Talent in Textiles: Interview with Rose Sharp Jones

Posted on July 8, 2014 by Liz

Featured in a previous blog of top picks from Clerkenwell were some quaint crochet cushions, created by skilled designer Rose Sharp Jones. WIN were initially drawn to her stall upon spying a range of beautifully patterned notebooks and we bonded over a mutual love of stationary (it borders on obsessive for us!) We soon noticed the cute knitted details on her stools and chairs and the aforementioned cushions, and business cards just had to be exchanged! Here we find out a little more about the creator behind this charming collection…

Firstly, where did your love for textiles and handmade items initially stem from? Is your background fairly creative?

I always loved to draw and make things when I was a child, and learnt to knit when I was 8.  I studied art throughout school and after leaving I did a foundation course where I specialised in textiles, going on to do a BA and MA course in Textile Design.

And what inspired you to set up your own business?

After finishing my MA course I realised I wanted to be involved in the whole process – designing and making fabrics, and products from them.

Which are the most gratifying aspects of your work?

I really enjoy the making process, developing new ideas and pieces through experimentation with yarns, stitches and different techniques. I also enjoy working on commission pieces with clients and seeing them happy with the end product.

Do you work from home? And how do you balance running a business with day to day life?

I work from a studio space in east London that I share with other designers.  It can be hard to keep a good work/life balance, having a separate studio space away from home has definitely helped me to do so.  I also find that having defined tasks for the day/week ahead and lots of to-do lists help!

You also teach a range of knit and crochet classes – what does a typical lesson with you entail and where could we sign up?

At the moment I teach a beginners crochet class where we start with the complete basics and learn a range of stitches.  I also run another workshop where I teach further techniques to make crocheted squares that can be used to make a blanket or cushion.  I teach these lessons at the yarn shop Sharp Works in south London.  I also teach private knit and crochet lessons which tend to be quite varied as they depend on what the client wishes to learn.  These can be arranged by contacting me.

How do you approach new designs – what is your process and how do you see each piece through to completion?

I normally start with drawing, and then a research period to develop design ideas further.  After this I begin swatch experiments to try out different stitches, yarns and colours.  Once I’ve decided upon these I then write patterns for the pieces I need and begin making them, making adjustments to the pattern or design if required.

What are your favourite pieces to make and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite piece to make, although I do enjoy working with the furniture pieces, finding techniques and yarns that are suitable for the piece in question, taking inspiration from the furniture piece itself and developing fabrics that are appropriate for use.

Your work includes furniture, cushions, mittens, hats, bags and you’ve just launched a stationary collection too! Do you see your ranges expanding further? Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

At present I’m not planning on introducing any additional types of products, just some new designs for existing ones!  I will be introducing a range of knitted cushions later this year, as well as a couple of new furniture pieces.

I do enjoy designing across a range of products though, so I’m sure the range will expand at some point!

Have you ever collaborated with other designers, or is this something you would be interested in doing?

I have discussed collaborative projects with other designers in the past and would definitely like to work on such a project at some point.

Finally, where can we find you on a weekend off, what are your favourite ways to spend time?

Enjoying having a break, meeting up with friends and family, going to exhibitions and other events and travelling whenever possible!

The Great Outdoors

Posted on June 23, 2014 by Liz

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

With summer well on its way in the UK (at last!), the majority of us are relishing the chance to spend some time outdoors, enjoying barbeques, picnics, rooftop bars, trips to the beach and open-air cinema screenings – it’s a novelty that doesn’t last long but definitely raises everyone’s spirits. So why not take it further, and spend the next three months basically living outside? It’s definitely a possibility with the garden object/well-furnished shed/ concept home design, Walden.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Designed by Nils Holger Moormann for German shed and wooden house manufacturer Aicher, Walden is essentially a wooden box that compactly fits within it everything a person could need to enjoy their garden, and then some! The project was inspired by a short story written by Henry David Thoreau, a 19th century American writer and philosopher. Entitled Walden, the story is about the author’s life and his coexistence with nature. This notion of the simple life is what the object Walden is based upon; it invites one to live outdoors, in harmony and simplicity.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

