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This typographic map reduces London to the sum of its named places. The icons, symbols and hard lines representing churches, streets, rivers and parks have been expunged from the map, leaving only letters. London’s burnt off the earth yet it still exists as a psychogeographic entity recognisable by familiar place and word if not by objective figure or form. The map was an award winner at London Design Week 2007 and now a limited edition lithographic print of 100 is for sale. The poster is a wall-filling 60 by 40”, a scale that seems appropriate for the sprawling immensity of the city itself.
These cool table lamps from the BlankBlank design studio resemble upturned iPods, emitting notes of light rather than those of music. Entitled ‘Low Frequency’, the lights come in a range of designs and colours. As the BlankBlank team says:
“The light consists of 6 white planes whose reverse sides are printed with vivid colors that reflect colored light onto the preceding planes, as well as through the translucent enclosure. Front and back planes are available in light or dark wood laminates”
Sarah Oates is a young artist living in North-East England who works with furniture to create objects of symbolic and practical signifance. Her latest pieces are a collection of glass and steel tables fitted with throwaway objects such as wine bottle corks, foam and striped vinyl tape. The most captiving amongst the collection is perhaps her Polo Mint table – rows of the white mints have been fitted under a pane of toughened glass for a cool and sleek effect.
Objects With Light’s latest release is a novel lamp at the junction of sight and sound. The Tweeter lamp uses reclaimed parts from stereo speakers arranged in a spherical or semi-spherical shape surrounding a bulb. Once the light is plugged in to an electrical source the lamp lights up and the speakers begin to play whatever music they are hooked up to.
The One Shot.mgx Stool by designer Patrick Jouin is now available at Unica Home. This rare piece is a portable, fold-away seat that was originally presented as a concept at the Del Mobile exhibition in Milan last year. The seat unfolds at the push of a button so that the legs entwirl outwards. This sturdy and stylish stool is perfect for jaunts out to the country to paint with a suicidal Dutch friend that you are sharing a house with in Arles. And don’t worry when he cuts his ear off, that’s totally normal.
Rene & Edgar have created this outdoor storage unit for dutch design market Frozen Fountain. Called “Herbal House”, it’s intended as an open cabinet in which to store whatever herbs you may wish to grow, from domestic staples such as Rosemary or Thyme, to more illicit varities of shrub. The wrought metal calligraphy adorning the sides of the cabinet consist of 12 English herb names often used in European cuisine.
The Black Honey Bowl by Arik Levy is based on the hexagonal pattern of the honeycomb. The combed effect provides the shell with structural integrity as well as an intricate and delicate motif dripping with the sweetness of honey.
While Ryan Frank’s Hackney Shelf takes its inspiration from the East End, it is an adulteration of urban contexts. The brutalist shapes, squares cut out arbitrarily, recall the brash and vulgar Malaga of the Cubists, the overbearing weight and height Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, while the cheap plywood & chipboard surfaces recall rain-glazed favelas in Brazil. That is where Frank’s input into the system ends. The rest of the credit for these shelves must be granted to the anonymous street artists and vandals who spontaneously decorated the blank wood panels – deliberately left out at night in illicit locations around Hackney and Bethnal Green.
Francois Azambourg’s Brindilles Lights taper downward in twig-like twirl, mimicing the broken straws and curling stems of a brushwood plant. The luminous strands are made from a combination of LEDs and fibre optic cables, arranged randomly they light up like exposed filaments, burning brightest at the tips, or tumbleweeds catching the sun of the desert and the tincture of white sand.
Tord Boontje’s line of lights for Unica Home are currently selling fast at the store and this is one of the stand-outs. These wonderful chandeliers speak of once lush foliage now crisp with the cold autumnal air, turned golden brown in the sun or to flakes of silver in the snow. The light emanting from within briefly touches the elaborate brocade and dusts the patterns with wintery light. The tones of earth, rust, barley and wheat are expressed by the choice of materials, grounding the frail designs with permanence and instilling a sense of perennial fall. A Hanging Gardens of Babylon curated with the colours of New England.
These parachute hanging lamps from designer Chahiro Tanaka are currently selling at Australian boutique Via Alley. The lights are suspended in groups like dynamic sculptures of movement, falling bombs arrested at the decisive moment just as they approach the ground, or parturient biopods pungent with life. Thankfully this intimidating, haunting power is counter-balanced by the soft, cushion-like feel of the lights as well as the joyous and ambient glow that the lamps subtly and beautifully emit. These lights are as belligerent and as soft as a pillow-fight.
Over a decade after the concept design for Marcel Wanders knotted seat was presented in Milan, the idea still seems as contemporary and cutting edge as ever. Now those in the US can purchase one of these unique furnishings – cathedras of barbed-wire lattice bristling with beautiful tension. The chairs are made from aramid and carbon fibers and possess a strong, taut frame whilst also looking as precarious and as dainty as the ornamental icing on a wedding-cake.
