Best of British

  • Kirsty Whyte

    Posted on 20th June 2011 by Andy.

    You may have been lucky enough to purchase a piece of furniture that was designed by Kirsty Whyte, without knowing it. Kirsty Whyte, a British interior and furniture designer, studied Decorative Arts at Nottingham Trent University. Due to her hard work and creativity on that particular course, Kirsty was invited as a guest to Kalmar University in Sweden, where she studied alongside some of the industry’s biggest names. Kirsty’s work has been exhibited all over the world, she was an intern for Tom Dixon and for a while, she has worked for Habitat, Dwell, British Home Stores and Next as a designer. Some of the award winning products Kirsty has produced include The Hound table, a small occasional table that can be stacked and interlocks to create a larger table. Hand crafted in the UK, using wood off-cuts that would otherwise go to waste, the Limpet Hooks are a fun and stylish way to hang your coats and bags.

    The Gordo one piece light – named after one of the first monkeys to go into space, due to it's space age appearance – is incredibly stylish and could feature in any room. Kirsty has received a lot of great press about her products and design, in magazines such as Living, Glamour and Elle Decoration. She won Liberty’s Best Newcomer award in 2009 and Most Prolific Hidden Art Member in 2010. What I particularly like about Kirsty’s designs are they are incredibly neat, and logical, bright and fun. She has been inspired by origami and she thinks about the importance of waste and recycling so tries to create pieces that have minimum wastage. She challenges herself with different shapes and style and will produce pieces from one continuous piece of material, for instance her Drew table bases are made from one continuous piece of recycled steel. If you want clever, modern design, Kirsty Whyte is definitely a designer to consider. You can see a full range of Kirsty’s products at www.Kirstywhyte.com.

    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with designer, Kirsty Whyte, table

  • Tom Dixon

    Posted on 9th May 2011 by Andy.

    The first time I experienced and admired one of Tom Dixon's designs was in a bar in Nottingham. A warm friendly bar with an essence of cool and the longest line of the biggest copper lights along the bar you have ever seen. I loved the lights, they were so different, then a friend pointed out they were designed by Tom Dixon. That was the fuel to my fire, I went a bit Tom Dixon mad, researching where I could get one of these fantastic lights. Originally born in Tunisia, Tom Dixon moved to the UK at a very young age.  He attended Art school for a 6 month period until he had a bad motorbike accident which kept him in hospital for 3 months. When he was well enough he spent a couple of years as a musician in a band until another motorbike accident left him unable to play. He spent a lot of time being a nocturnal party animal which enabled him to experiment with welded structures in the day time. He quickly honed his welding skills so he could keep his motor bike on the road, and experimented with scrap, producing all sorts of pieces.  He soon realised he could turn scrap into pieces of practical and beautiful art which people were willing to buy.  Tom started to gather a following of fans and specific commissions to produce bespoke pieces. He was noticed by the Italian furniture company 'Cappellini' who put some of his designs into production such as the curvy 'S-Chair', which ultimately made Tom Dixon’s name and became an iconic piece of modern furniture. Many may not have heard of Tom Dixon before, but he’s more prevalent than you realise, as he is the creative director for Habitat and has been since 1997. The Tom Dixon company  started in 2002, and since then it has has produced its own range of furniture and contemporary lighting, famously the mirror ball range, of which the Copper Shade which I absolutely love was created. It might take me a while to save up for the Copper Shade, but I think it’s definitely worth supporting great British designers who produce iconic pieces of work. For now I will just frequent the bar in Nottingham, buy a glass of Rose and gaze adoringly at their line of Tom Dixon Copper Shades.

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    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with Cappellini, Copper Shade, furniture, light, lights, Tom Dixon

  • Craft and Design Month May 2011

    Posted on 4th May 2011 by Andy.

    All hail the great British craft fair. The great events which draw hundreds of people from miles around to marvel and artistic creations, learn about ancient skills and traditions, and taste as much free homemade cheese as they can. The craft fair is an institution in itself, and seems to attract a certain type of person. But if you’re looking for something that’s unique, that won’t be in hundreds of high street shops across the length and breadth of the country, the craft fair is the place to go. From handmade silver jewelery to finely crafted oak furniture that you would never find anywhere else. You can really boast about these pieces, because they’ve been made with TLC and really make a statement in the home. May 2011 heralds Craft and Design Month, where hundreds of events are detailed on the website to help raise the profile of British crafts. Supporting our own designers and crafts people is a great achievement, there is so much variety and excitement in crafts. Bringing back age old crafts like sculptured willow weaving: for great furniture and trellises in the garden, not only beautiful designs to look at, but practical and functional too. Also creating pieces from the newest technology such as digital craft which can be completely personalised like photographs made into giant pieces of art, great for the family home or a thoughtful personal gift. So if you’re thinking of something to do at the weekend, or fancy spending on a piece of art and craft that will really make that particular room at home or special person feel amazing, take time out to visit the events across the UK for the British Craft and Design Month. Visit http://www.craftanddesignmonth.net to find events in your area, oh and don’t forget to try the chilli cheese, it’s very nice.

