Stockholm Furniture Fair 2017

Feb 14 - 2017

Flying visit to Stockholm last week with Inform, see below, thank you, to visit the fair and see a bit of the city: clear, bright and very cold, pink skyline which was also the colour of the show - various shades from germolene to bubble gum. Recommended by several people as one of the best shows, I totally agree: great exhibition, lots too see but by no means overwhelming, well-curated and laid out, legible, a range of manufacturers from big brands to start-ups including the Greenhouse showing independent designers and design school work. I came away feeling appropriately informed, not exhausted which is my response to the sprawling multi-site mega shows.

As to the city it’s a model of civilised urban living with its distinct neighbourhoods and easy connections – partly the result of an integrated transport system but mostly due to amazingly helpful English-speakers everywhere. I know London is fabulous in so many ways but even getting to the airport en-route to Arlanda was a transport trial: London Bridge, what a mess; you trek miles through re-routed walkways with zero information and certainly no one to ask, nightmare for anyone and especially just-landed visitors, what must they think? Tempting to ask why we can’t do better but just checked the population of both cites and London is roughly times ten, which may have something to do with it.

 



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Stockholm skyline

Inform family

Feb 07 - 2017

Inform love all things Scandinavian, represent both established and new brands and consequently have a beautiful shop packed with good things. Worth a visit. These are a few of my favourite things:

Lightyears Nightowl, Swedese Laminett, Bla Station Honken & Lintex Air Cork



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Inform Family

Print project

Mar 21 - 2016

Preview of art for Fulham Road, on site now: full strip-out and renovation of fabric and services for 23 apartments, each one re-planned for maximum daylight and easy flow with new kitchens, bathroom, built-in storage and a careful mix of furniture and finish. Re-opening early summer.

Vintage Tate exhibition posters, silk screens by Muir McNeilAnna Marrow and Sophie Arnold.

More info here.

Fulham Road art

Alternative architects

Mar 21 - 2016

Many architects and designers I know do something else and this seem to fall into two categories: therapy or some kind of making, which perhaps amounts to the same thing, also one poet and that's another story. Quite benign compared with the unbelievable number of our politicians who have spare time for crime fiction or exhaustive biographies, naming no names.

Pencil & clay portraits by Liz Parr

Lynne Rossington Bakerloo Line brown glazed ceramics 

Liz Parr pencil portrait Lynne Rossington ceramics

RCA Battersea, Signs

Jan 28 - 2016

Building names and interior signs at the new site, designed by Cartlidge Levene, avoid the bland corporate with a flexible approach to how and where different levels of information are accommodated: the multilayered system comprises permanent painted lettering, quiet white on concrete, a brighter slotted rail system that holds both permanent screen-printed aluminium tabs and easily-updated A4 paper sheets, and a kind of pegboard for informal notes. Looks good now and suits the building, should wear well and be adaptable as the school and its users change.

Fonts: Calvert & new Calvert Brody, more in Dezeen.



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RCA Signs lettering RCA Sign system RCA Signs detail RCA Signs peg board

Michèle Oberdieck RCA Work in Progress

Jan 25 - 2016

Had an interesting couple of hours at the Haworth Tompkins RCA Dyson Building in Battersea where visitors had (very trusting) free rein to wander the studios and get a bird's eye view of the workshops from glazed galleries – a glimpse into a particular working world. 

Among the exhibitors Michèle Oberdieck showed her glass objects resting on their sides, open-mouthed, cut polished edges, smooth, stretched and pinched-in forms and stand-out use of dazzling yellow, brown and pink: a wake-up combination. Looking forward to the end of year show.

Michèle Oberdieck News

Royal College School of Material Ceramic & Glass

 

 



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Michlee Oberdieck Tall Yellow Michele Oberdieck Brown Yellow

New Year New Gallery

Jan 01 - 2016

Not so very new, Damien Hirst’s enterprise opened in October and is 5 minutes from home so can’t think why I haven’t been before, definitely an interesting neighbour; the gallery is on one of those streets you find increasingly in London that seem to appear out of nowhere despite being 200 years old, tucked in between the river and Lambeth Walk and part of a very rapid development of the entire stretch between Nine Elms and Elephant. The building consists of renovated scene-painting studios and a brick extension by Caruso St John with their particular pared-back but highly refined architecture  – somewhat at odds with the Hirst public persona? still, good use of a presumably generous budget and the proceeds of many skulls and butterflies.

The inaugural show is a collection of huge John Hoyland (1934-2011) canvasses that occupy two gallery floors; no notes or titles, just saturated and overlapping blocks of colour which are perfectly suited to the space and a make a substantial show. I read a scathing review on the inadequacies of the work, compared very poorly with the American abstract expressionists, but I loved it and will go back - it’s on for a few months, the gallery is free, and it’s virtually empty which means visiting is a pleasure and a rare opportunity to stand back and see.

Good article here by Oliver Wainwright on DH, the building and the area.

Rowan Moore in The Guardian as usual gets to the point in his review of the architects: A short distance from Hirst’s gallery is the junkheap of towers and desolate open spaces going up in Vauxhall. How much better it would be if it had some of the intelligence of a practice like this.

Site Newport Street Gallery / Architects Caruso St John / Artist John Hoyland



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John Hoyland NSG 2. John Hoyland NSG 1 John Hoyland NSG 3

London Light

Sep 27 - 2015

Picking through lighting at the London Design Festival, not at all methodically or comprehensively :

Michael Anastassiades occupied the shopfront at Aram with his own range and the Mobile Chandeliers for Flos; something I like about his work is that it's on the one hand utterly special - sculptural and made exquisitely with fine materials - and also completely useable, perhaps because it reminds you of other things? Upscaled jewellery or gorgeous toys. More about MA and a different way of thinking about the sofa here.

Had an interesting chat with Rubn whose products have a slightly mid-mod feel so not surprising to learn they hand-make from a factory in Sweden founded in the 50s. Added to a half a century of design history they have a super-flexible contemporary production set-up which means their neat families of fittings – practical and well-made, spanning glamorous to everyday – can be endlessly adapted and customised.

EOQ showed their Joseph lamps designed by Michael Young and made from solid blocks of alumunium; more on their site on how this is done but suffice to say it's clever and the result is something that almost looks like paper so delicate are the blades. Anodised or finished in metallic colours the fittings have an intriguing glow, marrying industrial with refined, aptly named after Jospeh Bramagh who patented the first extrusion process in 1797 for making lead pipe.



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Micahel Anastassiades lamps Micahel Anastassiades Mobile Chandelier 8 Rubn Vox pendant Rubn Lector lamp EOQ Joseph pendant

Lines, pin marks

Jul 31 - 2015

Agnes Martin at the Tate, the master in less is very much more with her faint and broken lines and translucent layers playing havoc with eyes and expectations. Loads written about the mysterious and admirable Martin, who did her own thing, my one discovery is that I am massively disturbed by the horizontal line-only works, and totally at one with the grid. Not sure what that's all about. Titles not much help - The Rose, I Love the Whole World - and neat pin marks at the edges of a canvas the only clue as to practice and making, otherwise we are left to wonder. Which reminds me of Barnet Newman who knew Martin and whose own works do something similar in presenting a simple face and keeping you looking/thinking.

On A Clear Day 1973
1974 interview with Agnes Martin

 



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Agnes Marton On a Clear Day Agnes Martin

Basil Spence

Jul 30 - 2015

Basil Spence Council Chamber at Kensington Civic Hall, a gloriously in-tact 70s interior with a level of detail to lust after in the age of (design)&build. Competition win with Kilburn Nightingale & Co.

Kensington Town Hall