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Blog – be inspired

Salone Vs. Satellite

Apr 16, 2014

5 days, 4 members of staff, 100+ satellite events, 21.5 hours of sleep, 32 Benylin (don’t ask!) and 1 fair; last week the Nest team took on the mighty Milan.


The annual Italian extravaganza once again returned to the city of Milan and we were there to experience both its highs and lows. iSaloni is the world’s largest furniture, lighting and design fair and it consists of the Salone del Mobile, its flagship trade fair located at the impressive fairground in Rho, and a series of satellite events held at various locations throughout the trendy city centre.

Splitting up to cover as much ground as was humanly possible, the Nest team uncovered everything Milan had to offer, and today we bring you only the best in show.

The prevailing theme at this year’s Salone was, quite unmistakably, gold, gold, gold! Kartell set the mood with its ‘Precious Kartell’ stand, an explosion of new products literally dripping in gold chains. The metallic, high-gloss look may not be for everyone, but there is no question it captured the imagination of every single visitor to the stand.



Continuing through Hall 16 and Hall 20 (home to the big brands), we spotted gold everywhere – even in the most surprising of places. Tom Dixon, exhibiting at the fair for the first time in years, was on top form with a whole host of new products in shiny brass, Casamania showed off its gold caged bird, the Tweetie Pendant, and BD Barcelona’s Leda chair was a decadent yet modern affair. Gold was so prevalent that even Nani Marquina’s newest rug collection, Rabari, had gold thread woven throughout!





If gold was the stand-out material at the fair (marble being a close second), pink would have to be the stand-out colour. Whether mixed with rougher textures for an edgy look or kept simple and sophisticated, the colour really came into its own at the Salone this year. We’ve blogged before about the colour’s prominence, so it’s great to see it make its way into a number of collections for 2014. Moroso gave the pastel hue a modern makeover, fading it to grey on Patricia Urquiola’s Clarissa chair, Luca Nichetto’s La-Dina Chair for Casamania looked all kinds of wonderful stained in soft pink and Normann Copenhagen’s new table light looked vibrant in popping candy pink. Softline’s stand was also a flurry of pastels as the masculine Havana Wing Chair was upholstered in baby pink. Even Sancal’s stand radiated in the colour!




Storage was also a key theme at the fair. Zanotta’s Nuno leather boxes were exceptional in the flesh and would make a gorgeous and stylish place to store a whole host of items.


Hay released a wonderful and varied collection of items including the curvaceous Bent Hook coat hook, Pivot shelf and Inga Sempé’s colourful preview, Pinorama.



Normann Copenhagen’s Pocket’s, which were previewed in Stockholm, made a key appearance in Milan and looked wonderful grouped together at the Danish brand’s stand.


Punt also wowed us with two new storage products – the versatile Literatura unit, and the simple and sophisticated Plateau which we think will be a huge hit when released.


When walking around the fair certain products have an unmistakable buzz surrounding them; crowds emerge, camera’s flash and it’s hard to get a good look. This is when you know there is something to get really excited about. We saw this at a number of stands this year including Zanotta, Glas Italia, Knoll, Vitra and BD Barcelona - here are a few of those displays that caught our attention.

Zanotta’s Grandtour chair…


Patrick Norguet’s Highline collection for Glas Italia…


Tobia Scarpa’s updated Scarpa sofa collection for Knoll…


Vitra presented its classic Aluminium Chair in a glorious range of new colours – this photo does not do the sheer vibrancy of the colours justice!


On the whole it was certainly a successful year for so many brands at the Salone – there were fabulous new products, new colours and new finishes a plenty!

Meanwhile, out in Milan’s exceptionally beautiful centre (if you’ve seen the Duomo up close you’ll know what we mean!) there were numerous shows to capture our attention. Satellite events are usually reserved for the smaller, edgier and, dare we say it, cooler brands as rents at the fair are so high it pushes newer brands out. Satellite events have a number of advantages compared to the fair, they can be more experimental, they can play with the choice of location, they can be indoors or outdoors and can incorporate music, photography, art and installation. They may not to be as busy as at the fair, but they do offer an uninterrupted platform where brands can showcase exactly what it is they do.

