Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Going Underground

    Posted on 31st May 2013 by Andy.

    London-Underground-Designs

    Love it or loathe it the London Underground has been the lifeblood of the capital for 150 years. Delays, cancellations and overcrowding aside, the Tube and its iconic logo have achieved global recognition. To celebrate this historic milestone the Poster Art 150 exhibition brings together a fraction of the 3,300 posters held in the London Transport Museum’s archive. Since 1908 the Underground has regularly commissioned original artwork for its posters. Although they may have painted a cleaner and more colourful image of London and its suburbs than would be immediately recognisable to locals, they became key to the character of the Tube. From Harry Beck’s iconic map to posters by artists such as Man Ray, Paul Nash or Laszlo Moholy-Nagy the exhibition is a fascinating journey through the history of the city and its people that is surprising, amusing and illuminating. This is a fitting tribute to the world’s first underground rail network, so catch it while you can. Exhibition: Poster Art 150: London Underground's Greatest Designs When:  Until 27th October Where: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7BB www: www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions

    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with art, exhibitions, iconic, london, underground

  • Is three or one Microsoft’s lucky number?

    Posted on 30th May 2013 by Andy.

    Microsoft-Xbox-One

     Last week Microsoft announced its latest games console designed to take on Sony’s forthcoming PS4 and reign supreme over the world’s gaming market. The company’s third entry into its increasingly popular console range is, confusingly, called the Xbox One as Microsoft thinks from now one this is the only black box you’ll need under your TV.

    It is an impressive machine, not only playing games but letting you watch DVDs, live TV, listen to music, make Skype calls and much more. A new feature is voice recognition so you can wake it up, load a game or change channel without lifting a finger. Each console also comes with a Kinect sensor for gesture control and motion capture, a Blu-ray drive and a 500GB hard drive. However, concerns have been raised about the need for it to always be online so games can be played and the fact that Xbox 360 games won’t be compatible with the new console. The shift to becoming an all-in-one entertainment centre was inevitable – the PS3 had led the way in many of these areas – and takes Microsoft into the same markets as GoogleTV and Apple TV. But many games fans remain worried about the change in focus. Although nothing has been confirmed it is thought that the Xbox One will be out at the end of the year and will be priced around about £400-£500. Expect more details to come out at the E3 consumer electronics show in June.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with games console, microsoft, one, xbox

  • Clerkenwell Design Week 2013

    Posted on 28th May 2013 by Andy.

    Clerkenwell-Design-Week-2013

    Last week was the fourth Clerkenwell Design Week, an event where, for three days in May a small corner of North London becomes a creative hub showcasing the best in interior design. This year it had over 150 exhibitors spread over 60 show rooms and galleries. Big names such as Knoll, Vitra, Arper, Camira, Ege, Mitab and Muuto all made the trip to show off their latest designs but Clerkenwell is also a great place to see up and coming designers with all three winners of the 2012 W Hotels Designers of the Future award presenting work at the festival. It’s a great place to get inspiration for your home from furniture to decoration, and lighting. If you didn’t make put the date in your diary for next year and head over to the website to see what you missed: http://www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com/

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with Clerkenwell Design Week, design, knoll, vitra

  • Inspiring summer exhibitions

    Posted on 23rd May 2013 by Andy.

    If you want to see inspiring, innovative art and design from the past, present and future this summer London is offering a wealth of opportunities. We’ve chosen three of the best must-see exhibitions that are going on in the capital right now. David Bowie is Where: V&A, Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL When: Until 11th August www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/david-bowie-is/ The V&A have got into the habit of staging high-profile exhibitions but the latest is by far the biggest and the best. Bowie is… celebrates the life and work of the Thin White Duke, David Bowie. Not only is it the fastest selling exhibition in the museum’s history but it also sold out online before it even opened. It’s a fantastic showcase of his influences, work and amazing stage personas, packed with over 300 objects ranging from handwritten lyrics to stage costumes. As an exploration of his work it illustrates how Bowie fused music, fashion and art to create exciting and original performances. Despite a few glaring exceptions (such as Bowie’s less successful side projects like Tin Machine) this is a comprehensive journey through the career of one of the Twentieth Century’s leading musical icons. Don’t worry if you haven’t got tickets though. You can still get tickets at the V&A box office on the day but be prepared to queue. Designs of the Year 2013 Where: Design Museum 28 Butlers Wharf, Shad Thames, SE1 2YD When: Until 7th July www.designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2013/designs-of-the-year-2013 The Design Museum’s annual exhibition of new and innovative design from the past year celebrates up and coming as well as established talents, awarding the best in seven design categories. The exhibition encompasses architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport design. So not only will you see iconic buildings but the best in cutting edge lamps, chairs, audio equipment and even bicycles. However, the stand out designs of the exhibition have to be Thomas Heatherwick’s stunning Olympic Cauldron, which had a starring role in the Olympic opening ceremony last year, and Renzo Piano’s The Shard, which looms large over the Design Museum from it’s home in nearby London Bridge. Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013 Where: Burlington House, Piccadilly London W1J 0BD When: 10th June to 18th August www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibitions/summer/ Every year new artwork is selected from thousands of submissions from new and established artists by the Royal Academy panel of experts. Now in its 245th year it’s a showcase for paintings, sculpture, photography, film and architecture. You’ll see over a thousand new works of art and the best bit is they’re all for sale. So you get the chance to make a canny investment or get a one-off for your living room. Even if you’re not in the market for some art, they’ll also be new work from Grayson Perry and Anthony Caro to enjoy.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with design, exhibitions, Summer

