Let’s go to the movies!

In the bleak midwinter we’re still curling up on the sofa and getting engrossed in good books, film and tv. What does this have to do with design you may ask? So glad you did…


This month I:

Abigail hit Top Drawer at Kensington Olympia to see what was coming next in the world of interiors. If you think we’ve hit peak tropical, you ain’t seen nothing yet. We are also seeing a welcome return to a natural pallet, both in terms of colour, and materials (not so great for Rachel’s wool allergy). Below is a round up of what Abigail saw…

Detailed tropical embroidery covers two trends. The embroiders gives the feeling of artistry and quality and a worth investment if you love the design. From Jan Constantine


safari prints
The next evolution of pattern and theme after tropical, African! Prints prints everywhere showcasing moss green and mustard yellow both strong colours easy to introduce if you have a base of a neutral pallet. From Sophie Allport
seaside porceline
Tropical design continues to have many faces, here the sea and insect theme with emphasis on natural shapes and materials.  From Objet Luxe
agate coasters
Agate, marble, quartz and granite in its many many forms continues to be ubiquitous. Firm favourites of coasters, platters and cake stands showcased by Dassie Artisan.
globe lights
Coach House, as always, are bang on trend showcasing African safari design in its typically displayed form, raw white linens, animal print and skins and some colonial hardwood, wicker and a globe thrown in for good measure.

Rachel devoured Michelle Obama’s autobiography becoming. Quite aside from being a style icon herself, and Rachel’s shared love of the Saab 900, this book was a welcome meditation on what it means to help places get ‘unstuck’ and that so many of the ‘choices’ we make are actually dictated by our built environment.

Good Design / Bad Design

While at Top Drawer Abigail also fell in love with these mud-ball chandeliers, handmade by women affected by HIV living in South Africa.  Knock-offs about but these beauties are still looking for a UK distributor.

mudball chandelliers
My good design bad design is solely based around this beauty. As ethically sound as it is stunning. Each clay bead hand rolled giving work, skills and joy to the women of South Africa who make it. This is the original and this is where your design choices can make an actual impact. I don’t compromise design no matter the cause. And with this you don’t have to. Find out more at Hellooo handmade 

Good Design is when you have a genuine connection, not just to the look, but the to the whole story of an object. Can materialism ever be good for people?  This led to a discussion of the ethics of objects, in particular Rachel’s new found love of meal-kit delivery services (Mindful Chef is particularly ‘ethical’) and  reminisced about the Great-Grandmother Edna Ruth Byler who helped to set up one of the first fair-trade organisations, Ten Thousand Villages.

A little closer to home, Rachel’s good design is a clock that you can tell the time on, and bad design is a clock that makes you work a little too hard.

Her watch – a lovely Mondain Helvetica (she has the No1 Light model with steel strap) is good design (easy to read, lovely on the wrist, a timeless timekeeper).

The Ikea Clock that her children pretend is the moon is less good… the odds are you could be VERY late if this was your only timepiece.

The Big Topic

It was a trip to the (home) cinema and a trip down memory lane for Abigail and Rachel. Abigail has identified two kinds of movies firstly period films that make you want to visit the stately home (think Atonement) or the page turners that suck you into place based conspiracy theories (think Da Vinci Code).

Rachel on the other hand reflected on how all her life choices are dictated by the films of Nora Ephron, When Harry met Sally specifically.

Abigail then set Rachel what shall hence for be known as the W. E. challenge, and Rachel counter challenges with the Much Ado about Nothing  double bill (both the Branagh and the Whedon versions).

Designing Together

We’ve been watching (who hasn’t???) the Marie Kondo series of Netflix. What we love about this that unlike other ‘tidying’ shows (Hoarders, Consumed) there’s no judgement. You may end up with more stuff than a strict minimalist would find necessary – but it all speaks to YOU. And that’s really what good design is all about.

Next month I will

We’ve set an ambitious challenge to do both a visit to the Design Museum Home Futures exhibition and a real live design consultation! #challengeaccepted.

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