Archive : March 2011

4 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

‘Its a good thing’, as Martha (Stewart of course) would say…to pause and think now and then… so it was a delight to attend House and Gardens ‘Trend Report’ this morning and as usual, I learnt something!

I don’t think we’re trend followers especially, and I was distressed to hear the words ‘hotel design’ being bantered about since this is a personal pet peeve!  I think hotel design FOR HOTELS has taken great strides in terms of design driven experiences, but Nicky and I positively rant when people make their homes look like hotels, we believe it’s a different approach, a different ethos entirely.  So that tend is not for me particularly – but we move on to some thoughts that DO inspire me.

House and Garden editor Sue Crewe was an early proponent of the green design movement and should be proud of her Green by Design supplement. I don’t think of green design and ecoism as trends but I suppose they are…they also happen to be simply sensible and wonderful concepts.  And of course sourcing locally and promoting British artisans is something that we do without thinking about the politics of it.  England is so ‘giving’ in that way, and is replete with little shops and finds, only a few of which could be mentioned.  (and on an aside, we always tend to draw on local resources and craftspeople wherever we are working – it often brings that ‘suitability’ element Elsie de Wolfe always talked about.)

London based Kate Malone has a serious side and a self confessed ‘silly’ side to her work.  I hope she read our Spongebob blog…I covet this vase!

Jasleen Kaur, RCA graduate, is selling these teacups via Waddesdon Manor, who have a pretty switched on website I might add, complete with their own blog!  Nicky and I are gift shop addicts and if one compares this type of patronage with the old days of polyester tea towels I think we can all shout hurrah!

Ecoism is another buzzword at House and Garden….I confess I had never heard of Vitsoe shelving which was invented by Dieter Rams in 1960 and is still going strong.  Its a modular approach…fits anywhere, a bit simple for my tastes but I found this studio shot which is a great use of the product, and is helped along with this colour coded styling.  It’s cool.

On the green front – the Little Greene paint and paper company is worth knowing about not only for their environmental approach, but terrific colours.  I also learned Farrow & Ball have taken great strides to reduce their chemical content although they don’t brag about it on their website and I think they should.

The return of individualism, sustainable style, using new technologies, colour and patterns…you’ve seen it in the magazine, and these ideas will be the focus at House and Garden going forward in 2011.  We’ll be reading!

2 Mar 2011
avatar Author: Colette Van Den Thillart
Creative Director

A new project looming – wonderful sort of Mallet-Stephens-esque number on the island of Barbados….completely idiosyncratic to the region…in other words…UNEXPECTED!!   Also rather unexpected is the Greek blue used on the shutters.  What works so well in Santorini for example, does not necessarily translate quite as well to this island.  Since we have not even begun our planning and schemes I can’t share those with you yet….but I had some further thoughts on Azure blue.

I adore this ‘map’ of the creative process. I wish it were easier for clients to understand just how much intellectual capacity and time goes into the creative process….and that’s after logistics, planning, contracts, staffing, budgets etc etc are in the works! But let’s get back to Azure blue….maybe I’m feeling a little guilty about eradicating it in Barbados because I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it CAN be.

Obviously anything by Yves Klein can make you a convert….the intensity and saturation of his works are especially alluring.  I’m a fan.

Thinking about Azure interiors, of which I have been seeing several lately, reminded me of Roger Hiorns ‘Seizure’ a few years ago.  This is the type of ambition I admire.  An entire council estate flat was submerged underwater for weeks, bathed in copper sulphate, and azure coloured crystals grew on every surface.  When it was drained it was an installation piece like I have never experienced.

That’s the end of the original tub peeking out.

Close up of crystals growing on a pipe on the ceiling.

Legendary interiors like Hearst‘s indoor pool represent the other spectrum.

Most interestingly of all, Nicky and I recently visited the renovations at Strawberry Hill where many of the windows are topped in Bristol Blue glass. Now we both would have sworn away from coloured glass probably but that day really converted both of us.  Since only the tops of the windows (and we’ll post more on that later) are blue, it isn’t overpowering and bathes the rooms in the most pleasing of lavender-blue lights. Really worth thinking about.

My dreams will look much like this tonight…hope yours do too.