Product Spotlight: Kartell Mademoiselle Chair

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So I have clearly been extremely remiss about my blogging of late; apologies to my readers – just been a bit busy setting up LLUSTRE! Still, when I spotted this chair I fell in love with it so wanted to share it with my readers…

Philippe Starck for Kartell Mademoiselle Chair in Missoni Fabric

Philippe Starck for Kartell Mademoiselle Chair in Missoni Fabric

There..isn’t it lovely? The colours of Missoni’s gorgeous floral print all complement each other perfectly, and the clear legs don’t distract. It isn’t exactly a bargain at £549from John Lewis we have to admit, but if we had the cash we would splash out….

 

Wanderlust – transforming your home with the beauty of maps

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Guest post by the lovely Megan Charnley – llustre.com 

There is something magical about maps.  Even today, when we can virtually explore almost every street in the world thanks to Google, there is something mesmerising about an abstracted plan of the world committed to paper.

Perhaps it has something to do with humanity’s need to discover, record and communicate knowledge, combined with our instinctive drive to explore unknown territories.  Perhaps its the pleasure of working out our own place in the world.  Perhaps its the beauty of the skilled cartographer’s work.  Whatever it is, my flat is filling up with them, fast.

credit: House Beautiful

We’ve been making maps for thousands of years.  The oldest known world map is a Babylonian carving known as the Imago Mundi, although I’m fairly sure that mankind would have been scrawling directions in the mud to the nearest watering hole millennia before this.  Throughout the middle ages, the need for accurate maps became more demanding, and recorded some fascinating understandings of the world (see Peter Barber’s brilliant Map Book for an overview, and some lovely images).

Today technology has enabled mapping of almost every mile of the Earth’s surface, yet our fascination with the medium hasn’t diminished and increasingly I’m spotting maps in the most unlikely places.

Although I love the elegance of framed maps, (see the image above from House Beautiful) I also adore maps that are pasted straight onto the walls – like New York designer Steven Gambrell has done here in a nautical themed bedroom.

Credit: Steven Gambrell

And imagine the wild dreams of exploration this sleepy designer is enjoying under a map from the National Geographic.  Similar scale but more modern maps are available from the wonderful Stamfords in Convent Garden.

Credit: National Geographic

Printed Space will make their maps up into wallpaper so you can cover a whole wall with a massive plan of a city you love: (though not sure about the yellow crockery!)

Credit: Printed Space

If you like framed maps, why not try something a little different, like this map of Italy featured in Marie Claire Maison, or cut up a big map and display in lots of smaller frames as interior designer Keller Dovovan did here:

I’m endlessly fascinated by Charles Booth’s Poverty maps of the late 19th century – I live in what was a semi-criminal area (not sure much has changed!).  However, even such an ardent map-lover as myself would concede that the lower image might be overdoing it somewhat…

Credit: Museum of London

On a more sensible scale, these cushions by Australian designer My Bearded Pigeon bring a touch of vintage international charm to your sofa (weirdly, my favourite is the Antarctic Circle – it must be those cool colours).

Credit: My Bearded Pigeon

And I absolutely love these plates from notNeutral – every dinner-time would be an excuse for an adventure.

Credit: notNeutral

And finally, this is the brilliantly named “Oh The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends” from Ron Arad a few years ago.  Its way too big to fit into most people’s homes (and isn’t for sale!), but what a way to exhibit your library (of Americana, obviously.)

Credit: Timothy Taylor Gallery

Designer Spotlight: Margo Selby

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Sometimes I see something and fall instantly in love. Seeing Margo Selby’s cushions was one of those moments. I was at a trade fair speaking to all the amazingly talented designer-makers and then out of the corner of my eye I saw it…glorious green interlaced with calm blue and vibrant purple…a kaleidoscope that called out..buy me! OK…enough silliness…but you have to admit this cushion is pretty lovely and worth every penny of its rather pricey £78.

Kaleidoscope cushion by Margo Selby

Kaleidoscope cushion by Margo Selby

But Margo’s way with colours doesn’t end with this cushion, she has lent her fantastic fabric designs to vivid coloured patterned lampshades like this one

Caroline lampshade by Margo Selby

Caroline lampshade by Margo Selby

…and to fun handknotted wool and silk rugs like this blue beauty (which might require a bit of penny pinching at £1,166.00 but I can testify to the fact it feels lovely as well – almost too lovely to walk on in fact!)

