Mini Moderns – Culture! Collection

The Fizz goes back to the future with Mini Moderns’ new ‘Culture!’ collection of graphic wallpapers

BY DEE IVA

British print duo Mini Moderns (Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire) has just launched the new ‘Culture!’ collection of wallpapers in their signature graphic style, referencing design, crafts and cultural events from the 19th and mid-20th centuries.

Drawing inspiration from Eastern mysticism, modernist architecture, television aerials and the Bauhaus movement, each of the eight designs comes in a range of distinctive colourways.

ABOVE: Mini Moderns’ ‘Bauhaus’ wallpaper from the ‘Culture!’ collection features iconic architecture by Walter Gropius, such as the Fagus Factory, Bauhaus Dessau and Chicago Tribune Tower
RIGHT: The graphic pattern of ‘Transmission’ is inspired by clusters of mid-century television aerials
BELOW LEFT: Produced in collaboration with the Museum of London, ‘Pleasure Gardens’ is a riot of hot air balloons, trapeze artists and merry-go-rounds from the Victorian age, taking its cue from London’s 19th-century Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens
BELOW RIGHT: ‘Lucky Lantern’ depicts tasseled Chinese lanterns embellished with pine, plum and bamboo symbols – 松竹梅 (sōng zhú méi) or The Three Friends of Winter. It’s shown here in ‘Winter Plum’, a moody new colourway influenced by Chinese art and motifs

Fizz faves include ‘Pleasure Gardens’, featuring playful illustrations of a Victorian funfair, the oriental-themed ’Lucky Lantern’ and ‘Bauhaus’, which with its geometric symbols and Thirties Art Deco motifs chimes perfectly with the 100th anniversary of Walter Gropius’ seminal German design school. 

Ironically, by referencing the past, Keith and Mark have also put a welcome positive spin on the start of 2019. Who knows, a roll or two of this wow-factor wallpaper might be just what UK design fans need to distract them from the turmoil of the coming year…
minimoderns.com

The ‘Culture!’ collection is available now from £60 per roll at minimoderns.com. Printed in the UK using water-based inks on FSC-certified paper, it features non-woven, paste-the-wall designs.

LDF 2017 – Bethan Gray x Shamsian

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Welsh designer Bethan Gray launches new additions to her hit 'Shamsian' collection at designjunction 2017

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Modern marquetry is having a moment, and it's largely thanks to Welsh designer Bethan Gray, who wowed visitors to last year's designjunction fair when she launched her 'Shamsian' collection of furniture featuring the oft-forgotten craft. For this week's London designjunction 2017 showcase in the King's Cross Creative Quarter, Gray will be expanding the range, revealing gorgeous new monochrome marquetry as well as a stunning marble tea set on her stand at Cubitt House. Yes, marble!

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Inspired by Omani design and architecture, Gray's 'Shamsian' pieces were produced in collaboration with respected Omani artist Mohamad Reza Shamsian and his team of skilled craftsmen based in his studio in Muscat. The handmade 'Nizwa' cabinet, which debuted in 2016, features intricate marquetry on dyed Italian maple veneer, teamed with solid brass. Originally seen in a seductive greeny-blue hue, for 2017 it has been reissued in a more subtle palette running from black via grey to white like a dip-dyed effect. The new monochrome finish was achieved by applying a graduating variation in shade across the cabinet by hand, resulting in an ombre from white to black. The result is super-chic and striking, and will fit easily into contemporary homes.

TOP: Bethan Gray perches on her 'Nizwa' cabinet, part of her striking 'Shamsian' collection, re-released for 2017 with monochrome marquetry
ABOVE: Fading from black to grey and white, the new 'Nizwa' cabinet was hand-crafted using a technique called 'stain shading' with solid brass overlay

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ABOVE: Gray's new 'Dhow' cabinet series takes its cue from Gulf sailing boats, and will also be on show at designjunction 2017
BELOW: The original greeny-blue 'Nizwa' cabinet from 2016, featuring luxe pattern created by inlaying/overlaying solid brass and paua shell inlay into coloured solid wood and maple veneer

Also turning heads for 2017 is the new 'Dhow' cabinet series, sporting a swirly, wavy pattern. "For the Dhow collection, I have taken inspiration from the dhow sailing boats of the Gulf region," says Gray. "Traditional dhows were propelled by large triangular lateen sails made of cotton and sewn together in strips. The sails were bound to the hull using ropes made from coir, which created a unique and textured lineation. This lineation has informed the distinctive elegant curved patterning found on the 'Dhow' pieces.'

