The Back Room by Studio Toogood

Friday 28 September 2012

Last week Studio Toogood presented its latest project; The Back Room, for London Design Festival 2012. The event also saw the launch of Faye Toogood's Batch furniture collection.

Patricia Urquiola for Mutina: Cersaie 2012

Azulej by Patricia Urquiola for Mutina

Patricia Urquiola has once again collaborated with Mutina to create a collection of tiles. Called Azulej, the collection has just been launched at Cersaie and comprises a number of prints that can be mixed to create bespoke compositions to cover walls and floors.

Design Funked: Dwell at LDF 2012

British retailer Dwell made its first appearance at the London Design Festival this year, with Design Funked - a project which asked ten of Britain's freshest designers to take an existing piece of furniture and "funk it up". The items were exhibited and available to buy at the Tottenham Court Road flagship store, with all proceeds going to the Kids Company charity.

Globo at Cersaie 2012

Thursday 27 September 2012

Cersaie is the world's leading bathrooms and ceramic tile tradefair, welcoming more than 80,000 visitors through its doors every year. And aside from the latest trends in tiles and bathroom furnishings, the fair also provides strong VM inspiration each year.

This week, Italian brand Globo is leading the way, with an enclosed wooden stand separated into a number of differently-styled segments, each showcasing its sanitary and bathroom products according to a different consumer lifestyle and taste.

W&Q at Tent 2012

On show at Tent London last week was the latest chair collection by W&Q, which combines traditional bamboo weaving techniques with contemporary application of colour and pattern.

Princess: the compact breakfast

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Compact4All by Princess
With space becoming more and more of an issue in large cities the world over, Dutch electrical goods specialist Princess has come up with a stackable solution.

Compact4All is made of four kitchen appliances with all the necessary accessories for a healthy and efficient breakfast. A kettle, a coffee maker, a toaster and a squeezer all function separately or can be grouped together to make a compact breakfast unit where everything is within reach.

Christmas 2012 at Nancy and Betty

British boutique stationery brand Nancy and Betty has released its winter 2012 range,  which uses traditional Christmas imagery combined with a humorous touch.

Live from Decorex 2012: key trends

Pinch at Decorex 2012

Decorex, the UK’s dedicated show for interior design professionals, closes the doors to its 2012 edition at the end of today. This year saw a discernible move from the 350 exhibitors towards ambient colours and mild textures in the latest collections.

Recycled paints by Mini Moderns

Tuesday 25 September 2012

British design brand Mini Moderns launched a range of emulsion paints made from recycled paint last week at Tent London. The collaboration with eco-manufacturer Newlife Paints comprises 12 shades, each designed to co-ordinate with the brand's range of wallpapers, tableware and soft accessories.

Compendium of the Sublime

Using a simple layout, the Compendium of the Sublime contains separate sections for images, articles and noteworthy news stories - together creating what its founders describe as "a mood board dedicated to uplifting the human spirit, one soul at a time."

Hot Tools at Gallery Libby Sellers

Monday 24 September 2012

Product Design Masters students from influential Swiss design school ECAL are showing a range of exploratory glass works at London venue Gallery Libby Sellers this month.

Brian Ferry: still life style

Brooklyn-based photographer Brian Ferry's new still life series Ennui explores the qualities of food that make it such an appealing prop.

llinell at 100%design

Belgian lighting company llinell made its tradeshow debut during 100%design, presenting a concise collection of minimal lamps that use fluorescent bulbs as their light source.

Designs on Chocolate

Thursday 20 September 2012

Faye Toogood with Cocomaya

One of the most inventive exhibits at Tom Dixon's design emporium and show space The Dock this week is made of chocolate. The designs are the results of pairing four of-the-moment designers - Paul Cocksedge, Lee Broom, Tom Dixon himself, and Faye Toogood - with four renowned chocolatiers - Hotel Chocolat, William Curley, Rococo and Cocomaya.

