New Designers, Then & Now…

We wanted to do a double introduction to two new designers, one we met last year, and the other just a few weeks ago, who will soon both be featuring in our shop...

Last year was a busy year for us, and New Designers 2012 brought us our second year of amazingly talented graduates. One in particular that caught our eye was Mairi Burrow.

Mairi's stunning jewellery was one of the highlights as part of the Duncan of Jordanstone stand with her fragile interpretations of Alzheimer's through her work. Poignant and refreshing that such a condition could be the inspiration for her graduate collection.

Having the chance to meet her in person at the time, and arrange to stay in touch, her busy Summer of moving and getting married took precedence. A month into 2013, we met again, and Mairi has been working continuously on a new collection and commissions at her new home in London.

Her new work, which we received a few weeks ago, continues to feature the same intricacy and fragility that we loved last year, and are pleased to be showcasing her work over the coming weeks.

In stark contrast, as New Designers 2013 drew to a close last month, we sent out our emails to a few of our favourites, one being product designer Clea Jentsch.

Although a fresh face to the industry, Clea has already forged links with some of UK's most prominent design stores with her simple yet useful approach to product design. And as a graduate from Kingston, will also be featuring her work during London Design Festival in the Kingston showcase exhibition, Nous.

So of course we are excited to be able to launch her graduate collection of stationary and desk tidying paraphernalia in a limited, hand-made run so soon. The simple, folded steel pieces, powdered-coated in striking minty green will organise the most messy with its minimal lines and playful individuality.

For us, working with new designers whether a few weeks, or a year after making that discovery doesn't hinder the excitement or stunt our enthusiasm, these things can take time, but the time is always right, whenever, wherever it may happen...

Mairi and Clea's work will be available to buy via Look Like Love very soon...

Walk Out On The Beach With Me…

Last weekend we took a trip down to Brighton, the sun was shining, it was jacket-free weather with the seafront bustling with people, local and from further a field soaking up the sea air, and to-date a rare glimpse of Summer.

A great weekend on its own, but we were there to support some close friends who were raising money for their beautiful daughter Rosa who was born with Cerebral Palsy just over two years ago.
The aim was to be able to take her to the private clinic in London, The Bobath Centre. The centre specialises in working with children with various degrees of the illness and works with one-on-one therapy focusing on mobility and speech.

We were honoured to be be part of their fundraiser entitled 'Walk out on the beach with me', and with the generosity of our designers, CM Carter, Jessie G, Roisin Connolly and Natalie Hough, we had some amazing donations too.

The evening was a combination of a silent auction, live auction and raffle, with some incredible pieces on offer from artists including Tom Hammick and Dom McGill, as well as local contributions from Karen Potter and Ta King.

And what a response, from the top floor of The Mesmerist Bar in the heart of Brighton, the crowd did not disappoint with bids coming thick and fast for all the pieces on offer. The buzz from the auction certainly didn't stop there with the silent auction equally as competitive. Bids and counter-bids were placed up until the last minute, with eager bidders lingering around the works they really wanted, to stop anyone from putting in a cheeky offer in the final seconds!

Any disappointment was short-lived as the raffle had plenty of amazing pieces up for grabs, from the classic bottle of champagne and spa treatments to autographed cards from One Direction!

The final figure raised on the night is still being totalled up, but early predictions show they have doubled the original figure they were hoping for.

It was an emotional and overwhelming evening for Rosa's parents Alice and Will, and a fantastic show of kindness and generosity from friends and family who came from near and far to show their love and support for their little girl...

 

Designed for Living…

Vibrancy comes in many forms; personality, style, creative expression, the list goes on, but this was the one word that came to mind when we were introduced to the House of Arike.

Creative Director Arike was born in Nigeria and raised in London, so the fusion of both African and Western cultures was something that came naturally. Combined with a love for interior design, it wasn't long before the House of Arike was founded, specialising in creating avant-garde, luxury, African print home accessories.

