Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Design Hunter

A serene apartment in Moscow

Helen Powell

Moscow apartment by FORM Architects

This interiors project, by Russian architectural practice FORM, has all the hallmarks of luxe minimalism. Situated in the historical centre of Moscow within a new residential block, three existing apartments were merged into one in order to accommodate a large family. FORM then divided up the resultant space into two distinct areas, common and private, connected by the hallway, to allow for the differing needs of the family members.

The spaces have a feel of both serenity and formality to them, with clean structured lines softened by well chosen furniture (much of it custom designed), fittings, textiles and long floor to ceiling curtains. The subtle mix of textures, materials and quiet statement pieces gives the apartment a feeling of space and relaxation and I particularly like the soothing palette of aquamarine blue they've used on the walls as a backdrop to the natural and dark oak flooring and furniture. 

Luxury and quiet individuality are combined to subtle effect, and subtle details are gradually revealed as you take the time to discover this space. Whether its the unusual recessed mirror with no right angles, the hexagonal coffee table incorporating modern graphical marquetry, or the three-dimensional grey wall panel with subtle 'anechoic' panelling references, there are lots of lovely surprises waiting to be discovered. Pure unadulterated luxury is catered for too. Who wouldn't like to take a dip in a beautiful white marble bathroom at the end of a long tiring day?

Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Wall shelving in Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Apartment in Moscow designed by Form Bureau | Design Hunter
Apartment in Moscow designed by Form Bureau | Design Hunter
Marble bathroom in Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow Apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Moscow apartment by FORM Architects
Apartment in Moscow by Form Bureau | Design Hunter
Bathroom in Moscow apartment by FORM Architects

All images courtesy of FORM and more information can be found here.

10 things to see & do at designjunction 2016

Helen Powell

London Design Festival is almost upon us and the city is gearing up for the busiest week in its design calendar. This year's event, which coincides with the design biennale at Somerset House, promises to be bigger than ever.

With so much to see and do, finding your way around everything is impossible, so I always try to plan ahead and do a little research. In previous years I've found that picking out two or three different areas I want to focus on is the most manageable approach, and this year I'm particularly excited to explore the new Kings Cross creative quarter. designjunction is relocating to its new long term home there and there have been exciting redevelopments in and around the area in the past couple of years.

The theme for designjunction 2016 is 'Immersed in Design', and a curated programme of installations, events, workshops and design exhibitions will take place across four main sites, alongside design-led retail spaces and places to eat and drink

Cubitt House

Cubitt House

Cubitt House, a custom built two floor pavilion in Lewis Cubitt Square - a new civic square located on Stable Street just moments from Granary Square - will be the main trade destination for the event. Contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories from leading brands will be on show behind a façade designed by Satellite Architects alongside Icons of Denmark, featuring over 4,000 lightweight GRID modules designed by Peter J. Lassen.

Granary Square will be home to some of the headline projects and conceptual installations while The Crossing - running through Central Saint Martins - will house specially commissioned projects and immersive installations too. There will also be retail pop-ups at The Canopy.

Here are some of the highlights.


1. Cycle Tours

Tokyo Bike

Tokyo Bikes will be hosting specially curated London Design Festival bike tours from designjunction, offering visitors the chance to see the highlights by bike.

Led by design industry experts, each tour will visit London Design Festival events, including showrooms, studios, stores and one-off installations, while also taking in some of London's architectural highlights.


2. the Monopoly Houses

Granary Square

At Granary Square, the main hub of the event, eight giant Monopoly style houses will be taken over by brands from different design disciplines and filled with conceptual installations, creative projects and live activities.


3. The Dornbracht Water Experience

Granary Square

Kitchen and bathroom manufacturere Dornbracht will create an ambitious immersive waterfall installation that will trigger two of the permanent fountains on Granary Square to produce a wave effect. The experience, which will be accompanied by a soundtrack by Wave Studios, will be designed to recreate the feeling of standing by the sea within the heart of urban London. There'll be a daily string quartet performance too.