Nose: Paris's freshest perfumerie

After two years of meticulous research, the founders of Parisian perfumerie Nose have come up with a bespoke service using a computerised system to pinpoint five perfumes to suit you perfectly. Their range of bottles, beautifully displayed on vintage wooden shelves, comprises 250 references to top brands such as Miller Harris, Acqua di Parma and Diptyque.

Subscribers can see more of our latest tips for the City of Lights here and here.

New lighting by Foscarini

Wednesday 19 September 2012

After furnishing the Venice Architecture Biennale with its latest designs last month, Italian lighting brand Foscarini has released a new collection of pieces.

Critter by Skitsch: Salone del Mobile 2013 preview

Critter is a freestanding mobile kitchen comprising a sink, two burners, and storage space for pots and pans under the countertop. Designer Elia Mangia has worked together with Italian design company Skitsch to develop this indoor and outdoor kitchen unit, which will be presented at the next Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Time Capsule buried in foundations of new Design Museum

Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Design Museum's director Deyan Sudjic and founder Sir Terence Conran today buried a time capsule in the foundations of the London institute's new building, at the site of the former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street.

Leaders from across the design world nominated objects for the time capsule, which includes an iPhone 4S, a tin of anchovies and a bottle of good Burgundy, chosen by Conran; a BarberOsgerby London Olympic Torch nominated by Sudjic; a miniature model of Hans Wegner's 1949 Wishbone chair, selected by John Pawson; an incandescent tungsten filament light bulb, put forward by Thomas Heatherwick and Ingo Maurer; and an Arne Jacobsen Cylinder Line coffee pot chosen by Kenneth Grange. The new building is set to open in 2015.

On Plate, Still Hungry: adventures in food

Online food, drink and travel magazine On Plate, Still Hungry is your go-to resource for localised guides to who's eating what where - from tripe soup in Istanbul to the top five places to dine in Moscow - written by a worldwide group of contributors passionate about contemporary food culture.

Republica by Patrick Norguet

Republica by Patrick Norguet
The French bistro chair is to Paris what the red phone booth is to London and the yellow taxi is to New York: a symbol. French manufacturer Drucker started making these rattan chairs in 1885 and has created new designs ever since, to maintain the balance between the tradition of the handmade and the demands of modern aesthetics. The latest designer to have risen to the challenge is Patrick Norguet.

Fendi Casa: Maison 2012

Fendi Casa's newest collection, launched at Maison & Objet in Paris this month, brings together plump forms and architectural lines, and includes the brand's new outdoor pieces.

The Modular Agadir sofa, shown above, softens an architectural structure with comfortable lines and generous proportions. The single-volume sofa is accompanied by a lounge seat, both featuring a distinctive lower back rest.

No Place Like Home Shoes by Dominic Wilcox

Monday 17 September 2012

British designer Dominic Wilcox has created a pair of shoes with embedded GPS, which uses a circle of LEDs in the left toe to show the direction of travel and a line of LEDs in the right toe to indicate how much of the journey is completed.

Student Wallpaper Design Competion 2012

Mark Amura

An exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of British architect Augustus Pugin has opened at London's prestigious Imago Gallery, featuring the the shortlisted and winning designs from the 4th annual Student Wallpaper Design Competition.

Kitchen focus: Downton Abbey VM

The Conran Shop, London
There is currently a focus on the kitchen in in-store visual merchandising, particularly in The Conran Shop and Anthropologie, who are among many retailers to have been inspired by the Downton Abbey series for their VM this autumn.

Trita: Milan buys into the burger craze

Friday 14 September 2012

Trita, Milan

A number of restaurants dedicated to the burger have recently opened in Italy's fashion capital, and the Milanese are embracing the humble fast food with as much enthusiasm as Londoners and New Yorkers before them. At Trita, diners can choose from four different types of meat (we recommend the Kobe), two sizes, three kinds of bread and more than 15 toppings.

Orange connects with the young design generation

For the second year running, Orange has curated a design competition to promote links between creation and technology. The first edition, called Orange whispers to your ear, was dedicated to making hand-free kits more practical and attractive. This year it was titled Orange gives you the keys, and focused on the relationships with and within the home.

