Graham & Brown

Tempting damasks, prints with attitude and a new angle on trompe l’oeil. It’s time to dust off your decorator’s trestle – patterned walls are back as we turn our spotlight on Graham & Brown...

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Creased Up, £50 a roll, Graham & Brown.jpg

It isn’t entirely a coincidence that as our autumn wardrobes are going all seductive with richly textured fabrics, dark florals and a whole lot of bling, our homes are similarly morphing into something more spectacular. Velvet has surfaced as an important trend, as have jacquard brocades and romantic prints. So, it is perhaps no surprise that damask, despite its vaguely housewifey air, has unexpectedly begun to creep back into our homes. A velvet and damask cushion here, a silk-tasseled lampshade there... In fact, it was only after a recent trip to Graham & Brown, the British wallpaper powerhouse, that we were realised how fashionable the old Dame had become.

Damask, like a good velvet blazer, is opulent without being OTT. Often in silver and a pleasing ornamental design, it adds splendour to a room in an easy, normcore way. To be fair, we have long been admirers of damask – ever since the cool duo at Glasgow-born design studio Timorous Beasties added their subversive twist to the pattern – so it is with glad tidings we (tentatively) welcome it back.

ABOVE: 'Portuguese Tile' (middle print) is a sea of rich greens
ABOVE RIGHT: Trompe l'oeil reigns in 'Creased Up'
BELOW: 'Burlesque White' damask by Julien Macdonald

ABOVE: 'Paradox' wall mural by Kelly Hoppen and Dynamo

Graham & Brown has stacks of knockout looks for Autumn/Winter 2016. The UK wallpaper company’s wide-reaching style stems from the passion of Mr Graham and Mr Brown who founded the business in 1946. Never losing sight of its family-run values – today, two of their grandsons still lead the firm – an impressive 50% of its workforce has been with the company for over 25 years. Rolling out wallpaper from its Blackburn-based HQ to a global clientele, G&B also collaborates with luminaries, including Kelly Hoppen and Marcel Wanders, whose contemporary designs bring a little 21st-century sparkle to the mix.

ABOVE: 'Brian Eno Flower Mask' abstract prints; 'Fresco Palm' 

Of the designer cahoots, the new Brian Eno abstract print is one of our faves. There’s a cool new green 'Portuguese Tile' print, a fab gold spot and hidden away in the design studio, the Spring 2017 Kelly Hoppen designs are looking extremely swish. The company has also started doing murals which, at a starting price of £80 for a 3 x 2.5 metre piece, we think is really good value for a picture wall.  

BELOW FROM TOP: 'Dotty Gold'; 'Marbled Black and Grey'

Lose your fear. Try the heavily embossed, silver 'Metallic Tile' on the ceiling. Impress your floral-obsessed friends at dinner with the tropical 'Fresco Palm', or opt for opulence with the gloriously swirly 'Marbled Black and Grey'. Whether you go for graphic, glittery or a mash-up of damask and encaustic tiles, now's the time to get your wallpaper swag on...
grahamandbrown.com

From East to West with Stellar Works

Stellar Works' desire to pull together global talents from four continents has resulted in a hybrid aesthetic of modern East/West design

BY DEE IVA

We never really got into fusion food, that fad for mixing eastern and western cuisines to produce something that didn’t do either any justice. It's an even harder trick to pull off with furniture so we’re very impressed with Shanghai-based Stellar Works and its approach to multicultural design.

Founded by Yuichiro Hori and launched internationally in 2011, Stellar Works' modus operandi is to harness the simplicity of Japanese and Scandinavian design and layer European luxury and playfulness with Chinese ornamentation to create a new global design aesthetic which references the past but is also entirely modern. To bring this vision to life, a clutch of international designers are on board to produce distinctive collections of furniture, lighting and accessories.