For the garden enthusiasts, there is storage space for wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels and a hosepipe. For those who prefer lounging in the sun, there’s a ladder to an upper level with sliding sun roof – if the heat gets too much, go back down and enjoy sitting in the cabin, which also incorporates a table for ant-free picnicking. Finally, when the sun goes down, a campfire can be created in the swinging cauldron, kept alight by firewood which can be stored in the space right next to it. The birds will also be kept happy with a birdhouse and feeder.

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Walden is neat and compact, it offers outdoor essentials within a charming and practical container and can be enjoyed by family, friends and individuals alike. If only it had a bedroom – there’d be no need to return to your house!

Walden, ©Jäger & Jäger

Inspired by Nature, Created by Conran

Posted on June 3, 2014 by Liz

Design giants Conran and Partners have surprised and delighted the WIN team with their latest venture. Known by all for their outstanding design portfolio, which encompasses both architecture and interiors, branding and products, we’re sure many of you have fantasised about members of their talented team coming to work their magic on your homes, shops, local restaurants and businesses. Paint by Conran will bring you one stop closer to that dream.

Paint by Conran

Drawing on 50 years of experience in designing for the home, Conran and Partners have created a range of interior paints, launched with a tremendous 96 colours, all inspired by British plants and landscapes. Teaming up with them is esteemed British paint manufacturer Master Paintmakers, who have been handcrafting paint in the UK for over 150 years. This supreme partnership has utilised their technical know-how and Conran’s design expertise to create a paint range that is both practical and beautiful.

Paint by Conran

The branding too, is absolutely gorgeous – care has been put into absolutely every element of the paint and the overall buying experience. Delicate hand-painted swatch cards are available as well as elegant tester pots that remind one of artist’s paints, packaging is a simple white with charming and unique watercolour motif – a different image for each collection (Highland, Cottage Garden, Kitchen Garden, Orchard and Harvest.) Each purchase is even delivered with a thank you card that doubles as a colour matching card when shopping for complementary items, and with a Paint by Conran Partner card that gives the holder special offers and exclusive benefits!

Paint by Conran

This range does it all, providing colours for every room in the house, personalised service and care for each individual customer. With quintessential British countryside appeal, Conran can help you bring the beauty of nature indoors. We can’t wait to get our hands on these paints, and get them onto our walls this summer!

Crazy for Clerkenwell

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Liz

WIN certainly were busy last week – along with the rest of the design world we’re sure! Following May Design came the incredible Clerkenwell Design Week, celebrating its fifth birthday in inimitable style. We were delighted to be invited to the press breakfast, where we quickly fuelled up on coffee and croissants before sprinting across Farringdon to visit the multiple Exhibition areas playing host to countless talented designers and creatives. From industry favourites and big name brands to quirky start-ups and fresh faces, all definitely impressed with innovative designs, inspiring ideas and a clear passion for their industry (and all very willing to talk to us about this passion, which was great!)

We were guided through the various areas by the lovely Elspeth Rae, Marketing Manager at Clerkenwell, with boundless enthusiasm and energy. Design Factory, Platform and Detail were outstanding as always, and new for 2014 came Additions, a wonderful collection of small design items and accessories, particularly enjoyable for stationary enthusiasts such as myself. The installations truly wowed and the overall programme of talks, exhibitions and workshops was a captivating affair. With cocktails around every corner, what’s not to love about this exceptional, dynamic and super fun event?!

First, as usual, some quick personal snaps of the event before our top product picks.

Our tour guide for the morning!

Studio Weave‘s Smith Pavilion, hosting craft workshops at Clerkenwell

Lianne Russ and Phil Henshaw of Russ + Henshaw in front of their ‘Tile Mile’ installation

The impressive Johnson Tiles Wall Mural

Sean Dare of Brighton based Dare Studio

The incredible Jaguar and Foscarini installation

Amazing (and much needed) coffee outside Design Factory

Now onto what you’ve all been waiting for: The World Interiors News Product Picks – Top 20! (In no particular order I might add).