For us, the most innovative and enjoyable satellite event of 2014 was the Gubi, Fredericia and Casamania display at the Palazzo Litta in Milan’s historical quarter. A homage to the Italian design duo GamFratesi, the exhibition was an installation of modern, geometric shapes, against a classic backdrop of intricate painted ceilings, classic crystal chandeliers and marble sculptures. It was nothing short of visually dazzling and was the perfect space to showcase the duo’s products, both new and old. We were in awe of both the surrounds and the products and really felt it was one of the best shows of 2014. We’ll be writing a full review of our time here so be sure to check back at our blog in a couple of weeks!




A close second goes to Moooi, however, who took control of Via Savona in the creative quarter once more. The Dutch brand showcased a plethora of new designs against a backdrop of dramatic photography from Massimo Listri. While there were many new releases our favourite were their new lights, the Prop collection and the Colour Globe, and the wonderful Nut chairs.



Design Junction cemented its reputation as the city’s main creative event with a host of interactive products. British brand Innermost captured the attention of everyone passing through with its Canvas Chair – a painting that moulds to the shape of your body so you can sit on it. An innovative idea that certainly got the crowd talking! Resident also put on a fabulous display as they launched some new lights, chairs and a table.


Brits Lee Broom and Bethan Gray represented the UK in sophisticated fashion as they took part in SupperScene in the trendy Spazio Pontaccio – a live dinner installation that saw Tom Dixon, Patricia Urquiola et al eat their evening meal under the eye of the interested outdoor crowds. Lee Broom supplied the glassware (his brand new On the Rocks collection) and Bethan Gray the monochrome marble boards.



On our last evening we treated ourselves to an authentic Italian meal at the renowned Trattoria del Carmine, which had Milan’s beautiful architecture as a backdrop – the perfect place to celebrate a successful iSaloni.



See you again next year, Milan!

ByALEX: Purity by Design

Apr 9, 2014

This week we welcome British design studio, ByALEX, into our online collection, and to celebrate we’re offering you a chance to win your very own A Table.

ByALEX stool

Inspired by his love for typography, founder Alex Swain has designed and manufactured a collection of items that are not only characterful and modern, but that also capture the current creative zeitgeist.

The company launched in 2011 with the A Stool – a practical, graphic stool made up of three sections spelling out the letter A - which set the tone for the entire range. As a completely new concept in furniture design, the collection captured our attention instantly.

ByALEX A coat stand and A desk

Since the success of the A Stool, ByALEX has added three more items into the collection – the A Coat Stand, A Desk and A Table. While the collection may be small at the moment, we hear there are exciting plans in the pipeline. Watch this space…

ByALEX A table

Take a peek behind the scenes at the British brand’s workshop, below, plus keep reading for your chance to win an A Stool in white.

ByALEX box designs

ByALEX A stool

ByALEX A stool

ByALEX A stool

ByALEX A stool

ByALEX A stool

For your chance to win an A Table in white, just email your answer to the following question:

Q: Which item of the A collection was ByALEX’s first manufactured piece?

Win an ByALEX Stool
Terms & conditions:
Competition ends 23/04/14. A winner will be drawn at random from all entrants with the correct answer and will be notified by email no later than Friday 25/04/14. Only one entry per person. By entering our competition, you agree to be signed up for email updates from ByALEX and You may unsubscribe from either of these at any time.

Artek and Vitra: a partnership built on affinity

Apr 2, 2014

Our Sales Assistant Chelsea Ellis takes you on a virtual tour of the VitraHaus to discover how the recent Artek/Vitra partnership is taking shape.

I was extremely lucky to get the chance to visit the VitraHaus a few weeks ago, just after the new Artek floor had opened. Located on the top floor of the VitraHaus, with panoramic views of the campus, this really was the best place to show off Artek's beautiful designs and to celebrate the new collaboration between the two iconic brands.

For those who aren’t aware, on the 6th September 2013 the Finnish brand Artek became a member of the Vitra family. As two modern design brands with shared values and mutual respect, the partnership is an exciting one for both parties.

Since its inception in the 1930s, Artek has steadily become one of the most innovative contributors to modern design, and a collaboration with pioneers Vitra seemed like a natural step for the brand. In fact, Artek’s CEO Mirkku Kullberg recently commented on the collaboration: ‘This is a great opportunity for the Finnish design industry and a major move for Artek, lifting the company to the next stage.’

