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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Big Cheers for Quiet Design


Somebody once told me "if the Death Star had a tube station, it'd be Westminster"; and anyone who has passed through the terminus will know this holds true. It's a monolithic concrete bunker with cantilevered steel beams, industrial uplighters and scissored escalators. Subtle it is not.

In this respect, if the Death Star needed a vacuum cleaner, it'd be spoilt for choice. Almost every bagless cyclone machine on the market seems to have several dozen conical protrusions and articulated joints, with flashes of patronising neon colours around every gasket, bolt and wheel nut.

We're not designing Lloyds of London here. Vacuum cleaners should be more like the well turned out domestic staff that use them; unobtrusive, quiet and reliable. It's why I was drawn to the top of the range Mach Zen 2 by British firm Vax.

Monday, 28 April 2014

If Laura Ashley did Industrial Chic


As Ultraloft renovations get underway, stripping back unbearably dull kitchen tiles revealed the most remarkable surface. Artifacts of the construction and previous tiles create a bohemian patchwork of the most interesting colourway. Warm and peachy plaster, cool duck-egg blue and textured grouts in taupe and white. It looks masterful paired with the smooth carrara marble workstops specified for the design.

In a moment of crazed inspiration, instructing the tiler to down tools and get a protective clear glass splashback to protect the sacred discovery would seem like a smart idea. If Laura Ashley did 'reproduction warehouse chic' it would probably look like this [and cost more than said marble]. Alas however, the effect might be lost on those who don't appreciate nonchalant chic.

Prague Invaded by Italy, Brother & Duck


Design Trawler's predicted 'revolution of pattern' is gaining momentum. Advancing north from Italy and in to Prague's Vinohradsky Pavilion are these intoxicating graphical tiles. Patricia Urquiola uses an innovative digital on cement technique for Mutina that torpedoes the plain and austere.

Paired with cool greys, green foliage and the frosted glass doors, pictured, Brother & Duck strike a contemporary yet classic balance for the Pavilion. At over €140 a meter, nobody said being at the cutting edge of design is cheap, but similar styles are already filtering through to clued-in retailers in the UK.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Honey, I Froze Le Corbusier


It has to be the revelation of the year century. On a scale to be rivalled by Dan Brown novels set in St. Peter's Basilica. For around 100 years ago, a man called Peter Behrens was hired by a German engineering company to the position of 'Articstic Consultant'. Alongside the logotype and corporate identity, Behrens designed the firm's iconic turbine factory in Berlin, and also a significant number of it's products. Peter Behrens is considered to be the world's first industrial designer. The savvy German engineering company that hired him was AEG.

So that puts AEG at the very top of the design family tree. Neat. They make well engineered home appliances [Ultraloft's new shiny fridge freezer, pictured] and consumer electronics. Having something with the AEG moniker around the Ultraloft gives me a warm comfortable feeling of buying in to that design pedigree. That was until, I did a little more research and fell backwards out of my [EA105] chair.

You may want to anchor yourself to the floor... It wasn't just Behrens, father of industrial design that worked for AEG. Miles van der Rohe, creator of the iconic Barcelona chair worked for Behrens at AEG. Walter Gropius too, later to become the first director of the Bauhaus worked for AEG. And the revelation that sent me plummeting, sternforemost to the floor, is that, the being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, principal object of faith and worship at Design Trawler, Le Corbusier, worked alongside Behrens, Gropius, and Mies at AEG.

The three letters AEG aren't just a nod toward innovative German engineering. They represent a perfect storm; a fantasy dream team of everything design, and architecture, and efficiency should be. And is.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Foothills of Mount Fuji


As the seasons begin to change, I begin also, to turn my attentions to the next room renovation in Ultraloft. The guest bathroom will be a light, clean, and natural space inspired by the paired back Japanese aesthetic... Primarily, so that I can install a Toto washlet, and surprise guests with a high-tech toilet.

Until the buldozers and pricey porcelain arrive however, I'm evoking an eastern spirit with these wall mounted planters. Selecting fern, pine and bamboo as suitably reflective of the zen-line shrubbery likely to line the foothills of Mount Fuji, the boxes from Concoral also double up as shelves; perfect for Marks & Web mandarin salts, and metallic flames from Tom Dixon.
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