4. 'Who's Casper' charity project

Casper Stool

Leading designers, artists and architects including Sir Kenneth Grange, Tom Dixon and Ross Lovegrove will be collaborating with British furniture company Modus to raise funds for refugees.

Each designer has been challenged to customise one of Michael Sodeau's Casper stools. The playful design of this stool incorporates two finger-sized holes, giving it an unexpectedly anthropomorphic character. This makes it an appropriate metaphor for the project, which seeks to draw attention to the anonymity and dehumanisation of refugees.

The resulting designs will be on display at designjunction with the identity of the designer remaining secret. The aim is to challenge our tendency to put an emphasis on known name and reaffirm the equal value of a nameless person.

The stools will be sold in an online auction to raise funds for the charity Movement on the Ground, which supports refugees at the forefront of the European migration crisis.


5. Textiles

Bolon by You

Bolon by You

Swedish design company Bolon will be showing their latest collection Bolon by You - a flooring collection that can be custom designed using an interactive web tool that allows you to personally select the pattern as well as the colour of the warp and weft before requesting a sample.



I'm also looking forward to seeing the new Optical Illusion collection from London based rug brand Cavalcanti who have collaborated with photographer Hendrik Schneider to develop a series of images of designer Natasha Phillips camouflaged in the optical patterns of the rugs that surround her.


6. Design led home technology

Sony Glass Sound Speaker

Sony Glass Sound Speaker

Sony will be showcasing two new premium design led products that utilise light, sound and visuals in unexpected ways to harmoniously remove the barrier between technology and interior design.

designjunction will see the UK launch of their Glass Sound Speaker - a lightweight, portable speaker that connects to smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth, delivering crystal clear audio with soft, dimmable LED lighting in an elegant minimal lantern design.

Sony Ultra Short Throw Projector

Sony Ultra Short Throw Projector

Also launching at designjunction is the Ultra Short Throw Projector - a battery powered portable projector with built in speakers that casts content directly onto surfaces, turning walls, tables or even floors into a screen.

Both are part of a new concept from Sony - a series of design led products designed to blend seamlessly into the home while at the same time offering new ways to transform your living space.


7. Furniture

Design House Stockholm

Design House Stockholm

Exhibiting at designjunction for the first time, Design House Stockholm will be showing a number of their latest products for 2016 including their new Nest sofa. Another Country will be celebrating their fifth anniversary with a new chair designed by David Irwin, and Isokon will be presenting products including the Portsmouth bench designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby.

I'll also be looking out for String Furniture, who always have the most exquisite, and instagrammable, styling.


8. Lighting



Also new to designjunction, Danish brand Vita Copenhagen will have a mobile showroom on Granary Square. The VITA Van, which will feature iconic styles such as the EOS, will allow visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Danish design.


9. Shopping



More than 70 design-led retail brands will be housed in The Canopy - a temporary pop up venue that will offer products including ceramics, stationery, fashion accessories, technology and textiles.

I'll be keeping an eye out for the new collection from Welsh woollen mill Melin Tregwynt, covetable timepieces from VOID watches and simple, functional, thoughtfully designed homeware and furniture from Oggetto.


10. Eating and Drinking



After all of the above I'll definitely be in need of refuelling.

At Cubitt House a secret garden featuring a pop-up café furnished with furniture from the new Deadgood collection will provide a space in which to relax or network alongside an array of plants and flowers, while upstairs there's the Isokon café operated by La Marzoco and a stylish bar run by the East London Liquor Company and furnished by Arper.

designjunction will also see the launch of the Kings Cross Creative Quarter (KXCQ) initiative celebrating creative and cultural destinations in Kings Cross. Some of the best local restaurants and hotels, including The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Hotel will have exclusive offers for visitors to enjoy and Vinoteca will be offering free wine tastings. Full details here.


This post is supported by Sony. All views & opinions my own.