It is clear that Vitra is equally enthusiastic about the acquisition as Rolf Fehlbaum, one of the brand’s directors, recently stated:‘Vitra has held Aalto and Artek in high regard for decades… The Finnish design company is more than a collection of furniture; like Vitra it is a commercial-cultural project which plays an avant-garde role in its sector.’

A trip to the VitraHaus was the perfect location to see just how well these two brands are working together – we hope you enjoy the virtual tour through the newest room in the Haus!

Artek 400 Tank Armchair, Artek 60 Stool

Located on the fourth floor of the VitraHaus, the new Artek-centric floor felt like stepping into the effortlessly cool apartment of a musician or artist. I love how they combined vintage Artek products with modern pieces, classic Vitra designs as well as an eclectic selection of paintings and plants, it all felt so natural and comfortable, I could instantly see how Artek products could be introduced into your own home.

As you stepped into the floor you walked into an entrance hall, which set the tone for the rest of the space perfectly. You were greeted with the Artek 160 Clothes Tree in black designed by Anna-Maija Jaatine, a piece so simple, beautiful and, as with all of Artek's products, useful. It was combined with dark walls, colourful paintings, a vintage Alvar Aalto sideboard, the ever useful Artek Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto and the gorgeous Vitra Eames Lobby Chair ES 104, which is so comfy!

Vitra Eames Lobby Chair ES 104, Artek 60 Stool

As you walked around the corner you stepped into the living and dining space. I loved the mix of black dining chairs, benches and stools around the Vitra EM Table, a great idea for your own home. So many of my favourite chairs were present, including the Artek Domus Chair upholstered in leather and the Artek Pirkka Bench both designed by llmari Tapiovaara – a prominent Finnish architect whose work Vitra are keen to wider audience. In fact Rolf Fehlbaum recently stated: ‘There is definitely a comeback of Nordic design and there is a renewed appreciation of Aalto’s work. Tapiovaara of course is much less known internationally, and it is high time that he be discovered.’

Above the dining table hung the Artek A330S Golden Bell Pendant Lamps by Alvar Aalto which looked spectacular in a group. Plated in luxurious brass, these would look amazing in any home.

Artek A330S Golden Bell Pendant Lamp, Vitra Fauteuil Direction

A330S Golden Bell Pendant Lamps, Vitra EM Table

Behind the dining area was where one of my favourite pieces from my visit was situated, the Artek Domus Lounge Chair upholstered in leather, as seen below clad with a sheepskin. Designed by llmari Tapiovaara the Domus Lounge Chair not only looks beautiful but also is one of the comfiest chairs I have ever sat on.

Artek Domus Lounge Chairs

Another personal favourite of mine is the Artek 901 Tea Trolley designed by Alvar Aalto. As with much of Aalto's work it features a minimal functional design, which is simple yet beautiful. The 901 Tea Trolley can be used for many different uses, I love this set up as a bar for entertaining though, and surely every home needs one of these to hand!

Artek 901 Tea Trolley

Vitra Place Sofa, Vitra Akari Lights

The Artek Armchair 402 by Alvar Aalto was situated in the interior lobby and looked gorgeous in black with black and white upholstery, we at do love a bit of monochrome!

Artek Armchair 402

As you walked down a corridor lined with paintings you were met with another amazing room, with full height windows and yet more amazing views of the campus.

VitraHaus paintings

I loved the mix of colours and textures in the living room area, with the Artek Ovalette Coffee Table designed by Ilmari Tapiovaara situated amongst the Vitra Fauteuil de Salon in blue-grey, a Suita Sofa with a high backrest and Artek 915 Side Table in black by Alvar Aalto. It was the Artek Stool 60 Special Edition by British designer Tom Dixon that stole the limelight though. Tom Dixon was Artek’s creative director from 2004 until 2009 and was chosen alongside a list of other designers to create a special edition of the Stool 60 as part of the celebrations for it turning 80 last year. Tom Dixon explained the colour choice as ‘…the simplest way to draw attention to this ultra-simple piece of classic minimalism which is well known that often people don't notice it anymore.’ I would say that his plan worked, as I certainly couldn’t take my eyes off it!

Vitra Fauteuil de Salon, Artek Stool 60 Special Edition

Vitra Akari 10A Floor Lamp, Artek Stool 60 Special Edition

Another classic Aalto design included on this floor was the Artek Bench 153A, situated at the piano covered in a sheepskin, and the Artek Bench 153B, seen here in white. Both were designed in 1945 but still look modern and contemporary.