We have always loved the incredible colours and patterns created in African fabrics, so taking these cultural representations, and being able to see them in a domestic setting is very exciting.

We now have the pleasure of working with House of Arike on bringing you their first collection, and as their mission statement so concisely sums up, '...Inspired by Africa, Designed for Living...'

Off Life…

Creativity comes in many forms, last week we were at the Vogue Festival, negotiating our way through bloggers, photographers and passionate followers, (and leaders), showcasing their creativity through fashion. This week, we step off the commercially fuelled treadmill and turn our attention to what was at one time a childhood favourite, the comic book.

No longer a medium that simply interests children or sci-fi enthusiasts, the Beano annual collector that has nostalgia oozing from its chronologically ordered hardbacks, or a weekly pilgrimage to Forbidden Planet, the humble comic has in some ways grown up with its readers.

The popularity of graphic novels has had some part to play, but today, comics themselves have a dedicated and sophisticated audience, and an appreciation for this expressive story-telling is evident in the pick-up publication OFF LIFE.

The beauty in what OFF LIFE brings to modern-day comics is the collaborative approach it has. The idea of bringing together new, emerging and exciting storytellers and illustrators, with well-known comic artists is an exciting mix, and none more so than the new talent that gets chosen. The opportunity to sit alongside their own idols is an appeal that adds an interesting mix of styles and collected contributions.

Like us, they are equally passionate about supporting and promoting emerging talent,

"...we hope that OFF LIFE will be a stepping stone to all works of genius that exist out there in four colour print because bold voices in every art form deserves a place to shine. Yes, even comic slingers..."

Originally brought to our attention by one of our designers, CM Carter, (who features in Issue 4), we had to go and find ourselves a copy. The lovely thing about this is it's available in a variety of different places, from the grungy pubs of East London to The Old Vic in Bristol, opening up its reach to a whole new audience of appreciators...We'll certainly be swapping the fashion mags for a different take on escapism for a while...

Company Car by CM Carter

 

Vogue Festival…

We always try and find inspiration wherever we go, so this weekend we headed to the rather glam Vogue Festival, this year hosted at the Southbank Centre in London. Our intention, to hear from one of the best designers from our very own shores, Paul Smith.

Not adversed to public speaking, the talk itself began with a snippet of creative advice, as many of the audience members were students. He spoke enthusiastically about inspiration, and how it can be found in anything and everything if you, '...look and see...'

Such simple advice, but with the sheer bombardment of images, sounds, sights and smells we are exposed to on a daily basis, it's easy to forget to take that important step back, edit, appreciate and feel genuinely inspired.
Picture Credit: Darren Gerrish

In conversation with Paul Smith was fashion favourite, Vogue contributing editor, (and cover girl) Alexa Chung. The chit-chat was light-hearted rather than a fact-finding interview, but the content was no less interesting for it. In fact their genuine rapport just added to the relaxed feel and flow as they conversed.

With a career that has spanned over 30 years, Paul Smith shows no sign of slowing down, as the passion for his craft still sees him at his desk at 6am everyday after an early morning swim. And he likes to keep things simple, no computer and no email, ('...just 145 assistants!') to keep him informed of what he needs to know.

Picture Credit: Darren Gerrish

A life-long photographer, it was amazing to discover he shoots all his own campaigns to this day. He could be perceived as a control freak with such a contribution, but he genuinely doesn't come across that way at all, it's all down to the love of it, the passion, and the fact that anything less than 100% just isn't enough. He also spoke candidly about the fact there are far too many designers out there these days, and it's about finding that point of difference, and striving to be at least one step ahead.

We left feeling that little bit more motivated, and more positive that as long as you have passion at the heart of your creative endeavours, anything is possible...

Milan via Africa…


Milan 2013 is upon us, the annual descent on the Italian city is in full swing, and as one of the most exciting showcases in the design calendar, we wanted to find out what first-time exhibitors thought about taking part, and the prospect of sitting alongside some of the world's biggest design hitters...


