Cool...chinese ming cup collecting

 Cool...chinese ming cup collecting


This tiny tea cup from the Ming Dynasty smashed the record for Chinese porcelain this morning here in Hong Kong, fetching USD36m (GBP21m) including the buyers premium. I bet  the collector, ‘eccentric’ billionaire, Liu Yigian, who is the 200th richest person in China, was pretty pleased with his purchase.  No doubt a great investment.   It will be displayed in his personal museum.

It is eight centimetres (3.1 inches) in diameter and is 500 years old. Sotheby’s said the previous record for Chinese porcelain was set in 2010 when a vase sold for $32.4m (£19.3m).

The cup was made during the reign of the Ming Dynasty’s Chenghua Emperor, who ruled from 1465 to 1487. The 500-year-old treasure is known as a ‘chicken cup’ due to its decoration of a cockerel and hen tending to their chicks, and is one of only 17 in the world, most in museum collections.

As the item was so widely coveted, bidding was limited to just a handful of wealthy investors – although the auction house itself was standing-room only for the momentous occasion. I would have loved to go, but didn’t fancy fighting for a look.   

Apparently, at the moment the cup was hammered down at HK$250 millon,  the crowd broke into a round of applause. As well they should.  I bet the previous owner was pretty pleased too.

You can see a video of the sale here.


images via dailymail

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Cool…chinese ming cup collecting

Living in HK has given me an appreciation of Chinese ceramics.  I have been fortunate to have done some courses at Christies, giving me a glimpse into this exciting world of design.   Unfortunately, it is incredibly hard to begin a collection, as the prices are steep and because there are many fakes on the market.  However, you can always visit the seasonal sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s and look and handle many pieces.   You can find out about their many courses here.  There are many different courses and, being a Christie’s girl myself, I have to say that they are worth attending.

Today, this tiny porcelain cup, dating back to the Ming Dynasty, has fetched $36m (£21.5m) at an auction in Hong Kong, setting a new record.

9 April 2014






I love the idea of making art from a collection of beautiful things- and they don’t have to be collectors items- just graphic in their own way.  here’s a  few examples….. Cool...ideas for art for walls

I love typography (you may have noticed!).   You can collect stencils like these via sites like etsy  .  I like how instead of putting all of the stencils up, they have created interest by spray painting missing numbers on the wall.

image via sfgirlbybay

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


not quite sure what these little numbers are but I like the roughness of them next against the painted wall

image via sfgirlbybay


 Cool...ideas for art for walls


a bit of a classic look here- love a display shelf especially one used as graphically as this one

image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


another little collection- the graphic quality of this is so beautiful: hands up- who loves black and white….


image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


grab a can of matt white spray paint and cover some objects with it.  Make sure that they are fake though


image via emmasdesignblogg

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


are you an origami lover- get folding and stick it up on the wall. Love the harmony of colours here


image via designlovefest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


loving spray paint and such fun too…grab a few different papers from the art store and layer them on the wall- go crazy with mt tape

image via designlovefest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


I frame beautiful silk scarves quite often- I like this collection of scarves in the same pattern but different colourways- make sure that you frame more than one though, it looks a lot better…


image by the decorista

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


Something so prosaic as a rustic hammer can look amazing when displayed on a wall.  I love tools- old cooking spoons, washboards, plates etc all work…


image by remodelista

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


got a kid with an amazing collection of toys?  make perspex shelves or just mount them directly to the wall, they’ll love it but might make for interesting dusting ( invest in a soft brush!)


image via pinterest

 Cool...ideas for art for walls


any one that has visited a stately home will have seen the amazing decorations made of antique objects.  the key here is repetition, repetition, repetition.  I have seen amazing swords, copper pots, jam jars, jelly moulds etc used in interesting displays.


image via pinterest

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Cool…ideas for art for walls

There’s nothing I like better than a piece of art to add that certain something to an interior.  However, not all of us have the budget to buy knockout pieces of art for every wall in our houses.  Even if you do have the budget, think of it as a creative outlet or a way of showing off all those cool collections that you have…

Here are some ideas for art pieces on the wall….

