Month: January, 2011

Cobonpue Catalogued…

Quite literally years in the making, the Kenneth Cobonpue Catalogue for 2011 has just been launched.

A stunning compendium – beautifully photographed and styled.  Never before have the works of Kenneth Cobonpue and his guest designers been so comprehensively illustrated and communicated.

Head straight over to to download your copy.

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Ensamble Studio: Principal Perfomers…

At Last years Architecture Biennale in Venice, The Spanish firm Ensamble Studio was commissioned by Kazuyo Sejima to create an installation that would be housed within, and respond to, the historic shipyards of Venice, The Arsenale.

The result was: Balancing Act.  A work that closely follows the script written, followed and explored since Antón García- Abril assembled the Ensamble team in the late 1990’s.  Famed for their almost brutalist approach, they revel in the reduction of ‘dressing’ to make hero of their exposed monumental concrete I-Beams and celebrate the structure.  Additionally, their exploitation of gravity through confronting our perceptions of balance, weight bearing and placement of elements both excites and challenge us from every angle.

Outside Madrid boldly stands one of their most successful constructions in this style: Hemeroscopium House.

A gargantuan residence that essentially owes it’s presence to three huge cement I-Beam’s, two sections of concrete storm-water channel and one twenty tonne granite stone seemingly teetering atop the entire assembly.  Despite the power of the structure dominating the site visually on first viewing, the internal and external livable spaces it creates are astoundingly effective:

… the way this structure is set, the house becomes aerial, light, transparent, and the space kept inside flows with life.

The project was completed in 2005 after one year of complex engineering but only seven days of construction, thanks entirely to its pre-fabricated elements.  Since then Ensamble have forged ahead with their unique styling on projects across Spain and currently under construction is the subterranean Cervantes Theatre in Mexico City, due for completion this year.

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Spanish Success…

Interiors From has launched it’s Hits of 2010 winners list.

The site, dedicated to proudly promoting the vibrancy and ingenuity of the Spanish design scene, has compiled a list of they best bits that went into production in 2010.

We’re not surprised to find many of our suppliers included in the collection: Sancal, Andreu World, Nanimarquina and BD Barcelona.

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When R&B meets A&D…

Increasingly, some of our favourite entertainers are making a bold leap and branching into the world of design, lifestyle and luxury goods.  Where fashion, perfumes and homewares have long been the stomping ground of celebrities wanting to “spread their creative wings” (and collect sizeable pay-checks along the way), the realm of architecture, interiors and industrial design has largely been untouched by thespians and musicians.

Whilst many of the often wishy-washy ventures into this arena can be seen as nothing more than short lived marketing grabs, there is undeniably a compatibility that streams between pursuits of creativity and, on occassion, it would seem some of our screen and stereo stars do genuinely pack some creative clout in their appreciation for, and involvement with A&D projects.

Spotlight on: Pharrell Williams.

DESIGN MIAMI 2010: local boy, musician and sought after producer Pharrell Williams once again dropped in to take part whilst the circus was in town. Williams joined a panel including Silvia Venturini Fendi and Ron Arad to:

investigate the role of craftsmanship and human creativity at the inception of a song, performance, exhibit, fashion collection, architectural project, design object, or other creative endeavour.

No stranger to self-promotion he also recently threw open the doors of his pop-infused Miami Penthouse to famed photographer Todd Selby from  Not content with hiring the latest celebrity interior designer, Pharrell capitalised on his own inherent creativity, turning the pad into a space more reminiscent of a modern art gallery with pieces by Kaws and Keith Haring dominating the domed multi-storey atrium.  Exercising what can best be described as a considered, minimalism his home sits at odds with much of the gaudy extravagance that has become synonymous with celebrity decorating we’ve become accustomed to via shows like MTV’s “Cribs“.

Pride of place is also given to Pharrell’s own exploration into Industrial Design such as his controversial “Perspective Chair” 2008 for French outfit Domeau & Pérès.  (Since then Williams has gone on to design “Tank Chair” and a one-off fixed-gear bicycle that features yellow dyed water buffalo hide in its construction).

