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Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Design Diet


If you're not on a diet of Indonesian berries harvested under a full moon by civet cats, then you're probably subjecting your black Hyundaicard to eyewatering personal training fees this new year. Ever the pragmatist, Design Trawler offers up a diet that is sure to get your mind and body in shape.

For just over a thousand coins [no, not penny variety] this WaterRower in black American Walnut from the Conran Shop is all you need... well, apart from the optional laptop stand, said laptop and some Porsche Design apparel. With it's smooth-as-silk operation, circular water drum and satisfying 'splash' with every stroke; when the design is right, working out becomes a delight not a chore.

Whoever said you can't check Bloomberg or take that important video conference whilst pretending to be on the Thames in your navy blues?

Triple Glazed Provocation


Sometimes you see something that needs a second take. Other times, the impact of a first impression blows away the need for even a second glance. That's the effect of graphic artist Patrick Thomas's brilliant target prints. Thomas screenprints a fluro heart over discarded Braundruck shooting range targets - playfully, poignantly, and perhaps alarmingly, marrying the two iconic forms together.

Using a canvas that has been pierced by a bullet creates a work that is violent and thought provoking. Framing it required equal levels of consideration. Mounting the print between two sheets of glass allows it to float; fragile, it's captured and suspended in time and space. A third pane of glazing with a mount and gunmetal frame completes the metaphor.

Introducing Ultraloft


If you don't like something; you can either stay well back and find something you do like, or stick around and be part of the solution. Well, it seems unlikely that newbuild developers and buy-to-let speculators are going to disappear anytime soon. Fifty shades of trade matt white, laminate oak and halogen spots remain de rigueur and, that's just not on. Something needs to be done. Well, something other than lambasting offending developers at prestigious award ceremonies.

Introducing Ultraloft by Design Trawler. With the Man Cave sold [to a delightful young lady as it would turn out], and despite my severe allergy to newbuilds, the latest chapter of design transformation enlightenment begins today. Taking on a generic London newbuild [pictured], Design Trawler will, over the course of the coming months, document its rise from magnolia mediocrity to design super-stardom.

Sourcing the very best in design and design thinking from Sweden to Seoul, being part of the solution is the objective. With more space will come some great new furniture, technology, art and innovative materials. From old friends such as the penny floor, to long held design desires [secret door in a bookcase anyone?], think of it as Design Trawler 2.0 - Because newbuild is no excuse!

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Contemporary Arabesque in 2014


It's a new year, which can only mean new trends, new textures, and new tastes. Dishing up the veritable feast of design in 2014, Design Trawler puts forward the prediction of what's going to be shaping the popular discerning aesthetic this year.

Last year the chips were stacked on deep textures, reflective fabrics, and warmer metals such as copper and brass. This looks set to continue [ex. copper], but as the world grows achingly bored of recession-induced restraint, materials and design are going to become richer and more confident.

Pattern will be at the forefront and the Middle East is showing increasing signs of maturity in this space. Contemporary geometrics in warm silvers and golds [like the pictured lattice doors at I. M. Pei's breathtaking Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar] sit beautifully against the vanguard of old money materials such as marble and lacquer. Similarly, 3D printing will drive a thirst for this intricate detail, but in a more organic form long championed by Zaha Hadid and Karim Rashid.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Design Hurricane - Toronto's William Ashley


Trawling recently in Toronto, I stumbled across deluxe design store William Ashley. Spotting a quirky hurricane lamp in the unassuming window, the pictured flame holder features a carved acacia-wood base and domed glass shade reminiscent of a mushroom-cup [I'll take two of those please].

And it's perhaps pertinent that the hurricane lamp was on display up front, as William Ashley is an inexplicable and never ending cave of delights that needs to be explored. Baccarat crystal in every shape and size, mind blowing Brazilian chrome barware from Riva, and $20,000 candelabras.

Alongside fine personalised stationary from Crane & Co. sits Lalique, Kate Spade and Alessi. It's the sort of store worthy of being delivered with a big bow; as the complete gift registry for the next Royal wedding.
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