Living Materials - A Palette of Natural Leather, Cork and Wool.



In a world dominated by technology and mass production, it’s nice to remind ourselves we live in a beautiful, natural world. There’s nothing like decorating with natural toned leather, cork and wool felt elements to bring a lovely organic aesthetic to your interior space.

These materials add timeless beauty and warmth to any environment and create a subtle colour palette that is honest and energizes through a fresh, modern aesthetic. Robust but with a sense of softness, these products suit all forms whether furniture or decorative.

Their neutral tones looks amazing teamed with other natural elements such as light timber, concrete, stone or metal and sit beautifully against the greenery of your favourite indoor plants.

Combining these details can help to create a warmer or cooler aesthetic and add a touch of everyday luxury. Use alongside monocratic prints or dark charcoal or navy hues, to create a highly sophisticated look with dramatic impact.

You can create a lovely sense of naturalness in your home with these beautiful products below.

Anaesthetic
These awesomely Aussie made pendant lights by Anaesthetic offer a unique marriage of vintage charm and contemporary design, by incorporating both modern and traditional production techniques. Each shade is cut from locally sourced leather, then hand moulded and dyed to the desired colour. 
www.anaestheticdesign.com


Areaware
Areaware's graphic Table Tiles coasters were designed by Brooklyn-based design duo Bower. Fun and forever timeless, the set of six are made of MDF, beech veneer and cork. They can be artfully arranged and encourage playful table top mosaic building! Available through Gretel Home www.gretelhome.com


AVO
You can't go past Avo for a divine range of hand-painted cowhide rugs and cushions. Designer Brit Kleinman takes traditional materials used in innovative ways; playing with the juxtaposition between an organic shape and a striking geometric pattern to create a stunning result! Avo ships these works of art directly from the U.S to AUS. 
www.avoavo.com



Douglas & Bec 
This beautiful handcrafted mirror by Douglas and Bec doesn’t just hang around, it makes a statement! Crafted with solid bent American white oak frame with a raw russet leather strap and gold details, it is the epitome of elegance. www.douglasandbec.com


Elk & Earth 
Soft, plush and oh so Winter warm and cuddly! Offering an aesthetic high without the high price tag, these 100% Wool Felt rugs and cushions by Elk and Earth are impeccably hand-made in Nepal under fair-trade practices. Available through Dwell. 
www.dwell.id.au




Flip and Tumble

Flip & Tumble is the brainchild of San Francisco-based designers Hetal Jariwala and Eva Bauer, who bring a playful approach to sustainable design. Thankfully, they also keep their products well within reach. At $15, a nicely crafted, sustainable wool-felt plant pod is a damn good deal. Available through Upcycle Studio. www.upcyclestudio.com.au
Héctor Serrano 
The Natura lamp and vase collection by London designer Hector Serrano presents a delightful contrasting combo of textured cork with smooth recycled glass. Their warm and friendly shape allow them to integrate well into any context. Hector ships directly from London. 
www.hectorserrano.com

Keep Cup Brew Limited Edition
But first coffee! Jazz up your desk space with a Keep Cup Brew limited edition. A tempered glass reusable coffee cup with a cork band that is beautiful to hold, antibacterial and insulates your hand from heat. Perfect for the enjoying the cafe experience 'to go'. 
Available through www.biome.com.au

Ladies & Gentleman
Introducing the incredible Ovis hanging chair by Seattle based design studio Ladies and Gentleman. Swing and swoon over the simple and organic structure which encompasses a vintage design with a playful contemporary aesthetic. Available through www.douglasandbec.com 


Lightly 
Stack your books neatly and elegantly with the Assemblages Book Girth Belt designed by Cindy-Lee Davies of Lightly. This gorgeous range is inspired by the utilitarian resourcefulness of the Australian lifestyle in the early 1900s. Drawing on a saddlery aesthetic of leather girths and copper belt buckles, and the unmistakable smell of raw leather.
www.lightly.com.au


Made to Measure
Spruce up old (or new) joinery doors and drawers with these beautifully crafted handles are by Made to Measure. Tactile and rich in texture these leather knobs have a lovely stitching detail and will continue to gain character over time. 
www.mademeasure.com

Melanie Abrantis
Stunning in every way possible, these cork vases and planters by Oakland based designer / maker Melanie Abrantis are hand-turned with a she shellacked interior and finished on the outside with a natural orange oil and beeswax mixture. A glass vial is included for fresh flowers. Melanie’s products be directly to Australia. 
www.melanieabrantes.com