Set to take over flagship store La Rinascente, Afrofuture is a showcase of how Africa, the world's second largest continent, is exploring new frontiers through media, events and performance.


'Afrofuture shines a modern, pan-African light on what can, is and could happen in design in and beyond Africa...and to think big about how the rapidly emerging future will see mould-breaking designers coming from radical underground to the global mainstream.' says showcase developer and writer, Nana Ocran.



Yinka Illori is a relatively new furniture designer, but since graduating his feet haven't really touched the ground. We have known Yinka for about six months now, and in that time he has shown his work in New York, London and Frankfurt, but Milan is set to be a real highlight, and he's starting to feel the pressure being under such an international spotlight.


During the week-long programme of events, on Wednesday 10th April, Yinka will be presenting, 'The Art of Storytelling' a live up-cycling session using vintage European furniture, and upholstering the pieces in Nigerian fabrics, a signature of his, and an appropriate clash of cultures for the exhibition itself. We caught up with him about his imminent trip...

How did you get selected as an exhibitor?

"Being part of Afrofuture at the the La Rinascente all came about when Beatrice Galilee, the curator, contacted me via email. She came across my work on-line with an interview that I did with writer Stephanie Baptist a few months ago on the blog Another Africa.
I invited Beatrice and her assistant to my studio, and she really liked my previous work, and workshop proposal for Afrofuture. The invitation to be part of the exhibition came soon after. It was unbelievable, I never thought that this opportunity would happen so soon! I am really excited, and at the same time nervous...more excited now it's so soon though..."

What are you most looking forward to?

"I am really looking forward to my workshop...it's the first time for doing a workshop, let alone in Milan! It's a great opportunity for me to push myself and try something totally different. If it's successful, maybe it will be something I will consider doing in the future. It would a good opportunity to give people an insight into my thoughts when up-cycling, and how I use Nigerian parables to tell meaningful stories through my work..."

"...All the action of the workshop will be curated with a special Nigerian playlist I created, including legendary artists like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade. I grew up listening to this music, my parents always played it in the house...all of their music told stories and changed lives, and that's something that I've always wanted to emulate in my work. Being able to bring these two powerful elements together is going to be a phenomenal experience!"

Have you got any plans to visit any other shows?


"I will be there for three days so I will be trying my hardest to check out a lot of the designers and their shows/installations. I am most excited about seeing The Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop, a studio established in Teshie, Ghana in the 1950s. It is known for its design coffins that became symbolic of African artistic creativity. It's also showcasing as part of Afrofuture, so something I am really looking forward to seeing..."

"...I also want to check out Lee Broom's crystal bulbs, I think they are amazing! And also Designersblock...so many exciting things to see, you should see my list, it's crazy!"



Blog it, buy it…


Blog & Buy Sale is a company with an ethos very much like our own. They offer a platform to support and promote independent designer/makers from all over the world, picking pieces and products that wouldn't necessarily be seen, and bringing them to the fore, in an on-line curated gallery of hand-made delicacies.

We have been following Blog & Buy Sale pretty much since we set-up, and they have been great supporters of ours over the past two years, so it seems only fitting to return the favour and highlight them, and the talented designers they support.

It may not feel very Spring-like right now, but on Sunday 17th March, Blog & Buy Sale launched their 'Spring Wish List' A showcase of hand-picked pieces made from submissions received over the last month or so. Along with many other talented designers, we are privileged to have pieces from our very own designers selected, namely Kayleigh Hadley, Natalie Hough and Ben Phe, and from the huge array of prints, gifts and home-ware, we thought we'd pick some of our favourites too...

Our favourite cards...


Our favourites for children...



Our favourites for men...



Our favourites for the home...




Our favourite gifts...




And finally...our favourite prints...



The Spring Wish List runs from 17th March to 5th May...

In London with Love…

With Cupid primed to shoot his arrow next week, we look ahead to the launch of the Valentine's pop-up, Love.Make Designs at Craft Central's Corner Shop in Farringdon, London.

