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Diary: Living Spaces / Makkink & Bey


One hundred years of textiles in Dutch interiors are celebrated in the exhibition Living Spaces at the TextielMuseum. The central question throughout is, ‘What role does textile play in the interior?’ Seven concept rooms display interiors from seven distinctive periods: Dutch Art Nouveau, 1930s’ modernism, the post-war period, the alternative 1970s, postmodernism and recent Dutch Design.  Each space is based on the ideal image of a particular design movement or a specific trend; such as the sunken seating area of the 1970s. Clearly visible is the mix of old and new throughout.

The ideal home that architects and designers visualise is one that few people can afford. Class division is illustrated via film fragments shown in each room. Comparisons are made between the comfortable middle-class living room and images of working-class families living in poverty in dark, dank, single-room dwellings.

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Weekend Discovery: Stendig Calendar


Regular readers may know, I am a big fan of  Massimo Vignelli’s iconic Stendig calendar published by the Cromwell Company in 1966. What a surprise to stumble across the wall of Agnetha’s dessing room wallpapered with the pages. Do you think it is a shame to throw them away once out of date? I do. This seems a great solution  to the issue. Happy papering.

Look Inside: Mini Moderns Dungeness home

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Dungeness is becoming something of a showcase for contemporary architecture and design. Designers Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire from Mini Moderns, the London based interiors brand, threw caution to the wind and sea, quite literally,  converting one of the many Victorian railway carriages dragged on to the shingle a century ago. The carriages are protected, but the designers wanted to start from scratch. Frankly, they stated “we neither had the budget nor the stomach for a full rebuild.” Despite aesthetics, the building was essentially sound so they set about reconfiguring the layout by swapping round the rooms’ usages to create a more open, bright feel.


Above: Keith and Mark

“We have been visiting Dungeness, on the South Kent coastline, for nearly 20 years and have always loved the landscape, the atmosphere and big skies. The designers told Despoke. “We were amazed to discover a house for sale on the Dungeness estate - because the dwellings are so rare that they are usually snapped up as soon as they come up for sale.”


Above: the relaxing bedroom featuring their signature Whitby print with traditional copper lighting and detail.

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Nendo “Paper-Brick” for Pen magazine


Above:  The Paper brick components by Nendo

Nendo prove their worth yet again, with the new paper brick designed as an insert in Japanese lifestyle magazine Pen. Here is another design set to appeal to the design community. The element of surprise underpins Nendo’s products, and they can be certain they will not disappoint their legion of fans this time. Readers have the opportunity to create a pseudo-3D object by stacking tricolor blocks that seem three-dimensional.

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Editor’s Pick: Modern Craft Market at Heal’s





Above: Soderlund Davidson / conveyor belt


Above: Crowded launch party at Heal’s

Did your one-hour journey take twice as long? Sound familiar? Travelling across London last week on the day of the Tube strike was challenging. Had I lost my mind to make the deliberate choice to undertake such a journey? Yes, however, it was worth it. And so will your trip. The pain etched across my face disappeared instantly upon arrival at my destination Heal’s for the launch of The Modern Craft Market. Design and craft devotees arrived en masse to fill the ground floor. What a result for Heal’s and the exhibitor’s against all the odds.  Perusing the show was no mean feat. In order to view the work design folk squeezed past the fragile products on display. They were not to be disappointed.

The annual event DISCOVER features some of the most exciting homegrown talent at work in modern craft today. Independent designers and a collective of RCA graduates (the WORKS collective), as well as a carefully chosen group of makers and artisans recognised by Crafts Council and Contemporary Applied Arts present potential homeware heirlooms to the public. Everything is for sale so to buy a considered piece of design head to Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road. The show ends on the 16th February 2014.

Here are my picks from the show:


Above: Works / Patina Candlesticks by Lola Lely

Lola Lely reaffirms her status as one to watch with a new collection of Patina Candlesticks developed in collaboration with Derek Bayley from Bronze Age foundry.

Detail: Hand crafted, irregular, geometric, mixed materials.

