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

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!'

PAVILION.jpg

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

New Faces for 2015

In an uncertain world one thing is for sure, UK design talent continues to deliver fresh ideas and energy to a diverse and rapidly expanding market. We take a look at some of the brightest new designers in town...

BY DEE IVA

Every year a new army of design talent is unleashed on the world. The colleges and universities exhibit their graduates and then turn to the next batch of hopefuls. Now 2015's shows have been and gone and the dust has settled, we profile those designers whose work made us stop, look and listen.

Part 1 features eye-catching wallpaper, lighting and accessories and thought-provoking furniture. The future is already here...


HEBA ALHAWSAUI Birmingham City University

Two worlds collide in the work of Saudi Arabian wallpaper and textile designer Heba Alhawsaui. For her final year project 'Planning Geometrics', Alhawsaui harnessed the beauty of Islamic geometrics and infused them with a massive dose of modern European flair. 

Her abstract compositions are held together by a strict colour palette of black, white and yellow. Some designs are simple monochromatic fields displaying sketchy shapes and almost rubbed-out lines while others are very sharply drawn with kaleidoscopic precision. We love the way she adds 3D elements to some of her wallpapers; one multi-layered design, with barely glimpsed faces and a hazy mix of textures and patterns, drops enigmatic hints of tales yet to be told. 

'I enjoy creating designs that tell a story. I chose black because it emphasises the mystery of the Islamic geometric system and added accents of yellow for contrast and to give the collection a very contemporary feel.' 

Alhawsaui is hoping to work in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years before returning to the UK to do her Masters degree. With work like this, we don't think she'll need to...
Course: BA (Hons) Textile Design
heba.alhawsaui@gmail.com


GERALDINE BIARD Central Saint Martins

'Jardin d'Hiver', which means Winter Garden, is a range of furniture by French designer Geraldine Biard that tackles a serious and growing problem in society today. Her collection consists of a bedside cabinet, sideboard and console table that aim to alleviate the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's disease through the use of light and aromatherapy.

Each unit is made from walnut with copper handles and feet but the main attraction is the softly moulded Corian surface designed to resemble a wintery mountain range. This snowy landscape contains a glow-in-the-dark illustration of a peaceful rural scene. A small diffuser emits bursts of soothing scents from the sculpted peaks on the top.

Curiosity+-+Jardin+d'Hiver+Console+Crédence+-+Copyright+2015+Géraldine+Biard.jpg

Biard hopes that this combination of aromatherapy and light therapy inside simple and familiar pieces of furniture will help to ease anxiety and offer comfort to people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's. 'I worked with people with dementia in a psycho-geriatric hospital in Switzerland,' says Biard, 'and I noticed that in addition to anxiety caused by the disease, the care environment itself can be another source of stress for the residents. It appeared to me that with no medical cure, the best way to address the problem was to provide a better way of life through design. With this collection I aim to establish new standards for design excellence in dementia care and to invite designers across the globe to reflect on this growing problem.' 

Stylistically 'Jardin d'Hiver' ticks a lot of boxes but what we love about it most is that it shows design has a heart. Geraldine, we hear you, and this ingenious collection definitely deserves to go into production.
Course: MA Ceramics, Furniture & Jewellery
geraldinebiard.com


BEN SMITH Nottingham Trent University

Ben Smith.jpg

Ben Smith's 'Apex' desk lamp is a simple, effective and witty study in folded Corian. Its low centre of gravity makes it seem slightly off balance, the pale folded sheets echo the art of origami while the retro red flex gives a nod to lighting fixtures from a bygone age.

At first glance it appears to be one piece of Corian folded three times but closer inspection reveals it to be two separate pieces jointed together allowing its height to be adjusted easily. A single line of embedded LEDs provides clean, even lighting.

Smith's streamlined, geometric style has surfaced before in designs for sofas, clothes rails (for Paul Smith) and staircases. He's a fan of A-list starchitect Zaha Hadid, whose use of abstract geometry often serves as a starting point for Smith's own creations.

Smith is hoping to put 'Apex' into production in time for Christmas. We're already looking forward to eagerly unwrapping one on Christmas morning, aren't you?
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
www.bensmithdesign.net


ELIZABETH HANDFORTH Sheffield Hallam University

South America and Sheffield might be poles apart but both cultures have played a major part in Elizabeth Handforth’s life. Originally from Whitstable, at the age of five she visited her mother’s family in Argentina and Paraguay where she encountered colour and strong geometric patterns. In her late teens, she moved to Sheffield where she came under the spell of the city's modernist architecture. Handforth's subsequent fascination with all things metallic has been informed by these early influences which can be seen in the way she presses and moulds precious metals to create unusual yet beautiful pieces that retain the marks of the manufacturing process.