Running from 11th-17th February Love.Make Designs is showcasing four fine independent designer/makers based in the U.K who are working together to turn the Corner Shop into a Valentine's inspired treasure trove, guaranteed to melt the coldest of hearts!


Dual Nation Jewellery, one of our very own featured new designers Zoe Richardson, will have a mix of handcrafted jewellery inspired by her British and Australian heritage, which has a vintage quality and bold narrative that translates effortlessly from day to night...



Designer Rebecca Desnos launched her eco-conscious business just under 12 months ago after failing to seek out eco-friendly accessories with a luxury appeal. Each of her pieces is hand-made in London using Fair Trade organic cotton, and with a touch of love and respect, each accessory is a beautiful one-off investment piece...



Boodi Blu was set-up a few years ago by Sarah Marafie after spotting pieces of broken ceramic whilst taking her dog for a walk. After gathering quite a collection, she decided to turn these unique shards into beautiful one-off pieces of jewellery. Sarah combines the china with metals, gemstones and freshwater pearls to create jewellery that could definitely tell a story...



London's first ethical underwear brand Iris 'encapsulates beauty, elegance and femininity...' They feel strongly about keeping things local, with every piece designed and made in their London studio. Iris also take sustainability very seriously, with there repeat fabrics all from factory waste supplies. They merge classic craftsmanship, and an understanding of the female form to create luxurious lingerie for fashion-forward women...


We are very excited to see these amazing, unique offerings from four truly talented creative, independent designer/makers next week, it's time to celebrate the best of new British design for 2013...

For more details visit:
LoveMakeDesigns

Follow:
@LoveMakeDesigns

‘I never liked the term pop-up…’



Not an opinion you expect to be expressed at a Pop-up networking event, but this was the gut feeling of Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs at the 'We Are Pop-up' meet-up on a cold and frosty Monday evening in East London...

The setting was Modern Jago just off Arnos Circus, with a crowd formed a mix of seasoned pop-up-ists, fresh faces first-timers, and an army of supporters of the cause. 'We Are Pop-up' our hosts, have grown quite a following in a relatively short space of time, bringing a close knit community and creative hub to not only London, but also across the pond.

Monday evening was a great opportunity for pop-up or pilot store lovers to get inspired for 2013 with the evenings speakers.


Marcus Fairs spoke about his online presence and how Dezeen was able to translate into a successful offline, physical offer as well. 

The origins of Dezeen, the classic design blog, relied heavily on advertisers to fund their work with the majority of content free to all. With the idea of branching out into retail always being on the to-do list, the Watch Store was born.


The idea to start with small, manageable products was key and to set themselves apart, by approaching individual designers and graduates, from London to Hong Kong.

'...The key was to find a product that you couldn't find in Selfridges or at an airport...'

On-line was the natural starting point, with exhibition stands to test out the market. The surprise for them was how quickly the pieces sold.

'... Trade fairs historically are for prototypes, for retailers to place orders for newly launched products, no one actually sells anything...the thing is, we sold a lot!'

With its solid foundations as one of the leading on-line design resources, and with its first publication hot off the press, Dezeen opened its first pop-up. Never a fan of the term pop-up, they branded the store as 'The Temporium.' Although a creative endeavour,  it was still very much business focused. Combining their own pieces with smaller spaces that were able to sub-let to individual brands and designers.


Having tested out several areas in London, it was clear that location, and a strong customer base was key.

'..Shoreditch  is a great place, full of creativity, but no one really spends money there...'

Striking up a solid relationship with Seven Dials in the heart of London has been key in maintaining their retail offer. The Dezeen Superstore allowed them to experiment with different product, and it was the first time they brought in a retail consultant to over-see the process.


What was evident as Marcus spoke, was the fact that even though he had the strength of his brand behind him, there was still the need and desire to experiment, make mistakes, to evolve the retail offer, be playful, but most of all be passionate, and certainly for us, this was inspiration in abundance for 2013...