Aesop Brighton

The new Aesop store in Brighton is a lesson in seaside bliss


The trend for wellness in interior design is growing. The bolstering effect of a wisely chosen colour can be as soul-feeding as being outside in the open air. Imagine a yellow front door intended to energise and uplift, or a chalky deep purple in a hallway, the painterly equivalent of a warm and welcoming hug… Colour is key to luring buyers and going green is one of the most enticing tips when it comes to inducing calm.

Transporting the serenity of the seaside to home decor, minus any nautical tropes, luxury plant-based Australian skin and haircare brand Aesop has gone head-to-toe verdigris for the palette of its new Brighton store. In the North Laine quarter, it’s the first for the coastal resort and one of only a few UK boutiques outside London. Conjuring up wistful memories of childhood holidays and a simpler life, the blue-green interior echoes the oxidised railings of the city’s seashore with its idyllic Victoriana, backdropped by cloudy skies and an opaque sea.


As with each of the distinctive global Aesop concept stores – often created in collaboration with outside designers, but here delivered by the in-house team – the decor is simple. In one room, a scrubbed farmhouse table has rush seating placed around it, while in another area, porcelain sinks for product sampling add to the domestic scene. Elsewhere, the space is kept empty, save for vintage botanical prints or artfully stacked decorative bookshelves.

At a time when maximalism is dominating many design stories, Aesop makes an eternal case for the beauty of minimal design. Inherently chic, this blissful interior proves that decorating simply is something to aspire to – as is having a display of Aesop products adorning your bathroom shelf!

Aesop Brighton 104-105 Gloucester Road, Brighton, UK

Milan Furniture Fair 2016

It's all aboard for the madness of the annual Milan Furniture Fair, the design industry's equivalent of Fashion Week. Just make sure you've packed comfortable shoes and lots of energy!


It’s that time of year again when the design compass points squarely at Milan, as the northern Italian city prepares to host the world’s largest and most prestigious design gathering, the Milan Furniture Fair. From the biggest international players to small independent designers and graduates, everyone comes together to launch their new collections and to see and be seen.

The Salone del Mobile fair itself, that vast behemoth of halls and walkways on the outskirts of town, is where the big boys tend to set up home but Milan’s design districts – Brera, San Babila, Ventura Lambrate, Cinque Vie, San Gregorio Docet and Tortona – also host a plethora of showrooms, pop-up events and parties celebrating the most important week in the design calendar. There’s change afoot though as a big hole has been left by major British exhibitor designjunction deciding not to show this year and UK talent Lee Broom dramatically downsizing his installation. Usually two of the most anticipated shows during the Fiera, we hope they’ll be back next year in their full glory.

With so much furniture, lighting and accessories to see in a short space of time, it’s impossible to catch everything. Here’s a sneak peek at who we’ll definitely be checking out this year...

ABOVE: 'Fade' polycarbonate lights by Tom Dixon


ABOVE: 'Printed' crystal vases and bowls by Raw Edges; Crystalline nut bowls from the 'Luxe Orbit' tableware collection by Tord Boontje; 'Prism' square and round prismatic trays by Tomas Alonso

We have fond memories of Swarovski's theatrical warehouse installations of the Noughties when we were dazzled by enormous chandeliers by the likes of Lenny Kravitz and Yves Behar. After a spell in the heart of the Salone, the Austrian crystal brand is now stepping back out onto the street again to unveil Atelier Swarovski Home, a new collection of sparkling accessories for the home. Nadja Swarovski has gathered together a stellar line-up of designers including Raw Edges, Fredrikson Stallard, Ron Arad and Tord Boontje and charged them with using Swarovski crystal to create unique pieces in their own inimitable style. We've got our eyes on Raw Edges' beautiful faceted printed crystal vases and bowls, Tomas Alonso's prismatic trays and Tord Boontje's glittering 'Luxe Orbit' tableware.