Beautiful sofas and textiles by A Rum Fellow

Colourful table cloths by newcomers Toghal

Last Stools by Max Lamb for Discipline

The Hive Lamps by Angus Matchett for Dare Studio

The Vertebra Chair by the chair ltd

Vessel F by Samuel Wilkinson for Decode

The Draft Mobile Writing Board by Daniel Lavonius Jarefeldt and Josef Zetterman for Abstracta

The Tyneside Lounger by David Irwin for deadgood

The lamp everyone was talking about, designed by Paul Smith for Anglepoise

The SPOKES lanterns by Vicente Garcia Jimenez & Cinzia Cumini for Foscarini

The simple & stylish Plan Desk by James Tattersall

We hope you love these amazing products as much as we do and also that you got to pay a visit to one of our favourite design events on the interiors calendar (other than our own, of course!). Clerkenwell, we’ll see you again next year.

WIN Loves: May Design Series

Posted on May 21, 2014 by Liz

May Design Series returned to London’s ExCeL this year, with almost 400 brands on display plus countless wonderful guest speakers holding thought-provoking seminars. WIN had a great time this year, meeting with old friends, making new contacts and seeing the amazing products on show. We were also spoiled in the press room with tasty treats and drinks, air conditioning and general kindness from the amazing press and marketing team – thanks guys! The whole space looked awesome thanks to the design expertise of Ab Rogers, who gave a great talk on the use of colour while we were there (hint – he likes it bright). To add to the fun, we bid on one of the gorgeous chairs in the Out of the Dark silent auction. All were upholstered by some fantastic bloggers using salvaged materials, so here’s hoping we win! Here’s a few quick personal snaps before we move onto our product highlights.

Gorgeous space, curated by Ab Rogers

The animated and charming Ab Rogers himself, mid-speech

Beautiful ceramics from Flux, which we blogged on earlier this year

At the iGuzzini stand, winners of last year’s WIN Awards for best Lighting Product

The only chair you’ll ever need: the Flag Halyard by Hans J. Wegner at the PP Møbler stand

Onto our favourite products at May Design. We were particularly impressed by some of the incredible lighting on display, as well as some fantastic options for storage in the home that hide your clutter but also function as a gorgeous statement piece. Fun, quirky and colourful ruled this year and we were big fans!

Playful Circus Lighting by Corinna Warm for Innermost

Pops of colour on these Zazzeri taps, also an entry into the WIN Awards this year!

Side Coffee Table from Santarossa

Bold lamps from Enigma Lighting

Shabby chic cabinets from Bluebone

Beautiful up-cycled pieces by Out of the Dark

The perfect kitchen from The Myers Touch

Stunning glass lamps by Ebb & Flow

Innovative modular shelving by Made In Ratio

We can’t wait for next year, and hope that everyone else had a great few days at the show!

The Business of Art: Interview with acrylicize

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Liz

Hard work, positivity, believing in what you do – and a little more hard work on top – can definitely get you far. The proof is in the pudding with acrylicize, a boutique art and design studio headed up by James Burke and Paul Arad. Founded in 2003 as a result of Burke’s final year University show, the company have gone from strength to strength creating bespoke artwork and schemes for a whole host of companies, including big names like Heinz, The Office Group and Deloitte. Injecting personality into offices, stadiums, public spaces and even residential homes, the pair have created an innovative and inspiring business brand, unlike anything we at WIN have seen before.

We speak to James to find out more about acrylicize and its foundations and developments, how they approach new work, favourite projects and clients and business tips for aspiring entrepreneurs…

Paul and James, Founders of acrylicize

Firstly I’d like to say thank you for taking some time out to talk to WIN about acrylicize, it’s a pleasure to feature you on our blog. acrylicize has been described as a mix between design studio and art consultancy, how would you best describe the company to those first hearing about it?