ABOVE: 'QT Chair' by Nic Graham, from £960. Powder-coated steel frame with wooden armrests. Available in diverse furnishing fabrics
ABOVE RIGHT: Founder Yuichiro Hori
BELOW: 'Cabinet of Curiosity' by Neri&Hu, £3,300. Solid walnut, brass-plated stainless steel, mesh panels and tempered glass. Set on a wheeled metal trolley, it's one of Stellar Works' most intriguing pieces, inspired by ceramic factory carts

Award-winning Shanghai design duo Neri&Hu mixes brass, leather and rich woods in their contemporary oriental collections for Stellar Works. The quietly industrial 'Utility' range, 'Chambre' bed and 'Cabinet of Curiosity' exude 21st-century Shanghai glamour. Creative directors for Stellar Works, they also present the company's visual aesthetic around the world.

ABOVE: The 'Chambre Bed', £1,485; 'Utility Sofa Three Sides', £2,830 and 'Utility Armchair U', from £575; 'Dowry Cabinet 1', £2,195. All by Neri&Hu
BELOW LEFT: 'James Bar Cart', £2550, by Yabu Pushelberg


Other Fizz faves include Space Copenhagen's slender 'Rén' tables and chairs that fuse Danish Modernism with the craft techniques of China and Japan to create an understated, timeless feel. We also like the 'QT'/'Chillax' collections by Australian designer Nic Graham, whose witty take on mid-century modern style references Scandinavian pragmatism with a dose of laid-back Aussie spirit (Nic's studio g+a has created quirky interiors for Australia's QT Hotels). New York design firm Yabu Pushelberg's airy 'James Bar Cart' is on our lust list too. Part of the 'James' range of sculptural furniture inspired by the world of performance cars, its solid steel frame is offset by oversized wheels, sleek walnut veneers and a tactile wood handle.

BELOW: 'Rén Coffee Table', £370; 'Rén Lounge Chair Two Seater', from £1,150, by Space Copenhagen

ABOVE: The slender lines of the 'Rén Lounge Chair Two Seater', from £1,150; 'Rén Lounge Chair', from £610; 'Rén Dining Table', from £1,220. Plush leather seating and dark woods feature in this timeless collection by Space Copenhagen
BELOW: Nic Graham's playful 'QT Chair with Cupholder', from £1,000; 'Chillax Sofa', from £2,700, and 'Chillax Highback Chair', from £1,150

Incorporated in Hong Kong with factories in Shanghai and showrooms dotted around the globe, Stellar Works' mix-and-match method is proving to be a winner. Hiro's inclusive design policy also sends out the message that different cultures really can work together to usher in a bright new world. A United Nations of design? Now there's a thought...
stellarworks.com

Are you a Design Tourist?

Design tourism is on the rise, with hordes of us hopping from one global fair to the next. So is the big draw the products, the pictures, the people or the parties?

BY DEE IVA

'We are all design tourists,' declared Tom Dixon at this year's Milan Furniture Fair. It was a term we'd never heard before but it has stuck in our minds ever since.

UK furniture and lighting whizz Dixon was referring to the hordes of design aficionados who flock to the major design fairs each year to see the new collections and product launches from around the world.

Most of these design devotees are buyers for retail brands, journalists, PRs, agents and designers themselves. Instead of returning home with pictures of the local sights and landmarks, hours are spent uploading photos of furniture, lighting, accessories, architecture and fresh talent to Instagram and Pinterest in a 21st-century version of sharing holiday snaps. So forget La Scala, ciao Salone del Mobile. Never mind the Mona Lisa, check out Maison et Objet. And who needs the Tower of London, when you've got the London Design Festival?