58 students from five leading European design schools spent months working on how digital technologies can improve tomorrow's life at home, and how the inhabitants of a same house, building or neighbourhood can be encouraged to interact and connect more, wherever they may be.

David Lynch designs suite for Hotel Lutetia

David Lynch has created a luxury suite at the Hotel Lutetia that is described as an ode to the French woman.

Vegetal Identity

Inspired by the spontaneity and beauty of nature, French design company Vegetal Identity uses up to forty different species of plants to create its range of wall pieces - which combine 3D wall art with plant pictures and typography.

Mood 2012: Innovative design

Thursday 13 September 2012

Innovative wallpaper concepts takes centre stage at this year's edition of upholstery, windows and wall covering show Mood. Reflective, three-dimensional and bespoke are the key recurring themes at the Brussels-based fair.

Selfridges' new children's department

Wednesday 12 September 2012

London department store Selfridges has launched its reimagined children’s department, with an updated kids' fashion offer and a seasonal pop-up toy area.

Mercedes Drive Thru by Bompas & Parr

British experience designers Bompas & Parr's latest interactive food event is a diner-style drive-through created in collaboration with the Avant-Garde Diaries and Mercedes-Benz. Taking place 14 - 16 September at the Old Selfridges Hotel in Mayfair, the Mercedes Drive Thru will invite guests to explore luxury dining in-car - and promises to combine food with light art in spectacular fashion.

Guests will drive along the marbled hotel lobby floor to place their food order; then, with the accompaniment of a light show, they will be free to relax whilst awaiting the deliverance of their meal by staff on roller skates.  The event is to highlight the staging of the new A-Class Mercedes Benz, which is now available to order in the UK.

Spa museum: Nun Assisi Relais Hotel

Situated in the hilltops of Assisi in a converted monastery, the Nun Assisi Relais Hotel combines historic architecture and interiors with modern elegance.

In The Make

Tuesday 11 September 2012

The latest in a line of websites to document the process of craft and creation, In The Make posts regular studio visits, each featuring extensive photos, a short profile of the maker and a brief Q&A. It stands out for its visual detail, thanks to the trained photographic eye of Klea McKenna, who founded the site with writer Nikki Grattan in 2011.

Get Smart for Hearts by Alfa Romeo

Luxury car brand Alfa Romeo has collaborated with six figures from the sport, business and creative industries to design a series of unique Italian silk pocket squares in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Autumn/Winter 2013-2014 at Alcantara®

Guggenheim by Alcantara

During Milano Unica (Milan, 11-13 September) and Première Vision (Paris, 19-21 September), covering brand Alcantara will present the four new trends leading its autumn/winter 2013-2014 collection: Native, inspired by Native Americans, Norwegian Wood and Scotland; Sentiment, a romantic trend inspired by Coco Chanel; Urban Shapes, inspired by the film Metropolis; and Guggenheim, inspired by Peggy Guggenheim, art and travel.

Bubbledogs: hot dogs and champagne

Monday 10 September 2012

Bubbledogs, London; image via

The city has seen an array of specialist, two item-menu eateries open this summer. Whether it's steak and chicken at Hix’s Tramshed or burgers and lobster at the Burger&Lobster, Londoners know what they’re getting before they even take a glance at the menu.

The newest contender to London's meat-eatery crown is the West End's  Bubbledogs - a diner-style restaurant that serves up a menu of gourmet hot dogs (or haute dogs) alongside Grower champagnes.

Fogring at Maison & Objet

Fogring is a portable humidifier and aroma diffuser that can be used anywhere due to its reduced size. The floating donut-shaped product can be placed in any type of open container, from a large vase to a small tea cup, and it works with a USB driver.

Exhibited at Maison & Objet this weekend, the product ties into a growing trend among designers to develop devices for well-being.

Agnès & Agnès at Paris Design Week

French architects Agnès & Agnès are showcasing their new geometric furniture collection for kids at Paris's new design hotspot, Les Docks, Citè de la Mode et du Design, this week.

