image by eclectic cool
I spent most of my twenties collecting lots of chairs until I ran out of space in my apartment, so I learnt quite a lot about what makes a good chair and its construction.
Of course when choosing to buy a chair it not only has to look good but must feel great as well. A chair to an interior is like shoes to an outfit, it can make or break it. The analogy of shoes to chairs can further be extended… Like a good shoe, a chair must fit well, be well designed and add distinction to your look. It is always a great idea to look for a classic design in an unusual colour and material. It should be one of the focal points to a room. And it has to be made well. If a room has to be designed with a limited budget, the biggest expense should be the chair.
There is nothing worse than seeing a chair that looks great, but will not carry your weight and is poorly constructed from inferior materials. That is why, when getting a sofa or chair custom made, it is important to sit and feel the materials used in situ. Often, in order to save money, clients will go to a furniture manufacturer to buy a sofa. They will carefully select the materials and the design. However, the cost savings are usually in the parts you can’t see. Poor quality frames, cheap foam that will lose its shape quickly, are a couple of ways that manufacturers reduce costs. When it is delivered and they finally have the time to sit on the piece, they are disappointed.
A sofa or armchair buying decision should be made like a car buying decision. You will change your car in 2-3 years, you will change your sofa every 10 years or even more. You and your guests are going to spend a lot more time sitting in your sofa than you will in your car. From watching TV, surfing the net, spending time with friends and family to lying down when you have a headache or feel ill- it needs to be a place that embraces you and makes you feel at home. Like a car or a pair of shoes, buy the best that you can afford and over time you will not regret it.
21 August 2011
One of my guilty pleasures is reading crime and action fiction. Those of you who know me will know that I read about 4 to 6 fiction books per week and it can’t always be literary because a) I’d get too depressed and b) sometimes you need to allow your brain to shut down.
One of my favourite series is that of lone ex-Army intelligence officer, Jack Reacher, by Lee Child. The sixteenth book in the series, The Affair, is going to be released in late September. I adore this character, tall (6′ 5″), a loner, the brooding hero type, you get the picture. Loving the books as I do, I knew it was only a matter of time before the character was brought to the big screen.
Tom Cruise has been cast. I was speechless (which doesn’t happen very often)! Anyone less like Jack Reacher I could not imagine and according to all that I read on the net, I am not alone in my disappointment. Now I have nothing against Tom Cruise, per se. Notwithstanding scientology, doing the dirty on our Nicole and the couch-jumping thing, he seems a good enough actor. Does he look like the type of guy who would spend his days drifting, who could kill a man with his bare hands? I think not.
I’ll just look forward to the next book instead and maybe Tom will surprise me.
20 August 2011
image via hollywoodlife
Okay, this bag craze is getting ridiculous. Like all girls, I love my bags too. I look for quality, longevity, style and classicism. Both Victoria Beckham’s $29000 bag and The Row’s $39000 bag don’t have the pedigree. And as an investment goes, look to Hermés.
Very simple designs, even if made in an exotic skin, does not make a classic you can leave to your daughters. How long would it take before you get sick of it? I guess they charge those prices because they can (and I guess people will buy it because it is expensive, and you don’t have to go on a hugely long waitlist at Hermés).
19 August 2011
Recently, Liberty launched the Liberty Rocks! collection. Combining the talents of the in house fabric designers with people in the music industry who are passionate about liberty prints is pure fabric magic.
I love the the Thorgerson B print which recalls Storm Thorgerson’s iconic album cover for Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon. Even Florence Welch of Florence and the Machines got into the act, delving into the Liberty archives (lucky her!) to pick a few of her favourite prints.
One of the most interesting is that of Edywn Collins, a singer with the Scottish band, Orange Juice, who suffered a brain haemorrage in 2005 and drew a picture of a bird every day as part of his rehab. These images are used in the print, Ornithology.
You can see the whole collection here
18 August 2011
The new trend of online magazines is growing. They are becoming more and more slick and the market is becoming very competitive. One of the best I have seen is the new Aussie mag, est. Cool interiors and lifestyle photography, eye catching graphic design and some great links to unusual sites. The second issue, which you can see above, is out now and the best thing about it is that you can subscribe and it is free!
The magazine is put together by Sian Macpherson, a Melbourne-based interior designer and stylist. Her simple and elegant style is evident on every page of the magazine. I am totally in love with the interior pictured- I want it for my country house!
17 August 2011
Those sexy, sinuous curves, luscious features and elegant bearing. You can tell from this I have a bit of a girl crush on Zaha Hadid’s latest completed project, the pool for the Summer Olympics in London.