Approaching his passion for design from a much larger scale is Brad Pitt.  Widely recognised as a design hound, Pitt has more recently indulged his interest through charitable works.  Focussed on the New Orleans area with his Make It Right (MIR) Foundation, Pitt sees the widespread damage from Hurricane Katrina reversed through a highly respected redesign and rebuild program. The much publicised exercise is one that demands of the invited designers a strong appreciation for ‘green’ processes, investing in each home a longterm, durable vision for the property and a sympathetic aesthetic that continues the traditional typologies for the New Orleans area.

Beyond this, Pitt – a self confessed design addict (reported to have spent over $1M USD in one day at Design Miami) cites Charles Rennie MacKintosh, Kenneth Cobonpue and Frank Gehry amongst his favourite creatives.  Credited with largely introducing the US to the wonder that is Filipino talent Kenneth Cobonpue, and already having collaborated with Gehry on small projects, his involvement in the GRAFT designed (Zaha Hadid, like) ecologically responsible hotel in Dubai, arguably sees Brad Pitt’s credibility in design circles increase with each project.

Heard it all before?  …Still not impressed?  Then perhaps the last word is best left to Babs.

After 46 years of recording albums, producing films, treading the boards, gracing the silver screen and directing… last year she launched her first book as author. Barbra Streisand introduced the world to her passion: design, in a book imaginatively titled: “My Passion For Design“.  A tome of tips that among the gems will outline why and how she matched the black and white Carp in her expansive pond network to:

the trim of the house, the shutters, the awnings…

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Colour Me Honeysuckle…

It’s 2011 and we now have well and truly set sail into the new year with February just around the corner but are you really properly equipped for the year ahead, on-trend and in tune with whats taking off?

The reason we ask is because the folk over at Pantone seem to have taken quite a leap from last years Turquoise: 15-5519 and declared that 18-2120 is the colour for 2011: akaHoneysuckle“.

A Color for All Seasons: Courageous. Confident. Vital.  A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.



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Nani Rolls Out The Latest…

The Bi-Annual Maison & Objet fair is in the process of wrapping itself up in Paris.  This of course means that some delightful new pieces from our suppliers will be making their way to us in due course.

Already turning heads are the new collections from nanimarquina.

Inspired by old fashioned rugs, the Medina collection, carried out using the kilim technique, recovers the essence of the rug, both in its texture and in its use. For the desert nomads, a house is built on a rug, as rugs originally served to protect people from the ground. They represented an object of daily use, as well as providing comfort, they also defined the space. The Medina collection represents the modern day transformation of tradition. Its classical essence is achieved thanks to its handcrafted production in the north of Pakistan using a very old and traditional technique; the Kilim.

Medina, described and depicted above is designed by Nani for her own brand and is available in either a riot of colour or for the more refined application it is also offered in black and white with a clean red trim.

Losanges a Bouroullec Studio design is the second release for nanimarquina already this year.    Keeping also with the Kilim techniques that Nani employed Bouroullec describe their process below:

We have always been captivated by the traditional Persian rug, especially by the very old kilim savoir-faire which we see as a delicate mix of rusticity and fineness. We have been lucky to see this project carried through by the craftsmen of Northern Pakistan who managed to skillfully combine thirteen colors through the geometrical rhombus shape. As well as being crafted by hand, the Afghan wool is also spun by hand, which allows for some unique color tones to be highlighted. This subtly random technique makes each lozenge slightly different and each rug, a unique piece.

Beautiful, ‘humanising’ pieces, we’re sure you’ll agree!

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Monday Music: She & Him…

It’s Monday and it’s been a while since we had a little musical interlude.

In case you haven’t heard of She & Him before, this funky twosome is out of the US are best described in their own words:

She & Him make music for an eternal springtime, when the temperature is warm enough to go riding with the top (or at least the windows) rolled down and the radio turned up.  They occupy an alternate universe where the saddest of songs feel as warm as sun showers; the rain may be coming down, but somewhere nearby, everything looks bright.

