Saturday, 26 February 2011

Concrete Blond


Concrete Blond

I first came across the utterly beautiful designs of Eric Barrett aka Concrete Blond a few years back, to my shame I can’t remember when or which event but that I was really impressed. I never forgot the work; it is so unique that I challenge anyone not to be intrigued by it.
Having moved recently it gave me the opportunity to go through various bits and pieces and I found the promotional card I’d picked up at the show. I went online and was yet again staggered by the work and felt compelled to write a blog post dedicated to this aesthetically pleasing ‘Walled-Paper’ surface.
According to the website (http://www.concrete-blond.com/home.htm) the ‘Walled-Paper is a well mastered technique of fine-casting concrete that captures the same graphic detail and visual appeal of patterned wallpaper.’ The almost lasered feel to the design means that the counter-relief of the pattern catches the light, giving it an almost silver effect and shine that a wallpaper would give. It goes on to mention that of course not only is the effect intricate and flawless but the advantages of using such a surface on your wall are numerous, it would out benefit the more traditional wall coverings.
There are a number of designs available, with even the offer of having your own handiwork or hearts desire cast to create a bespoke piece. You would imagine that should you ever own just a panel of this exquisite craft it would be a constant talking point for years to come.





Thursday, 24 February 2011

Somebody stop me...


I’m one of those people where if I buy something or am given something that is truly beautiful I couldn’t possibly open it, break the seal, use it etc it has to stay as it is, perfect and untouched. This generally means I have lots of belongings that have to live in a cupboard as I obviously am not utilising them and they end up cluttering surfaces otherwise.  I’ve always got my eyes open for ‘nice things’ and can not wait for the day when I have my very own house that I can fill with these objects of desire, displaying/organising them in the way they deserve.
I was reading Stylist Magazine this week (one of life’s pleasures) and noticed a brief interview with Gwyneth Paltrow. I am not one of those people who gets hungry for celebrity gossip, the only time I really read those sort of publications is when I’m in the hairdresser. However, Stylist Magazine is a nice mix of everything and so I had a quick skim! I was interested to read about GP’s favourite app’s and in particular about a company called http://remodelista.com who promote and talk about all things interior, including lots of ‘nice things.’ I personally love the fact that they cover all aspects of the market and therefore different budgets – anything from Ikea to Conran.
I thought that I’d download the app as I’m a screen shopping addict and it might prove useful for buying a present or dreaming of what I could purchase, if I had the space! You really are spoilt for choice and can find anything from a Izola Numberals Tooth Brush Set to Foreverlawn’s Artificial Grass!
So, go feast your eyes, worst case scenario you’ll only find enough suggestions to fill your bedroom!





Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Wellies


Arther Wellesley, or 1st Duke of Wellington is the gentleman we all have to thank for the humble Wellington Boot. The original version was made from calfskin leather, a modification to the 18thcentrury Hessian model by the Duke’s St James’s Street shoemaker, according to Wikipedia.
Nowadays we are used to seeing an assortment of different patterned boots with Hunter cornering the market being probably the major ‘must have’ brand. This though might all be due to change as a make more familiar to the flip flop market is going to do its best to knock Hunter’s crown from its head. Havaianas have decided that not only do they want to rein king of our favourite summer, good weather foot attire but also our summer bad weather foot attire too. The rather bold coloured designs will be available in Selfridges from April and promise to be the wellie sensation of the year! With all those festivals coming up and (let's face it) the promise of some bad weather during our ‘hottest’ months it will be interesting to see who turns to Team Havaianas and who stays loyal to Team Hunter. 




Saturday, 19 February 2011

Fantastical Feasts


I know there are lots of people who actually enjoy going to bookshops and spending hours in there. I (probably to my discredit) don’t. Occasionally I’ll pop into a Waterstones but generally speaking buy all my reading material on Amazon. I think the issue for me is that I don’t want to wade through a shop searching for where my chosen title might be, I just want to put it into the ‘search’ box and have it found for me.
However, today I had a free half hour and so thought I’d spend it (trying) to get away from the crowds and popped into Waterstones. I happened to come across Heston Blumenthal’s special edition ‘Fantastical Feasts.’ Each book is signed and numbered by the big guy himself and thanks to the Ginger Monkey aka Tom Lane really is something special to look at, inside and out. Initially it reminded me of a bible with its plum red and gold palette, not to mention the beautiful, ornate slip case cover design. There is almost a feel of Art Nouveau to his handiwork, a genre that is currently enjoying a revival. Having said that he is quoted in a Creative Boom (http://www.creativeboom.co.uk) interview as actually shying away from design trends due to their distraction.
One of the things I enjoyed about his folio is that it is varied and executed well with everything from hints of vintage Liberty and Mackintosh to a psychedelic 60’s feel Chipmunk. I have to admit I hadn’t come across Tom’s work before but without a doubt will wait with enthusiasm for his future projects. View Tom’s work at http://www.gingermonkeydesign.com