'Metal has 'out of space' characteristics,' says Handforth. 'Objects that I cherish include a stainless steel kidney dish, which has such a sweeping, modern, utilitarian beauty, and my grandfather's red copper ashtray, which is rough and meteoric. Metal makes me ask questions about what man- made is, and leads to other questions such as 'Is that possible?', 'Is it natural?', 'Is it supernatural?''

Where other designers might take time to smooth out any trace of the production process, Handforth often embraces the imperfections and makes a virtue of them. She loves the way the metals flow into and over casts, playing with form and texture, allowing the tools to leave their imprint on the finished pieces. Her 'Britannia' dish (first image above) is the result of pressing the silver into two mis-aligned squares at an angle. Simple and effective, no further embellishment is needed.

Handforth will be setting up shop at Yorkshire Artspace in September, where she'll have her own studio to carry on shaping and mis-shaping metal to her heart's content. Between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 November, Artspace's Open Studios welcomes the public so stop in and say hello. You're bound to come out with a unique hand-finished design from Sheffield's newest star.
Course: BA (Hons) Jewellery & Metalwork
elizabethhandforth.wix.com


SHERIF MAKTABI Central Saint Martins

The proliferation of smartphones and tablets with their ever increasing appetites for energy has spawned a secondary industry in charging devices. Portable chargers have been with us for a while now but there’s a growing trend towards ‘invisible’ chargers that masquerade as furniture or accessories in the home. For his final year project on the BA Product Design course at Central Saint Martins, Sherif Maktabi tackled the problem of unsightly cables and sockets by designing a sleek tray that charges your smartphone or tablet while also providing storage for other small everyday items.

The tray was Maktabi’s response to a brief set by Japanese lifestyle retailer MUJI which asked students to design products for urban living where space is at a premium. The tray is designed to integrate with MUJI’s existing storage containers and to be discreet and unobtrusive. Made of ABS plastic, it cleverly conceals the USB charger and can double as a small side table when used with a chrome-plated stand. 

Maktabi is currently working as a designer and strategist for Kano.me which develops kits so you can make your own computer. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to see what this tech-savvy designer does next as he’s obviously sooo on trend right now.
Course: BA (Hons) Product Design
sherifmaktabi.com

See our previous post on IKEA's recent range of wireless charging furniture here.

Everything's Gone Green

ABOVE: Habitat's Spring/Summer collection is soooo on the money... 'Botanical' cushion £15; 'Botanical' rug £350; 'Kilo' leaf green metal side table £25; 'Pinya' green glaze mug £6; 'Tommy' emerald desk lamp £18

2015 is the Chinese Year of the Green Wooden Sheep, the sign of the homemaker. So what better way to celebrate the New Year than to embrace the colour of new life and fresh beginnings...

BY EMMA KAY

Pantone may have declared Marsala red the colour of 2015 but here at the Fizz we're going green; from bright emeralds to soft sages, this is the only colour we'll be rocking this Spring. Here are our five top picks to make your neighbours green with envy...

Paola Navone x Ercol
Let us count the ways in which we adore Italian wonder-designer Paola Navone. Most recently weaving her magic at British wooden furniture brand Ercol, the firm’s classic bentwood beech sofa design has been reimagined upholstered in Navone’s trademark acid-bright green textiles.
'Nest' sofa £5,395, ercol.com


Raw-Edges x Golran
Design studio Raw-Edges has collaborated with Italian master weaver Golran on this eye-catching rug that creates an optical illusion of colour gradients.
'Lake' rug €8,200, golran.it


Normann Copenhagen
Danish firm Normann Copenhagen has released Peter Johansen's simple folded metal 'Box' table in blue-green and turquoise, the perfect companion to any sofa.
'Box' table £110, normann-copenhagen.com


NLXL
Bringing the outdoors in couldn't be easier with Dutch stylist, decorator and designer Erik Gutter's greenhouse-inspired wallpaper for NLXL. Depicting sculptural flora blooming against Crittall windows, its the lazy guide to indoor gardening.
'Greenhouse' wallpaper US$299 for 4.9m2, nlxl.com


Patricia Urquiola x Coedition
Patricia Urquiola's graphic, lacquered 'Luna' cabinet for contemporary French brand Coedition is sure to add wow-factor to any space. 
'Luna' cabinet €5,290, coedition.fr

Dungeness Ahoy!

The living room mixes British mid-century furniture such as this Guy Rogers sofa and armchairs with Mini Moderns designs

The living room mixes British mid-century furniture such as this Guy Rogers sofa and armchairs with Mini Moderns designs

How to channel the Dungeness spirit in a contemporary style? Step into the converted railway carriage beach house of Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire, the pattern-happy duo behind interiors brand Mini Moderns.