Vitra PACC Eames Plastic Armchair, Artek Bench 153A

Artek Bench

Towards the end of the room was a gorgeous space, set up as an office/studio, the light poured in to this area and showed off the furniture beautifully. I could have quite happily laid on the Vitra Suita Day Bed all afternoon and whiled away the hours.

The Artek Tea Trolley 900 designed by Alvar Aalto also looked amazing and showed how useful this product is for your home.

Artek Tea Trolley 900

 Vitra Suita Day Bed

Another favourite element of this space was the feature wall which covered the whole left hand side of the room. I love this idea, it’s a perfect way of providing inspiration to any home office.

Design inspiration

The Artek 41 Paimio Armchair by Alvar Aalto made the perfect reading spot, especially when combined with the Vitra Nelson Bench.

Artek 41 Paimio Armchair

The minimalistic Artek 112B Wall Shelves looked amazing on the feature wall, together with the line of Artek A110 Hand Grenade Pendant Lamps and Artek K65 Bar Stools, all by Alvar Aalto.

Artek 112B Wall Shelves, Artek A110 Hand Grenade Pendant Lamps, Artek K65 Bar Stools

Finally the star of the show, for me anyway, was the Karuselli Lounge Chair and Ottoman. Designed by Yrjö Kukkapuro in 1964 it was re-released by Artek late last year. It has to be one of my absolute favourite designs, almost futuristic in its presence yet none of the comfort has been sacrificed for its striking design. It is truly amazing to lay in! Seen here with the gorgeous Artek A808 Floor Lamp in brass.

Karuselli Lounge Chair, Artek A808 Floor Lamp

I hope the above photos provide inspiration on how you could include Artek products into your own home. We at welcome Artek to the Vitra family and look forward to seeing the future for these two iconic brands, united by design.

Trending Teals

Mar 26, 2014

Teal, blue’s sophisticated cousin, has had a makeover and is taking the interiors world by surprise this Spring.

Normann Copenhagen Swell Armchair

Normally a season associated with soft pastels, Spring is proving a more vibrant affair this year. Firstly Pantone revealed its punchy Radiant Orchid as the colour for 2014, and now teal is taking prominence at many key interiors shows. Normann Copenhagen revealed its Swell collection in a sophisticated petroleum, SCP released a wonderful array of cushions and throws in blues and greens, and Gärsnäs has launched its swoon-worthy Emma Chair in an elegant dark turquoise.

SCP Field Day Throw

Having captured our imagination, we’ve selected our favourite pieces from the collection in this trending colour. It includes some of the latest items to hit our site, as well as some old favourites too. With everything from upholstery to lighting, our teal edit has something for everyone.


The best thing about this colour is that it makes an excellent base to build up an interior from. Be brave and choose key upholstery pieces, or adopt one or two teal accessories and build from there. Calming, sophisticated with just the right amount of vibrancy, this colour will last a lifetime.

Gubi Mategot Trolley

For a statement piece we highly recommend the Gubi Matégot Trolley which, as a drinks trolley and newspaper stand rolled into one, is a practical piece that will still wow for years to come. And for a quick pick-me-up we love Donna Wilson’s intricately woven Field Day Cushions in both Dusk and Black Forest.

Shop now at

Top 10 Reasons to visit Sheffield

Mar 19, 2014

There’s lots to see and do in Sheffield, from visiting one of the region’s green spaces to enjoying the local music scene, so we’ve decided to create a definitive list of the top ten must-see attractions.

It has been compiled by the team who have either been born and bred here or have made the move to the steel city, so between us, we know where’s good to go!

Read on to discover what the UK’s fifth largest city has to offer - and book that long-awaited trip up North!

1. Watch some live music
A trip to the steel city just would not be complete without watching some live music. Sheffield is famed for launching the careers of indie legends Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Richard Hawley, and it is this success that has given rise to the city’s active local music scene. There are a vast number of venues showing live music in Sheffield - check out The Leadmill which hosts both established and up-and-coming bands, or if you plan to visit in the summer, buy tickets to the city’s urban festival – Tramlines. This year is expected to be one of the best with hip hop legends Public Enemy taking the main stage.