We believe art should be accessible to as many people as possible so we are on a mission to make work that sits predominately outside the gallery space. We develop custom art works, from on-off pieces to entire art schemes. The key difference is that everything is by commission and is developed to respond to the person, company, brand or space we are working with. We call it ‘Customism’. We mix art, design, interior design, architectural features and graphics all together and what comes out is acrylicize. We’re proud that we can’t be pigeonholed – it means that we are doing things differently.

James, you first met Paul at Manchester Metropolitan University some years ago. Were you both studying on the same course? And have you always been friends?

I was at Manchester Metropolitan University studying contemporary arts while Paul was studying textile management. I had started experimenting with art on acrylic as an innovative canvas and decided to pursue this idea for my final year project.  Paul was also on the cusp of graduating; we were both very inspired by the idea of doing something for ourselves, and all that energy we had at university really inspired us to go for it.

Qubic Tax, acrylicize

I can only imagine! So where did the idea of acrylicize first come about? During University, or afterwards?

acrylicize started as my degree project. I was exploring the public’s perception of contemporary and conceptual art. I wanted to develop something that could be appreciated by a wide spectrum of people who weren’t involved in the art establishment so looked at doing something new with the simple ‘picture on the wall’ concept. The idea of acrylicize was to update the traditional canvas and develop a contemporary alternative using modern materials and technology. That’s where the use of acrylic came in and with it the name acrylicize.

How did you initially set up the business? What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome these?

For my final show at university, I displayed my acrylic art pieces with ornamental price tags designed to make a comment on Art as commodity and unintentionally sold every piece. I was always interested in building a brand around the work and just because my course finished I wasn’t ready for the project to end – really it was just the beginning. Paul then jumped on board with his sales skills and we essentially worked our arses off! It was actually one of the most exciting times of the whole last 10 years as everything was so new and exciting; we believed that anything was possible and it’s on those beliefs that we moved forward.

One of the main obstacles when starting any business from scratch is not having any previous work to show for ourselves. Looking back I think it was actually one of our biggest assets as we weren’t in any way conditioned by industry practices and as such just did whatever felt right, using our instinct and intuition to help make decisions. This freedom is one of the main factors in us staying true to ourselves and creating something genuinely unique.

In terms of a challenge, one of the most important things has always been to challenge ourselves to keep creating and evolving. This is how the idea of ‘Customism’ came about, creating completely unique, narrative-driven art concepts and installations for interior spaces, be it offices, hospitals or stadia. These projects took on different forms and utilised a whole host of materials and techniques.

Interiors Group, acrylicize

You began producing unique acrylic art, and now offer bespoke art installations, commissions, architectural features, interior graphics and exhibitions for businesses. What is your process when approaching a new project and seeing it through to completion?

With each project we take on, we put a huge amount of effort into the initial research. We focus on embracing the personality of a space and try to find a story to tell. Once we have this we have the essence of the work and we can then think about execution and how the story can be brought to life. These initial idea phases are done as a group in-house with everyone pitching in ideas, thoughts and suggestions etc. We have internal ‘stretch sessions’ where we challenge each other creatively, with individual and team tasks. This can involve everything from collecting train tickets for an afternoon at Paddington Station, to each going out to the supermarket to buy Heinz beans and experimenting at home.

We operate as artists, looking for the opportunity to try something new with every new commission. From the client’s perspective, they know never to expect the same thing twice.

Do you have specific creative individuals in the industry you go to for design ideas? Or is the work mostly done in-house?

Most of the work is done in-house at our Shoreditch studio. However, one thing we’re big advocates of at acrylicize is collaboration. We have a strong theme of collaboration and love working with other people to realise ideas.

