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Spotted in Milan

This vase pulley system is an innovative way of storing and displaying flowers.

You park your bouquet in a plastic vase whilst you finish off your shopping. It's then hoisted up via a pulley to join others in a striking cascading floral display. When you've finished your shopping and are ready to pick them up they are gently lowered back down again, and off you go!

A functional floral chandelier.

Images: Design Hunter


Stay: The Exchange Hotel, Amsterdam

The Exchange Hotel in Amsterdam was developed in close collaboration with the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) - each of the 62 rooms was designed and dressed by students and alumni. The result is a hotel where architecture meets fashion.

The romantic at heart can fall asleep in a Marie Antoinette-inspired room where a huge dress drapes over the walls and unto the bed. Those who prefer a more minimal look can opt for a room that was inspired by the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

The Exchange Hotel, Amsterdam (found via Design Tripper).


Newsletter news & free tickets to the Decorative Fair

OK, so I decided to offer a little extra to all my lovely readers. On top of my usual posting schedule, next month I'll be launching a brand new monthly Design Hunter newsletter. Why sign up? Well for starters it will contain an exclusive handpicked selection of special offers and promotions you won't find on the site. There'll also be an extra post or two and maybe even a few details of events and exhibitions I think Design Hunter readers might enjoy. Interested? Want to give it a try? You can find out more here. If you register before 29 April, you'll receive two free tickets to this month's Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park as a small thank you.

Renowned as a source of both unusual and practical furniture and collectables, the fair is a great place to pick up fabulous lighting and mirrors, original glass and ceramics, textiles and reupholstered chairs, sofas and seating of all kinds, including highly collectable named 20th century designer pieces.

The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Park, London SW11 4NJ

24-29 April 2012

(PS - Don't forget that if you'd like to receive more regular Design Hunter updates you can also sign up for the RSS feed.)

Images: 20th century designs  from The Decorative Fair - Memphis Group, Rinaldi & Makepeace.


Makiko Nakamura at Bamarang

Makiko Nakamura is a London based ceramic artist who creates beautiful wonderland inspired ceramics. Born and raised in Osaka Japan and a graduate of the Royal College of Art, Makiko recently collaborated with Alexander McQueen for their autumn/winter 2011 collection.

Photographer Jonathan Pryce visited Makiko at her London studio and wrote to ask if I'd be interested in sharing some of the pictures he took with Design Hunter readers.

Makiko's narrative one-off ornament and tableware pieces all have fantasy stories behind them. My favourite is this porcelain and lustre deer cup .

Makiko's work is currently for sale on Bamarang - a relatively new site that I hadn't come across before. It features both established and new designers who are pushing the boundaries of innovation, offering their work for sale in a limited quantity at a great price over a few days only.

There have been a few registration only design sale sites popping up lately. To be honest, sometimes I'm a little put off by sites that ask you to register up front before you can see what they have to offer but I loved Bamarang and will definitely be popping back regularly to check out what's new.

For the current sale (which runs for just a few days) Makiko's work is priced from £30, which I reckon is pretty reasonable for an original piece that makes a beautiful and unique style statement. I also liked the heritage inspired rucksacks currently on offer on the site

Jonathan's blog Another Garcon is also well worth checking out (kind of a British version of The Sartorialist meets The Selby).

Images: Jonathan Pryce for Bamarang


How to style your window ledge

Floral groupings and a carefully arranged collection of perfume bottles and glass jars add a little pretty to this window ledge - via Ikea Livet Hemma.

Here are a few links I enjoyed this week:

This is my home - a heartwarming short film

Time magazines 100 most influential fashion icons

My new favourite Tumblr

Paris vs New York Graphics

Cake furnitue

Marni in Milan.

Happy weekend. I'll be back on Monday with lots of news and images from Milan design week.



Two of a kind

Mutated bio forms from a brave new world of design are trending at the Salone del Mobile in Milan this week.

This chair from the Mutation series by Belgian designer Maarten De Ceulaer (above left) appears to have grown organically into its current form as if through a chemical reaction or mutation of cells.

At Studio Toogood's La Cura 'hospital for the senses' at MOST, visitors sit in bandaged 'Spade' chairs (above right) whilst moulding white clay to form a collective sculpture that will grow as the week progresses. Sound and light installations and a special scent designed by 12.29 help to create a therapeutic and intimate experience.

Images: 1. Maarten De Ceulaer 2. Studio Toogood


Lucy Rie

Several years ago I was at a car boot sale when my friend Helen pointed out an old studio pottery bowl she thought I might like. It was buried under a table in a box containing various assorted bits of 'tat'. I liked its spare elegant form and simple glaze and asked the guy who was selling it how much he wanted for it. I happily parted with the 50p he asked for and proudly walked away with my new bowl.

It is unmarked and I have never discovered who made it but when I discovered the work of Lucy Rie some time later I became convinced that it must have been made by someone who was very influenced by her style of work.

Born in Vienna in 1902, Rie enjoyed considerable success as a potter before fleeing Nazi Austria in 1938 and settling in London. After the war she set up a studio making buttons and brooches for the fashion industry, drawing upon the technical skills and knowledge she had acquired to produce brightly coloured and textured glazes.

Working with Hans Coper, with whom she enjoyed a rich creative partnership, she returned to making vases and bowls in stoneware and porcelain. Their clean-cut modernist shapes and minimal decoration combine a strong sense of form with a sensitive awareness of surface and texture.

She went on to become internationally known and increasingly influential, bringing a connection with design and architecture to British studio pottery. She died in 1995 aged 93.

A large collection of her work is up for sale at Phillips de Pury in London next week. I continue to dream of replacing my car boot 'in-the-style-of-Lucy-Rie' find with the genuine article one day.

Images: 1,3 & 4 photographer unknown (found here) 2. Lucy Rie by Lord Snowdon 4.-8. Phillips de Pury.


Design Hunter loves...

...these Canal House Boxes iconbased on the original 17th century Dutch canal houses. Printed with bold colours on the inside, the outside is white so you can decorate them and create your own little street.

From Dutch by Design.icon

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