Arctic Monkeys

2. Visit Park Hill
Sheffield’s Brutalist landmark, Park Hill, received a flurry of attention when it was first built in the late 1950s. Now, after a multi-million pound renovation by Urban Splash, Sheffield’s one-and-only Streets in the Sky is racking up the column inches all over again in both the local and national press. Some see it as an important architectural landmark that should be preserved, while some would welcome its demolition. What do we think? We love it, but don’t just take our word for it, come and visit it in the flesh and decide for yourselves.

Park Hill Flats

3. Take a trip to the theatre
Sheffield Theatres has won the prestigious Regional Theatre of the Year award for an unprecedented two years running (2013 and 2014) for their top-notch shows. Last year’s productions included My Fair Lady and the Full Monty, while this year the one’s not to miss are Fame and Barry Hines’ Kes – our tickets are already booked.

Sheffield Theatre

4. Enjoy a craft beer
Sheffield has experienced something of a beer revolution in recent years and is fast establishing itself as the UK's beer capital. Across and around the city, there are now around 7 independent breweries, all producing and supplying to local pubs, bars and restaurants. Our favourites pubs for an after-work tipple are The Fat Cat and The Sheffield Tap. The Sheffield Tap alone has 11 traditional cask hand pulls and 12 continental swing handled taps, set against a backdrop of over 200 different bottled world beers – plus it is located next door to the train station, so is the perfect place to begin your Sheffield tour!

Sheffield Tap

5. Cheer on the cyclists in the Tour de France.
The world's largest single sporting event arrives in Sheffield on Sunday 6th July 2014, bringing the spectacle of the Tour de France to Yorkshire. Stage 2 of the Grand Depart will set off from York and finish in Sheffield after 125miles of competitive cycling – make sure you’re here to witness it.

Tour De France

6. Spend an afternoon soaking up some culture
With the arrival of the Museums Sheffield in 1998, the cultural scene in Sheffield has really taken off. Museum’s Sheffield runs all three of the city’s largest galleries: Western Park, Millennium Gallery and Graves Gallery, and between them they cover everything from the visual arts to social history. We highly recommend the latest exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Printing Sheffield, if you’ll be visiting between now and the 15 June.

Millennium galley

7. Shopping
Sheffield has a thriving shopping scene that has something to suit all tastes and styles. Design lovers will want to stop by yours truly,, for furniture, lighting and accessories from the likes of Vitra, Tom Dixon, Hay, Muuto and more - stop by to see us at 9 Parkway Rise, Sheffield, S9 4WQ. For directions on how to find us, take a look at our showroom page.

Sheffield Showroom

8. The Peak District
As well as having over 80 parks in our vicinity, Sheffield is also a stone’s throw from the Peak District. Take a detour from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience what the great outdoors has to offer – including everything from cycling to yachting.

Peak District Blog

9. Go for a meal at Sheffield’s first Gastro pub, the Milestone
Located in Sheffield’s Kelham Island, the Milestone is known nationally as one of the finest Gastro pubs. It offers local, responsibly-sourced food and has won numerous awards along the way - including Ramsey’s Best Restaurant in 2010. All meat is free range and sourced from local farms and they even rear their own special breed of pig which is born and raised in Sheffield! Book your table here.

Milestone Restaurant

10. Discover Sheffield’s street artists
Sheffield has made a bit of a name for itself in recent years for its local graffiti scene. While the galleries host work by well-known names, the streets feature art of a more relaxed kind - Kid Acne and Phlegm are just two of the names you may have come across. Get lost in the city’s matrix of back streets to discover this innovative art in the flesh.

Kid Acne

We hope you ‘ll find our little guide useful. If you make a trip up North, be sure to stop by and visit us – we’ll have the kettle on!

Meet our founder and MD, Christian Hawley

Mar 12, 2014

This week we get up close and personal with our founder and managing director, Christian Hawley.

Having established way back in 2002, Christian Hawley has built up a quite a reputation in the design sector through the years. He is known for establishing and building into what it is today – the UK’s leading online design retailer – and for his support of emerging talent.

He was recently interviewed for a prestigious design publication and today we’d like to share snippets of the interview with you.

Read on to discover Christian’s proudest moment, what advice he would give himself if he were to do it all again, and his tip for The Next Big Thing…

Christian Hawley

Who are you?
Christian Hawley, founder and Managing Director of

Where can we find you?
We have a showroom and shop located in Sheffield’s vibrant outskirts at 9 Parkway Rise, Sheffield S9 4WQ. But, you can shop online 24 hours a day at

Describe your store in five words:
Contemporary, aspirational, creative, friendly and fun.


