Spring 2017 Put eco at the heart of your interior design
The flower issue
bluebellgray Allan Forsyth peony power R is for Rugs
Community Repaint Putting waste paint to work
Flower to the people
Eco-friendly homewares: shopping guide Potty about pots:) Ceramic Art London
Big development and the environment
Contents 3. News
Editor’s Letter We hope 2017 has started off well for you and that despite the travails of the world and the increasing scepticism about climate change led by the new US administration’s views... that you’re still being as zealous as you can be when it comes to living the eco-friendly life. Spring being round the corner, we’ve got a flower-filled issue for you. We talk to Fi Douglas, founder of homewares brand bluebellgray, about her love of painting flowers in watercolour; to photographic artist Allan Forsyth about flowers through the lens, while expert peony grower Alec White urges more of us to grow peonies, which he thinks are simply the most gorgeous flower on earth. We’re also delighted to carry an interview with Fiona Naylor, of leading interior architect firm Johnson Naylor, who thinks big development has become much more interested in the environment than it was. If you would like a printed issue of this magazine - and it’s always nice to have a hard copy - we’re delighted to be able to provide you with this service, so email us at email@example.com. With best wishes Abby and the Deco team COVER: Glass chandelier, table and chairs by Ochre
Publisher ABD Associates, London N4, UK t +44 (0)20 7561 0675 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter@deco_mag
4. Community RePaint. How waste paint is being put back to work 6. Retail therapy - some ideas to brighten up and refresh your home. 8. Walk on art Bar the kitchen, no room is complete without a gorgeous wool rug 10. Greener development. We talk to interior architect Fiona Naylor about big scale development and the environment 14. Floral music. A look at the beautiful work of photographic artist Allan Forsyth. 17. The Hungry Butterfly A new butterfly feeder hits the market to help conserve our fluttering friends 18. Ceramic Art London. Preview of this popular ceramics show 20. Flowers to the people Profile of Fi Douglas, founder of Glasgow homewares brand bluebellgray
24. Paeans of praise for peonies Expert grower Alec White tells us why the peony is the flower for spring
Editor: Abby Trow Deputy editor: Kay Hill Advertising manager: Ajay Duggal Photographer: Mike Trow
26. Pour me a floor! Bio resin flooring is a good eco option
See deco online: www.decomag.co.uk
28. Better Shelter Award for refugee shelter
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Kebony in Global CleanTech top 100
Ikea collaborates with Piet Hein Eek
Kebony, the Norwegian company that ‘turns’ softwood into hardwood using an agricultural biowaste product, has been named in the 2017 Global Cleantech
100, produced by US Cleantech Group. GCG monitors emerging clean tech trends, top innovation companies and key players in sustainable innovation.
How Leeds Castle influenced the interior design of The White House Ikea has launched a limited edition collection inspired by Indonesian and South East Asian design in collaboration with Dutch eco designer Piet Hein Eek. The vibrant, colourful Jassa range, available from March, brings traditional techniques to the mass market, blending sustainability with inspiring design and functionality. All products in the collection are made from sustainable, renewable materials include bamboo, seagrass, rattan, water hyacinth and Better Cotton Initiative cotton. And they’re not machine-made; rather the natural material parts of each piece are hand-made using traditional techniques, hence each item is unique.
Aboriginal art inspires wallpaper collection Glos-based Bay Gallery Home specialises in original Aboriginal art and it’s produced My Country, a range of homewares inspired by the art, with profits from sales going back to local artists in Australia’s Northern Territory. My Country products are made in collaboration with UK manufacturers and include wallpapers, rugs and tiles which feature ancient designs and motifs. Pictured right is uncoated Pink Wallpaper (£76.80 per 10.5m roll) which depicts the land during the dryer seasons when only the hardiest bushes and trees are still visible.