BY CLAIRE BINGHAM

Lighthouses, clapperboard cottages, sea cabbages and shingle shores... The raw beauty of Dungeness in Kent was the inspiration behind the Mini Moderns' 2014 ‘Hinterland’ range of wallpapers, fabrics and accessories, taking its cue from the evocative mood and hues of this slice of south-east English coastline. And a run-down railway carriage on the beach proved to be just the place to showcase its creators' colourful, quirkily retro collections.

A bolthole from the pair's live/work studio in south London, the lovingly converted carriage is the result of a fortuitous weekend in Rye, where day-trippers Keith and Mark first came across the unusual two-bed property for sale nearby. Late Victorian, it was put on the beach in the 1920s when the railway ceased to run. Drawn to the tremendous sense of calm and feeling of ‘otherness' that defines Dungeness, the designers were looking for a joint 'do-up' project and retreat. The original mismatched wood-clad interior has been revamped channelling a clean Scandinavian style, with warm woods and white paint making the compact space appear bigger and lighter. 

Bright, airy and simply furnished – the intimate dining area underneath the carriage's sky light

Bright, airy and simply furnished – the intimate dining area underneath the carriage's sky light

An IKEA 'Udden' kitchen is decorated with Mini Moderns kitchenalia and vintage finds. 'Because the entire house is wood clad,' says Keith, 'we went with stainless steel surfaces, which are reminiscent of a fishmonger’s preparation area'

An IKEA 'Udden' kitchen is decorated with Mini Moderns kitchenalia and vintage finds. 'Because the entire house is wood clad,' says Keith, 'we went with stainless steel surfaces, which are reminiscent of a fishmonger’s preparation area'

Keith (left) and Mark enjoy a cuppa care of their 'Whitby' mug

Keith (left) and Mark enjoy a cuppa care of their 'Whitby' mug

Embracing the expansive views, untameable landscape and poppies that flower in late spring, Mark and Keith let nature take centre stage. Their beach house rule is a blanket ban on internet and television. 'We don’t have WiFi. We don’t have TV. It is a total break,' says Mark. Keith adds: 'Dungeness is one of those places that feels very different. There is an amazing quality of light and you're in touch with the changing seasons. You have the sense of really getting away.'

Which means there is all the more time for socialising. Part of a busy creative scene, the area has always been a hub for fishermen and artists alike, and was once home to film director Derek Jarman. 'Dungeness is a place full of legends and myth and you very quickly become part of the storytelling thing,' says Mark. 'Everyone has a tale to tell.' And as stewards of the railway carriage, Keith and Mark's journey has just begun...
minimoderns.com

Pictures by Andrew Boyd andrewmboyd.com

Bedroom detail: An old garden sifter serves as a pretty nest for Kristian Vedel’s wooden bird and Dungeness keepsakes

Bedroom detail: An old garden sifter serves as a pretty nest for Kristian Vedel’s wooden bird and Dungeness keepsakes

Kitchen detail: The simple white, grey and wood palette allows injections of colour, pattern and fun, from Jonathan Adler animals to vintage glass and vinyl

Kitchen detail: The simple white, grey and wood palette allows injections of colour, pattern and fun, from Jonathan Adler animals to vintage glass and vinyl

Mark and Keith's 'MMG' floor lamp and 'Paisley Crescent' wallpaper deck out the study. A Swedish classic, the desk is part of the 'String Shelf 'by Nils Strinning

Mark and Keith's 'MMG' floor lamp and 'Paisley Crescent' wallpaper deck out the study. A Swedish classic, the desk is part of the 'String Shelf 'by Nils Strinning

The guest bedroom features the duo's signature 'Whitby' print wallpaper and cushions, plus brass masthead wall lights

The guest bedroom features the duo's signature 'Whitby' print wallpaper and cushions, plus brass masthead wall lights

In a funky geometric and G Plan scheme, the bedroom sports Mini Modern designs including the 'Backgammon' wallpaper, 'Zag' dhurrie and 'Pavilion' cushions

In a funky geometric and G Plan scheme, the bedroom sports Mini Modern designs including the 'Backgammon' wallpaper, 'Zag' dhurrie and 'Pavilion' cushions

ABOVE FROM LEFT:
'Cherries'
tea towel, £12
'Dungeness' wallpaper in Washed Denim, £50 per 52cm x 10m roll 
'Peggy' wallpaper in Mustard, £45 per 52cm x 10m roll 
Unbleached cotton tote, £5