On a recent project for long-term collaborators The Office Group, we teamed up with graphic designer Alex Fowkes. We had been admiring his work for Sony Music so dropped him a line and asked him to join us for The Office Group project at 7 Stratford Place, a Georgian townhouse that had a lot of cool history that we wanted to convey through our art. Alex was up for the project so we worked together on what is one of our favourite pieces to date.

The Office Group, 7 Stratford Place, acrylicize

How do you feel your work affects office spaces? Are there better levels of productivity for example?

Art has often been confined to the gallery space and we’re really interested in the opportunity to engage with artwork in any walk of life. The workspace is one of the places you spend the longest at, so why shouldn’t you have the ability to engage with art there? We live in such a visual society and we believe art can help to stimulate people. People also appreciate the idea that who they work for has invested in the space, creating an environment that makes you happy, a bit more vibrant and a bit more energetic. That goes a long way.

Research by Dr Craig Knight, from the psychology department at the University of Exeter, has shown that staff work 15 per cent more efficiently in an office decorated with art and plants. When staff decorated their own office space, productivity increased by 30 per cent.

You also work on residential, public and healthcare projects. Is the process very similar? And which do you prefer working on?

Sometimes more professional research is required, especially when working within healthcare. It’s always really rewarding working in this sphere as you know that work is doing something to help people who are in need of feeling better.

Heinz R&D HQ, Wall 57, acrylicize

You’ve worked with a variety of brands, including some huge names – Hilton, Emirates, Harrods, BBC to name just a few. Which has been the most enjoyable for you so far?

All have been great projects. Heinz was particular awesome it was a glorious story to bring to life and a huge project for us as a company. We got to travel to the Netherlands to create a feature wall that stands in the reception of their European Innovation Centre, where all the R&D happens. It was an honour to be a part of Heinz history.

And the most challenging?

When Newcastle-based accountants Qubic Tax came to us wanting to inspire their staff, we had a challenge on our hands. Lets face it Tax can be quite a dry subject and no one particularly loves the fact that they have to pay tax. Our solution was to create a canvas of over 1,200 LEGO figures, each one representing a tax-paying vocation. We were trying to make something that is genuinely quite hard and dislikeable into something that will put a smile on your face. We looked at tax and we really wanted to humanise it as much as we could. The use of Lego was used to soften that experience and tap into the child in you.

Heathrow T3, acrylicize

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt from setting up your own business? Any advice for aspiring young entrepreneurs?

We put endless effort into making contacts, picking up the Yellow Pages and calling everybody, absolutely anybody, who may have been remotely interested in what we were doing. It’s all about action and the very act of doing something as simple as speaking to people has a knock-on effect.

For young entrepreneurs who are finding their feet, starting their own businesses, two principal themes have been very successful to us personally. The first one is a positive step. Take a step somewhere even if you are not sure which direction you’re going in. Don’t worry about that. The important thing is to be proactive, get off the couch and just take the first step to start you on your path and journey.

The second theme is belief. Have belief in yourself. Have belief in what you are offering and have belief in the people you are working with. Positive energy and belief are the two key drivers that we embrace and push forward every day.

Wembley Stadium , acrylicize

You seem to be constantly evolving and developing, so what is next for acrylicize?

We are really interested in the idea of community and collaboration and bridging the gap between great creative talent and opportunities to make a living doing what you love. We have some big plans in the department. On top of this we are developing some great projects as part of acrylicize and are about to release two short films about our recent installations that have just been completed.

And when you’re not busy installing monsters into the Headquarters of Mind Candy or injecting some fun into a tax office with Lego pieces, what else do you enjoy doing? Where would we find you on a typical weekend?

Paul and I both have young children so we are spending a lot of time with all the amazing things that come with that. I am also a keen drummer and graffiti artist and like to indulge in both these areas regularly. It’s all about balance and doing lots of what you enjoy.

Final question – what is your own office space like – just curious!