If you’ve seen the film Jackie, you may be interested to know that the interiors at Leeds Castle in Kent influenced the design of rooms at the White House; and that John F Kennedy was a house party guest at the castle in 1938 when he was 21. Leeds Castle was owned from the early 1930s to her death in 1974 by Olive, Lady Baillie, an Anglo-American heiress. She refurbished the castle over several decades, working closely with French interior designer Stephane Boudin of decorators Jansen. Fast forward to the early ‘60s and it was Boudin who worked with
Jackie Kennedy on restyling the White House from 196163. The state and ground floor rooms borrowed details from previous Boudin commissions including the library and dining room of Leeds Castle, serving as inspiration for their White House counterparts. In Jackie, Natalie Portman’s Mrs Kennedy speaks of the ‘historical significance of objects and artefacts, perhaps more so than humans, for standing the test of time, for their beauty and style. It is through redecoration [of the White House interiors] that we are able to meet the figures that shaped our history.’
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Waste paint? Not any more! Akzo Nobel and Community RePaint have opened a second paint remanufacturing hub in The Wirral as part of their drive to re-use waste paint
*Community RePaint This network of local schemes collects unwanted leftover paint and re-distributes it to people, families and communities who need it to improve their homes or community. *Brits throw away around 55 million litres of paint a year, more than half of which is perfectly useable. *Try to be more accurate about the quantity of paint you need for a job to prevent over-buying.
If you’ve not been shopping for paint recently, you could well be in for a shock next time you need to redecorate. Because paint is definitely not cheap stuff these days; and a ‘designer’ brand such as Farrow & Ball, Little Greene and Paint Library will set you back well over £40 per 2.5L tin. Ouch. So great news that AkzoNobel UK, working with Community RePaint, has launched a second innovative not-for-profit paint re-manufacturing facility, the new one being near Liverpool, while the first one opened just over a year ago in Cambridge. Based on The Wirral, the new facility is providing paint to people in the north west whose budgets don’t stretch to new paint and who may otherwise not be able to maintain their homes and local/community buildings.
So far more than 10,000 litres of waste paint have been collected and treated to make a quality product again, while some 1,300 people have benefited from super low-cost or free paint. The reprocessing centre uses technology developed by AkzoNobel and its partners - including Keith Harrison of Newlife Paints - which aims to slash the amount of paint ending up in the waste stream. Waste paint is a big environmental hazard bcause paint is not biodegradable so has either to be burned or put in landfill. And with around 55 million litres of paint going to landfill each year, AkzoNobel’s ambition is to increase the amount of waste paint collected for reuse in the UK 10-fold to three million litres by 2020, while the target for this year is to collect and
reprocess 100,000 litres between The Wirral and the Cambridge centres. Help for the Lake District Those who’ve so far benefited from being able to buy recycled paint for nominal sums include the Cumbrian Flood Volunteers who help flood victims in the North West. Last winter saw hundreds of homes severely damaged by floods in the region, with many people left devastated because their properies weren’t insured. So to receive paint to help them redecorate has been a huge help, says CFV. Emmaus help the homeless Emmaus is a charity which provides a home and meaningful work to more than 700 formerly homeless people. Part of a network of 28 communities across the
UK, Emmaus North East has launched a community in South Shields, having renovated a derelict building, turning it into home for 15 formerly homeless people. The building was painted inside with paint from Community RePaint and the new residents now have work repairing and upcycling donated household goods and clothing, which can then be sold. Matt Pullen, UK MD of Akzo Nobel UK & Ireland, says the paint reprocessing revolution is well underway. ‘This scheme is leading our industry in reducing the amount of paint entering the waste stream, as well as having a transformative impact alongside Community RePaint by colouring the lives of those who can least afford to buy new paint.’ www.communityrepaint.org.uk
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Deco mag 05 Advertisement
The Northern House: Swedish vintage rag rugs
Paul Warren Design Beautiful interiors with eco chic
Blissful sleep without any chemicals
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Instant revamp ot
y teap *A prett ions ush *New c nd keep a r r *Ca y cup e e ff o c
Turn the page if you’re all spent out..but if you’re galvanised to perk up your home for 2017, we have a few ideas.
