Monthly Archives: June 2013

  • Summer festivals with a difference

    Posted on 29th June 2013 by Andy.

    It’s the Glastonbury Festival this weekend so the British Summer of music festivals is officially in full swing. But it doesn’t always have to be about the music. Coming up this summer are a couple of alternative festivals that mix music with a spot of culture. Latitude Festival Where: Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk When: 19th to 21st July

    To the untrained eye the Latitude Festival, now in its eighth year, looks like a conventional music festival with names like Bloc Party and Foals topping the bill. But this family friendly festival is a much bigger melting pot of arts and culture with multiple stages and tents hosting full schedules of comedy, theatre, dance and literary events across the festival site. It’s possible, if you so desire, to visit Latitude and never see a musical note played, although you’ll be missing the point as the real pleasure of Latitude is the opportunity to dip in and out shows from obscure acts as well as big names. The highlight must surely be German techo geniuses Kraftwerk headlining the main stage on Saturday night with a 3D extravaganza. Find out more: Vintage Festival Where: Glasgow When: 27th to 28th July


    The brainchild of designer Wayne Hemingway the first festival was created in 2007 to celebrate the rich heritage of British creativity. It plunders every field of creativity and culture such as music, fashion, art, design, film and even food from the 1920s all the way up to the 1980s. It will showcase how style through the years has influenced modern design while also celebrating the revival of retro and vintage design. It’s unlikely you’ll find another festival this year where you can learn hair and beauty tips from specific decades of the 20th Century and enjoy ‘Make do and Mend’ workshops. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with culture, design, glasgow, latitude festival, suffolk, vintage

  • One app to rule them all

    Posted on 28th June 2013 by Andy.

    The truly connected home is getting ever closer as Intel has revealed it is working on a new system that allows a variety of devices to ‘talk’ to each other. So lighting, music, heating, blinds etc can work in harmony. The problem faced by many home automation systems is that with so many companies making products using different control methods and ways of connecting it becomes difficult to synchronise them with a single system. Recognising this Intel is creating software that will work with most current and future systems allowing them to seamlessly work together. The final software will provide a simple interface via which you can simply tailor your home automation systems to perform how you want. To find out more see the full story at Engadget:

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with Home Automation, Smart Home, software, systems

  • Memory Palace Exhibition

    Posted on 25th June 2013 by Andy.


    Exhibition: Memory Palace Where: Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL When: Now until 20 October 2013 The V&A has brought together author Hari Kunzru and 20 new pieces of art from a selection of leading illustrators, graphic designers and typographers to create what has been described as a ‘walk-in book’. It tells the story of a distant future London where writing and art have been outlawed and what is left of the past are people’s memories. The work on show here each illustrates a passage from the story, which plays on the idea of memory. The contributing artists have been drawn from a number of different disciplines including editorial and advertising, producing pieces that range from sculptures to intricate designs. The exhibition presents a distinctive and original approach to exhibiting graphic artwork and is a brilliant showcase for up and coming British talent. Find out more:  

    This Post was posted in Designers and was tagged with exhibition, london, memory palace, V&A

  • From warehouse to your house

    Posted on 23rd June 2013 by Andy.


    When it comes to living in a city you’re faced with lots of options when considering where to live. Do you go for a house or a flat. Is the amount living space important or the location? For many, urban living means a flat in or close to a city centre within a stone’s throw of great shopping, nightlife and work. Many of the UK’s major cities have great industrial heritage having grown in an explosion of Victorian industrialisation. So cities such as London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham, have a rich stock of factory and warehouse conversions. The development boom of the last 30 years saw many apartment developments springing up for young professionals with some developers opting to renovate and develop old factories and warehouses. These red-brick behemoths had been empty for much of the Eighties but their size and space were ideal for a new appetite for studio and loft living. Because they had previously housed vast machines and production lines factory conversions were often very solidly built. This sometimes made it difficult to plumb in all the amenities but did mean you wouldn’t be troubled by noisy neighbours or subsidence, and enabled some developments to add extra floors. While a new development may try to make the most of as given plot, dividing it into many similarly sized and shaped units a factory conversion is dictated by the existing structure, which can result in some unique living spaces. Many of the original floors would have been open plan except for supporting columns, making it possible to create expansive studio spaces with kitchen/diners/living rooms. It also allowed for greater flexibility as you could build dividing walls pretty much wherever you wanted. Many factories also had tall ceilings, sometimes going to double height, which allow you to have large spacious living spaces or split level spaces and mezzanine levels. Such as having a bedroom overlooking the living room. Taller ceilings also mean tall windows, allowing for lots of light and ventilation. In these cases automated blinds can be essential since you can’t reach the tops of the windows and the building’s structure may make hard wiring technology into the walls difficult, if not impossible. Great examples of conversions include The Jam Factory in London SE1. An Edwardian era building that is still dominated by a chimney emblazoned with the name of the jam manufacturers, Hartley. The development includes communal gardens, underground parking, balconies and penthouses. But the real blueprint of how developing an old industrial area can transform an entire area for the better has to be Sir Terence Conran’s Butler’s Wharf development. In 1983 he formed a partnership that bought and Southbank and Tower Bridge. The result was not only lots of apartments and homes, but a vibrant hub of shopping, restaurants and culture as well, including Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Design Museum.