Live from Maison & Objet, September 2012

Sunday 9 September 2012

Zuzunaga at Maison & Objet, September 2012

The second 2012 edition of Maison & Objet took two design extremes: angular forms and digitally-inspired prints versus an exaggeratedly natural, handmade aesthetic.

Stone Fox Bride: A haven for alternative brides

Friday 7 September 2012

Stone Fox Bride studio

Innovative NYC bridal showroom Stone Fox Bride was founded by free-spirited newlywed Molly Guy - who set out to create a creative haven for brides who don't want the familiar big frills and bi-coloured bouquet.

Genevieve Bennett: craftswoman in leather

Pintuck by Genevieve Bennett
British textile designer Genevieve Bennett specialises in leather tiles and sculpted panels; although most of her commissions are for wallcoverings, some designs can also be used on floors and furniture.

Spray: a graffiti tablecloth

Thursday 6 September 2012

Dutch brand Usuals has launched a centrepiece tablecloth inspired by graffiti culture. Called Spray, the design is made up of overlapping spraypainted shapes that represent the layout of a typical meal.

The Big Green Egg at spoga+gafa 2012

This week WGSN-homebuildlife visited the annual spoga+gafa trade show in Cologne, the world’s leading trade fair for the leisure and garden sector. The busiest area of the show was the Barbecue and Grill hall where exhibitors were benefiting from the current trend for outdoor kitchens and dining areas.

One of the top brands on display was the The Big Green Egg, a US brand that specialises in a range of egg-shaped kamado-style outdoor cookers that can be used for baking, roasting, searing or smoking.

The perfect traveller list

Wednesday 5 September 2012

La Liste du Parfait Voyageur is the must-have accessory for travellers aspiring to pack the perfect suitcase - in the hope that if you plan carefully before you pack, your suitcase will be lighter and more manageable and you’ll have a great deal less travel stress.

Tea Egg by Normann Copenhagen

Danish design studio Made by Makers has designed a playful tea infuser for Normann Copenhagen that updates the traditional stainless steel infuser by reinventing the object in silicon.

Playfood Project by Alicja Pytlewska

RCA graduate Alicja Pytlewska has designed a video game integrated into a tabletop, which aims to educate children at meal times by making food choices an interactive process.

Matt Pepper, EOQ: brand profile

Retail expert Matt Pepper has launched a new Hong Kong-based brand, EOQ, with industrial designer Michael Young. We met with him to discuss EOQ, the upcoming launch of the brand's new pendant light,  and his opinion of the design, production and retail industry in China.

Tok & Stok student design award

Multifunctional Modules by Isac Ryutaro Otsuka (2nd place in 2011)
Retailers are finding ways to work with and support a new generation of design talent to inject fresh ideas and energy into product ranges. One example is Tok & Stok, one of Brazil's biggest interiors retailers, which created a design contest for students in 2006 aiming to trigger young professionals to combine their creative skills with commercial concerns. Every year, a different theme has to be interpreted by the students that take part in the contest, taking into consideration the brand's style and necessities.

AD Interiors 2012: Imaginary Travels

Monday 3 September 2012

The Californian lounge by Chahan Minassian; photo courtesy of Chahan Interior Design

During the second edition of Paris Design Week, AD magazine will present Interieurs 2012, Voyages Imaginaires at French auction house Artcurial. Running 8 - 21 September, the exhibition will show the work of 13 interior designers, each tasked with providing their own interpretation of escapism through the decorating of one room.

The science of taste

Scent-infused spoons by Marije Vogelzang

Designers, scientists and psychologists are increasingly exploring how the material we eat off can enhance or inhibit the taste of the food we eat. Recent experiments by Professor Charles Spence, of the department of Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, have found that strawberry desserts eaten off white plates are perceived as 10% more sweeter than those eaten off black plates; and that sweet things are associated with rounder shapes while bitter and carbonated tastes are associated with more angular shapes.

Practical applications could include strategies to reduce the sugar content of foods - by using a material or colour for a dessert spoon that people perceive as sweeter. Listen to Spence being interviewed by Simon Parkes on BBC Radio 4's Food Programme here, and read our report, Taste of Tableware, to see how others are experimenting with this idea.