Monthly Archives: December 2013

From Paris to Tokyo

Posted on December 19, 2013 by Megan

Diptyque, a textiles company founded by Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Desmond Knox-Leet and Yves Coueslant, is the product of a shared dream: a boutique textile outlet combining their artistic collaborations, inventiveness and creativity.

In the early 1960s, 34 Saint Germain des Prés was a prestigious address; a hub for Parisians in search of creativity and new ideas. The shop had two windows, like a diptych, giving the boutique its name. Originally designers of beautiful cotton fabrics with striking patterns, these three arty friends also loved traditional or unusual objects, which they sought out all over the world. Very quickly, Diptyque became a “chic bazaar” that people flocked to in search of a departure from the norm.

Two years later, in 1963, the designers built upon the boutique’s unique ambience with the introduction of three scented candles. The scents of Thé, Cannelle and Aubépine, (Tea, Cinnamon and Hawthorn) helped the company establish itself as a leading name in the world of pure, natural fragrances.

Today the brand has a stronger industry presence than ever, including a store in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, where alternative, eclectic style is welcome.  In its Tokyo home, the Parisian spirit of Saint Germain pervades, but Diptyque has also been reinvented for the Japanese market. The ethos behind the company’s success, however, remains: rigorous selection of raw materials and the desire to learn, discover and reinvent. The designers continue to deliver ranges and collections which evoke a subtle blend of elegance and simplicity, just as they did in the early 1960s.

A combination of stone, wood, tatami, brass and warm colours give the Aoyama shop interior a friendly, intimate atmosphere, blending wood with flamboyant shades and bright essences. 550 candles form a tree trunk, acting as a shrine to fragrance. Dyptyque fabrics, in varying and unusual colour blends, form the backdrop to the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain range, encapsulating the history and the spirit of the old Parisian days.

Amongst the collection are two limited edition lanterns designed by José Lévy, sealing the relationship between Paris and Tokyo. Levy worked with Japanese artisans to understand their relationship to light and produced an installation of a bed of 50 Diptyque candles for the city’s first night-time festival. Inspired by the gardens in each city, he proceeded to design two lanterns entitled “Tokyo” and “Paris”. Through their differing scents, each suggest elements of their respective city.

Aesthetically the lanterns are simple and contemporary, with a cream backdrop and clean black lines, making them a stylish accessory for any interior – they’re certainly on our Christmas Wish-list!

For more information about Diptyque and their ranges, visit

Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund

Posted on December 12, 2013 by Megan

Inaugural Award of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund announced at the World Interiors News Awards, Saatchi Gallery, London by John Roake, Chairman of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund. The Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund are pleased to announce that  award has been made to Alex Stewart, a second year Masters student from the School of Architecture at Parsons, The New School for Design, New York. Alex was selected from a strong field of candidates drawn from schools of architecture in the UK and US.  A detailed selection process ultimately determined that the combination of Alex’s architectural skills, his passion for light and the strong recommendation received from his university made him the worthy winner of the £10,000 scholarship. The funding will be used to support his ongoing education and investigation into the relationship between light and architecture.

Chairman of the JSSF John Roake spoke on behalf of the Trustees of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund: “I am delighted to have made this first award. Whilst the selection process was tough thanks to the very strong field of candidates, it was a unanimous decision to make Alex the first JSSF Scholar.  His love of architecture and light was transparent from the outset but it was his enthusiasm, professionalism and warmth that reminded us so much of the individual at whose behest this scholarship has been set up”.

Alex Stewart commented: ”It is an honour to be selected as the Jonathan Speirs scholarship winner, and to be the inaugural year makes it even more special. I see myself as a steward for the award and Jonathan’s memory moving forward.  He sounded like a truly wonderful man. I only wish I had had the opportunity to meet him. However, his legacy most certainly lives on. Thank you for this distinction”.

John Roake concluded with a plea for ongoing support: “This award was only made possible because of the incredible generosity of a number of companies and individuals who came forward with donations. It is our stated intention that we will make a minimum of one award each year until 2023.  To that end we still need further financial help. We would therefore like to use this opportunity to appeal to companies, professional practices and individuals who both knew Jonathan or benefitted from his incredible insight into light and architecture to give generously going into the future”.

Details of the Jonathan Speirs Scholarship Fund, including ways to donate, are available at

Celebrating at Saatchi

Posted on December 10, 2013 by Megan

Ten days on from the inaugural World Interiors News Annual Awards ceremony and dinner the winning designers are still basking in the glory of their successes. London’s Saatchi Gallery played host to the most distinguished figures in architecture and interior design, treating the attendees to an opportunity to view the latest exhibition entitled “Body Language” which explores the physicalities of human beings through photography, sculpture and painting.

Escaping the cold November night outside, over 300 guests from across the globe retreated into the gallery’s warmth for a cocktail reception, a 3-course meal and some all-important networking opportunities. Amongst the many well-known faces was judge and interior design guru Sir Terence Conran, who has been a keen supporter of the awards programme.

As petit-fours and coffee were served, the awards ceremony began with a speech from Annalisa Hammond, Editor of World Interiors News, welcoming the guests and introducing Art historian and BBC Culture Show host Andrew Graham-Dixon who proceeded to present the awards for the winning designs.

Whilst the shortlisted entries from each category were announced and the winners collected their trophies on stage, guests from all areas of architecture and interior design were reminded of the designs which have helped shape the material and cultural landscape over the past year.

When the ceremony came to a close, the elated winners and shortlisted designers were photographed with their trophies and certificates, and the champagne flowed as celebrations began.

After overwhelmingly positive feedback about the event, Annalisa Hammond reflects that “the intimacy and originality of the venue appealed to our sponsors and guests, many of whom have already enquired about next year’s event!”

With the 2014 Awards due to open in early January, it promises to be another exciting year ahead for World Interiors News.