Noergaard Kechayas
Artful and earthy, these material pendants from Danish designer Noergaard Kechayas comes (as the name suggests) in different materials: cork, concrete, marble, oak and terracotta. Not that I could discriminate but I think the cork is my favourite, how about you? Available from Great Dane. www.greatdanefurniture.com


Norm Copenhagen
I’m a big fan of anything and everything designed by Denmark-based Norm Architects. The New Norm storage jars are absolutely no exception. There’s such beauty is in the simplicity of the stoneware base with chunky and playful cork top. Available through Design Mode International www.designmode.com.au
OX Denmarq
What could be more beautiful and elegant than blending classic Danish minimalism with the rich traditions of the Argentinian Pampas? Designed by Copenhagen-based label OX Denmarq, The Maggiz Magazine Holder's vegetable-tanned leather is sourced from free-range, Argentinian cattle. A perfect complement to reading chairs and sofas in interiors that demand timeless style. Available from Great Dane. www.greatdanefurniture.com

Patterson & Steel
It was love at first sight when I came across this gorgeous leather plant hanger by Patterson & Steel. Handcrafted from vegetable tanned leather, marine cord and solid brass hardware, your plants should be so lucky to hang from! www.patersonandsteele.com.au

Puik Art
"Time rolls on, but once in a while you need to stand still," The Clork by Dutch designer Ilias Ernst does exactly this. "It doesn’t present a full circle, it has an edge that stabilises you for the moment." Clork is the perfect size for bedside tables, a desk or shelf. Designed for Puik Art who ship directly to Australia. 
www.puik-art.com


Skandinavious
Pairing linen with leather creates a beautiful balance that I find both modern and timeless. These, Handmade Natural Leather Napkin Rings from Skandinavious are perfect for a smart-casual dining setting. They can be shipped directly from Sweden via designer Louise Vilmar’s Etsy shop. www.etsy.com/au/shop/SKANDINAVIOUS



Studiolise
Hot off the press: London based designer Ilse Crawford’s upcoming Sinnerlig collection for Ikea was released in Europe late 2015. This warm and tactile range of furniture explores sustainable design using natural materials and simple, useful forms that fit into everyday life. Great affordable design within reach available from Ikea. www.ikea.com/au/en


The Minimalist
Perfect for small spaces, the Carry Me Home is a cleverly designed tripod table with leather straps that can be tucked away when not in use. Slide it under the sofa on weekdays and bring it out to the amazement of your guests on the weekend to serve them drinks on its handy detachable top! Designed by Tero Kuitunen and made in Finland, it’s available in Aus through the Minimalist. www.theminimalist.com.au


Urban Couture
Combining concrete, leather and wood, these large boxy concrete pots from Urban Couture are individually hand made to become the perfect home decor accessory. Use this for storage, as a vase, in your bathroom, kitchen, or even in your home office.
www.urbancouture.com.au







The Icon of Finnish Design Celebrates its 80th Anniversary!



It just so happens that while Iittala celebrate their 80th anniversary today, my husband and I are celebrating our very 1st wedding anniversary! Snap!

I was fortunate enough to visit their amazing showroom in Helsinki during Helsinki Design Week earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with their products!

        




   



The Alvar Aalto vase collection has become an international icon of 
Finnish design and a  much-loved gift for design aesthetes around the world. Each delicate and statuesque vase is skillfully mouth-blown and hand-crafted at the Iittala glassworks in Finland.



Alvar Aalto
(1898-1976) is widely considered one of the masters of modern architecture and design. He was a functionalist who developed his unique style by combining rational architecture with a vividly organic idiom. His works are internationally acclaimed and landmark many Finnish towns from the tuberculosis sanatorium of Paimio to the university campus of Jyväskylä, the administrative centre of Seinäjoki town and Finlandia hall in Helsinki, to mention only few. Aalto’s furniture for Artek and the glass vase collection for Iittala are loved by design audiences all around the world.


A true humanist
Aalto’s approach to design included a deeply practical aspect: the design was based on human needs.  

“Form is a mystery that eludes definition but that gives people a sense of well-being.”

Alvar Aalto touched upon something special when he created the simplified and free formed vase collection for the Karhula-Iittala competition in 1936. The objects were not only revolutionary in form, freeing the glass from its geometric own will, but they also left the user to decide what the object should be used for. 

“Beauty is the harmony of purpose and form.”