Atelier Swarovski Home, Via Cusani 5


If you want to grab a bite to eat and still get your design fix, Brit star Tom Dixon has collaborated with Caesarstone to create immersive eatery The Restaurant within a deconsecrated church to launch new lighting collections 'Curve', 'Fade' and 'Flask Oil'. Throughout the week four composite quartz kitchens will serve up tasty treats to Dixon devotees in specially designed dining halls dedicated to the themes of Luminosity, Materiality and Texture. Each explores the type of materials that are core to Dixon's products. The four kitchens, dubbed Earth, Water, Fire and Air, will dish up one course each, with food design studio Arabeschi di Latte curating the offerings.

'Curve' uses thin sheet etched metal to create a glistening geometric lantern, 'Fade' rocks the ombré effect in polycarbonate and 'Flask Oil', inspired by laboratory glassware, explores the allure of iridescence in shimmering glass shades. Also on show will be updated versions of last year's 'Melt' lights and 'Offcut', Dixon's DIY furniture range. Now can someone pass the menu please?

The Restaurant by Caesarstone x Tom Dixon, La Rotonda della Besana, Via Enrico Besana 12


Italian tilemeister Bisazza has once again harnessed the neo-gothic anarchy of Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, aka Studio Job, to create a set of striking mosaics with a digitised contemporary feel. Three new highly decorative designs reference fossilised remains, the Industrial Revolution and random everyday objects.

TOP: 'Industry Amber', 'Silhouette Turquoise', 'Perished', glass mosaics, 100mm x 100mm
ABOVE: 'Festoon', glass mosaic, 200mm x 200mm

‘Industry Amber’ harks back to Britain’s golden age of heavy manufacturing, steam trains and construction. Spacemen, birds, animals, helicopters and ocean liners are artfully collaged together in ’Silhouette Turquoise' and Fizz fave 'Perished’ is a graphic arrangement of human and animal skeletons locked in an eternal dance of death (we love the blue colourway). Accompanied by ‘Festoon’, a swirling display of gold and silver ribbons, this collection of bold mosaics brings the art of storytelling back into our homes. We are suitably entranced…

Bisazza, Via Senato 2


ABOVE: Light up with 'Vent', by Diesel Living x Foscarini. Available in luxe brass effect and pristine white

Diesel Living’s fresh, slightly off-the-wall approach to product design never fails to capture our attention. From the cog-like ceramics of the ‘Machine’ tablewares for Seletti to the multi-faceted ‘Rock’ light for Foscarini, this witty take on interiors is why we look forward to their new collections each year.

The interiors arm of fashion brand Diesel, they’ve joined forces with Foscarini again to transform the humble air vent into a seductive wall lamp. Part of the 2016 collection of lighting, furniture and accessories, the 'Vent' lamp brings a touch of industrial style into the home. We’re loving the opulent brass version, which when activated becomes a blazing halo of golden light.

Diesel Living x Foscarini, Salone Del Mobile, Milan Fairgrounds, Rho, Hall 16, Stand A35, B28


UK designer Lee Broom has surprised everyone with the announcement that this year's show will take place in the back of a van. Cheekily called the 'Salone del Automobile', Broom's delivery van will rock up at key design destinations each day, including Spazio Rossana Orlandi, to show just one new collection of lighting. Inspired by Op Art, the 'Optical' range consists of stark black and white pendant, standard and table lamps that also reference Eighties graphics and early nineties minimalism. The inside of the van will be decked out in neo-classical style in Broom's signature grey but the question on our minds is just how the teeming crowds in town for the Milan Furniture Fair will fit into such a small space. We'll just have to wait and see...

Lee Broom's 'Salone del Automobile' can be tracked at 

The Milan Furniture Fair and Salone del Mobile run from 12-17 April 2016

Sydney Festival 2016

Make the most of the last days of this month’s Sydney Festival with our pick of the best design, art and music highlights…



Skateboarders vs Minimalism
For this year's Sydney Festival, Australian video artist Shaun Gladwell’s latest installation Skateboarders vs Minimalism pits the world’s best freestyle skateboarder Rodney Mullen against minimalist sculptures by iconic US artists Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and Carl Andre, set to the strains of contemporary composer Philip Glass. Don’t worry though – ‘no original artworks were harmed’ in the making of the massive-scale, slow-motion video, which uses recreations of the works as jump-off points for flips and stunts. Gladwell set them up in California's Torrance Art Museum, and invited Mullen to create his own skatepark with the models.

