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

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

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


Sep 20 - 2013

Lower Marsh behind Waterloo Station is a curious street, undisturbed by twenty-first century development despite its prime location. Fish and chips, second-hand books, massage parlour, tatooing, vintage, primary school, micro-supermarket - something for everyone and now a shopfront for product designer Michael Anastassiades. He seems to be working with the traditions of another era, using fine materials and tapping into a level of craftsmanship that we might have thought no longer existed, nevertheless producing entirely contemporary objects.


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Clerkenwell 02

May 23 - 2013

Short fat Mega sofa, and all-legs skinny Tio chairs by Massproductions, who used to work for Ikea so know about getting useful lovely things made well.

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Twentytwelve 02

Aug 06 - 2012

Some other people who might have a view on Olympic publicity are Barber Osgerby who designed the torch, seen all over the country, carried by 8000 torch bearers, unbelievably, not getting as much airplay as the cauldron. Anyway they seem fairly busy working all over the place doing a madly wide variety of things, the designer’s dream life.

TipTon chair for Vitra, the torch manufactured in the UK by the Premier Group in Sheffield, Tab lamp for Flos.

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barberosgerby bo1


Feb 07 - 2012

Io lamp by Matthew Hilton – elegant, un-faddy, energy efficient and practical – sadly no longer in production. The spare shape with precisely separated elements puts material choice to the fore: brushed nickel plated steel arm, cast iron base and crucially a porcelain shade making an ordinary compact fluorescent lamp a thing of beauty. All this for around £100. Should UKPLC be able to match our design talent with the ability to manufacture to this level of finesse, and at an affordable price?

Used in consulting rooms throughout The London Medical Chambers

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