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Portfolio Alert: Mette Creates

Outcrop Mette

Above: Project 1 ‘Outcrop’ tile for Urban Kitchen Life Project

Portfolio Alert is a new feature at Despoke. We will be taking you on a whistlestop tour of the portfolios we recommend you see. Second in the line up is Mette Creates, the multidisciplinary creative duo creating concepts for products and environments, with a particular focus on the foodie. We love the Outcrop tile currently in development. With home-growing and food provenance key to a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, the tile, inspired by plant growth and survival in cliff sides and craggy landscapes, explores the use of vertical space in compact urban kitchens. With a nod to nature’s resilience in the city by slipping between standard Metro tiles, it introduces an occasional burst of life, through rockface-inspired geometric pockets of herbs, leaves and cress.
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Sneak Peek: Shelf by 19 Greek St.


Coming Soon at 19 Greek St : The Shelf.


Details not released yet. Updates will be added via Facebook.

Handpicked pin: Isla by Studio Joa Herrenknecht


Each week we will feature a historical or current pin from any discipline that has stopped us in our tracks. Without further ado we would like to introduce the Isla Rug by Studio Joa Herrenknecht constructed with a selection of geometric shapes and stripe patterns, square it is not.

Portfolio Alert: Samuel Wilkinson

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Above: Babylon collection for Lexon.

Portfolio Alert is a  new feature for Despoke. We will be taking you on a whistlestop tour of the portfolios recommend. First in the line up is the back catalogue of industrial designer Samuel Wilkinson. We love the Babylon Collection, above, launched this month featuring a pen, a pen pot, scissors, a stapler, a tape dispenser and an alarm clock for Lexon.

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Inspiration: Colour






Colour  inspiration.

Lump Collection by Nendo


Above: Lump Collection by Nendo for Urushi Kobo Oshima

Nendo, much feted Japanese design studio designs a range for Urushi Kobo Oshima, a Yamanaka lacquer maufacturer from Ishikawa. The wood turned lacquered Lump Collection features bowls, cups and plates. Nendo enlarged the base of each vessel and rounded edges to allow the products to be cradled in the hand. Blond natural wood contrasts effortlessly against the opaque matte colour. The outcome of the meeting of skills is a modern interpretation of a historic process and for Urushi a whole new audience. Continue Reading…

New: Derome Light by Pinch


Above: the Derome Light by Pinch

Award winning design duo Pinch address scale with the Derome light unveiled this week at Maison et Objet. Just short of a metre in height the design will have a presence in any room it is set to occupy. Choose from dark stained tulipwood or white-oiled ash. We love its seamless finish, with the matching wooden shade and the dimmer switch to vary the light.

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Architecture: A Mirrored House


Above: Mirror House by Johan Selbing and Anouk Vogel

A reflective glass house appeared on the architectural scene in 2014. The Mirror House by Johan Selbing and Anouk Vogel is a private villa designed in response to a competition brief calling for a building that would relate to a site within a forest clearing. A spectacular image is visualised as the structure and nature collide. Turning our attention to the humble material we have added a couple of our favourite structures to whet your appetite. Super size is the way forward. Continue Reading…

Handpicked Pin: ‘Essential Eating’ kitchen by Peter Klint


Each week we will feature a historical or current pin from any discipline that has stopped us in our tracks. Without further ado we would like to introduce the ‘Essential Eating’ Kitchen from Peter Klint. Free from electrical devices, this is a kitchen in its purest form. The perfectly crafted piece features oak slatted shelves with on trend mint panels providing the perfect backdrop to display equipment and serving ware.

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New: Woven Fabrics from Eleanor Pritchard

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Above: Quince and Peppercorn.

This week Eleanor Pritchard launches new patterns for blankets and cushions woven in lighter weight lambswool yarn. Pritchard’s major influence is mid-century style. If you are a fan of this era in design, the fabric will not fail to appeal. Pared down geometric patterns in subtle colours are woven into the modern family heirlooms using traditional British mills. Her products are perfect for the contemporary interior and unsurprisingly she is stocked at leading home stores worldwide. Continue Reading…

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