  • A vision of the future

    Posted on 22nd May 2013 by Andy.

    Google-Glass

    Google recently let eager technology journalists get their hands on their latest piece of ‘wearable tech’ known as Google Glass. Essentially it’s a computer in a pair of glasses that, among other things, allows you to surf the internet, send emails, record 720p HD video and take pictures.

    For such a small device it is packed with technology. Glass uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to the internet or your phone and offers 16GB of storage. The innovative screen gives the wearer a view of a translucent screen apparently suspended in front of them on which information, emails, directions, etc are projected. Because it lacks a keyboard Google have incorporated several ways of controlling Glass. The touchpad allows clicking and scrolling functions, while voice activation software means you can prompt actions and search for information. Finally Glass uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to recognise gesture, such as flicking your head up to activate the computer. Voice, gesture and touch obviously have been around for a while now thanks to Apple’s Siri, Xbox’s Kinect and many mp3 players and tablets. But this is probably the most successful use of all three in a device. It’s a nail in the coffin for keyboards and another step towards invisible interfaces. As innovative as Google Glass is, it’s not without its problems. While it makes checking emails and messages less intrusive than looking at your phone unless you’re an amazing multi-tasker you could trail off during a conversation to check out the latest alert to pop up in your viewfinder. It will take quite a confident person to stand in a crowd telling their glasses to ‘take a picture’, which doesn’t seem like a better option to simply pressing a button. Because of its ability to unobtrusively film and take pictures it’s thought that many public places, like cinemas and swimming pools, will ban the use of Google Glass for fear of copyright infringement or voyeurism. Finally, while you’re lost in a cutting edge technological world all everyone else gets to see is you staring into the middle distance slowly stroking the side of their head. While Glass is breaking new ground for technology, time will tell whether it redefines how we interact with technology or just becomes an evolutionary footnote. We should find out towards the end of 2013 when the first consumer versions will be released. They’ll come in a choice of five colours and will probably cost you the best part of £1,000. Find out more: : http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with glass, Google, technology

  • Sir Terence Conran

    Posted on 17th May 2013 by Andy.

    Sir-Terence-Conran

    If there is one person whose shadow looms large over the UK interior design industry it’s Sir Terence Conran. Not only did he single-handedly bring stylish and functional contemporary design to British homes but he also made it more affordable. Born in Kingston Upon Thames in 1931 he studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London before getting his first design job working on the Festival of Britain in 1951. By 1956 he had established his own design company creating furniture and designing a shop for Mary Quant. In 1964 he opened the first Habitat shop, which quickly grew into a large chain of stores. Conran later built upon this success with a number of other projects, which included Mothercare and Heals. Although Conran lost control of Habitat in the 1990s he hadn’t lost any enthusiasm for new projects. He had co-founded the architecture consultancy Conran Roche in 1980 and was instrumental in the regeneration of the Shad area of London beside Tower Bridge, which is also home to the Design Museum, which he also helped establish. He also branched out into high-end restaurants, including Bibendum and the Soup Kitchen. Being named the UK’s most influential restaurateur in 2005. Now in his eighties there is little sign of Sir Terence stopping. He is still a big supporter of British design industries, designing furniture for Marks & Spencer, Content by Conran, Benchmark and The Conran Shop, as well as writing over 30 books on the subject. The Conran Shop, a chain of 10 stores around the world, including two in London continue to specialise in his signature, stylish, contemporary designs, reflecting his simple ethos: ‘All I’ve ever wanted from life are plain, simple, useful products’. Find out more: http://www.conranshop.co.uk/

    This Post was posted in Design Icons and was tagged with conran, contemporary, designer, interior design, london, Sir Terence Conran

  • The spare room office

    Posted on 15th May 2013 by Andy.