7 April 2014









 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table



The classic Saarinen table with the chairs designed for it.   I love these chairs with their swivel base, but some might find it difficult to move backwards and forwards.   However, it is a classic look.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

This is the table with another Knoll chair design- which looks equally as good.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

I do love these chairs by Cherner, the loop armrests echo the ellipse shapes of the table and the contrast in materials is very pleasing to the eye.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

For a more retro look, you can mix the table with Eames eiffel chair.

These are all closed back chairs but because the table is so sculptural, an open backed chair can look good too.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table


These very traditional chairs, based on an antique style suit the table very well.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

This is a rather traditional chair, but I think it works well in the space, particularly with all the white accents.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table


This Louis chair is a nice choice as the open back adds a warm contrast to the table

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

I have never been a fan of the Kartell Louis chair- I think they look a bit cheap and too many copies exist, but their transparency and classic shape look very nice with this table.

saarinen 5 600x463 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

Another play on transparency, chairs with a wire frame…

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableHere it is with a more traditional upholstered chair

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableAnother example…

saarinen blue Chairs to pair with a Tulip tableA bit of a dodgy photo taken on an iPhone…We recently installed this 121cm table and paired it with a Thonet Le Corbusier chair custom painted with natural socks. It’s open backed but with arms, making it comfortable for long, leisurely dinner parties.  The seats can be made even more comfortable with some custom made cushions for the seats.

 Chairs to pair with a Tulip table



Actually, I think this table is not real, but I wanted to show you the other style of Thonet chair looks great too!

images via pinterest




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Chairs to pair with a Tulip table

One of our favourite tables we love to use in HK is the Knoll Saarinen table.  You may be tempted to buy a copy of this one, but the real thing is so superior and ALWAYS looks great! We generally ship ours in from Europe as it is a bit cheaper than sourcing locally here.  It comes in a few types of marble and you can choose a black or white base.

Have a look through these ideas on the left…the best thing is that whatever you choose, a Saarinen table looks good with almost any chair…



in:  Blog, Design
3 April 2014

solar powered cumulus parasol inflates when the sun shines 818 600x337 powered parasol



Cumulus Parasol by Toer from studio toer on Vimeo.

A whimsical exploration of a parasol by Studio Toer will be launched at Salone del Mobile 2014… powered parasol

Solar panels are affixed to the top of the umbrella powered parasol powered parasol

fully inflated and resistant to windy weather…you can sit under your very own cloud…

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Cool…solar powered parasol

A sneak peek from 2014 salone del mobile , netherlands-based studio toer has designed ‘the cumulus parasol’, a solar powered shade which self-inflates when the sun starts shining. Energy generating modules fixed to the top of the stand-alone shade activate a fan with the presence of natural light, inflating the body of the fabric umbrella. It expands to its full size in in about 20 seconds; the curved shape is aerodynamic, allowing it to withstand windy weather, a silicone coating keeps it resistant to water, and its nylon skin makes it durable, lightweight, and strong.vThe whimsical shape refers to a cumulus cloud, billowing overhead and protecting those beneath it from harsh rays under its two meter diameter expanse. in dim skies, the parasol will either deflate automatically, or can be switched off manually using a mechanism integrated in the pole.

in:  Design
2 April 2014

 Cool...kate + kate blankets


This is pretty much the full collection from Kate+Kate. You can shop it here.  The blankets in black and white have been walking out the door and so they should.  The designs are sharp (& reversible) and the cotton is so soft…..yum!

 Cool...kate + kate blankets

 Cool...kate + kate blankets

 Cool...kate + kate blanketsThese are the new designs, I’ll be sure to pick up these on my next trip to Sydney.

images via the design files

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Cool…kate + kate blankets

We’re loving seeing the 2 Kates from Kate+Kate blankets appear in The Design Files yesterday morning. You can read the whole interview here.

in:  Blog, Shop Now
1 April 2014

 Cool...3D Kvadrat



The new collection consists of 3 fabrics: canal, moraine and gravel.   They can be used double sided and have a playful 3D effect.   Cool...3D Kvadrat

The moraine fabric looks rather like quilting

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours are pretty subdued with the interest being in the construction of the fabric

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Canal, moraine and gravel collections

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours of the canal range

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Colours of the gravel range

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

You can see the incredible detail in the construction of the fabrics

 Cool...3D Kvadrat

Detail image of the knit

 Cool...3D Kvadrat


The knitted quality of the fabric means that it can be stretched tightly around a frame so that there are no creases or buckles in the corners of the structure, making the joins appear seamless

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Cool…3D Kvadrat

You may know we stock the clouds and the ready made curtains by Kvadrat, and Kvadrat fabrics are widely used in most high quality Scandinavian furniture manufacturers, Gubi, HAY and Muuto all use Kvadrat’s divina, hallingdal and steelcut in their designs.  The high quality of the weave, and of the raw materials, means this fabric lasts!