A cracker of a clip dedicated to the “stylists and designers of America” makes us warm to them even more.  Enjoy!

(psssst.  If you think the lead singer is familair, you’re not wrong: Zooey Deschanel is a fairly prolific screen actor from films such as Almost Famous, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy and more recently 500 Days of Summer).

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For Better or Wearstler…

Mistress of the Melange‘ or ‘Queen of Clutter‘ – however you respond to the works of US native Kelly Wearstler, you can’t help but be drawn into the depths she constructs.  An explosion of colour that ripples unapologetically through layer upon layer of texture, bold choices in form and brilliant, constantly competing, finishes.

With a distinct Hollywood Regency flavour, the signature in Wearstler‘s work is undoubtedly her ability to pull together such an unfathomable array of visual stories into what invariably results as one cohesive space. Somehow “Eclecticism” just doesn’t seem to cut it here.  Not everyone’s cup of tea, clearly, but with almost 17 years trading under her own name the rise of the Kelly Wearstler brand shows no signs of slowing.

The late Frenchman Pierre Paulin, in no way a stranger to Modernism, makes his presence felt in Wearstler’s own Beverly Hills pile, as illustrated here.  The sinuous Ribbon Chair of 1966 and the Groovy Chair (F598) from 1973 both take pride of place in their respective settings, upholstered vibrantly, in Wearstler’s trademark fashion.

Wearstler; mother of two, media identity and businesswoman extraordinaire boasts a rich, unrivalled portfolio of hospitality and residential work… however, going off the image below of her own dining room, we can’t help but wonder if she sets the dining table herself what with all the “objet” it plays home to !!

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Permanent Food…

Let’s face it, we’re a visual bunch.

A picture tells a thousand words, colour and light can evoke a response, express our moods, convey the complexity in a concept or  completely discombobulate.

Permanent Food is a publication out of Milan with no writers, no offices, no editorial board and no ambition to sell…anything.  It’s premise is to merely appropriate imagery from other magazines and publications throughout time that conflict, complement and contrast one another all at once.  The result? As inspired as it is inspiring.

Bound together in each issue is a thoroughly bewildering, amusing, grotesque, and blasé selection of images culled from anywhere, everywhere, and nowhere

Begun initially as a project by artists Maurizio Cattelan (responsible for some of our favourite installations of all time) and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster in 1995, the publication now boasts a plethora of issues available through Amazon and local resellers, internationally.  Also worth a look is this  great interview we found on Japan’s SHIFT online magazine with the current art director/editor Paola Manfrin.

Take a look for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.

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Dreams Come True… In Melbourne

Brisbane is flooded, Melbourne and Sydney swelter under a blanket of humidity rarely seen this far south of the equator, and all-in-all the ongoing cloud cover make it a tough old Summer to try and enjoy the outdoors.  It’d be fair to say we all need a bit of a pick-me-up that takes us indoors and transports us somewhere nothing short of magical.

CueDreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales.

Running until late April at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, this charming exhibition curated by Lella Smith, is enough to melt the coldest of hearts and put a skip in your step.  Throwing a spotlight on the progression in technique from hand-painted nitrate cels, through to the wonder that computer modeling has afforded the amazing, pain-staking art-form of animation of much loved Fairy Tales.

Drawing on the extraordinarily rich archives at the Disney Animation Research Library visitors can trace the classic stories from their traditional European roots through the Disney animation process and onto the silver screen.  A unique opportunity to witness the original concept art, story sketches, animation drawings, maquettes and final frame cels from some of the most well known, timeless films ever produced.

Spanning the artistic and commercial success of the first ever feature length animated film: “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) through to the digitally recreated and re-imagined tale of “Rapunzel” into 2010’s Disney release: “Tangled”, the wonderment here is seeing the processes unveiled as well as absorbing the breath-taking art work that informs the character and scene design (often years after initially conceptualised).   It was Danish Artist Kay Nielsen‘s original concept work in the 1950’s that was eventually developed into the Academy Award winning “Little Mermaid”, some forty years later.

Pop in before it’s gone!

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