The vases were first introduced at the Paris World’s Fair a year later. The fair was a breakthrough for Alvar Aalto in industrial design. There are various interpretations of Aalto’s original idea for free form; for many, the shapes represent the thousands of lakes in Finland, with their winding shorelines. 

The most skilled craftmanship 
Aalto vases are mouth blown every day at Iittala, Finland. It takes 7 craftsmen, 12 work stages, 1100 °C and 10 hours to make a single Aalto vase. The skillful craftsmen of the Iittala glass factory have dedicated themselves to keeping tradition alive; every single Aalto vase is individually made.

Anniversary products
To mark the 80th anniversary of the Aalto Collection, Iittala is launching new products. The key sizes of the range will be available in nostalgic Emerald green. The colour refers to Alvar Aalto’s wife, Aino Aalto. A similar shade was present in the original Aino Aalto collection in 1932.


This could make the a perfect gift for your next anniversary (or mine)!

The Best of International Product Design Trends for 2016 from the London Design Festival


Words can't quite describe the euphoria and excitement experienced at the London Design Festival! That sensation of being kid in a candy store is teamed with immense inspiration and followed by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be part of this incredible industry.

Celebrating its 13th year at venues across the capital, the festival showcases the best creative talents with a smorgasbord of events and exhibitions. More than 350 events to choose from, I scoured six trade shows leading the way in cutting edge design and innovation. 

Decorex, 100% Design, Tent London, Matter of Stuff and Design Junction presented the latest design trends from around England and Europe. I have hand-picked my top 20 to bring to you best of the fest. 

(Click on the images below for direct links to each companies website).

1. Kaleido Splatt by TIMOROUS BEASTIES 
Timorous Beasties has defined an iconoclastic style of design once described as “William Morris on acid. Noted for their surreal and provocative textiles and wallpapers, their expressive designs translate into bold, colourful, signature furnishings that can vividly redefine the identity of interiors. 


2. Brogue Collection and Stud Collection by BETHAN GREY 
The beauty of natural coloured leather paired with and warm brushed brass and tactile textures create this stunning range of luxurious occasional tables. Available in a colour palette to die for thee tables are a must-have.



3. Verreum Reverso by SACHA WALCKHOFF
This collection of dual-purpose, mouth-blown silvered table accessories can be used as a glass or a vase. Designed to be played with, this super fun glassware can be turned upside down so that a vase can become a lantern when it’s not filled with flowers. A champagne flute becomes a tumbler, while the white wine glass turns into a coffee cup when turned on its head! 


4. Renaissnce by MINEHART
The Renaissance cowhide rug is unlike any cowhide you have ever seen, it's from a very exotic breed of beast that lives in the fantasy world of designers Young & Battaglia. The piece features a background image created by artist Himitsuhana, hand cut out in a special rubber backed fabric. A fusion between art and utility, this rug will add a beautifully surreal touch to any interior!


5. Silhouette Chair by David LINLEY
This chair is nothing short of mind-blowing! It’s crafted from a single copper panel which has been individually hand rolled and hammered. An age-old technique used by coach builders in the restoration of classic cars, enables the craftsman to form compound curves from a single flat sheet. Finished with a luxuriously soft aniline leather, the design ensures that the shell fits seamlessly with the form of a human body.



6. GLÜCK pendant light by NAOMI PAUL in Deepsea Blue & Putty
Part of the OMI pendant collection, GLÜCK is a handcrafted minimal flat pack pendant that is hand-made using traditional crochet techniques. The beautiful, natural soft texture of this product makes it timeless, playful and quietly opulent. 


Image by Nick Rochowski Photography

7. Tablerunners for GESTALTEN by ELISA STROZYK
I am so mesmerized by Eliz’a collection of products that I just had to include two! (Although I think all of them are noteworthy). Her wooden plaid table-runners with fading colour patterns are flexible giving them the ability to be formed into different three-dimensional shapes!


8. Woven Pendant for Gustav van Treeck Studios by ELISA STROZYK
Elisa's Woven Pendants push the limits of glass technology. The lights are made of circular brass frames inset with two parallel layers of interwoven glass panes, which surround the light bulb, allowing glimmers of light to pass through. The interlaced pattern distorts the material's transparency, creating radiant optical effects. 



9. Bubbles by Corinne van Havre of LaLouL
These magnificent glass-blown Bubbles are by Antwerp based designer Corinne van Havre. Designed to take on the appearance of an over-sized necklace, the bubbles are embedded in a chain of high quality polished Italian brass. Wall Jewellery at it's best! Consisting of 5 bubble filled glass orbs they make a beautiful statement piece!



