to raise awareness of global issues, and uniting communities to work towards powerful change. Bottle Schools, schools built for $10-15,000 from wasted trash bottles, act as the tangible vessels of these social goals. Recycling bottles into building products harkens back to the before-its-time Heineken WOBO (World Bottle) beer bottle that doubled as a brick.

HBL Blog of the Week: Things & People

Things & People is a very simple blog: it shows the person, their chosen object, and the connection between the two. So Lou is pictured next to an ointment pot, and the text explains: "This is one of Lou’s many Victorian ointment pots. This particular pot was manufactured in Deritend, a suburb of Birmingham, in the late 1800s. It was dug up by Lou on the outskirts of London in the late 1900s." From this starting point, fascinating snippets of individual lives emerge.

HBL loves: the uncomplicated aim "to show what things mean to people".

HBL News: Ron Arad awarded London Design Medal 2011

Photo: Susan Smart Photography
London-based designer and architect Ron Arad was last night presented the London Design Medal 2011, at a ceremony held in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral. Arad said of the accolade: "Thank you London – I couldn't imagine doing whatever I'm doing anywhere else in the world".

The ceremony also saw the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Vidal Sassoon by Thomas Heatherwick.

HBL Exhibitions: Plusdesign presents Assemblage by Fabrica

Plusdesign Gallery, the space in Milan dedicated to contemporary design and brand for the production of limited edition pieces, presents Assemblage. This exhibition is created by the international team of Benetton communication research centre Fabrica's young designers led by Sam Baron: Dean Brown, Catherine Carreiras, Valentina Carretta Marie Dessuant, Margaux Keller, Jason Krugman, Gustavo Millon, Amaury Poudray and Filipe Ferreira.

HBL News: H&M Home coming to the US

Monday 19 September 2011

Previously available only in Europe, H&M Home will finally be coming to the US beginning Spring 2012. The collections, which launched in 2009, will be available only online for US shoppers - as is true for most of Europe, minus a handful of shop-in-shop experiences in selected stores including Stockholm.

Assemblage 3: Delicate Interference by Faye Toogood

Image courtesy of Phillips de Pury & Company
The new exhibition of British designer Faye Toogood’s third furniture collection Assemblage 3: Delicate Interference is now open at the Phillips de Pury gallery, for the 2011 London Design Festival. The pieces address the subjects of natural iridescence, voyeuristic fetishism, and obsessive preservation.

LDF 2011: LEGO Greenhouse by Sebastian Bergne launches in Covent Garden

Friday 16 September 2011

The LEGO Greenhouse by Sebastian Bergne, which we previewed in an earlier post, has been unveiled in London's Covent Garden.


Mugtail by Kinto
WGSN-homebuildlife loves this porcelain mug, which doubles up as a tealight candle holder. A perfect example of our recent Creative Dining: Trend Analysis, Mugtail is designed by Japanese homeware company Kinto and is sold by Hong Kong’s Loveramics - one of the top exhibitors highlighted by HBL at Maison & Objet this week.

SoundLink Wireless Mobile Speaker by Bose

Electronics brand Bose yesterday launched the SoundLink® Wireless Mobile Speaker, a stylish portable music speaker which can connect wirelessly to any device enabled with Bluetooth.

Stolen From De Stijl: the autumn/winter collection by Darkroom

London retailers Darkroom will launch their first self-designed collection this month, to coincide with the London Design Festival and London Fashion Week. The collection will include accessories for men and women, and products for the home, and takes its influence from the De Stijl art and design movement of the 20th century - with an emphasis on angular shapes, bold colour and geometry.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from MoOD

Vanelli at Mood 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from MoOD 2011 in Brussels, highlighting the emerging trends from the influential fabrics fair:

Decorative ikat: Ikat is applied to decorative patterns and is given a contemporary update by blending contrasting colours together so that they shimmer across the fabric and through the designs.

Blurred geometric: A trend that softens the geometric, creating a more hand-crafted feel.

Kilim inspired: Turkish Kilims have had a revival and are recoloured and reinterpreted in jacquards and prints, as well as in cut velour velvet, as seen at Algemene.

Subscribers can read the full report here.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Macef 2011

Thursday 15 September 2011

Rosenthal at Macef 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Macef International Home Show in Milan, highlighting three emerging trends from the show:

Irregularity: Products that celebrate irregularities and flaws in their construction show a trend for unique, hand-crafted design.

Vintage: Nostalgic products from the past make a strong appearance and vintage tools are particularly prominent.

Do it yourself: Humble, lightweight and eco-friendly materials are used in inventive ways. Custom-cut cardboard objects and modular components can be easily tailored to meet the user's individual needs.

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

Edition Sous Etiquette at Maison & Objet

French design brand Edition Sous Etiquette were a highlight of the second edition of Maison & Objet this year, exhibiting a beautifully detailed rug made up of interlocking typographic characters in a monochrome colour palette.

Guilty, a Postmodernist luxury yacht by Ivana Porfiri

Photo by Andrea Ferrari; image via Yatzer
Greek Cypriot industrialist Dakis Joannou commissioned Italian designer Ivana Porfiri to create this luxury yacht in October 2005. Called Guilty, it features an external artwork by Jeff Koons and three decks of luxurious interiors, including white Corian floors, artwork from David Shrigley and many others, and statement pieces of furniture throughout.

HBL Analysis: Sustainable design for kids

Table Manners Set by FunFam

With the world’s population using natural resources faster than they can be replenished, the need for sustainable products has never been more urgent or more commercial. Kids' product designers are tackling this issue by using sustainable materials and increasing the longevity of their products, as well as taking care with packaging and distribution.