We’ve got a great space in Shoreditch, just off Redchurch Street. It’s got relics of all our projects and is a really bright, open space with huge floor to ceiling windows. We moved east two years ago, from our original studio in Harrow. The team had grown and we were keen to soak up the creativity of the melting pot that is east London at the current time. The energy is great, it’s a vibrant part of town filled with artists, designers and people doing their thing, creating a constantly evolving landscape on an almost daily basis. It suits what we do very well and we wanted to leave our mark.

The Office Group, 7 Stratford Place, acrylicize

Wheat is Wheat is… Wheat?

Posted on May 13, 2014 by Liz

It is clear that artist and designer Peddy Mergui has a desire to challenge the status quo in his creations, partly stemming from growing up amongst various cultures, in Morocco, Israel and Japan. He’s worked on a multitude of advertising campaigns and has helped to create brands worldwide, which only makes his latest venture all the more interesting.

Flour by Prada, Peddy Mergui

Wheat is Wheat is Wheat is Mergui’s first solo exhibition, about to open in San Francisco. In this series, he has taken the packaging of basic commodities (eggs, milk, butter, oil) and introduced high end brand names (think Gucci and Versace) into their labelling, providing them with a new identifying element. The resulting products are definitely food for thought as it were. Both individually and collectively, the striking images within the exhibition allow for open dialogue on consumer culture, ethical boundaries and the design world.

The connection between packaging and products is recognisable in modern culture, although not often logical. What would it mean to eat Tiffany&Co yoghurt or to make your morning coffee with Cartier coffee beans? Mergui’s pairings are playful and even amusing; drawing the viewer in and simultaneously challenging them with a provocative undertone. What kind of challenges do designers face in terms of economic interest versus integrity? As consumers, do we inadvertently support unethical conditions? Do we perceive certain brands as meaning we belong to a certain type of group, as a certain type of person?

Salami by Louis Vuitton, Peddy Mergui

Mergui found: “The interesting part is that most viewers tell me they see something they want in the exhibition. Why? Not for the playfulness of it, but for what it makes them feel. The Seduction presents us with a mirror to ourselves.”

iMilk by Apple, Peddy Mergui

Wheat is Wheat is Wheat definitely poses more questions than it answers and this is the most enjoyable aspect of the exhibition. It is a truly eye opening series that will inspire debate – and make you question your purchases on your next shopping trip!

Eggs by Versace, Peddy Mergui

What’s on at The Saatchi

Posted on May 8, 2014 by Liz

We truly love The Saatchi Gallery here at WIN – it’s a spectacular venue that shares thought provoking and inspiring contemporary art with the world, a global meeting place for all who visit and accessible for anyone and everyone as all exhibitions are free! We are extremely lucky as it is also where we will be holding our World Interiors News Annual Awards Dinner later this year, following the success of last year’s event (we can’t wait!). So what’s been going on at The Saatchi so far this year?

Kostas Agiannitis – Lifestyle. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

Firstly, an exciting partnership with Google+ has allowed for motion photography to be introduced as an art form for everyone. As technology continues to develop, photographers from all backgrounds are embracing new ways to tell their stories. Motion photography is a new trend that used to require special tools and know-how, but Google+ have simplified the process, allowing users to effortlessly and automatically animate a series of still photographs and turn them in to motion photography.

Matthew Clarke – Night. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

In recognition of the exciting potential of this new technology came the Motion Photography Prize, inviting photographers all over the world to celebrate this new creative art form, the first global entry competition of its kind. This was judged by an amazing panel of forward-thinkers including film director Baz Luhrmann and artists Shezad Dawood and Cindy Sherman. The competition was tough, with over 4,000 entries from 52 countries, but an overall winner was recently announced. Christina Rinaldi, with her black and white motion photograph of a New York window cleaner, has won a once-in-a-lifetime trip with a photographer or film-maker as her mentor. Her entry, along with those of the five other finalists, plus the shortlist of 54 motion photographs is now on exhibition at The Saatchi Gallery until 24 May and will also be featured online at Saatchi Art.