10. Decorative Books by TROWBRIDGE GALLERY
Trowbridge’s designer beautifully re-bound, hand decorated vintage books are embellished with gold and silver leaf. They make fabulous accent pieces to brighten book cases, coffee tables and bedsides. 

http://www.trowbridgegallery.com/ELBooks.php


11. Balustrade Vases by Simon Moore for VESSEL GALLERY
These large hand-blown glass vases are by Simon Moore who has been making and designing glass for over 30 years. They have a special “battuto” surface cut finish which imitates the ‘distressed’ effect of hammered metal. Rather than just describing a technique for working glass “battuto” signifies a way of being, a way of breathing, and expresses the beat of life. Now that is pretty special!

http://www.vesselgallery.com/gallery/d/balustrade-vases/182133


12. Eclipse Artwork by Holly Allen Cooper of WHITEBEAM STUDIOS 
Simply elegant, beautiful and affordable, the Eclipse series of art works are hand-painted in pure pigment, with ground charcoal and silt from the East River New York and the River Thames. This unique medium adds a raw sometimes grainy texture in contrast to the clarity of the colour, giving the artworks an almost 3-dimensional quality. 



13. Douli Chair by BLUE SHANGHAI WHITE
This bamboo hat-shaped, traditional porcelain seat with curved legs made from Elm makes up the classic Douli chair. The bowl shape (called Woyi meaning ‘Vortex’) follows the design philosophy of “traditional modern life”. I love this chair for it sculptural quality, it’s a fantastic statement piece and is actually quite comfy too!


14. Knit by CURVER in collaboration with Franklin Till 
The knitted look is back and it’s here to stay! KNIT by Curver is a unique collection of stools, tables, baskets, poofs and planters which utilise a method of deep-texture injection to apply a 3D knitted look to plastic in a gorgeous palette of colours. 



15. Occasional Tables by Danuta Włodarska of TWO OR THREEE THINGS.
This amazing collection of tables are inspired by a cup of coffee! The top is made of veneer panels of Siberian poplar which has gentle wood grain pattern. The light colour veneer top and complementary delicate pastel coloured base, endow these tables with qualities of mildness and incredible warmth, just like the perfect latte!

http://twoorthreethings.com/artwork


16. String Shelving System by NILS STRINNING
String Shelving is the original Swedish shelving system designed by Nils Strinning in 1949. Still retaining its distinct Scandinavian style, the original system has now been developed and enhanced to include a number of variations. I love String because it can be built in an infinite number of ways and will never look quite the same as anyone else’s!



17. Plantation ALICJA PATANOWSKA
Polish artist and designer Alicja Patanowska been rescuing discarded beer glasses from the streets of London and giving them new purpose as planters! The project began from her need to find a symbolic use for things which have been abandoned. As such, she has created a collection of hand-thrown ceramic plant pots that fit inside old glasses so both stem and roots can be seen. The result is a gorgeous visual statement of ceramic, glass, and greenery.



18. Dolomite LED Wallpaper by MEYSTYLE
After 10 years of working with pattern and wallpaper, sisters Maria and Ekaterina Yaschuk went a step further to create a radical new concept that turns walls into light structures! LEDs are integrated into the wallpaper, allowing it to be used just like any traditional wall-covering – but with the added requirement of an electrical socket or switch. Together with the Trompe L’oeil design the 2D wallpaper gives the illusion of being 3 dimensional.




19. TABLEAIR by Lukas Lukosevicius
Humans weren’t built to sit a desk for 8+ hours a day, most of us don’t even sleep for that long! A study shows that sitting for periods of longer than 3 hours can decrease a man’s life expectancy by 20% and 40% for women! The TableAir is a height adjustable work desk that gives you the option to stand or sit and uses a sensor to detect the height of an outstretched hand. It then moves the desk surface up to match it. It can be paired with a smart-phone to automate a schedule for time spent sitting and standing, plus it has super cool colour-changing side panels!

http://tableair.com/


20. Pool Table by FUSION TABLES
We all love the idea of having a pool table in the house, however, many of us face a common issue of not having sufficient space. These super sleek Fusion Tables provide the perfect solution, combining that pool table you’ve always wanted along with the dining table you have always needed! The contemporary table features a multi-piece removable top that allows the dining table to be converted to a full-sized billiards table in 60 seconds, and uses an invisible pocket technology, so your guests will be none the wiser. What a fab party trick! 



The best news is that all of these products can be ordered via each of the companies websites and shipped to Australia!

Happy 2016!