London-based Sydneysider Gladwell (above), who has represented Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale, is known for videos exploring physical pursuits from surfing and skating to BMX riding and motorbiking across the desert, and is himself a passionate skateboarder. Here his work is projected against the vast western wall of The Cutaway, Australia’s largest subterranean gallery. Recently carved out beneath the artificial hill that forms the city’s newest harbourside park Barangaroo Reserve, it's topped with indigenous planting. To see it properly visit after dark during Gallery Hour; by day it’s quite faint so you won’t get the full impact.
The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve, Hickson Road, Barangaroo
Gallery Hour, 8pm-9pm, until 26 January (closed Mondays, free)

The Ephemeral City
We can be architects, just for one day… At The Ephemeral City, taking shape in cavernous gallery The Cutaway in Barangaroo and above on the park’s Stargazer Lawn, members of the public are encouraged to help construct towers and turrets to form a fantastical urban landscape made entirely from cardboard and tape. The Fizz witnessed some early works coming together resembling opera house sails in scenes reminiscent of Witness’s Amish barn building. Devised by Frenchman Olivier Grossetête, this community participation event takes design to the masses, with the utopian temporary city being demolished at 3.30pm on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 January. It’s also a witty way of questioning the pompous authority of built structures and propose a more human, collective take on architecture. A free Flying Fox ride (2pm-8pm, until 24 January) zips over The Cutaway installation, offering vertiginous views.
The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve, Hickson Road, Barangaroo
1pm-8pm, until 26 January (closed Mondays, free)

El Anatsui: Five Decades
From a distance they look like beautiful, dip-dyed silken textiles, glimmering in shades of gold, red and black. Approach closer though, and you’ll see that Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s sculptural creations are formed from salvaged waste, incorporating bottle tops and tin-can lids, West African liquor labels and discarded packaging. Copper wire stitches many of the aluminium and metal pieces together, in a chunky yet delicate take on patchwork quilts.

‘El Anatsui: Five Decades’ marks the Nigerian-based talent’s first show in Australia, co-hosted by Carriageworks and the Anna Schwartz Gallery. More than 30 works are on display, spanning the 1970s to the present day. It’s a startling retrospective that tackles colonial history as well as modern consumption. Along with wall-hangings and floor-based works, there are clusters of suitcases and tin boxes, giant bags made from rubbish, assemblages of printing plates, and wooden figurines inspired by tribal insignia. Come for dazzling art; leave with radical materials inspiration and a strong eco mantra.
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh 10am-6pm, until 6 March 2016 (free)

Mexico goes Morrissey with Mexrrissey, a seven-piece band who reinterpret The Smiths songs in Spanish. Arrangements by Calexico's Sergio Mendoza are accompanied by Latin rhythms from mariachi to mambo. The Mancunian miserabilist and multicoloured Mexico might seem like an odd marriage, but there’s an epic, romantic and sorrowful side of Mexico that fits Morrissey’s darkly lyrical world view like a ‘hand in glove’. The Smiths have a big fan base in Mexico, and this one-night gig at Newtown's Enmore Theatre should bring devotees of Moz and danzón together in Sydney’s inner-west.
Enmore Theatre, 118-133 Enmore Road, Newtown. 8.30pm, 23 January

Meriton Festival Village
Pop into Sydney Festival hub the Meriton Festival Village, in Hyde Park, designed by Province Studio (aka Laura Pike and Anne-Louise Dadak). Alongside free gigs, DJ events (such as the recent Bowie tribute the Fizz attended) and theatre, you’ll find food and drink from noon, and licensed bars from 4pm. Argentine meat-wranglers Porteño will be firing up the grills, with quirky ice-creams from Gelato Messina that resemble hot dogs, mushrooms and candle floss.
Hyde Park North, entry near Archibald Fountain
Until 26 January (closed Monday, free entry)
Sydney Festival runs until Tuesday 26 January; 'El Anatsui: Five Decades' until 6 March 2016