Hand Knotted Rug by Margo Selby

Hand Knotted Rug by Margo Selby

If you like Margo Selby’s work then she also has fabrics, furniture, scarves, ties, bags and much much more, all available from her online shop at http://www.margoselby.com/. We advise you set aside a few minutes to browse and adore!

That’s all for tonight folks 🙂

 

Product Spotlight: Pantone Mugs

It has been literally 10 days since I blogged. BAD me- but things are moving forward at a crazy pace with my ecommerce start-up and so I don’t feel TOO guilty. (BTW you can check out our sign-up page at llustre.com) In fact I was taking a break from working in the sunshine to have a cup of tea and felt inspired to write a little about my favourite kind of mug – Pantone mugs to be precise. I am always a fan of anything that brings lots of vibrant colour and these babies sure do that. They are designed by Whitbread and Wilkinson and whilst not being big enough to hold the vast quantities of tea I love to drink, they make up for it with cool factor. Better still they are on sale at Heal’s so what more excuse do you need to buy one in every colour?

Pantone Mugs in Rainbow Colours

Pantone Mugs in Rainbow Colours

 

 

Designer Spotlight: Kartell – an iconic Italian brand

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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

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

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

Kartell Ghost Chair in Transparent Plastic

The Ghost Chair paired with a solid wooden table

The Ghost Chair paired with a solid wooden table (Image credit to theoutfitoftheday.blogspot.com)

Paris Style: Moissonnier

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So, for those of you that don’t know me personally, you may not realise that at present I am luckily enough to be based out of Paris 3-4 days a week. This truly is THE most beautiful city in the world…

Paris evening view over Ile de Cite

A snap from my walk home: evening view from Ile de la Cite

…so it really isn’t surprising that inspired by the beauty of the surroundings, many streets are filled with design boutiques, ateliers and antiques dealers all of which are packed with treasures for your home! One of the things I have been trying to do is to walk a different route home each day from the office and discover new things along my route. Tonight I stumbled upon a real find: Moissonnier.

The thing that caught my eye was the amazing collection of jewel coloured and funky patterned over-sized lampshades in the window – a display made for Paris Design Week. I mean seriously, how much do you want one..or several..of these beauties for your home?

Moissonnier Lampshades for Paris Design Week

Moissonnier Lampshades for Paris Design Week

So, when I got home I had a bit of a google, and well..I am officially smitten. This brand combines homage to historical shapes and designs with the most up-to-date vibrant use of colour and pattern I have seen in a long time. Even their website is a work of art (the trailer at the start is beautifully made…go check it out at www.moissonnier.com.)

They seem to be particularly famous for their “commode” or low chest of drawers to us Brits. Made is Louis XV style, they make them in a real rainbow of shades and my personal favourite is the shocking pink version – talk about making a statement!!

Moissonnier Commodes in Bright Jewel Colours

Moissonnier Commodes in Bright Jewel Colours (Image Credit to http://www.moissonnier.com)

If you like this shade of pink but it’s a little much for you, then maybe this writing desk is a better option. Subtle white on the outside, the front folds down to reveal the vivacious pink of the interior. We think its uber feminine and uber fun 🙂

Moissonnier White and Pink Writing Desk

Moissonnier White and Pink Writing Desk

At this point you might be thinking this is all just rather garish (after all, cerise pink isn’t everyones thing!), so now I’m going to calm down and show you a couple more of their subtler pieces. First up is this stunning console table which with its elegant shape and intricate detailing really highlights the beauty of the wood.

Table de Chasse Regence Console by Moissonnier

Table de Chasse Regence Console by Moissionnier (Image credit to http://www.moissonnier.com

Second I adore this very Parisian Regency style chair with its subtle striped fabric and ornate white frame. Tres chic non?

Pale Blue Striped Regency Chair by Moissonnier

Pale Blue Striped Regency Chair by Moissonnier (Image Credit to http://www.moissonnier.com)

So the truth is, I have no real idea how much any of this stuff costs, but well, does it really matter? When you see a brand that has this level of craftmanship combined with originality it is all about investment right? And if you are ever lucky enough to be in Paris, check out their store at 52, rue de l’Université.

In Colour: Duck egg interiors

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When you are looking for a touch of serenity in your home, colour can do wonders and we love the current trend for duck egg interiors and accessories.  We have already featured our all time favourite desk in a vibrant shade of duck egg right here.

