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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Crossover Carpets - The Riva Rug

I've never given much thought to carpeted floors. If it isn't an Argentinian cowhide called Carlos or a dead gazelle, I'll admit, I'm unlikely to be interested. While Sir David Tang swears by oriental sisal flooring, this penthouse worthy rug [from the previously mentioned Ambassador Suite at the Macau Sheraton] stopped me in my tracks.

Iconic manufacturer of Italian runabouts for millionaires on Lake Como, Riva, would be proud. This woollen masterpiece perfectly echoes the teak and holly construction of the classic yachts. Rich and architectural, it's a percent example of design as metaphor. Placed alongside reflective marble, polished woods, chrome or brass, it recreates a Mediterranean glamour without the need for a life vest.

Giardino Mountain - The Snowy Peak of Design

It's not enough these days to install some quirky furniture and call yourself a design bar, hotel, health club or boutique. While it's true that design has become democratised, the term design has been devalued; becoming a synonym for wacky differentiation. Design is more than owning a Philippe Starck chaise; it's more than playing jazzy house in the elevators, and it's refreshing to see that people still recognise this.

Design Hotels, the association for genuinely great independent hotels has given it's seal of approval to the Giardino Mountain hotel in St. Mortiz. In a world of Heidi style log cabins and dusty grand hotels we flew in to see what the avantgarde property is doing differently. Read our full report on why the Giardino Mountain is the definition of what design all hotels should aspire to.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Grains of Inspiration

What is it with rice? It gets it's own wine, paper, breakfast cereal and even when it does come in old fashioned grain variety, it commands its own storage. I don't see anybody turning fettuccine in to alcoholic beverages, or throwing macaroni around at weddings; well, not intentionally anyway.

Nonetheless, I picked up this humble rice keeper in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo and particularly like its honest, dovetailed construction. Finished with a leather fob on the lid, perhaps it's this understated simplicity that earns rice its status. It'd be entirely possible to create an interior with a grain of rice as the only inspiration. Simple, versatile, traditional, contemporary. The Room of Rice. You heard it here first.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Little Bit of Linley

A little design guilt here, as I'm an eternal fan of the Viscount David Linley's store on the Pimlico Road. Marquetry watch boxes, cigar humidors, photos frames and gifts are the epitome of contemporary British craftsmanship - The Union Flag trinket box was recently featured alongside Philippe Stark's gold AK-47 lamp and tweed Anta cushions in a montage of James Bond Skyfall inspired design.

Only the trinket box pictured hails from Peter Jones and not David Linley. Priced at £50, the short stroll to Sloane Square saves you £1,200 on the Linley price, and while it's hand made in India not the Cotswolds, that 96% saving is enough to pick up an AK-47 lamp to complete the Skyfall inspired interior.

The Tube's Last Tycoon

The reason Design Hero Tyler Brûlé famously won't release his Monocle magazine on the iPad isn't because he wants readers to appreciate the three or four different paper stocks used in the publication. It isn't because readers wouldn't be able to detach perfectly formed supplements attached by coloured rubber bands. It's because, on an iPad, nobody is able to see that you're reading Monocle magazine.

With the invasion of Kindles, Kobos and Komodo Dragons, there is only one way to command a presence on the London Tube nowadays [okay two, but brandishing a Komodo Dragon isn't the best of ideas during rush hour]. These Coralie Bickford-Smith designed hardbacks from Penguin Classics celebrate US literary great F. Scott Fitzgerald, and come in a range of metallic designs from the Conran Shop.

They say you might not be able to judge a book by it's cover, but judging the Tycoon with excellent taste, reading the book with the superbly designed geometric cover... is another matter entirely.
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