HBL Book of the Week: Menu Design in America, 1850–1985

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Menu Design in America, 1850-1985 by culinary anthropologist Jim Heimann (Taschen, 2011) features nearly 800 of the best examples of its title, reproduced in full colour and accompanied by an essay on the history of menu design by graphic designer Steven Heller, and image notes by culinary historian John Mariani.

Audi unveils urban concept

Audi has announced its latest concept car: an electric vehicle designed for urban use, which weighs just 480kg. Featuring elements of a racing car, a city car and a roadster, its lightweight frame was inspired by a sailplane while its interior references an aeroplane cockpit.

HBL Blog of the Week: The Hunter Gatherers

Tuesday 13 September 2011

The Hunter Gatherers are Toronto-based bloggers John (the Hunter) and Erica (the Gatherer), a duo who post photographs and images of anything which sparks off their imagination. The result is an ever-changing collage of details, textures, colours, moods and scenes.

HBL loves: the unexpected moodboards and snapshots which emerge as a result of both their approach and the blog's layout. Good for a shot of image inspiration.

Homebuildlife shops Paris

Sugao at Merci, Paris

During our trip to Maison et Objet, Homebuildlife editors visited Parisian concept stores Merci and Gambs for an inspirational shopping trip. Currently on display at Merci is Sugao, an exhibition celebrating Japanese design and packaging. A well-chosen selection of Japanese products ranged from household items such as  delicately packaged dish scrub, to well-crafted furniture like Tatsuo Kuroda's Knot Chair for Normann Copenhagen.

Excelsior Milano: the concept store by Jean Nouvel for Coin

Monday 12 September 2011

A new store dedicated to design, food and fashion has opened in the centre of Milan. People are already talking about this new landmark of luxury and style in the city: Excelsior Milano is the first architectural mark on the city signed by Jean Nouvel, one of the greatest names of architecture.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Maison & Objet

WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from the second Maison & Objet this year, highlighting three key trends to emerge so far from Paris's influential interiors events:

Tartan and plaid: This classic pattern is updated by designers with surprising mixtures of colours and placements.

Purple: Tones of purple, from light and airy to rich and bold, are seen across every product category, used together or in combination with blues.

Soft hard: Ceramic surfaces take on the softer appearance of knit, weave and crumpled fabric across tableware and decorative accessories.

Origin preview: work in progress

Friday 9 September 2011

Ceramicist Sue Ure applying bands of colour to her porcelain and stoneware vases
Craft exhibition Origin have shared with us some behind-the-scenes photos of the exhibitors, hard at work in their studios and workshops getting ready for the show. WGSN-homebuildlife takes a closer look at each artist's practice.

HBL Tradeshows: Live from Autumn Fair

Thursday 8 September 2011

Miss Etoile at Autumn Fair 2011
WGSN-homebuildlife reports live from Autumn Fair in Birmingham, highlighting the emerging trends seen at the show:

Hollywood holiday: A confirmation of WGSN-homebuildlife's 2012 Christmas direction where decorations take on a nostalgic feel with a mood of optimism and vintage sophistication. Bright pastels, faded gold, hand-painted surfaces and paper ornaments are seen across a variety of Christmas collections.

Laboratory: A confirmation of WGSN-homebuildlife's spring/summer 2012 trend Laboratory, where prints and patterns are a creative juxtaposition of colour blocked elements and shapes are futuristic and streamlined.

Purple: The dominant colour at the show is purple, with dusky tones seen across home accessories such as ceramics and glass. Dark pink tones of violet are applied to soft accessories in sumptuous fabrics such as velvets and satins.

Subscribers can view the full live report here.

HBL Analysis: Jewellery for the home

Perle trivet by Adam + Harborth, sold at Theo-Theo
WGSN-homebuildlife explores how techniques, materials and styles traditional to jewellery design are making their way into the interior landscape.

Paul Cocksedge at Beijing Design Week

Paul Cocksedge Studio has been commissioned to create a large-scale installation for Beijing Design Week, which takes place 26 September - 3 October this year.

Liquid by SPACE for Georg Jensen

Danish design agency SPACE have teamed up with Georg Jensen, designing a curvaceous collection of trays and decorative bowls for the Scandinavian luxury brand.

HBL Retail: Bar Brocante, Paris

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Bar Brocante, Paris; image via

Following our new guide to Paris, designed especially for visitors to this weekend's Maison & Objet, here's another Parisian gem: Bar Brocante is a vintage design shop that transforms into a wine bar. Founded by Eva Pritsky, it's a popular hangout frequented by local artists and bargain hunters alike.

HBL Book of the Week: The London Design Guide 2012-13 edition

Max Fraser's 2012-13 edition of The London Design Guide (Spotlight Press, 2011) is published on 15th September, two days ahead of the official start of the London Design Festival, and once again offers a comprehensive guide to the capital's design destinations - from galleries, restaurants and bookshops to vintage and contemporary design retailers - all organised by neighbourhood for ease of use.

Paris top ten tips: Maison & Objet special

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Pierre Charpin at Galerie Kreo, September 8 - October 7 2011

This week, the design world will be making its way to Paris for the biannual Maison & Objet trade show. For those who want to escape the aisles of the exhibition centre, WGSN-homebuildlife presents a preview of what's on in Paris from September 9-13.

HBL Analysis: Knit & woven

Cloud stool by Joon You Choi
Following on the heels of fashion designers such as Sandra Backlund, the trend towards oversized knits and weaves in furniture has been rapidly gaining ground and making an appearance in everything from lampshades to pouffes.

HBL Exhibitions: mischer'traxler's first Italian retrospective

Limited Moths by mischer'traxler

Turin gallery Novalis Fine Arts will present the first Italian retrospective of Austrian design duo mischer'traxler this November. Curated by Maria Cristina Didero, the show will examine their key projects and overall approach to date - which the designers describe as having a "focus on experiments, context and conceptual thinking".