What makes you different?
We truly believe we are the world’s best modern interiors store. We work hard to source the latest up-and-coming designers and brands, and we’re always on the lookout for new items we think our valued customers will like. We believe it is this dedication to new design that sets us apart from our competitors.

How you decide what makes the cut?
Quality – we really just do not compromise on this. If we are to stock and support a product, we really have to believe in the product, and quality is the over-riding factor in this. Nothing short of perfection makes it to the shop! Showroom

If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself?
Just get started. There really is never a perfect time for anything. I truly believe that to get ahead in life, you just need to begin, and go from there.

What are you most proud of? was one of the earliest adopters of online retail within our field. In fact, we have been trading over the internet for over 12 years and it is this experience that has allowed us to develop and grow in the international market. So I would say that I am proud of establishing ourselves in the ecommerce industry at such an early stage – it really has made us who we are. Showroom

What's hot for 2014?
There are so many up-and-coming designers and brands right now that it’s hard to choose just one. Having said that, the brand I am really excited about at the moment is Hay. They are always creating new and exciting products year-on-year, and always have a fresh perspective. Keep an eye out for their latest addition of colourful accessories landing at very soon.

Hay Twisted Coat Hangers

Head over to design journalist Caroline Camp’s blog to read the full interview.

Momentum at the Barbican Gallery

Mar 5, 2014

Last weekend, the Nest team took a trip to the Momentum exhibition at the Barbican in London.

As a world-class arts organisation, the Barbican is well known for its innovative exhibitions, but Momentum goes far beyond anything they have offered before.

Barbican Gallery - Momentum.jpg

Barbican Gallery - Momentum.jpg

The exhibition, created by London-based art practice United Visual Artists, is an immersive, sensory experience that makes the most of its unique arc-shaped shape surroundings. Set in a darkened room, the exhibition features 12 steel pendulums that activate light and sound as they swing. Each pendulum has been meticulously designed using custom electronics and are tuned to seamlessly resonate as they move within the Curve.

The whole show offers a completely unique experience that is, in equal measures, calming and unnerving. As soon as you enter the installation (via a sweeping black curtain), you are plunged into complete darkness that only subsides when the swinging pendulums come into view. To top this off, the installation room is filled with a discreet mist, which further heightens your senses.

Visitors are only allowed into the installation in small groups so the feeling that you are alone inside the exhibition continually looms large.

Our Web Editor Jess visited the exhibition at the weekend and here's what she had to say: 

"Imagine encapsulating darkness, twinged with sounds that are both alien and peaceful at the same time. The darkness heightened everything and I felt utterly allured into this seamless motion of light - focussed entirely on the sequence, the motion, the shadows and the varying shades of black and haze. The curved space opened up reminding me that I wasn’t alone and snippets of human interaction with the light provided another level to the experience. You begin in awe of the light and then reminded you can immerse yourself in the pools of soft lighting and pass again back into the dark."

Momentum is a completely unique exhibition that is meditative, hypnotic and unnerving all at the same time.

If you are in London between 13 February and 1 June we highly recommend a visit.

Discover more about the exhibition on the Barbican’s website.

Images: Barbican

‘As Featured In' - February

Feb 28, 2014

Have you spotted us in the press this month? We’ve been featured in all the glossy publications from Elle Decoration to the Telegraph magazine - take a peek below for our February mentions!

As Seen In… Elle Decoration were spotted in the February edition of Elle Decoration with the Inbetween SK1 Chair from Sami Kallio for &Tradition.

Inbetween Chairs

As Seen In… Grand Designs

A fabulous array of products were featured in Grand Designs Magazine this month including the Cassina 288 Sled Three Seater Sofa, Magis Deja-vu Bar Stool, &Tradition Hoof Lounge Table, BestLite BL5 Wall Lamp and Discipline Drifted Chair.

Cassina Sled Sofa

As Seen In… Living Etc

We were spotted in the gorgeous February edition of Living Etc with the Gubi Ronde Pendant.

Ronde Pendant

As Seen In… The Telegraph Magazine

It was fabulous to see our Ercol Stacking Chair in mandarin in the 22 February edition of the Telegraph Magazine.

