BE OPEN call for entries - win a trip to the Milan Expo 2015

BE OPEN, a global philanthropic foundation whose aim is to foster creativity and innovation, has launched a call for action inviting people to explore the subject of hands.

In an age when we more commonly use our hands to type, be it texting on our smartphones, emailing or working on our computers, the initiative seeks to challenge us to look at our hands in relation to making, creating and communicating.

Participants are invited to submit pictorial responses that illustrate how we fashion, craft, build and communicate using our hands. Material can be posted on Twitter, Instagram or via the BE OPEN website and entries will be appraised and uploaded as they are received.

The BE OPEN team will work with an international jury to select a winner, who will then be invited on a three day, all expenses paid trip to the Milan Expo 2015.

The call for entries is being launched as a preamble to BE OPEN’s participation in the Milan Expo 2015, where the foundation will create a showcase that responds to the Expo theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

BE OPEN Founder, Russian philanthropist, businesswoman and entrepreneur Yelena Baturina says: "I am looking forward to seeing the responses to this typically open-ended BE OPEN project. The idea is to allow entrants as much freedom as possible in the interpretation of the theme, so that we generate some profoundly unusual thoughts and responses. This is what I enjoy about BE OPEN's work - the fact that it celebrates the outsider and the tangential thinker because, often that is where true creativity lies."

The BE OPEN foundation was launched during Milan Design Week 2012, with the goal of becoming a bridge between philosophers, sociologists, designers, architects, urbanists, artists, writers and opinion leaders and the promising new minds of the younger generation.

You can find out more and submit entries at

Posted in collaboration with BE OPEN.

Modern Country

Hello, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Yesterday I found time to enjoy putting my feet up on the sofa while cuddling the whippet and finally got round to reading Modern Country, the new interiors book by Caroline Clifton-Mogg that has been sitting on my coffee table for the past few weeks.

Compiled with images drawn from the archive of French interiors magazines Côté Sud, Côté Est and Côté Ouest  it's a book that features homes exemplifing the very best in contemporary country style

This interiors style is a particular favourite of mine, and I've tried to include elements of it in my own home by incorporating a few pieces of furniture in rough, unfinished wood here and there. I love how this adds warmth and texture, while at the same time 'relaxing' everything and somehow making the room feel less formal.

The modern country look often seeks to highlight the 'beautiful bones' of a space. Texture is key, and many of the inspiring interiors in this book feature polished concrete floors as a starting point. I dream of having these in our home one day if we ever find ourselves in a position where we're able to embark on our own modern country grand design project.

There is a beauty in the texture of all building materials and a beauty also in the right combination of different textures used together. For most people, the first impression of a building - any building, old or new - is not one of form, or design, but one of fabric, of material
— Caroline Clifton-Mogg
Clever and sympathetic use of contrasting textures is key to the modern country look. There are no soft textures in this dining room - every surface is hard, from cement and concrete to glass and metal - but the variety of shapes makes the room pleasant and appealing.

Clever and sympathetic use of contrasting textures is key to the modern country look. There are no soft textures in this dining room - every surface is hard, from cement and concrete to glass and metal - but the variety of shapes makes the room pleasant and appealing.

The central tenet of the book is the idea that an appreciation of rural tradition need not result in a home that is a relic of the past. The homes featured are united by their clean contemporary lines and thoughfully edited contents.

But although many of the homes in the book are undeniably luxurious, Modern Country is at heart about an interiors style that seeks to express a desire for a simpler, more authentic way of life. There's an informality and lightness about many of the interiors featured. While striving for enviable design solutions, they retain the idea that a home should, above all, provide us with a space to enjoy good food and drink and the company of our friends and family, and that it should fulfill our most basic desires for comfort and ease.

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Modern Country: Inspiring Interiors for Contemporary Country Living is published by Jacqui Small.

To order the book at the discounted price of £24.00 including p&p* (RRP: £30.00) telephone 01903 828503 or email: and quote the offer code APG217.

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Minimalist, marble wall clocks from Menu

Continuing my obsession with all things marble this autumn here on Design Hunter, here is some minimalist loveliness in the form of these beautiful marble wall clocks by Norm Architects for Menu.

In a choice of white or green marble, they feature lacquered brass hour and minute hands and are available from Heal's.

PS - Don't forget to put your clocks back this weekend!