    This Post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with conversions, development, loft, london, warehouse

  • Philippe Starck

    Posted on 22nd June 2013 by Andy.


    The former enfant terrible of design, known for his eccentric and confrontational style has worked both in interior design and product design during his 44-year career. There is very little he won’t turn his hand to, creating everything from door knobs to motor bikes. While his extensive list of clients includes such big names as Eurostar, Asahi, Apple, Microsoft, LaCie and Virgin.


    Starck likes to find new approaches to familiar objects to create something that is both sculptural and functional. So it’s as good to look at, as it is to use. His iconic juicer, Juicy Salif, which he designed for Alessi in 1990, has achieved cult status and is still a big seller. You can see a wide selection of his latest product designs on his website here: Starck gives as much consideration to the materials he uses as the form his designs will take. Often one influences the other. A recent example is the Louis Ghost Chair that he designed for Kartell. He adapted the familiar shape of a classic chair but rendered it in a tough clear polycarbonate so that it almost isn’t there at all. His refit of the Royalton Hotel in New York is often credited with transforming the hotel industry and establishing the fashion for boutique hotels with distinctive, unique rooms. Now in his 64th year Starck shows no signs of slowing down. As creative head of his own firm he still extends his signature designs across a whole range of products and industries. From headphones to hard drives and restaurants to luxury yachts. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in Design Icons and was tagged with deisgn, philippe starck, starck

  • Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life

    Posted on 21st June 2013 by Andy.


    Where: Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG When: 26 June – 20 October 2013 Next week sees Tate Britain playing host to one of the country’s most prolific and distinctive painters. The exhibition, Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, is a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s studies of industrial and urban landscapes.

    His pale colour palette, muddy tones and stylised figures will probably be quite familiar but his pictures also document life in the North of England from the 1920s to the 1950s. His large canvases of street scenes are bustling with people and lots of great details that reveal themselves the more you look. This exhibition is going to be popular, so book to avoid disappointment. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in Design Icons and was tagged with britain, exhibitions, lowry, tate

  • A phone that answers the door for you

    Posted on 18th June 2013 by Andy.


    What at first glance looks like a very smart cordless telephone is actually hiding a few neat tricks up its sleeve, as the Siedle Scope can also control a lot of your home technology.

    While it connects to your landline and works just like a regular phone, including caller identification, its other main strength is security. The full-colour screen on the handset can be used to access and control remote security cameras located about your property. So if you hear the doorbell you can look to see who it is and even open the door for them, all via the handset. It will even let you control your electric blinds, lights and garage door.

    The Scope is from German design firm Siedle, specialists in home technology with products ranging from intercoms to thumb-print scanners. Prices for the Siedle Scope start at £600.

    Find out more here:

    This Post was posted in Smart Home and was tagged with control, home, scope, security, siedle, technology

  • Heatherwick’s oasis of peace in the city

    Posted on 17th June 2013 by Andy.


    The Thomas Heatherwick Studio, famous for the stunning Olympic flame that was the centrepiece of London’s Olympic opening ceremony, has designed a £60m ‘Garden Bridge’ to cross the River Thames. It has come as a response to a tender from Transport for London (TfL) aimed at creating a pedestrian crossing to the river. What makes it unique is that the bridge will be covered in trees, grasses and wild flowers to create an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the city. You’ll be able to take a direct route across, although meandering paths and places to stop will encourage you to take things at a leisurely pace. So then London Bridge in the rush hour won’t be the slowest way to cross the Thames. The project is still pending key funding and planning applications, but it’s hoped that work will commence in 2014 for completion in 2016.