Christina Rinaldi – Urban. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

Another fantastic exhibition that is currently on display until 31 August, is Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America. Taking its title from the prehistoric landmass that conjoined Africa and Latin America, this major survey reunites the two former sister continents by bringing together the work of 16 of their contemporary artists. The exhibition celebrates and explores the parallels between their distinctly diverse cultures and creative practices, as they begin to receive recognition in the increasingly globalised art world.

Aboudia – Enfants dans la rue 2, 2013. © Aboudia, 2013. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery

The artists in Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America, respond to present day complexities in diverse and innovative ways. Years of colonial rule, rapid urban expansion, migration and political and economic unrest remain subjects for many of the artists whose reflections on the richness of their environment translate into an intense visual experience. The full scope of work on display in this exhibition, which includes new painting, photography, installation and sculpture, encapsulates this sense of diversity – a bubbling energy surfacing in the two great continents that were once Pangaea.

Rafael Gómezbarros – Casa Tomada, 2013. © Sam Drake, 2014. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery.

Pangaea: New Art From Africa and Latin America features work by Aboudia, Leonce Agbodjélou, Fredy Alzate, Antonio Malta Campos, Rafael Gómezbarros, David Koloane, José Lerma, Mário Macilau, Ibrahim Mahama, Dillon Marsh, Jose Carlos Martinat, Vincent Michea, Oscar Murillo, Alejandra Prieto Boris Nzebo, Christian Rosa. A stand out piece is definitely Gómezbarros’ Casa Tomada, with giant ants that address issues of diaspora and internal displacement suffered in Colombia for several decades due to the armed conflict wreaking havoc on the country. Aboudia’s vast canvases are also striking, occupied by a multitude of characters displaying menacing weapons, a record of the sudden escalation of violence following electoral chaos in the city of Abidjan in 2011.

Vincent Michea – Before the Bigger Splash, 2012. © Vincent Michea, 2012. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery.

With all this on and more, it’s quite simple really – get yourself down to The Saatchi as soon as you can to experience some amazing art!

Milan Moments

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Liz

Our Editor has returned from Milan suitably tired but with multiple stories, contacts, photos, bundles of press kits and of course feeling hugely inspired by the gorgeous and innovative designs exhibited this year. It’s impossible not to feel slightly overwhelmed with appreciation for such varied and widespread talent! Of course I could ramble on about the brilliance of the furniture, accessories and lighting we’ve seen for hours, but as they say, a picture paints a thousand words and so here are some 20,000 on the highlights of Salone del Mobile. First up, some of our Editor’s personal photos during her busy week.

Moooi’s ‘Unexpected Welcome’ at Via Savona 56

Inga Sempé’s Ruché armchair for Ligne Roset at France Design by VIA

North Light Series by Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau for e15

Exploring EDIT by designjunction

Ed Richardson, Founder of Modus in their Lily Chair designed by Michael Sodeau

Happy crowds discussing design over Prosecco in the courtyard at EDIT by designjunction

Moooi’s ‘Unexpected Welcome’ at Via Savona 56

Canvas Chair by YOY for Innermost at EDIT by designjunction, also featured in a previous blog here

Grillage Chair by Francois Azambourg for Ligne Roset at France Design by VIA

Lampyridae Lamp Series by Monica Correia at EDIT by designjunction

Onto our top product picks. Having delved through an array of intriguing press kits, which also ended up in us painting our nails ‘Knoll Red’ (a great shade if you’re interested!), the team at WIN have chosen just a small selection of our favourite designs from Milan. The trends tend towards simple, clean lines, pops of bright colour, bringing outdoor furniture indoors and vice versa, and use of playful prints and patterns. Definitely perfect for the approaching summer months!