    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with british, craft, design, events, fair, home

  • British Design Icon: Christopher Guy

    Posted on 24th February 2011 by yasmin.

    Christopher Guy Harrison is a British furniture designer icon of whom was born on September 3rd 1960 in Britain, raised in Spain and France and now resides in Singapore. This change in cultures early on in his life and to this day is perhaps where his design inspirations come from, Harrison is world famous for combining modernism with classicism in his designs, creating luxury pieces of furniture that transcend international boundaries. Originally known for designing a vast collection of decorative mirrors, the Christopher Guy Harrison brand now incorporates upholstery, tables, chairs, sofas, office furniture and headboards.

    Perhaps one of Harrison’s most famous designs is the Patented Chris-X (pronounced as Kris-Kros) leg design. According to Harrison himself, the inspiration for this piece of furniture was inspired by the corseted waist-line of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind as well as the crossed legs of a classically poised ballerina. This leg design really is a modern day marvel which also oozes classicism and is very popular in the USA, China and across Europe. This unique design is widely seen throughout his collections as he believes it is ‘simple, sophisticated and flexible’. In 2004 Christopher Guy Harrison was applauded for his stunning designs when he received the ‘Outstanding Design’ award by the British Interior Design Association in 2004. As well as this British Award, in 2011 The World Market Centre in Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Design Centre named Christopher Guy Harrison as the ‘2011 Design Icon’. Christopher has designed interiors for some of the most famous hotels in the world, his portfolio of clients include The Mayfair Hotel in London, The Trump Plaza in New York, The Four Seasons Worldwide and even Harrods. Perhaps even more impressive than this, he has designed interiors for such movie sets as; The Mummy, Casino Royal and the Thomas Crown Affair. With such an impressive portfolio, as well as uniquely designed masterpieces, it’s no wonder that Christopher Guy Harrison has become the British design icon that he is. Sir, we salute you!

    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with British Design, Chistopher Guy, design icon, furniture, interior

  • Something Old Something New The Rough Luxe Look

    Posted on 13th November 2010 by jenny.

    One of the trendiest hotels in London, the Rough Luxe Hotel, has captured the imagination of many Londoners because of their unexpected combination of old and new. Distressed walls are combined with antique luxury items, giving a glorious combination of opulence and decay that has been embraced by the brave and the trendy. The rough luxe has been embraced by the anti-modernist because it shuns perfection, the uptightness of having everything clean and in place. The green movement, on the other hand, gives this design style its thumbs-up because the rough luxe look involves reusing any item or furniture that would otherwise look odd in a modernist home. To achieve the rough luxe look, here are a few guidelines. Take note, however, that this look is not for the wallflower or the homeowner who’s looking to sell their house in a few years rather if you plan to stay in your own home for a long time and adore surprising your house guests. The rough luxe look is characterized by distressed walls, but this doesn’t mean that you’ll let all your walls achieve a state of disrepair. One accent wall is enough, but make sure that you feature its dilapidated look. Then juxtapose this rough-hewn element with a luxury item, such as remote-controlled blinds installed in your windows.  This combination of high-tech blinds in luxurious fabrics such as our suede vertical blinds in decadent Beaujolais for instance with a bare plaster wall and an expensive painting will be such a paradox that you’ll be the talk of the town because of your coolness and good taste for many weeks. Aside from the walls, you can also leave your original flooring to its natural state and add lush carpets or elaborate rugs to maintain the look. You can also expose brickwork and mix it with chrome lighting and other fixtures. Just because your walls or floors look distressed doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on comfort. Add luxurious furniture such as a double bed coupled with a deep mattress or a cosy armchair where you can get lost in a book or your crafts. Choose antique furniture that looks like it has seen better days, but add a touch of luxury for it to go well with your interiors. For example, an antique sofa can be upholstered with a metallic fabric to combine the air of neglect and opulence of rough luxe. An elaborate mirror that is propped against a bare wall will have the same effect. If you’re not feeling brave enough to go all out with rough luxe and yet couldn’t resist its charming shabbiness, go for a large piece that looked like it has been loved until it was scruffy. You can distress your furniture by painting it then rubbing it with sandpaper when it’s dry. If you find this too strenuous, search garage sales in your neighbourhood for that one piece of rough luxe furniture. After the furniture comes the accessorising with generously framed paintings or photographs. The wall decor doesn’t have to be identical, but they should complement each other. Bring in tasselled cushions wrapped in velvet or silks. After these tips, you’ll have a home that is full of contradictions that you can relax in and boast about to your friends and family.