Stacking Chairs

Stripes, Dots, Hearts & Checks: we explore the colourful history of Alexander Girard

Feb 26, 2014

Alexander Girard

Born in 1907 in New York City, Alexander Girard was one of the most decisive figures of post-war American design.

He was raised and educated in Florence, Italy after his family decided to return to Europe shortly after he was born. He eventually made his way back to the US in the 1930s, and this is where his career in design really began to flourish.

Girard worked across a number of disciplines including interior design, architecture and product design – though it was for his textile creations that he became most widely known for.


His big break came in 1952 when he was offered the position of director of fabric and textiles at Herman Miller, a position he held until 1975.

Girard's style was notoriously bold, incorporating geometric patterns and folk-art imagery. He favoured abstract forms, typically put together in bright constellations of colour.

Alexander Girard Collage

He was a keen collector of folk art and regularly picked up objects and artefacts on his travels all over the world. These pieces, which eventually reached over 100,000, were his main source for inspiration and ideas.

In 1993, the final year of his life, he bequeathed these artefacts to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also gave the contents of his studio (hundreds of drawings, prototypes and textile samples) to the Vitra Design Museum, allowing a new generation to explore and learn from his curated collections.

You can purchase many of Girard’s designs at, including his collection of wooden dolls, cushions, blankets and serving trays.

Wooden Dolls

To find out more about Alexander Girard, please see our designer page.

Images via Girard Studio.

Meet BBC2's Great Interior Design Challenge contestants, Jordan and Russell

Feb 19, 2014

Last week we had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan and partner Russell from this year’s hottest interiors show, the Great Interior Design Challenge.

Jordan & Russell.jpg

Known affectionately as the GIDC, the TV show was a competition for interior designers looking to take the next step in their careers. Competing against each other week-on-week, the show culminated in a grand finale which saw Jordan Cluroe and Sarah Moore redesign the interiors of two Georgian townhouses.

Although he was pipped to the post on the day, Jordan’s love for bold colours and his experimental designs really captured our, and the design community’s, attention and we were left wanting more.

Since the show, Jordan and partner Russell have set up their own interior design practice, ‘2 Lovely Gays’, and are reaping the rewards of the successful TV appearance.

We had a lovely chat with the design duo last week, you can read the full interview below.

Hello Jordan and Russell, thanks for chatting with us today. Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and what you do?

Jordan: We are an interior design duo. And Husbands. We have been together for 8 years and married for nearly 3.

Russell: Originally we both trained as actors so we’ve come at interior design from quite a unique background. We have always been obsessed with good design and I suppose when we met it just fuelled that fire.

J: We've spent the last few years gaining experience, and this year we launched ourselves into the interior design scene as ‘2 Lovely Gays’.

Where did the name ‘2 Lovely Gays’ come from?

R: We bought our first flat together in south east London just over 6 years ago and the postcode ended '2LG'. Our friends started to call us the ‘2 lovely gays’ and the name stuck - now here we are.

J: We take design very seriously, but there's no reason design can't be fun - hopefully we strike the right balance. It always raises a smile when people ask for our business name!

You both have a passion for interiors and design – is this something you have both had from a young age, or has it developed over time?

R: I would say it has developed. We were both artistic at a very early age, but as we have grown, our tastes have developed and evolved.

J: We both now feel that we have found our passion in interior design.

R: Several years ago we ran a stall at Greenwich Craft Market. We designed our own textiles, experimenting with screen-printing and animal designs (inspired firmly by our mini dachshund, Buckley) which I would say was the beginning of us designing together.

J: Actually, having said all that, even as a kid, I was re-decorating our house every opportunity I got. My uncle taught me how to wallpaper when I was just 13.

Jordan we loved watching you, and the beautiful rooms you created, on the BBC series Great Interior Design Challenge. Did you enjoy your time on the show?

J: Absolutely! Originally we applied as a duo but that didn't work with the format of the show, so we decided I would take the lead on this one. It was an amazing experience - I learned such a huge amount in such a short space of time. The pressures and time constrains of the TV crew were really exciting and, as someone who thrives under pressure, I found the whole experience so much fun! It was amazing to create such varied spaces for a wide range of clients over such a short period of time. The support and response after the show has been incredible and we are really grateful for this amazing opportunity.

You’re known for your daring colour combinations and playful sense of style – is this something that you have carried through into your own home?