This endless round of snap-happy globetrotting also applies to the fashion industry. The second a new look sashays down the catwalk, whether in New York, Paris or Milan, it's snapped and shared on social media for all to see. It's increasingly true of the international art fair scene too, and food blogger-flocked restaurant and bar launches worldwide.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: The Cos X Hay floor in Cos Kensington, London; Tom Dixon's own limited-edition crash helmet; Sebastian Herkner's 'Salute' side tables for La Chance at designjunction 2015; Sculptural architecture in Dungeness, Kent; Jaime Hayon's witty ceramic birds for Bosa
ABOVE RIGHT: Tom Dixon announces 'We are all design tourists' in Milan

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Jaime Hayon's Instagrammable 'Monkey' side table for BD Barcelona Design at Salone del Mobile 2015; Milan revisits Memphis at the Milan Furniture Fair 2015; Artist Jim Lambie's graphic striped staircase at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015
BELOW: Rebekah Hutchinson's abstract wallpapers, New Designers 2015

It's a double-edged sword for designers, of course. On the one hand they want the world to know about their new collections, but many also fiercely try to guard their work from prying eyes, fearing copycat copyright rip-offs (we've all seen those paranoid 'no photos' signs on graduate design fair stands). But in our increasingly teched-up world it's almost a given that once something's out there it's being shared immediately. Our tip? Embrace social media, create your own hashtags, and trust that if your product is associated with you first, you should get the credit and ultimately reap the benefits.

Back in the day we would go on holiday, wait for our prints to be processed and then bore the pants off family and friends with out-of-focus, badly lit holiday pics. Now we're capturing our inspirations and sharing our snaps with the world, only this time around we're promoting what we've seen and disseminating that information in an instant, like passionate PRs.

ABOVE FROM LEFT: A dreamy installation of folded pink paper cranes at SeehoSu's Surry Hills showroom created with Sumu Design for August's Sydney Indesign 2015. 'Adnet' mirror by Jacques Adnet for Gubi; We fell for these bent-wire chairs by Gaurav Nanda for LA company Bend Goods at Darlinghurst showroom Own World during Sydney Indesign 

'I think everyone who takes in any form of culture when they travel could be deemed a design tourist', says Max Fraser, former Deputy Director of the London Design Festival and publisher of the London Design Guide. 'After all, it is the manmade anomalies of different places that draw our fascination, be they spectacular examples of ancient settlements, modern developments or small everyday details that are different from our own. At the core of our interest in these things is design and, indeed, we are fixated by the seemingly endless beauty of nature's design too.'

'But then there is the 'hardcore design tourist', a group within which I am included. We travel specifically to hunt out design in all its guises, coinciding our trips with major exhibitions or design festivals. We enjoy the inevitable socialising that comes with it. With travel so cheap and easy, more and more design tourists are traversing the world and cultural expectations in different cities are mounting. That said, design is my profession and when I'm on holiday I like to escape the manmade and sidestep cultural excursions altogether!'

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ABOVE: Design tourists caught in the act at SelgasCano's 2015 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, London

But is it only people working in design and its associated industries who become design tourists (or should we say 'design hunters')? We don't think so. We're forever seeing excited design junkies snapping away at fairs, showrooms and events, obsessing about this new cushion or that new light in much the same way as One Direction's fans go gaga for their latest single. Some are selfie-seeking students, others silver-haired culture lovers, and almost all are party people, enjoying the accompanying launch cocktails or DJ tunes. This may or may not lead to an actual future purchase but what it does do is spread the word, bring the customer and the designer closer together, and create a buzz around the brand.

BELOW FROM LEFT: Patternity's stunning black and white installation at Somerset House during London Design Festival 2015; Lee Broom's pop-up The Department Store was the talk of the town at Milan this year

ABOVE: We could rabbit on for ages about the minimal 'Wireflow' pendants by Arik Levy for Vibia – a design highlight at Waterloo's PYD Building during August's Sydney Indesign fair, as seen at Koda Lighting's showroom

It helps that global design fairs are becoming more fun and interactive, taking over alternative spaces around town and opening their doors to the public. At 2015's Milan Furniture Fair in April there were outsize swing sets by Philippe Malouin for Caesarstone in a grand palazzo, Lee Broom invited us in to his pop-up department store and Tom Dixon did an after-party gig with his band Rough. Recently, at September's London Design Festival, Somerset House became an immersive installation where visitors were encouraged to interact with the designs on show.