    Controliss-Visio-Lux-Roller-Blind

    In February Yahoo! surprised a lot of people when they said that its employees should no longer have the opportunity to work from home. It raised a lot of eyebrows, not least because tech companies such as Yahoo! have made it easier than ever to work from home while staying in touch with the office.

    Their reasoning behind this change was to encourage greater collaboration and effectiveness, not least because a work environment is focussed on getting the job done and has fewer distractions.

    But sometimes you just can’t avoid working from home, so here are a few tips on how to create the ideal work environment at home:

    Create a distinctive workspace - This should ideally be an office in a spare room, but could be in an alcove below the stairs or in an underused corner of the dining room. The point is you need somewhere away from the distractions that your home can create. So avoid being in the same room as the TV for example. You’ll need room for all the essentials like a computer, printer and files, plus plenty of plug sockets. Having your work space somewhere out of the way not only keeps you focused on the task at hand but when you’re done you can switch off from work and walk away.

    Make sure your work area is light and well ventilated – In order to be most productive you want a space that isn’t too oppressive or stuffy. A window or lots of good quality lighting and white or plain, bright walls will make the space seem bigger and lighter. Use window blinds that allows flexibility and control of the light to ensure the suns glare doe not effect your computer monitor. A dark, oppressive space will only put you off from doing any work and create a negative association with it so Roller blind fabrics that give protection from harsh sun glare but still allow some light filtration are ideal

    Make yourself comfortable - You could be tempted to just set up on the dining room table, but the seating probably won’t be suitable for sitting long periods of time hunched over your laptop. Take the time to have a dedicated space where the seat, desk and computer are set up to be as comfortable to use as possible.

    Keep it organised – Ensure your desk is tidy and you keep your paperwork in good order. Don’t let a mess build up around your work area as it can lead to you becoming disorganised, which can lead to stress. If you can keep most of your equipment and paperwork in a cupboard or drawer that will help you stay focused. If your workspace is also part of your living room then being able to put it away out of sight will also help you switch off at the end of the day.

    Get a pot plant – Research has found that have found that people tend to have more creative and innovative ideas when they are close to nature. So if you don’t have a window looking out onto fields or trees get yourself a pot plant and opt for a green colour scheme.

    This Post was posted in Home Office and was tagged with computer, home, office, roller blinds, room, space, Visio-Lux

  • The Best Things On Four Legs

    Posted on 11th May 2013 by Andy.

    A classic designer chair can make any living space. They’re not just somewhere to sit, their sculptural form can be a talking point, adding character and dominating a space, even setting the tone to how the rest of the room looks. Few designs manage to make it to iconic status but here are several whose four legs (or in one case a single leg) straddle the 20th and  21st centuries.

    Eames Lounge Chair

    Eames Chair The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman were designed by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company in 1956. The classic design, made from moulded plywood and leather, has been in production ever since. Brand new, the chair in the classic leather design retails for around £4,000. However, original, vintage versions are also very collectable as they are made from Brazilian Rosewood, which is now protected. Ideal for that vintage feel the Eames chair is an evocative retro throne for those that want to chill out, read or listen to music.

    Louis-Ghost-Chair

    Ghost Chair A modern classic from leading French product designer Philippe Starke is the iconic, transparent Louis Ghost Chair. Starke designs a lot of furniture for the Italian manufacturer Kartell, many using durable, injection-moulded polycarbonate plastic. A clever twist on a classic Louis XVI armchair, Starke stripped back the design to just its shape. It’s the chair that isn’t there, which pulls off the double whammy of being both traditional and modern. Although it is available in black and a variety of different tints it is the clear version that is most iconic and that will pretty much go with any colour scheme. Get a lot together for a stylish dinner party or a single one makes an ideal occasional seat.

    Barcelona-Chair

    The Barcelona chair Originally created during the German modernist movement for the International Exposition of 1929 in Barcelona, furniture manufacturer Knoll resurrected the design in the 1950s. It is a design that has managed to stay timeless and has become much copied. A popular fixture in fashionable reception areas its sleek design and smooth surfaces make it beautiful to look at, while its wide seat makes it ideal casual seating. Its low profile makes it seem to shy away from the limelight and it can often be found skulking against walls. However, arrange a few around a low table to create a relaxed place to sit and mingle with friends.