J: Yes. We love to play with colour, and if you use a limited palette in each space it keeps it elegant. People have said that our design schemes often have a characteristic element of wit - like a vintage horse lamp mixed in with an elegant piece of modern Scandinavian design, for example. We absolutely love to mix our classic Hay Mags Sofa with quirky touches.

R: We wanted to stay true to the Victorian architecture of our home but we have thrown the rules out of the window in certain areas to keep it fresh. For example the chimney breast in our loft master bedroom had such a great shape, so we cladded the original brickwork shape, which is quite abstract, with exposed plywood. It is beautifully crafted and was a way of keeping the character of the house in a room that was essentially a new construct.

J: To us a home is about a feeling, and we love coming home every day because it’s an expression of us – as we believe everyone’s home should be.

Jordan & Russell's Home.jpg
               A sneak peek inside the home of the design duo.

Where do you find inspiration and ideas for your interior designs? Are there any particular magazines, blogs or websites that you particularly enjoy reading at the moment?

R: Everywhere! We trained as actors and this has definitely informed our aesthetic. Film, opera, theatre and art all inspire our designs.

J: We’re like sponges!

R: I think because we have both spent years working on stage or on TV sets it has drawn us to very pared back elegant aesthetics where the 'strings' as it were, are visible. If it is functional, it is beautiful - and we like to see the honesty in how something is made or how it works.

J: People too. People inspire us. After all a space is to be used by people and we love getting to understand other people to find out what is really going to work for them.

J: We follow several blogs. A couple I love are My Friend’s House which is great for up-to-the-minute style with humour and wit. Also ;47 Park Avenue – this is especially great if you want to crush on a gorgeous house!

Jordan & Russell's Home.jpg
  Jordan & Russell love to mix traditional items with modern accessories.

Finally, for those looking to get into the field of interior design, what advice, or hints and tips, would you give them?

R: Begin. Just begin. Be brave and get started. We have not come at this through 'conventional' roots. We have just felt our way and tried to keep true to our gut instincts. Who wants to be conventional anyway?

J: Collaboration is a massive part of interior design. Collaboration with each other as a design duo inspires us every day to be better. Collaborating with clients is a very delicate thing, as is the relationship between the designer and the craftsmen that you will need to see a project through. You have to be adaptable and able to work in a team, whilst maintaining that original vision at all times.

R: It is certainly a balancing act.

And anything to avoid?!

J: Avoid Clutter! It can take up too much of your headspace as well as your physical living space.

R: Avoid buying too much! We are massive advocates of buying less but buying right so that you end up building a collection over the years of things that are really meaningful and have quality.

J: Also, importantly, avoid 'trends'. A trend will always pass. A classic is forever.

We couldn’t resist asking what the duo’s all-time favourite design items were. See below for their must-have list:

1 Magis Spun Chair by Thomas Heatherwick - we have one in our garden and it is not only sculpturally beautiful but it, without fail, gets a laugh from our guests whenever they play in it!

Magis Spun Chair - Amber & Smoke Grey.jpg

2 Vitra Tip Ton Chair by BarberOsgerby - I am sitting in one at our desk in the kitchen as we speak, so elegant and comfortable.

3 Muuto Nerd Chair by David Geckeler - this is so pleasing to look at and the colour options are all stunning. It’s certainly a cute future classic.

Muuto Nerd Chair.jpg

4 Moooi Corks by Jasper Morrison – These are so textural and simple, yet really functional. Yes please, Jasper!

5 Punt Stockholm Sideboard by Mario Ruiz - One day this stunning sideboard will be ours.

Punt Stockholm Sideboard.jpg

6 Hay Minimal Collection Bed Linen by Scholten & Baijings - Simple yet luxurious. The pink colour, Syrup, is our absolute fave.

7 Hay Scissors by Hay Studio - These are beauties; so sharp and pretty and a pleasure to use every day.

Hay Scissors.jpg

8 Another Country Desktop Series Set by Simon Donald - Three materials: rubber, brass, sycamore; three words: tasty, little, morsels.

9 E15 CT09 Enoki Side Table by Philipp Mainzer in mint or flame - This is a new favourite for us. It is solid, honest and cute all at the same time.

E15 Enoki Side Table Collection.jpg

10 Flos Piani Table Lamp - We want a white one pretty please! And the new Big Stone version – talk about monumental!

Photography for images 1, 2 and 3: Megan Taylor