Because so many people have commented on this desk I thought I would source some more lovely pieces – but be warned, you can’t overdo this colour (it becomes a wash out quite fast!) so try and select one beautiful accent piece…or you could opt for a classic decor scheme and have it on your walls, which looks perfect which looks fantastic with a natural wooden floor :

duck egg blue with pink contrast living room

Duck egg blue wall scheme (Image courtesy of Ideal Home Magazine)

I particularly like the contrast with the warm pink in this room example – feminine without being overtly girly.

Right, now onto the good stuff:

The subtlest example for duck egg decor I have seen is this super cool text-map of London by Bold and Noble which you can own for £43 – I think this would make an amazing gift for a Londoner

Duck egg blue text map of London by Bold and Noble

Duck egg blue text map of London by Bold and Noble

I adore the curves of this duck-egg jug by Farnham based ceramicist Lucy Burley. I think its subtle lines are sexy enough to sit on a mantle-piece as a focal piece and is a snip at just £40.

Duck egg blue jug by Lucy Burley

Duck egg blue jug by Lucy Burley

It is worth checking out Lucy’s other pieces as well – she clearly has an eye for colour and her collection layers together beautifully.

There is also a great selection of duck egg painted furniture to be found on the web and I rather like this console table which combines the colour with a natural unfinished top for a subtle splash of the colour. Available for £329 from here

Duck egg blue & natural wood console table

Duck egg blue & natural wood console table by The Coach House

Retailer Spotlight: Anthropologie

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Sometimes there are brands that can seemingly do no wrong. For me, Anthropologie is one such brand. Huge in the States, and getting a cult following in the UK, this is a lifestyle brand in the truest meaning of the world. Walking into an Anthropologie store is like walking into a different world where the hustle and bustle of the world are left far behind and you can feel beautiful and feminine and content. OK yeah, you get it, I like Anthropologie.

Anthropologie London Regent Street Store

Anthropologie London Regent Street Store (Img courtesy of http://thebuzz.dianejameshome.com)

Of course, this is a homewares blog, and so I’m here to tell you about amazing stuff that Anthropologie can offer you for your home. I love their use of detail and colour to transform the ordinary into the pretty, fun or downright inspiring. Here are a few picks at nice sensible price points – and if you haven’t been into a store yet..GO!

First up – this rather sexy little glass with its kaleidoscope of colours is a little bit kitsch and oh so fun! Plus it is actually rather practical because it is dishwasher proof (vital!!). At £6 each you can get a whole set in each of the different colour options!

Celebrate the Day Tumbler by Anthropologie

Celebrate the Day Tumbler by Anthropologie

Next up, always a sucker for a good scatter cushion (would I be female if I wasn’t?) this one pays homage to the swinging sixties with its vibrant orange back and patchwork of colour. It is handmade and each one is totally unique – it can be yours for £68!

Orimono Cushion from Anthropologie

Orimono Cushion from Anthropologie

Finally (and honestly I could probably just put the entire range on here, so do go check it out for yourself on their website) I’m going to recommend something a bit unusual – a doorknob. Doorknobs can be such mundane practical things, but trust Anthropologie to turn this one into something to be treasured (£12 each):

Porcelain Flor D'Lune Doorknob by Anthropologie

Porcelain Flor D'Lune Doorknob by Anthropologie

PS Because I love this range so much, please dont blame me for doing another post in the not too distant future!!

Designer-Makers: Out of the Dark

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So on this blog I mostly post about things I love because they are pretty, unusual, lovingly handmade or just plain amazing. Today I get a special treat however, because I am going to blog about a very special London based design collective called “Out of the Dark”. Special because they don’t just create really lovely unique pieces of furniture, but because they offer education and skill based training to disadvantaged youths, and help kids that would otherwise have a fairly bleak future discover a meaningful trade.


Sanding a Dresser

Skills for life: Sanding a Dresser

So now you know it is made for a good cause, be prepare to also be awed by how amazing their products are! Out of the Dark are actually the third designer-maker that I have featured in this blog’s short life that is focused on upcycling, but probably that is because this trend is oh-so-hot right now (& of course means we can add environmental creds  to their honour-roll as well!)

Black and Lime Upcycled Writing Bureau by Out of the Dark

Black and Lime Upcycled Writing Bureau by Out of the Dark

Cyan Upcycled Sideboard and Table by Out of the Dark

Cyan Upcycled Sideboard and Table by Out of the Dark

They don’t sell directly just now, but you can find a selection of their pieces for sale here on bouf

You don’t just have to but their  products to get involved either – they are always on the look out for old furniture, or people to teach the apprentices new skills. If you can help then you can contact them on info@outofthedark.org.uk