Design Project by John Lewis

Helen Powell

Design Project John Lewis

I was excited to see the launch of the new Design Project collection from John Lewis a few days ago. Designed mostly by a team of in-house designers the series of original pieces includes contemporary furniture, lighting, textiles and home accessories in a stylish, elegant neutral palette.

John Lewis have long been a go-to destination for many of us when it comes to furniture and homewares, but they've really upped their design credentials recently and the new collection reflects the more progressive approach to design and manufacture they've adopted over the past couple of years. More premium in design and finish than the popular House by John Lewis range which launched in 2012 the collection draws from a considered choice of materials including wood, glass, concrete, marble and leather.

Design Project by John Lewis

Design Studio Manager Philippa Prinsloo explains that the designers who created the collection were guided by three core principles - they wanted each piece to be original, beautiful and progressive, with the latter quality taking priority.

"In establishing the brand we looked at enduring design, architecture and artists. We didn't start with any images, only their words, and adding ours. We wanted to look at places and spaces like the Barbican in London to work out what made them last and still feel relevant today. We were striving to create a balance between progressive and what felt to us like home, so that these pieces would work easily in people's homes."

Design Project John Lewis
Design Project John Lewis

Each piece in the collection is assigned a number rather than a name. No. 029, the bedding collection, was one of the designs inspired by the Barbican. The designer created her own set of tools and brushes to create expressive markings reflecting the shapes, shadows and modernist architecture of the landmark building. Specialist print techniques were then selected to ensure that these were retained when translated onto fabric.

Design Project John Lewis

The tan leather snuggler chair (no. 002),  a comfortable, deep seated piece with a grown up look and feel, is a modern take on classic Scandinavian design, while the oval shade floor lamp (no. 031) is a light and easy to live with design that will work well as a statement piece in an open plan space or a larger living room. The footprint has been carefully considered however so that it doesn't take up too much room.

Design Project John Lewis

The collection is comprised of pieces made from beautiful materials that have been chosen to work harmoniously alongside one another - each piece is designed to work together, but also to stand alone. I particularly like the purity of this opal glass table lamp on top of the oak sideboard, a design that is defined by its simple lines and balanced proportions.

Design Project John Lewis

The Design Project collection is now available online and in store, and during London Design Festival visitors to the John Lewis store on Oxford Street will be able to experience a fully furnished Design Project home via virtual reality. Details, dates and times are available here.

Posted in collaboration with John Lewis.

12 utopian visions from the London Design Biennale 2016

Helen Powell

Barber & Osgerby at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

On Saturday we visited London's first Design Biennale at Somerset House, where 37 countries were represented - all exploring the theme of 'Utopia by Design' through designs, prototypes and installations.

Taking over Somerset House's beautiful neoclassical buildings, courtyard and terraces, the idea behind this inaugural event was in part to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Thomas More's book 'Utopia' - the original work of fiction and political philosophy on the subject - bringing the eternal dream up to date.  The event aims to reconsider utopian ideals through a global offering of contemporary design-based ideas and outcomes that tackle both the micro and the macro questions of sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities and social equality.

We both found it a refreshing change from the usual 'show and tell' of commercially focused events, to see some really interesting and engaging conceptual thinking from a range of truly global design perspectives. Designers are often at the forefront of helping to facilitate new ideas for better living, through an awareness and understanding of our future needs and desires. Given today's climate of exponential technological change, unstable political times and uncertainty of the best way to be and live, 'what is utopia?' certainly seems just as apt a question to ask today as it no doubt did back in 1516.

Here are our favourite 12 utopian visions from the London Design Biennale 2016.


Most Dreamy

Austria Pavilion at London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Austria's 'LeveL' was a delicate kinetic lighting installation of hand sewn paper lamp shades mounted onto the end of perfectly balanced rods. When perfectly still the space is illuminated at full brightness, and only when disturbed by human presence or interference is the utopian equilibrium upset and individual lights are dimmed as a result.


