So although my own taste veers towards the more rustic/traditional/feminine end of furniture and product design, I still appreciate a great modern brand when I see one. Kartell is one such great brand, hailing from Italy it’s a real design powerhouse (and has plenty of history to go along with it!)
Kartell started out in the 1940s, when the company founder Guilio Castelli – a chemical engineer – began manufacturing plastic car accessories. Later he moved into the creation of plastic lab equipment and from there onto the creation of plastic household goods. This history gave the company a lot of skill with the manipulation of plastics, and this is evident today in its fantastic range of furniture and decor products. The brand has a team of incredibly talented designers and produces accessible, unique designer pieces for the home. The use of unusual shapes, clever designs and bold colour choices make a real statement and they have some truly iconic pieces in their collection.
By far and away my favourite thing from this brand (being a bit of a bookworm myself) is this bookcase that takes something practical and makes it into a piece of wall art:
Kartell bookworm bookshelf
OK so to keep the effect you probably wouldn’t want to cover it in books, but a few carefully chosen titles would complement the shape. You can pick yourself one up here for £395 (its available in black, white, cobalt blue, matt aluminium and red)
My next choice from this brand is a rather sexy set of lampshades. I seem to feature a lot of lighting on this blog, and I think it’s because changing a lampshade is one of the easiest but more effective ways to update your space and add some personality. The Fl/y Icon suspensions lamp is made in all the colours of the rainbow, and whilst they are available singly, I think they look best hung as a beautiful bright group. You can pick up the whole range here for £149 each.
Kartell Fl/y Icon Suspension Lampshade in Rainbow Colours
Finally, no blog post on Kartell would be complete without mentioning their most iconic piece – and one that has been copied countless times since it was first released to market – The Ghost Chair. This chair’s shape was based on a Louis XV chair (in fact I saw one in just this style last weekend at the Palace of Versailles!) but Kartell (along with designer Philippe Starck) reinvented this for the 21st Century, manufacturing from various colours of transparent glossy plastic. The original clear version remains my firm favourite however, and you can get one for £179 here. I recommend pairing it with a rustic wooden dining table to get the maximum impact (and because their chair has such classic styling, it will look like they were made to go together!)
Kartell Ghost Chair in Transparent Plastic
The Ghost Chair paired with a solid wooden table (Image credit to theoutfitoftheday.blogspot.com)