Thursday, 17 February 2011

Taxidermy


‘It’s something that will take off’ I said to Rob (my significant other) as I nailed the last framed butterfly to the wall of his office to complete the grid of 28. He, to his credit, was quite taken with the display. I’ve always loved butterflies and had a secret desire to buy some antique taxidermy and this was my opportunity! Initially I had been a bit nervous as (understandably) some people have an issue with buying real fur as they do seeing real butterflies in a frame. However in a situation where the fur or the butterflies are antique and sourced before the issue of ‘animal cruelty’ had come to light this is considered acceptable.
Polly Morgan has put a twist on the traditional look of Taxidermy. Polly has been part of this world  for 7 years now and  is a member of the Guild of Taxidermists. Banksy has been quoted as labelling her ‘Britain’s hottest bird stuffer.’ A number of her subjects are recovered from road kill. In her interview (where I have gained much of her biography from) wit h The Times she says what she really enjoys is capturing ‘the moment between something dying and decaying.’ This may sound morbid but her work shows a real grace, beauty and creative imagination.
Polly is now commanding sizeable sums for her art and her name is rising to dizzy heights, you can see more of her work at http://pollymorgan.co.uk/







Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Jaguar E-Type

There are a select number of automobiles that have people conjuring up the title ‘the most beautiful car in the world’ but this little gem is up there with them. One of the most famous car manufacturers in Britain, Jaguar, created a rare classic when they designed and made the E-Type 50 years ago. Its fair to say that you have more chance of the planets aligning than having the Godfather of luxury cars, Enzo Ferrari, delighting in a cars lines that are not from the drawing board of his team. The bullet-like shell was dreamt up by the genius engineering know how of Malcolm Sayer, one of first to incorporate the principles of aerodynamics to car design.
Incredibly over 70,000 models were sold and it fast became one of the most desired sports cars in the 60’s. If like me, stretching to the purchase of this timeless model is a little out of reach, you can go and admire its curves in the Design Museum Tank till 6th March.
I blogged about Renault’s new TV ad last Saturday, the theme of which was the question ‘What is Va Va Voom?’ I think we’ve found the answer!




Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Saddle Up!


My birthday falls in January and I was lucky enough to have my Mother whisk me off to Selfridges in order to purchase a new bag for my ‘special’ birthday. I noticed whilst practically melting with desire at the sight of so many fabulous bags that all things Equestrian are decidedly ‘in.’ Now, if you are a fashionista this is something you’ll already be fully aware of, excusez moi for not keeping up with current trends. I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise to see every brand display their version of (what I call) the ‘Saddle Bag’ style, some even with the decoration of stirrups! After all you can’t help but notice a new breed of women wearing flesh coloured leggings and black, shiny boots, as if they’ve just dismounted on Oxford St.
I popped into Liberty this afternoon, I was promised from the vinyl stickers in the window that ‘This Season’s Bags’ had arrived in store and who am I to ignore such an invitation? My favourite was the Givenchy ‘Leather Tinhan Hobo’ bag, which (from my basic fashion knowledge of this season) ticked all the boxes. Coincidentally the bag that I ended up gratefully receiving for my ‘special’ birthday was also entitled ‘Hobo’ a word to describe ‘a homeless person; a tramp or vagrant.’  Only in the world of fashion!
You can get this lovely offering from Givenchy at a number of retailers in Black or Nude, both equally desirable and proving that not only are diamonds a girl’s best friend.