    Eero-Aarnio-Ball-Chair

    Ball Chair Designed by Finnish furniture designer Eero Aarnio in 1963, the Ball Chair (also known as the Globe Chair) screams Sixties quirkiness like a six-foot tall lava lamp. As designs go it couldn’t have been more simple – a revolving ball sitting on a single leg. When designing the chair Aarino drew an outline of his head in a sitting position on a wall to determine the chair’s height then took in to account the need to fit it all through a doorway. It’s a big statement chair that sets a retro tone and demands to be sat in. It comes with a caché of cool and will dominate any big room making sure all eyes are on it.

    The-Wassily-Chair

    The Wassily Chair Also known as the Model B3 chair, The Wassily Chair was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1926 while he worked at the Bauhaus in Germany. A classic of the modernist era it is simple and utilitarian in its design. The design was revolutionary in its use of materials. The bent tubular steel and canvas design had only become feasible after German steel manufacturer Mannesmann perfected a process for making strong, seamless steel tubing. This was also critical in that it allowed for mass production, which helped cement its iconic status. It inspired many similar designs and has been widely copied. It wouldn’t be out of place in a minimalist, utilitarian space where its clean angles and lines will add another dimension.

    This Post was posted in Design Icons and was tagged with chair, design, eames, furniture, kartell, knoll, vitra

  • Getting the feel for your home

    Posted on 9th May 2013 by jenny.

     One of the biggest interior design trends for 2013 is the use of textures. Whether it’s a rough, rustic weave, something smooth and svelte like suede or rough and rugged like natural wood, interesting textures can be a great way to break up the clean design and sharp edges of modern homes.

    Textura-Myth-Roller-Blind Textura-Golden-Roller-blind Textura-Fossil-Roller-Blind Textura-Mist-Roller-Blind

    You can use different textures to compliment or contrast with each other, or to stand out against more minimal decoration to create a focal point in a room. Simply introduce a textured fabric in the form of a rug, a throw, cushions or as window blinds. Some textures cry out to be touched, while others can bring a sense of warmth and comfort to your home.

    Some textures can add new dimensions to a space while rough and irregular textures give a more natural feel. Alternatively, regular patterns in darker shades can stay contemporary while contrasting with their surroundings. Textures can also create a sense of weight, which could change the whole look and feel of a room. In the case of electric blinds you can literally dictate how much of the fabric is on display and how much it dominates a space.

    A lot of modern homes consist of clean lines and smooth surfaces. White walls, the gleaming tech of flat screen TVs and expanses of glass and tile. A rough texture contrasts with these and can break a wall or room up. If the texture is in the blinds this can change the feel of a room between daytime and evening.

    Many modern furnishings and accessories also come in bold, primary colours. So a texture could compliment these colours or contrast with them so that they catch your eye more. A patterned texture offers the greatest opportunity for contrast but try to keep things simple and not to have too many colours fighting for your attention.

    Pick the right texture and use it sparingly or mix it with the latest fashion for handmade materials. Knotted rugs, big knits and embroidered furnishings may sound more like your Gran’s cup of tea, but in 2013 they have a more of a contemporary spin.

    The right combination of textures can create a sense of a distinctly individual home rather than one that is ubiquitous and industrially produced, so that it becomes a space that is uniquely yours.

    This Post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with controliss, Electric Blinds, room, texture, textures

  • The worlds biggest LED TV is ready to launch

    Posted on 1st May 2013 by Chris.

    If you had to dream up the most opulent and ostentatious display of wealth you probably wouldn’t even come close to saying a massive TV in your back garden. But if you have a spare £423,000 knocking around and a garden big enough you could become the envy of your neighbours with this C Seed 201inch LED TV. At the flick of switch this black monolith rises up out of your lawn like a missile preparing to launch. Within 15 seconds it has reached its full height or 4.6 metres. Then its 201inch screen begins to unfold like an emerging butterfly. In 25 seconds the seven panels on the screen have fully extended and you’re ready to start watching. The C Seed has been designed in Austria by the Porsche Design Studio deliberately to look sculptural as well as sleek and imposing. It is the world’s largest outdoor LED TV and employs the latest cutting edge technology to deliver a seamless experience. When not in use it is hidden away in its own underground storage, its fully water replant, features three-way audio, can rotate through 270 degrees to allow you to find the best viewing angle and wirelessly connects to your home’s media hub. It also boasts fantastic picture quality so you’re not compromising anything for the outdoor cinema experience. While a lot of home design brings something of the outside in, this takes a bit of the inside out. Although it’s possibly not best suited to the British climate but the C Seed is one a must have gadget for people that have everything, especially a large bank balance and a garden to match. Visit www.cseed.tv for more info.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with audio visual, av, C Seed, garden, Home Automation, home entertainment, LED TV

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