Most Illuminating

Russia at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Russia's 'Utopia, Lost Archives of Soviet Design' was a seriously impressive catalogue of industrial design ideas and outputs from the 1960s through to the 1980s. Like so many old catalogues of industrial archives, this vast analogue collection of 35mm slides was almost lost, and only rediscovered recently. For the exhibition, literally hundreds of the slides were scaled up and back-lit to reveal a huge range of ingenious projects (large and small) from eminent Soviet thinkers and design practitioners.


Most Theatrical

Eatopia at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Taiwan's 'Eatopia' was literally a treat in so many ways, with the history and culture of the country turned into a culinary performance event, all set within a magical forest surrounding a long white dining table in the form of the upturned island. We were guests along with about ten others to sample the delights of five specially conceived and prepared Taiwanese food concepts - each one representing a key stage in the country's ever changing evolution. The final dish 'The Melting Pot' perfectly represented a utopian outlook of embracing change for the good of all.


Most Humanitarian

Israel at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter
Israel at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Israel's 'Human.Touch' offered two socially responsible designs that positively illustrates that caring for others is still alive and well. The first was a speaker system that translates sound into floor vibrations and visual textures for the deaf or hard of hearing. The second design, 'AIDrop' was an affordable outsize cardboard sycamore-esque seed pod containing disaster relief kits to be dropped en mass to those in urgent need. Pure genius.


Most Psychedelic

India at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

India's 'Chakraview' consisted of a super saturated colour and mirror-tastic entrance (of course), that led to an ultra vivid glowing blue cinema space charting the nation's truly inspiring mix of ancient philosophy and wisdom practiced through pragmatic and resourceful design solutions for the benefit of the country. Their installation was a crazy colourful culture-shock that India does so well and it certainly transported you to a completely different realm.


Most beautiful

Tunisia at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Tunisia's 'Pulse Diagram' installation celebrates a feasible utopia built on the fragile foundations of 54 interconnected charred timber posts, that in turn support a web of threads suggesting nodes of complexity of inter-relationships between the 54 cities in Moore's Utopia. We were transfixed by the overall effect.


Most Poetic

Japan Pavilion at London Design Biennale | Design Hunter
Japan at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Japan elected designer Yasuhiro Suzuki to exhibit a world of fascination and poetic beauty. His 'A Journey Around the Neighbourhood Globe' was like a room full of contemporary curiosities, each offering alternative realities through the most exquisite thinking and craftsmanship. We spent an age in this space and were both hard pressed to pick a favourite object... so many to choose from. In the end I'd probably go for the acrylic suitcase containing mini-magnetised islands of Japan and the UK, each on the surface of a glass of water and acting as delicate floating compasses pointing to a future way forward.


Most retro

Chile at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Entering Chile's retro-utopian 'Counterculture room' was like occupying a set from a 1970s sci-fi movie. White plastic chairs with the obligatory orange cushions accompanied screens of endless unfathomable data produced many a smile. In fact the designs belonged to a 1971 government experiment called Project Cybersyn - a concept of cybenetic management and information to promote a system of holistic design, decentralized management and real time human computer interaction. The use of a retro design aesthetic is a great reminder of earlier utopian thinking, and that whilst often hip and cool at the time, it can soon mutate into representations of silly and naive ideas... hmmm, but then again?


Most Satisfying

Utopia Means Elsewhere | John Malkovich
Germany at the London Design Biennale

Germany's two rooms were all about thoughtfulness and tranquility. The first room, brightly lit and an intense white, presented the engaging text 'Utopia means Elsewhere' by John Malkovich framed large on an easel and inviting the simplicity of a beautifully crafted piece of text to recalibrate the mind after all the other design-based offerings seen beforehand. Then into the second room, completely dark except for four easy chairs inviting total relaxation for the visitor to kick back and loose yourself in a hypnotic digital LED fire, 'burning' away complete with roaring snap, crackle and pop sounds along with an ambient aroma of burnt wood. We ended up spending a good 20 minutes in there just chilling out and enjoying the moment.


