Saturday, 19 June 2010
Saville Row represents a home from home for the well-heeled City gent. Similarly, inside the many a discreet doorways of designer boutiques in Milan lie rows of meticulously regimented suits. Over time the professional male will acquire a collection of fine cloth worth a considerable amount.
Short of displaying them in walk in wardrobes which remain uncommon in Europe, they will often be hidden away in closed cupboards and wardrobes - You don't store your art collection a cupboard so why should your suits live out of sight? The open rail is a easy way to display your finest weekday uniforms and give a subtle nod to your home from home in W1.
These days, man is very much at home in the kitchen. We have moved away from hunting and gathering and toward roasting, braising and blow-torching. And even then, hunting for us involves a quick trip to Waitrose to pick up some £10 single estate olive oil and a handful of hand dived scallops.
So we all think we're Gordon Ramsay. And what better way to make your kitchen a Michelin starred gastropub than with a tin of blackboard paint and some chalk. I like the simplicity of chalk on a wall, and this may be stretching it, but there is something cave-like about drawing on walls. Add a refined twist with a classic typeface.
Saturday, 12 June 2010
The best thing about a coffee table is its ability to host some great coffee table books. Also due to the fact the mancave has few feature walls for displaying paintings, fine art photography books have a perfect home in the coffee table.
American Power is a collection of power stations, oil refineries, motorway junctions and juxtaposed landscapes breathtakingly shot over 5 years by Mitch Epstein. Read about this book in the Guardian while on the tube one weekend and picked up a signed copy in New York at the famous Strand Books.
Meet Graham. He lives in the locker-room bathroom of the Mancave and serves to dry wet feet after exiting the bath or shower. Named by me after the shop where he was purchased, Graham & Greene, he was an African springbok; a type of gazelle; in a previous life. Now he wasn't sold as a bathmat, but I figure if a springbok is waterproof when it's running around the watering holes, then there shouldn't be any problems with using him to dry feet. Indeed, springbok is excellent at absorbing water and dries very quickly.
I am certain that back in the day, cavemen would have used something just like Graham when leaving the hot spring after a long day of hunting. And before you organic fairtrade vegans start to complain, using a Graham is far more environmentally friendly than using a synthetic, mass produced Chinese rug. So there.
Generally speaking, soft furnishings have no place in the Mancave. At best, a comfortable sofa or armchair is permissible. However there are exceptions. These monogrammed cushions from Cape Henley feature a club-like logo that lend a Drones style sartorial elegance to any room. The fabric is a grey herringbone and definitely has something of the Saville Row about it.
We all know that the Swiss are the most punctual people on earth. You see page upon page of advertorial content saying how you never actually own one particular brand of Swiss watch; merely look after it for the next generation. That's all well and good, but timekeeping shouldn't be exclusive to one's wrist.
This triple mechanical kitchen timer by Swiss design house Bengt Ek has a Saab-like aero/auto feel to it. The housing is fabricated in a single piece of cast and polished steel with timers ranging from 20, 60 to 120 minutes. At £50, (or just £33 from Achica) this is one Swiss timekeeper that deserves to be passed from one generation to the next.
Nobody knows why or how the inseparable combination of salt and pepper came together. Where there is one, the other will never be far away. In the same respect, where there is salt and pepper, there will most always be Cole & Mason. One of only two manufacturers I would entrust with dispensing seasoning, the other being PSP Peugeot. These solid acyclic Seville grinders exhibit ice-cube like coolness with simple steel accents.
Monday, 7 June 2010
A fantastic fine art photography book published by Steidl. Oil by Edward Burtynski is split into chapters charting the life of oil from extraction & refinement, transport & motor culture through to the end of oil. A bit depressing you might think; why not have a fine art photography book on the subject of mountains or sunsets?
Quite simply, mountains and sunsetsare nature's wonders. A cave is a creation of nature. A mancave is a creation of man. It's man's wonders that we should take more time to appreciate. Images like these are our modern day cave-paintings. They are a snapshot of our everyday life as humans- just as mud paintings of blokes hunting zebras were 30,000 years ago.
It's inevitable that most living areas with a telly are designed to function around it. The TV dictates fundamentals such as where the seating areas are and how the area is lit. But apart from the fantastically functional Sony Monolith, most TV's are bland and uninspiring by design.
Like the very first radios and black and white televisions, the Korean HannsLounge LCD TV, takes an approach to design that encases the screen in, what is essentially, furniture. Chrome deer-horn legs hold up the distinctively Eames matt black body with curved walnut-ply rear. Best paired with the Alfason Finewoods series television stands; religiously used in Harrods and Selfridges.
No mancave is complete without a fully stocked bar. While there are some bottles that you clearly want to be on display, casually keeping the finest single malt on the sideboard could be seen as being a little vulgar. On the other hand most every-day cocktail / mixing spirits come in bottles with all the visual appeal of a can of Tizer.
Enter; these decanters from LSA International. Made in Poland, I think the contrast between the wide and tall designs work well together - his and hers perhaps? As for the wasabi peas, they make for excellent visual bar-candy and don't appear ever to spoil. Perfect for the Oriental GastroPubClub look.