Soft translucent goose feather lights
Left: stunning Eos soft goose feather lamp shade (in white, grey and light brown), from £59, with LED A bulb, £19.95, by Vita Copenhagen Top right: pastel small glass vases, £8.95 at Live Laugh Love (livelaughlove.uk.co) Right: wake up to this pretty china teaport for one printed with Flowerdrop design by renowned textile designers Collier Campbell, £24 (colliercampbell.com) Below: braided hemp storage basket, fair trade, £69.95,from Nkuku (nkuku. com) Below, far left: Pomme by William Morris, a new design for Ecoffee’s re-useable and biodegradable bamboo fibre cups. £11.95 (ecoff.ee) Below, centre: Water Iris pure linen fabric by Zoffany, around £70 pm.
Cardboard FM radio and MP3 speaker, perfect for lazy days in the sun
Pure British wool herringbone throw for a beautiful bed
Above: now here’s a good idea... turn your empty wine bottles into table lamps with these rechargeable LED corks from gadget people Red5 (red5.co.uk). Corks fit most bottles and they come with a USB cable. Charge time 1 hour and you get 2.5 hours of light, enough time to light the dinner party table. £9.99 Far left: dress your bed to impress with this pure British wool herringbone throw in Driftwood, a versatile taupey-beige, £91 at The Great British Ottoman Company, 170x145cm (greatbritishottoman.co.uk) Left: cardboard FM radio and MP3 speaker for your iPod, by Suck UK. Perfect to take to the beach, the park or indeed your own garden...listen to the radio or amplify music from your mobile or iPod... a very gentle sort of ghetto blaster... £25, needs 4xAA batteries (suck.uk.com)
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Top left: colourful 50s’-style geometric prints adorn these 100 per cent linen cushions by London-based surface print designer Zoe Attwell. 45x45cm, £50 (zoeattwell.com) Above: reclaimed timber and ceramic tiles are used to make lovely pot stands to protect your table or countertop from heat damage. Available from Maitland & Poate Top right: for a soft blue, Denim Drift emulsion from Dulux is a good choice Right, centre: Harlequin Remix vintage style birch wood tray by Ferm Living at Pib Home, £65 (pib-home. co.uk.com) Right: Dutch homewares brand Brabantia is very ecoconscious, making products that are easy to recycle at the end of what should be a long life. The Newicon metal bins, available in a range of colours, are made from 40 per cent recycled materials and are 98 per cent recyclable. And Brabantia makes a donation to The Ocean Cleanup for every Newicon bin sold.
A few coats of paint can do wonders, so if your walls are looking a grubby... well, there’s no time like the present. A tip from Dulux paint a horizontal stripe around your room to act as a 2d dado rail and use a contrasting colour underneath and a paler/neutral hue above. Buy a bin and help clean up the oceans! ECO TIP: choose organic cotton or linen for the kitchen
Above: organic cotton for the kitchen - jaunty Rooster collection and Isabella chair cushion by Ochre & Ocre at Cottage In The Hills (cottageinthehills.com)
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Walk on art Rugs can be works of art for the floor and offer an instant transformation
Rooms and hallways without rugs feel rather bare and lacking in personality. And they never feel quite comfortable enough - even if the room has a good quality wall-to-wall carpet. So rugs really are a key piece when it comes to decorating and the good news is, of course, that there are lovely rugs made from sustainable fibres (it’s not just wool, think about jute, linen, silk, banana fibre, hemp, recycled yarn from clothing..) with prices to suit all budgets. If you’re a rug aficionado you’ll know who’s who and who it’s worth saving up for... Christine Van Der Hurd, Front Rugs, Deirdre Dyson, Tania Johnson, Jennifer Manners and Sonya Winner to name but a few. Luxury but more affordable are rugs from bluebellgray, Ella Doran, Designers Guild and Scandinavian brands Hay, Linie; and don’t forget that Spain is home to many wonderful rug brands such as Gan, nanimarquina, Dac Rugs, and Now Carpets, all of which sell in the UK. The carpet industry has been bedevilled by its use of child labour in the world’s main rug weaving countries of India and Nepal, and this practice unfortunately continues. So beware ominously cheap rugs and always look for the Goodweave mark, as Goodweave certification
guarantees child labour has not been used in the manufacturing of a rug. Wool rugs are the most popular and if you give them anti-moth treatments from time to time they should last for a lifetime. Silk rugs are the most expensive and luxurious while hand-knotted rugs are far more costly than hand-tufted. But also look out for jute rugs which these days feel pretty soft to the touch and they’re very hardwearing. Habitat has a gorgeous new one - Leo in a subtle red and neutral pattern. The 300x200cm version is very good value at just £600. You’ll also find stylish modern jute rugs at nanimarquina and Gan.