Most Monumental

Barber & Osgerby at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

The UK's 'Forecast' by Barber and Osgerby took center stage in Somerset House's courtyard. Consisting of three large scale wind-dependent sculptures that referenced the nation's obsession with the ever-changing weather (both literally and metaphorically), the UK's past dependency of wind from a maritime perspective, along with a sustainable future focus based on renewable energy. The weather was calm and wet the day we visited, so the sculptures were relatively well behaved.


Most Thought Provoking

Border City - Mexico at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Mexico's 'Border City' offered a bi-national city masterplan on the border of Mexico and the USA, presented as a seamless digital audio-visual wrap around experience projected onto curved walls and a large central model. Here a symbiotic relationship of 2 differing cultures is imagined through animated charts, infographics and rendered 'lifestyle' clips, where both sides show mutual respect for each other, trading cultural and economic benefits for the greater good. All in all a very topical subject at a time when so many countries are retreating towards nationalism as a form of 'self-protectionism'.


Most Everyday

Lebanon at the London Design Biennale | Design Hunter

Lebanon's outdoor street scene on the river terrace of Somerset House felt like being transported to a place of 'non-design' or rather a snapshot of middle-eastern everydayness that oozes personality through a never ending resourcefulness of a happy and contented people with a make-shift attitude to life. This was our final stop on a utopian tour of the world and so we decided to accept their friendly welcome and sat down in the street to enjoy a delicious Falafel pita, freshly prepared with a tasty Lebanese salad and drizzled with tahini sauce.

Despite the rainy weather, we left feeling totally satisfied, full of interesting concepts, ideas and some seriously good food!

*      *      *

The London Design Biennale is at Somerset House until Sept 27th. More information here.

Words by Graham Powell and photography by Helen Powell for Design Hunter.

A Stool By Alex

Helen Powell

A Stool By Alex | Design Hunter

A few weeks ago I drove down to a beautiful part of the country to meet designer Alex Swain of ByAlex at his home in Surrey. Along with a few other bloggers I'd been invited over for dinner to find out more about the furniture he designs and manufactures. Alex was the perfect host and we had a lovely evening over a delicious relaxed mezze dinner.

Interestingly, and somewhat unusually, Alex is both a furniture designer and a graphic designer. His minimal and well considered 'A' stool design hints at his background in branding and typography, and it turns out that the letter 'A' is an ideal shape for use in furniture as well as text, its simplicity lending itself to conversion from a typographic element into a signature structural silhouette. It's esentially an extended triangle, which (as any engineer will tell you) is the simplest, strongest and most stable structure there is.

A stool By Alex | Design Hunter

A couple of days later, a knock at the door revealed a delivery man carrying a box not much larger than a generously sized pizza that turned out to be an A Stool cleverly flat-packed into a smartly designed box. I wasted no time in assembling it - it was really easy to put together. It's a strong and stable piece of furniture that perfectly complements my bedroom dressing table (also made of birch) and it comes in handy as a side table or a stand for my ever-growing collection of plants.

A stool By Alex | Design Hunter

Alex's guiding mantra is 'Purity by Design' and all his work clearly echoes his ambition for a simple functional elegance - made responsibly, made well, and made to last. The 'A' Stool is manufactured from responsibly sourced FSC/PEFC certified timber and being flat-packed means that costs (particularly for storage and delivery) are minimised. It's also available in a variety of styles - plain oak veneer, or a tough black, white or grey laminate finish.

In addition to the 'A' Stool, Alex has designed an 'A' Table, an 'A' Desk and an 'A' Coat Stand, along with other items that share the same values and sense of style. When I visited we were also given a taster of his latest design - a modular oak storage system - coming soon.

Many thanks for a great evening Alex, it was most enjoyable.

All images ByAlex and further information about the 'A' Stool, and other designs in the range, can be found here.