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Marble also earns a starring role on Gray's stand, but not harnessed in the typical furniture or surface materials. Instead, she has dared to use it to design her hand-crafted marble 'Victoria Teaset' in a new collaboration with Editions Milano. Consisting of a teapot, milk jug, tea cup and saucer, sugar bowl, cake stand and dessert plate, it's worthy of a place in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Inspired by fine vintage ceramics in the archive of the city's V&A Museum, it features a relief pattern, hand-carved from Arabescato marble by Italian master craftsmen. The fine edging and elegant shape adds delicacy, with a glam touch care of the contrasting brushed brass handle. The best of British tradition meets Italian glamour, ideal for a romantic 21st-century tea date. Now that's what we call a modern ritual...
bethangray.com; thedesignjunction.co.uk

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ABOVE: Launching at designjunction this week, Gray's 'Victoria Teaset' for Italian high-end furniture and objects brand Editions Milano adds marble chic to the elegant tradition of taking tea

Bethan Gray will be at designjunction on stand A7 in Cubitt House, 1 Granary Square, King's Cross, N1, from Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 September 2017. See our home page for ticket registration for the fair which is open from 11am each morning (click here for varying closing times and prices).

Cassina

Italian design brand Cassina has got its edge back thanks to award-winning designer Patricia Urquiola whose artful direction brought drama to its new collections at this years Milan Furniture Fair... 

BY DEE IVA

Cassina's appointment of Patricia Urquiola as Art Director has breathed new life into this stalwart Italian design house. As Cassina prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2017, Urquiola is boosting the brand's reputation as a cutting-edge company with a formidable design heritage.

At April's Milan Furniture Fair, Cassina’s Milan showroom at Via Durini 16 and its stand in the Salone del Mobile were art directed by Urquiola to showcase new pieces for 2016, including sofas, chairs, tables and accessories. Inspired by Dutch De Stijl architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld’s 1955 Rietveld Pavilion, the 2016 collection was displayed like artwork in a contemporary art gallery.

German designer Konstantin Grcic took this theme to the nth degree with ‘Props’, a range of sculptural metallic surfaces that can be used as architectural sideboards and side tables. Made of 5mm-thin metal sheeting, each piece is laser cut and folded to create minimal furniture with an industrial edge.

ABOVE: Konstantin Grcic's 'Props' collection of side tables and consoles resembles a site-specific art installation
ABOVE RIGHT: Cassina's recently appointed Art Director, Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola
BELOW FROM LEFT: 'Props 2'; 'Props 3' by Konstantin Grcic

ABOVE: Limited edition 'Utrecht' chair in 'BoxBlocks' fabric by Bertjan Pot

Gerrit Rietveld’s iconic ‘Utrecht’ armchair, originally designed in 1935, is one of Rietveld’s few upholstered chairs that actually went into production. Now relaunched as a limited edition in ’BoxBlocks’ fabric, a graphic geometric fabric by Dutch designer Bertjan Pot, it’s one of Cassina’s most colourful and eye-catching pieces.

Not to be outdone, Urquiola’s own ‘Gender’ armchair mixes playful colours with gentle curves to create a cocoon of soft seating with soundproofing wings. Available in five poppy colourways, the leather-clad ’Gender’ also features a tilting back, and an additional upholstered footrest.