Tord Boontje’s tempered glass table design for MoreSo presents a sleek black dining surface shot through with his fine etchings. Like the veins on a dead leaf the iconic patterns resemble a skeletal map, transcending mere ornamentation. The table is sustained by a steel base powder-coated in high gloss black.
The Kyouei Balloon Lamp is a self-powered, self-contained lantern that can be strung along in lines for a Japanese hanging lamp effect or grouped together for a clustered cloud look. The ambient lamps are made from a simple balloon affixed to a long lasting LED. The light is powered by lithium coin batteries so there is no need to connect the lamp to a grounded power supply.
The best, most atmospheric lights are those with a definable source and somewhat limited luminosity – the moon, stars, candles and even those little trailing LED lights that run along the aisles of movie theatres. notNeutral’s garden lanterns possess such a light, rather than flooding a room with blunt, overbearing colour, they are offertories of a delicate, beaded light. Said to be a mix of Aztec and Morrocan patterns, to me the designs are reminscent of a fine chantilly lace but with the motifs of Aboriginal Art – the fish skeleton, the emu foot, the woomera. The lanterns are made from metal with a black, oxidised finish and come fitted with a candle that shines through the staccato light-holes.
This innovative lamp is based on the aesthetic of the chemistry flask and glows with a simple, white light through the acid-etched glass. The Airswitch lamps are turned on and off by placing your hand above the light – the closer your hand to the lid, the dimmer the lamp gets, and vice-versa.
The elusive & empyrean cloud shelving system designed by the Bouroullec Brothers is currently being sold at Unica Home. The shelves consist of repeated circular modules that combine to form a shape not unlike the humble cumulus cloud. Stack the shelves on top of one another to create a vertical bookshelf or room divider. The stratospheric shelves are constructed from high-density polystyrene and come in 4 colours – white, light green, dark green or red.
These chic, modern designs make functional clothes baskets an integral part of a well designed room. Made of a soft rubber with a brash sheen, the baskets concentrate on deep, autumnal browns lifted by blasts of sharp yet bright coolness from the pictorial representations.
These lights glisten like winter flowers suspended on ethereal branch-like wires. The light element uses translucent envelopes fitted with electroluminescent film upon which one can write messages that will glow in the dark with a soft, ambient light. Using a dry erase marker, the messages can be wiped clean or kept on as long as one desires. The lights stand on either white marble blocks (recovered from the making of the Arco lamp) or a bundle of pure wool felt moulded into unique shapes.
SuckUK’s Solar lamps are back. The sun jars sell out immediately wherever they go on sale but i’ve tracked down a supplier who still has a few left. They are made from an old fashioned killiner jar – traditionally used to store jams – a solar panel, rechargeable battery and an LED light. Simply leave the jar out in the sun during the day, and watch it come on as it gets dark. Perfect for those late summer nights when you don’t want the sun to set.
This is one of the most vibrant of Domestic’s Vinyl Wall Prints, a mix of fireworks exploding and silver sparks leaping upward like mackerel. It reminds me of a recent advertisement for Sony Bravia, where a bunch of Glaswegian tower-blocks have been rigged up with paint bombs. This wall graphic springs out like a geyser from its source, perhaps as the visual manifestation of an imagination busy at work at the desk. In this sense it reminds me of RW Buss’ ‘Dicken’s Dream’, the unfinished painting of a dozy Charles Dickens surrounded by the wonderful characters he is dreaming of. Perhaps this wall decoration will inspire you similarly.
Donna Brady’s gritty photographs of urban Brooklyn have found their way into the home as images printed onto lampshade. The hanging lamps use Brady’s pictures of street graffiti on dark, gloomy walls. Twice removed from their natural environment, the exuberance inherent in the colours of the graffiti is exaggerated and heightened, modifying the lamp light with their brash tone. Brady’s photographics are perhaps second-hand art, simply recording the raw & immediate expressions of street art, yet for this reason the pictures seem perfect for the medium of a lampshade – lit from beyond by second-hand light.
These two wall lamps do not shy away from attention but provide reference points for a room, domesticated installation lights that attract as much light as they provide.
The first is entitled ‘Edge’ – it’s an elided cube with panels lit in various bold colours. This is designed by Alessandro Mendini for Artemide.
Sam Buxton’s latest take on the Mikrocube template is a garden to go with the much larger Mikrohouse. It follows the same principal as the house in that it is formed from a single sheet of steel which can be folded flat, or unfolded to create a box structure with intricate, foliate patterns of well-tended foliage . This is Paradise in the original Persian sense of an enclosed garden.
Tejo Remy’s concept chandelier is selling on Dutch by Design at the moment. The iconic hanging lights can be bought individually to create sole focal point or as a cluster forming a striking milk-float effect.