    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with guests, interior design, trends, Vertical Blinds

  • Vote for Your Favourite British Design and British Pattern at the British Design Awards 2010

    Posted on 13th September 2010 by jenny.

    British Design Awards 2010

    It's time for you to make your votes count for the British Design Awards hosted by ELLE Decoration. The ninth British Design Awards celebrates the creativity and imagination of British designers for this year. Everyone knows that British designers have an eye for the beautiful, the useful, and the highly extraordinary and this can be seen in the nominations for two categories, the Best British Design 2010 and the Best British Pattern 2010. So hop on over to the British Design Awards survey site and you will see that this year’s nominations are by far the best that we’ve seen. There’s this innovative recycled wood wardrobe that looks larger for its size because of a wall mirror attached to it. Ceramic bowls with a modernist twist and a more traditional handmade bowls crafted from wood. Did we mention the mirrors? A stunning mirror that is reminiscent of a diamond and a stainless steel mirror plated with gold and nickel are among our favourites as they are both functional and stylish. In fact, the stainless steel mirror reminds us of a drop of water left on a surface. Not only do you get to vote for the best of British Design, but you can ogle at the wonderful prints that this year’s designers have come up with. From the whimsical floral prints to more innovative 3D wallpaper, you’ll find everything that will suit any taste. In fact, we’re dreaming of finding these prints in one of our roman shades. We’re even pleased to see that one of the nominees, the Sussex wallpaper reminds us of our Monarca Desert remote-controlled roller blinds. How about you? Which are your favourites? What kind of British print would you like to see in our roman/roller blinds collection?

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    This Post was posted in Best of British and was tagged with awards, british, design, pattern

  • Handmade Kitchens Deserve Beautiful Blinds

    Posted on 8th July 2010 by Lee.

    Handmade Kitchens Deserve Beautiful BlindsPlain English is a classic joinery company employing manufacturing practices of 18th and 19th century cabinetmakers. Skillfully crafted by hand at the Plain English workshop in Stowupland, Suffolk these high-end, bespoke kitchens have a outstanding reputation for quality Country and Shaker designs made with outstanding craftsmanship. Hand made features include dovetail drawers that run on candle waxed wooden runners, hand turned shelf pegs and baskets that are hand-woven in Suffolk from willow grown along the banks of the River Box. Iron shelf brackets and hanging pot rails are produced at the local forge and the pull-out trays in cupboard floors were reproduced from the slides in an 18th century linen press. The Controliss range of electric Wooden blinds in 50mm slats adds the perfect fishing touch to a handmade kitchen. Now available in painted shades including Whites and off whites a Wooden Venetian blind offers complete coordination for your dream kitchen.

    This Post was posted in Best of British, Electric Blinds, Wooden Blinds and was tagged with Electric Blinds, Motorised Blinds, Wooden Blinds

  • Cool Britannia - Patriotic Interior Designs

    Posted on 7th July 2010 by Lee.

    Wallpaperspace is a UK based design/print company with extensive experience in the design and manufacturing of wallpapers. All the designs available are based on their own ideas or developed from vintage and antique documents.

    Controliss blinds love the Cool Britannia Union Jack design it's available as wallpaper and soft faux suede cushions in a variety of colours. We've picked out a couple of Venetian blinds in Satin Navy Blue and Satin Fire Red which will perfectly compliment the Red and Blue colours of this fantastic wallpaper. Hand-produced in their own print workshop, combining modern print technology with long-tested traditions of wallpaper design and manufacturing they produce a superior quality, 180gsm wallpaper with a smooth, matt print surface and non-woven backing (paste-the-wall). Each individual roll of wallpaper is printed to order eliminating excessive waste and the need for extensive warehousing keeping the profile of our carbon foot print low. Great care and attention to detail prevails in order to produce a range of wallpapers that are superior in quality and design. Bespoke and printed to order the wallpapers are available to buy online directly wallpaperspace.

    This Post was posted in Best of British, Designers, Venetian Blinds and was tagged with Electric Blinds, Motorised Blinds, Venetian Blinds

  • The Best of British Design - usTogether

    Posted on 9th June 2010 by Lee.

    Controliss Blinds were simply amazed by these inspirational high-end bathroom designs by usTogether. The sleek architectural lines and uncompromising designs are perfectly complimented with the hi-tech minimalism of our remote control Venetian blinds.

    usTogether

    This Post was posted in Bathroom Blinds, Best of British, Designers, General Posts and was tagged with Bathroom Blinds, Home Automation, Smart Home, Venetian Blinds

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