I have a Panton cone chair, purchased when I was 20 (that was a long time ago) which was a vintage piece then which is covered in Kvadrat Steelcut.   I used this chair for many years as a desk chair, superseded only when I got older and my back required more support!

We were excited to hear that the Bourellec Brothers are presenting a new collection of knitted and 3d fabrics at the Salone del Mobile 2014.  The fabric is  constructed using a  double jersey knit , revealing  new surfaces in its slightly quilted form, combining the flexibility properties and firmness necessary to upholster a variety of shapes by using less stitching points.

This will mean more flexibility in design of furniture, allowing furniture to be fully upholstered, including legs and frames.   More fun for us!!!

in:  Blog, Design
31 March 2014

FLOURISH from Dana Tanamachi on Vimeo.

We love a good graphic…these chalkboard graphics by Dana Tanamachi are the best….Slightly retro, but altogether contemporary….

 Cool...the work of Dana Tanamachi  Cool...the work of Dana Tanamachi

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Cool…the work of Dana Tanamachi

We love the work of Tanamachi Studios and have been following the Studio for quite some time.   Here’s a bit about Dana…

Dana Tanamachi-Williams is a Texas-bred, Brooklyn-based graphic designer and letterer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands. After designing Broadway show posters at SpotCo and working under Louise Fili, Dana opened her own design & lettering boutique, Tanamachi Studio. She has been commissioned by clients such as Google, Yahoo!, Rugby Ralph Lauren, The Ace Hotel, Tommy Hilfiger, West Elm, and Bloomingdale’s. In 2011, she was named a Young Gun (YG9) by the Art Directors Club and a Young Creative to Watch by HOW Magazine. In 2012, Dana had the unique honor of creating custom cover art for OHOW, and TIME Magazines, as well as an exclusive product line for Target in late 2013.

in:  Blog, Design
30 March 2014

gormley 1431 transfer 2011 001 600x450 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery

Transfer (2011) is an interference but also a complex connection between the wall and the ceiling

gormley 1684 gut xiii 2013 001 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery

Gut XIII (2010), a vertical ‘Blockwork’ that uses the architectural metaphor of the body as a building to full advantage,suggesting the body as an unstable high-rise with the potential of imminent collapse

gormley 2010 form 2013 001 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery

Form (2013), the crouching iron ‘Blockwork’  attempts to reconsider the body as a building; anatomy has been replaced by stacking, propping and cantilever, to form a static but dynamically unstable whole

gormley 2048 murmur 2014 005 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery

Murmur (2014) is a large-scale multiple ‘Space-Frame’ that fills the entire ground floor gallery. Derived from Form seen above , its dimensions have been translated and expanded outwards by frames which challenge the containing architecture, allowing the viewer just a small passage between the surrounding walls and the void contained inside this ‘frame-field’.

images via whitecube

 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery


Horizon Field- Lech (2010) juxtaposes man with nature

image via BBC

 Cool...gormley at the white cube gallery


My first exposure to Gormley’s work A Field for AGNSW (1989)

image via AGNSW

‘States and Conditions, Hong Kong’, an exhibition of new works by British artist Antony Gormley on show at the Hong Kong gallery from 28 March, 2014  to 3 May, 2014.

White Cube Hong Kong

50 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong

T: +852 2592 2000

Tuesday – Saturday

11am – 7pm

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Cool…gormley at the white cube gallery

British sculptor, Antony Gormley, is one of the most spiritual and contemplative artists working today.  Though I had been following his work since I watched him put together a ‘Field’ in 1989 at the AGNSW, which unfortunately is not on display (but should be), I first felt a connection with his work when I saw a series of his figures in Lech.  Buried deep in the snow, the figures, surrounded by the mountains, seemed small, fragile and defenceless but also a part of the environment, leading us to question our place in the world.