SwingMe and SwingUs, Outdoor Floating Living Room Collection by Daniel Pouzet for DEDON

Taffeta Sofa by Alvin Tjitrowirjo for Moooi

The Washington Collection by David Adjaye for Knoll, his first furniture collection. Photo by Dorothy Hong

Foundry Floor Lamp by Nat Cheshire for Resident

Patch di Fiammati collection by Missoni Home

Babel drinks cabinet by Roberto Lazzeroni for Poltrona Frau

Phoenix Kitchen by CR&S Varenna for Poliform

Bassotti Sideboards by Marcel Wanders for Moooi

Poke stool by Kyuhyung Cho for Innermost

Hope you enjoy these images and products as much as we do! We’re also looking forward to being similarly inspired by the entries into the Lighting Projects, Lighting Products, Furniture and Interior Accessories Categories of our World Interiors News Awards 2014. There’s just six weeks left before our close, so if you’d like to enter or just want some more information about the Awards, just email!

Milan, mischer’traxler & The Young Talent Award

Posted on April 9, 2014 by Liz

The WAN and WIN editors-in-chief are at the fabulous Salone del Mobile in Milan this week, whizzing their way around hundreds of stalls and tweeting images of some of their favourite designs, at which the team are staring in pure admiration and awe. While they report live from the venue, I thought it would be interesting to focus on some lesser known designers also at the infamous design week, brought to our attention by BE OPEN.

Benjamin Graindorge, France. Shortlisted.

BE OPEN is a global initiative to foster creativity and innovation, a think tank whose mission is to promote people and ideas today to build solutions for tomorrow. It is a cultural and social initiative founded by the Russian philanthropist, businesswoman and entrepreneur Yelena Baturina, with the support of an amazing international team. It was in fact launched during Milan Design Week 2012, with the goal of becoming a bridge between the great minds of our time – philosophers, sociologists, designers, architects, artists, writers, businessmen and opinion leaders – and the promising new minds of the younger generation.

Kwangho Lee, South Korea. Shortlisted.

BE OPEN develops its works through exhibitions, events and panel discussions in the world’s leading design capitals. Naturally, they decided to announce the first winner of their new annual prize, The Young Talent Award, at a packed awards ceremony at the start of this year’s Milan Design Week. mischer’traxler was selected from a shortlist of ten candidates, from an original long list of thirty-seven, put forward by a leading international design industry jury. This jury was an all-star cast from the design world, including Giulio Cappellini, Art Director of Cappellini, Sofia Lagerkvist of design trio Front, and Jay Osgerby of Barber & Osgerby, who designed the Austrian duo’s unique egg trophy prize, a symbol of nascent talent ready to hatch.

Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler of Studio mischer’traxler, Austria. Winners of The Young Talent Award.

The jury said of their selection: “The work of the ten shortlisted candidates is of exceptional quality, but we felt that mischer’traxler’s methods best reflect the spirit of this new, important design prize. Matching experimental research and vanguard attitudes with industrial production, they clearly indicate how much further manufacturing can be developed from where it is now. Their talent for introducing creative interaction into everyday objects and humanising every aspect of design reflects their incredible ability to synthesise the future of design.”

The criteria for this prize, and indeed the award itself, are unique: the selection is made on the basis of potential, rather than work achieved. As well as their trophy, mischer’traxler win €24,000 to support their living expenses for a year. This is so that they can continue to work at their own pace, without any obligation to create new products or exhibit their work. The Young Talent Award is, like BE OPEN, changing how people see the design world, providing an opportunity for learning, education and development that will spur on creativity and innovation.

Dennis Parren, Netherlands. Winner of Yelena Baturina prize.

There was also a second winner at the awards ceremony, with Dennis Parren selected as the Yelena Baturina prize-winner. His trophy, a replica dinosaur egg, was created especially by Front Design. Baturina herself chose Parren from the shortlist, due to her belief in his business potential. His design specifically ‘tapped into a very important trend for our time’ of people as ‘global nomads’. Moreover, there will be a third prize known as the Web Choice award for another talented young designer – you have until 17 May to vote online for your favourite, so definitely get involved here!

Elie Ahovi, France. Shortlisted.

We’re looking forward to hearing more inspirational stories like this when everyone gets back from Milan – be sure to check our news site for product exclusives next week!