    This Post was posted in Architects and was tagged with bridge, garden, heatherwick, london, thames

  • Console Wars III

    Posted on 15th June 2013 by Andy.


    The war to own your living room is beginning to heat up again as Sony and Microsoft gear up for the launch of their new games’ consoles at the end of the year. At E3, the annual entertainment and electronics show in LA this week, both revealed more details about the forthcoming consoles, including the prices. Sony’s PS4 also made its first proper appearance, and it’s not a million miles from the styling of Microsoft’s Xbox One, as both have favoured black boxes with minimal detailing. Things don’t change much on the inside either as both have similar hardware specs, including 500GB hard drives and Blu ray drives. Both also offer a wide selection of internet and streaming options so that you can access a range of media on your TV.


    While the PS4 is rumoured to have better graphical clout the Xbox One looks like having a better line up of exclusive games at launch. Microsoft are also bundling its motion controller, Kinect, with every machine, making it a more rounded package. Its latest version promises greater sensitivity and accuracy as well as the ability to determine your heart rate. On top of that the Xbox One will respond to voice activation and instructions. But this all comes at a price, namely £429 (€499), while the PS4 is much cheaper at £349 (€399). The price isn’t the only chink in Microsoft’s armour either. It is required to be always on in order to authenticate the games being played. Some people have raised security concerns with the Xbox needing to always be online since it has an active webcam permanently mounted in the Kinect module. Existing Xbox 360 games and second-hand games aren’t playable on the Xbox One either. Something that will make it popular with games publishers, but not so much with games fans. Sony has taken the opposite stance by allowing the PS4 to always be played offline and for second-hand or borrowed discs to be playable. It could just be enough to give Sony the upper hand as both hit the market. But with so many variables at play time will tell who the real winners are. Find out more:

    This Post was posted in Technology and was tagged with console, games, microsoft, one, playstation, ps4, sony, xbox

  • Electric blinds style choices

    Posted on 14th June 2013 by Andy.


    When choosing which electric blinds to have in your home there are a few things that you’ll need too consider. For starters, what do they look like open, closed and all the points in between? How do they move and catch the light when they are being opened and closed? Whatever style you  choose will determine what material, colour and pattern you go for as well. Here is a selection of the types of electric blinds we make to help you decide what kind you would like to see in your home: Roller blinds Like the other blinds these are compact and ideal for varying lighting levels in a room. But roller fabrics also have a major advantage over other types in that they are made from one piece of material, so they can display patterned designs. Think of an electric roller blind as a large fabric canvas being unfurled against one wall of your home and you’ll begin to see the possibilities. They’re a great way of framing complex, regular patterns like flock as well as large asymmetrical designs like floral prints, which can be reflected in the other furnishings that you have. Venetian blinds The simple and practical nature of venetian blinds is that they are compact and unobtrusive. They allow a lot of control over the amount of light they let in while also enabling a degree of privacy. They are also best suited to minimalist interiors where the straight edges and plain colours won’t conflict. However, with a greater range of colours than ever you don’t have to settle for cold, characterless whites and creams when you can have something bold and striking. Vertical blinds A popular choice for formal interiors like offices or larger areas, thanks to their practical, unobtrusive design, vertical louvres are ideal for using bold colours and textured fabrics. Closing or even half closing the fabric louvres can change the whole look of a room, and not just because of the lighting change. In a big enough window a vertical blind can become the dominant colour feature and some textured fabrics, like those with reflective or metallic elements, will shift in tone as the light hits it at different angles. Roman blinds Because they are made from one expanse of soft fabric electric roman blinds are like roller blinds in that irregular patterns will work well, and like vertical louvres textured fabrics will look really effective. When raised the blind is gathered towards the top, creating an irregular, folded bunch that will obscure any formal, regular pattern. But roman blinds are a lot softer looking, which makes them an ideal antidote to the minimal, straight lines of verticals and venetians that can appear harsh.

    This Post was posted in Electric Blinds and was tagged with Electric Blinds, fabrics, roller, venetian, vertical, window blinds

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