From the 28th March, WhiteCube will be presenting ‘States and Conditions, Hong Kong’.  Again investigating a body’s  relationship to the spaces that surround us.   These  works will be installed within the architecture of the WhiteCube space, creating an awkwardness of movement around the works.  These works are linear in nature- interrupting spaces but creating connectivity between the ceiling and the wall.



There will be an artist’s talk on the 27th which unfortunately I will have to miss- but hopefully I can convince Molly to go in my place.


in:  Art, Blog
12 March 2014

 norways incredible memorial

Designed by Norwegian architect,  Jonas Dahlberg,  his proposed tribute to the victims of the Utøya mass shooting in 2011 takes the form of a permanent scar on the landscape, a void that he describes as “a wound or a cut within nature itself.”

 norways incredible memorial


images via gizmodo

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norway’s incredible memorial

Memorials to tragedies are notoriously difficult to design well.  How do you  commemorate such loss?  Recently, Norwegian architect,  Jonas Dahlberg unveiled his tribute to the victims of the Utøya mass shooting.

On his first visit to the island, Dahlberg was profoundly affected by beauty of the environment :

“I noticed how different the feeling was of walking outside in nature, compared to the feeling of walking through the rooms of the main building,” he explains in a statement. “The experience of seeing the vacant rooms and the traces of extreme violence brought me—and others around me—to a state of profound sadness.”

But, outside, things felt different, as though nature was already in regeneration. “Although we stood directly on the very place where many people had lost their lives, nature had already begun to obscure all traces,” he explains.

He decided to concentrate on nature itself, carving out  a 70-foot-wide gap, separating the headland from the main island, creating a permanent scar on the landscape, rather than an bombastic memorial.

On the jagged edges of the cut, the names of those who died in the attacks would be inscribed into smooth stone. “The names will be close enough to see and read clearly, yet ultimately out of reach,” he says. “The cut is an acknowledgement of what is forever irreplaceable.”

Though we can argue that these sort of memorials only encourage this kind of disaster, for the families and friends of those who died so tragically, it can be a source of healing and remembrance.   I’m not sure if a memorial like this is even possible but it is amazingly beautiful and affecting.

11 March 2014

design shanghai 1 shanghai 2014


The show was held in the Stalinist  Shanghai Exhibition Center, built in 1955 by the Russians and given the name Sino-Soviet Friendship Building.   This wedding cake of a building is fronted by a very elaborate colonnade flanked by 2 wings on either side.

design shanghai 2 shanghai 2014

Cole & Son provided the marvellous Nuvolette wallpaper as the backdrop for Beijing artist Guanci’s  Rainbow Angels.  I had a lovely chat to the Cole & Sons Marketing lady- who loved all our Cole and Son projects and explained to me in great detail, how wallpaper is made and the different types of printing methods.

design shanghai 3 shanghai 2014


The Fritz Hansen display was full of covetable treasures.   The acquisition of an Egg chair is on my wish list- just don’t tell my husband!

design shanghai 5 shanghai 2014


The HAY stall is always fun and incredibly busy! And no wonder- they have the best range of furniture and accessories to suit every budget.

images via eclectic cool shanghai 2014

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Design Shanghai was the opening of the new HAY store in hip Tianzifang.   They had a very cool party  to celebrate their opening. It made me want to go shopping, then I remembered I could buy it all from my own store! shanghai 2014


images via shotbytaun

design shanghai 6 shanghai 2014


image by eclectic cool

I stayed at the very cool Waterhouse on the Bund designed by the very talented Neri+Hu.   The lobby was gorgeous, lots of rough concrete and a fab leather reception desk with a Tracey Emin neon above.   I got a lovely room upgrade ( thanks Waterhouse), though I have to warn you- you have to share the room with someone you love because the bathroom is all glass!


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Cool…design shanghai 2014

We’ve been a bit quiet because we have been visiting the inaugural Design Shanghai show.   Vendors mainly from Europe attended with a few local designers thrown in.  The halls were split into contemporary and classic design with quite a variety of vendors thrown in- from furniture to lighting to rugs and wall coverings.

We were thrilled to meet so many inspirational makers.   It seemed to be a big success, if attendance was anything to go by, with not only buyers attending but also many students and lovers of design.

4 March 2014
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