ABOVE: 'Gender' armchair by Patricia Urquiola

The art theme was also picked up by Ron Gilad, whose ‘Deadline’ mirror collection resembles modern artworks of the 20th century. ‘Daydream’ references Rene Magritte’s cloudscapes, ‘200 Lines of Realism’ evokes the minimal linear works of Agnes Martin, while ‘Memory of a Lost Oval’ has more than a touch of Ellsworth Kelly about it.

ABOVE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ron Gilad's 'Deadline' mirrors riff on 20th century art; 'Memory of a Lost Oval'; '200 Lines of Realism'; 'Daydream'
BELOW: 'ZH One' chair by Zaha Hadid

Finally, the most poignant piece on show was the cuboid ‘ZH One’ chair by the late Zaha Hadid, shown as a prototype. Hadid’s signature curves are evident in the fluid legs and cutaways in the upholstery, displayed in deep cobalt blue. When this chair goes into production it’s bound to become highly coveted as a lasting reminder of Hadid’s ability to bring her unique architectural style to small-scale furniture and accessories.
cassina.com

ArchiPops

The art of pop-up meets the world of architecture in this incredible set of notecards by designer Corina Fletcher

BY DEE IVA

‘Pop-up’ has become such an overused phrase, referring to temporary shows, venues and installations, that it’s good to remind ourselves of what it used to mean back in the day.

Here at the Fizz we love a good ‘pop-up’, a stunning piece of architecture and an occasional card through the letterbox so we're ecstatic about ‘ArchiPops’, a set of 3D pop-up cards of iconic buildings around the world. British paper engineer Corina Fletcher has picked six landmark buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, London's Royal Festival Hall and the Sydney Opera House, and turned them into ingenious pop-up artworks with informative facts about each one on the reverse. Depicted in white with bright orange accents, this beautiful set of cards comes in a sleek, minimal grey box with matching envelopes.

ABOVE: Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye in Poissy, France (standing), the Guggenheim Museum in New York (lying down) and envelopes
ABOVE RIGHT: 'ArchiPop''s stylish packaging hints at what's inside

The question is do you send them out to design-savvy buddies when you’ve visited the real thing or keep them for yourself and get them framed up? We think they’re way too nice to share!
'ArchiPops' by Corina Fletcher, £16.95 from thamesandhudson.com

Green&Blue

Spring is on its way in the UK and style-savvy birds and bees will be checking into Green&Blue's chic new design-led homes and habitats  

BY DEE IVA

If you thought minimal contemporary homes were strictly for Homo sapiens, then think again. Award-winning Cornish company Green&Blue specialises in designing sleek modern habitats for garden birds and wild bees.

The smartest home for our feathered friends is the cool spherical 'Birdball Birdhouse', inspired by the form of nests. Made of slipcast clay, it can be suspended or wall-mounted and is designed to nestle among branches and shrubbery creating a piece of modernist avian architecture within a natural setting. Very Grand Designs!

Smart addresses usually come with an array of chic eateries nearby and residents of the 'Birdball' can have their very own five-star restaurant too. The 'Birdball' collection of bird feeders can be filled with tasty treats for those lucky enough to grab a spot as, like most of us have encountered these days, a no reservations policy is firmly in place...

ABOVE: The 'Birdball Seed Feeder', £55, comes in pretty colours and is open all hours
RIGHT:  The suspended 'Birdball Birdhouse', £44, has lots of room inside to raise a family. Terracotta or white?
BELOW: Busy bees can stop off at the 'Beepot', £45, and get a bite to eat at the same time from the planted area attached to the living space; Time to check out from the 'Bee Brick', £27.50

The spirit of Sixties Brutalism is alive and well with Green&Blue's concrete hotel for bees. The 'Bee Brick' has a random pattern of holes which is extremely attractive to bees looking for a room for a few nights. The brick can be placed in gardens or inserted into walls creating resting spots for bees in an urban environment. The newest addition to this range of bee-friendly accommodation is the 'Beepot' which has space for plants that provide essential nectar for hungry bees. Also made of concrete, its hipster credentials are impeccable making it the most stylish bee 'n' bee in town.
greenandblue.co.uk

The 'Beepot' is available from March 2016