Marset Barcelona

Jun 22 - 2017

This is how much you can pack into 24 hours in Barcelona if Montse is in charge:

Marset showroom to see the lights, and an introduction by Javier to the the business heritage and philosophy over lunch. Soon becomes clear that food and stories will be an important part of the trip. Loved the skinny Miro-like Copérnica floor lamps, surprised by the range of materials – veneer and resin, ceramic (see below) – and impressed by the versatility of these designs which go anywhere, which is not to say that they are bland, far from it.

Pick up bags, jump into cab and off to the beautiful huge white-dusted box that is the Apparatu workshop for a speed-demo by designer-ceramicist-proprietor Xavier Mañosa of the process from clay in bags through casting, polishing, firing, glazing, firing again, a labour of love indeed.

In a couple of hours I have met 2 family businesses that have survived by evolving, successive generations adding different layers of skill and sensibility and finding new markets - a nice way to work. Interesting also that Barcelona has a thriving manufacturing culture fuelled by centrally located viable production space plus locally-sourced materials and people to design, make and support. As usual I'm wondering why we don't seem very good at this in the UK, and I'd be interested to know to what extent Spanish central and local government and maybe EU policy drives this.

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Apparatu front door Apparatu workshop Apparatu Scotch Club Marset Scotch Club Marset Ginger lamp Marset Copernica lamp

News to me

Feb 15 - 2017

2 brands I didn't know

Blond, a lighting manufacturer with a typically impressive Scandinavian design heritage showing both re-editioned light fittings by Erik Gunnar Asplund and new products. They have a distinct line running through the entire portfolio of almost excessively simple design, strong shapes, quality materials and families of different sizes making the fittings useful and adaptable to all scales and type of building. You would think everyone would do this but no. Looking forward to seeing more of this brand in the UK and to using the lights.

Finnish manufacturer Adea, on the other hand, we sadly won’t be seeing or using because of UK upholstery regulations; I was going to say that Europe has one set of rules and we have another but turns out there is virtually no standardisation and all countries have their own testing requirements. So much for blanket imposition of overbearing EU standards, in this case ours are more onerous so Adea can’t sell here. What a shame, I loved this company and as with Blond it’s hard to know quite why - not staggeringly different but very right - proportions, materials, combinations.


Blond Bend Mini 300 / Bornstein Lyckefors & GA7 / Erik Gunnar Asplund

Adea Baron sofa, Bon sofa & Plateau table / Mats Broberg and Johan Ridderstråle


Adea Bon sofa Plateau table Adea Baron sofa Bend Mini GA7

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


Inform Family

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

Everyday light

Mar 26 - 2014

At school yesterday we talked about light and graded colour and the fact that artists use stock building materials, fluorescent lamps and acrylic paint to disrupt space for physical and emotional impact. More scope for designers to use the same methods, perhaps, rather than following the rules. Read Kit Cuttle on his wonderfully straightforward work with everyday lighting: he’s not keen on calculations or codes but loves an illuminated plane and knows how that makes us feel (very hard to regulate).

Pieter Vermeersch solo exhibition at team gallery, New York, and James Turrell at Pace Gallery London now.

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Untitled 2010 copy Jadito Red 1968 copy

Clerkenwell 01

May 23 - 2013

muuto had gorgeous thin ply chair prototypes at CDW, launching later in the year, and until then their collection is full of deceptively simple objects that have neatness engineered in and price out. Here are 2: Up Lamps, and Stacked shelf system.

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