I thought that the Beijing pool design by Australian architectural firm, PTW Architects was pretty fine, but the attention to detail on this interior has really got me crushing. It is almost gorgeous enough to distract from the male divers that will be gracing the diving podium ( I did say almost)!
I know most people want to know if it is functional. I guess we have to wait until the pool has been used to assess the practicalities, but in this case, who cares.
16 August 2011
the finished product!
Bringing a product from the initial design stage into production takes quite a bit of time. When I first started studying design, the process is simple. Piece of paper, some pens and pencils, a bit of CAD, design development and then into presentation. Since you are not actually producing a physical thing, the design brief starts and ends with drawings, or maybe a model or two.
Now I have to add another stage….production. Not only decisions about what materials to use have to be made, but you have procure them at a price that makes the production process worthwhile. You then have to find someone to make the product. Sometimes, I am able to do the prototype myself, other times I have to outsource. With my jewel line, the drawings are completed in CAD and then made into a physical wax model. The model has to then be cast, set and finished. Some pieces need further assembly. In all, the process from the initial design and working drawings to completed product could take months.
However, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your design become real.
15 August 2011
Verdura Cuff originally designed for Chanel, late 1930s
image via verdura
chanel cuffs Fall 2011
image via chanel
I was recently wandering through Lane Crawford when I came across this Verdura cuff made for the company’s 70th anniversary. I was struck by the gorgeousness of it. The ivory enamel was just the right tint to offset the rich colours of the semi-precious gems set in the shape of a maltese cross. You may not know that this piece was designed for Mme Chanel’s boutiques in the late 1930s. This shape is synonymous with classic Chanel style.
In fact, every season Chanel reinterprets this classic design to be worn with the garments. This season, Chanel has looked back to Byzantine art: the use of twisted gold metal, rich, uneven cutting of the gemstones reminds us of some of the religious artifacts that typify this era.
But it makes me wonder: could who came first? Verdura or Chanel? I suppose it doesn’t matter… both companies seem happy to trade off their common design. Verdura, using gold and semiprecious stones can charge a premium, but Chanel, re-inventing the piece every seasons, sells volume. So should designers worry about reinterpretations?
Ask Christian Louboutin, who has spent the last month in court protecting his right to be the only shoe maker to be able to use a red sole. Should he worry? Surely he will sell shoes no matter what? The court agreed, saying that Louboutin has no right to trademark the colour red.
I think good design will always be copied, but quality cannot be imitated. I can’t speak for the Verdura cuff, but a Chanel cuff is easy to wear and always lifts an outfit. The best thing a designer can do is always appear fresh and interesting…people will appreciate and buy it, red sole, label or not.
14 August 2011
The Death of Marat by Jacques Louis David (1793) Collection Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts at Brussels
The Austrians love their opera and it shows.
As part of the the Bregenz Festival, ‘Andre Chenier’, an opera set in the time of the French Revolution has been chosen as the centrepiece. An opera about a french poet who was tragically guillotined three days before the ‘Reign of Terror’ ended for ‘crimes against the state’, it certainly is filled with all the dramatic tension you could wish for in an opera. With mob scenes and action galore, the opera just begs for a dramatic backdrop.
The staging, by designer David Fielding, of this opera is, and there is no other word for this, magnificent. Using the backdrop of Lake Constance, the stage was sunk into the lake with a concrete core with the ancillary structures supported by wooden scaffolding. The central part of the stage is dominated by an oversized figure, based on Jacques Louis David’s The Death of Marat (1793), a neoclassical masterpiece.
From his eye streams a staircase and below an open book. Lighting adds drama to the staging with shadows cast of words adding to the intensity of the action. A hand draws a platform along the water during the opera. It really is something.
13 August 2011
Starting out as a curated series of exhibitions in retail centres, Workshopped aimed to showcase the best of Australian design. From these small beginnings, the annual Workshopped exhibition is held as part of Sydney Design. This year’s opening, held at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, was attended by 800 guests from the design world. Around 5o of the best of Australia’s established and up-and-coming designers were represented.
In addition to this exhibition, Workshopped has a permanent retail space in Darlinghurst, a few steps away from Taylor Square. This retail space contains some of the most popular designs from past exhibitions. I was quite taken with the handmade Lumi Table Lamp by designer Nicci Green of Bribe and the milking stools by LifeSpaceJourney in coloured steel and recycled wood. If I had more than a suitcase I would have definitely brought them home!
Shop 2 / 8 Hill Street, Surry Hills,
12 August 2011