Not everyone is happy with the design tourist label though. London online retailer Thorsten Van Elten is distinctly uncomfortable with it. 'Design tourist feels a bit like a dirty word to me, like someone in desperate need to be hanging out in the latest bar, café, restaurant or hotel. It's like the gentrification of tourism. To me it's one of those non-phrases like 'concept store' or 'boutique hotel''.

American writer Henry Miller once said, 'One's destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.' Here at DesignFizz, we're very happy to be design tourists. The shock of the new will continue to excite us and we'll keep on sharing our #FizzPicks with you on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (currently the medium for reporting on global design). That is, unless we can share a glass of fizz with you in person at the next fair in Cologne, Stockholm or Paris. See you there!

All photos by Dee Iva and Sophie Davies for DesignFizz; for more, check out our feed on Instagram

IKEA x Ilse Crawford: The New Natural

IKEA's debut collaboration with British designer Ilse Crawford represents a trend towards natural, tactile materials in our increasingly virtual world. Shop this amazing homewares collection from August

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

'The more virtual our lives become, the more we crave the physical,' says acclaimed London-based designer and interior decorator Ilse Crawford. It's the sentiment that inspired her gorgeous new 'Sinnerlig' collection of furniture, lighting and tabletop pieces for Swedish homewares giant IKEA, which features natural, raw materials such as cork, glass, ceramic, cotton, seagrass and bamboo that feel as good as they look. Encompassing more than 30 pieces for the home, aimed at 'adding value to the experience of everyday living', the collection celebrates the beauty and tactility of raw materials and natural fibres, and the imperfections that arise in their production – part of a growing trend away from glossy surfaces and slick, ornate designs. It's also beautifully understated, subtle and minimal, allowing clear glass, smooth ceramic and touchy-feely cork to do the talking. Think simple, useful forms for quieter, more low-key interiors.

A made-up word, 'Sinnerlig' combines the Swedish terms for sensuous and heartfelt. Standout pieces include tables, benches and stools topped with thin layers of cork, outsize glass vases and hand-blown bottles, dark ceramic jugs, plates and planters, bamboo-lattice pendant lights, seagrass baskets and floor mats. Among the material mixes, it's the use of cork that is most striking, chosen for its eco-friendly qualities (see our 2014 cork trend for more on this sustainable star). Cork is renewable, durable, an acoustic softener, waterproof and easy to clean, and you'll see it here in light and dark tones on table and seat tops, lamp bases and as jar stoppers. Crawford's practice Studioilse embarked on research missions to Portugal, Poland, China and Vietnam to source suitable natural materials which would respond well to industrial production; the resulting range should prove a hit with eco warriors, architects and style fans alike.

TOP ROW FROM LEFT: Bamboo, cork and glass offer natural tactility
ABOVE FROM LEFT: Furniture spans day-beds, tables and stools 

'Sinnerlig' divides loosely into three areas; lounging, dining and working. Each group has a key piece at its heart – day-bed (very mid-century Scandi!), dining table or trestle table. The idea is that you can use them flexibly to fit in with the way you live, with neutral colours that complement any home. 'The range is quite low-key but we deliberately designed it like that,' says Crawford. 'It's not trying to compete with those fantastic icons of design. It's a different thing. They are helpful background pieces not showstoppers.'

Launched during February's Stockholm Design Week at the city's seductive Ett Hem hotel, also designed by Crawford, the range is due in shops from August. For a quiet collection, we reckon it's going to make a lot of noise...
ikea.com

IKEA's 'Sinnerlig' collection will be in global stores from August 2015. Check back with us for product names and prices nearer the launch.

Ilse Crawford portrait by Stef Bakker  studiobakker.nl