Sunday, 13 February 2011

Hix


Sunday is a day to recover from whatever Saturday brought, well that’s the way I tend to play it anyway. I am someone who likes to think they are visually aware, I’m an Illustration agent but that doesn’t mean I’m only interested in Illustration, quite simply anything that is aesthetically pleasing is exciting to me. Those of you following me on Twitter will know that I have recently moved to London’s W1 which means that the joys of Fitzrovia, Mayfair and Soho are a convenient trot away. It was decided today that lunch at HIX on Brewer St was in order. The thing you have to understand about HIX is that its not just great food, it also means a great drinking experience too. I’m not a big drinker, I never have been, but the wonderful Glenn and Danny at Mark’s Bar (which can be located in the basement of this establishment) are magicians of all things cocktail.
The restaurant itself was opened to critical acclaim in 2009 by Mark Hix. The simple but stylish eatery showcases mobile artworks by Hirst, Donovan and Lucas with Mark’s Bar menu having been devised by the excellent mixologist, Nick Strangeway.
Lunch was delightful, but then the food there is good. My other half and I are lucky enough to have eaten in a number of great restaurants but there is a friendly, relaxed feel to HIX that makes you want to return. This ambiance continues to Mark’s Bar, a truly cool, relaxing space that invites you to enjoy the theatre of watching the amiable bar staff work that magic and enjoy the fruits of their labour in an appropriate glass.
Glenn made me a ‘twist on a Tall Perfect Lady’ executed deliciously with a sort of hand cut apple fan. The clever part? The apple structure was held together purely by its natural juice!
If you are passing by, go check out the restaurant and bar, you’ll be pleased you did.




Saturday, 12 February 2011

Va Va Voom


When I heard that Renault Clio had brought out a new TV ad starring Dita Von Teese I was a little surprised, not two brands you would naturally put together I thought. Renault has dramatically moved on since the subtle, suggestive innocence of the ‘Nicole and Papa’ days, Fat Boy Slim’s remix of Groove Armada’s ‘I see you Baby’ saw off the father and daughter duo well and truly in the rather humorous, bold Megane ad of jiggling bottoms in 2002. So, we are not unfamiliar with coupling this French car manufacturer with sexy images but this is probably taking the risqué feel a step further. The question asked throughout the ad  ‘What is Va Va Voom?’ allows Thierry Henry to put his 10p worth in (well, it wouldn’t be the same otherwise would it?) and of course the lovely Dita to perform a sensual burlesque set, with a short ‘behind the scenes’ moment of her answering the same question. Good advert? I shall leave that question with you - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0tkN8WQDvA





Friday, 11 February 2011

Olly Moss


I had the pleasure of stumbling upon this rather clever design by Olly Moss (http://www.moss.fm) and wanted to blog about it because, well, I like it! Being an artists agent it goes without saying that my life is saturated with lots of lovely visually exciting things but it’s nice when it’s unexpected! Olly has cleverly incorporated two super hero faces into one design, I wont insult your intelligence telling you which! He apparently came up with the idea whilst en route to Marvel, home of some of the best comic artists in the world. A number of people share my admiration of this artwork,  and rightly so! One of my favourite creative websites http://www.notcot.org/ features it this week, I wonder if it will get made into a print?




Thursday, 10 February 2011

Brian Grimwood's Home Run!


Brian Grimwood is the owner of CIA, an Illustration legend and possibly one of the nicest, most enthusiastic men you will ever meet. The G (as he’s known among his CIA posse) has hit a Home Run with this colourful ‘Silhouette 1’ signed print.  You can purchase it from the CIA shop along with a number of other great items - http://www.centralillustration.com/shop-prints-detail.asp?stock_id=395. The brilliant Stylist Magazine featured this latest offering this week so get one before they sell out!




Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Fit for a Queen


You would imagine that if the Queen was a die hard fan of DIY this rather unique power tool would definitely feature in ones tool shed. The ‘Limited Edition Bosch IXO’ is adorned with more than 700 Swarovski crystals and conveniently cordless. The reason for designing such a ostentatious piece? Bosch are celebrating their 10 millionth sale of its original sister drill (same drill without the sparkly bits). Its available exclusively at amazon.co.uk Your Majesty, just in case you’re reading!






Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Habitat


The wonderful world of Heddon St (Central Illustration headquarters) is located conveniently off Regent St and happily a hop, skip and jump away from Habitat. I felt it only right to mention that they are currently holding a sale on all items within the store! If you are looking for a bargain on homeware check it out, I picked up some of these stylish ‘Vienna’ glasses.




Sunday, 6 February 2011