Above: Roger Oates’ Westport Lichen wool rug Above left: colour block wool rug by Massimo, £599 at Furnish.co.uk Below: Colour Wheel circular wool rug by Sonya Winner
Below: new from Habitat, Leo jute rug, £600. Below left: Oe rug made in Nepal from felted wool balls, £249 at nubie.co.uk
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Look for Goodweave certification on rugs made in India and Nepal
Left: Chrysanthemum Tibetan wool and bamboo silk rug by Jennifer Manners, ÂŁ3,089 for rug 1.8 x 2.4m Below: Blooming Out Loud, Tibetan wool, silk and linen hand-knotted rug by ZoĂŤ Luyendijk for Front Rugs
Left: Chequered wool and silk rug by Deirdre Dyson, POA Right: Optic Star wool rug by Christine Van Der Hurd, POA Below: Forest, from the Elements Collection by Tania Johnson, hand-knotted wool and silk rug, POA
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business profile: fiona naylor
Southbank Place interior architect Fiona Naylor of Johnson Naylor argues big developments do focus on sustainability Interview: Abby Trow If you’ve walked along the South Bank from the London Eye down towards Tate Modern, you will have walked past the long overdue re-development of the whole Waterloo area, work on which got underway last year. When the tower blocks are completed at the end of 2019 there’ll be a very swish and vibrant new live/work community, called...what else..Southbank Place. And certainly lucky you if you’ve put down a deposit on one of the apartments in 30 Casson Square, one of the residential towers, because you’ll have glorious central London on your doorstep, and you’ll be living in an apartment designed by Fiona Naylor and her team at interior architect firm Johnson Naylor.
If you’re someone who shudders at the sight of all the development going on in big cities around the world, lamenting the use of all that energy, all that concrete, and all the ensuing emissions, well yes.. but unless we stop having children and move back to living on the land then the fact is people need somewhere to live and they want to be in cities because that’s where the jobs are. Southbank Place isn’t a development that will address the acute affordable housing shortage in London because it’s yet another luxury development - a two-bed apartment costs around £1.2 million and a three-bed penthouse from £3.6 million. Nor is it a pioneering green development built with straw
bales coated with photovoltaic cells with a small farm on the roof so residents can be kept supplied with fresh eggs and milk. But it is, says Fiona Naylor, who led the interior architecture and design of apartments in the One York Square block as well as 30 Casson Square evidence that building standards are high, that the built environment is, largely, becoming something to be praised from an environmental perspective. ‘Firstly, government legisation has forced developments to be energy efficient,’ says Naylor - and this is crucial because nearly 30 per cent of CO2 emissions have come from the built environment.
‘And when I look at Southbank Place, and it’s a £1bn plus development, it’s been hugely well thought out and it could well be here for hundreds of years.’ New developments have to meet Lifetime Homes standards - a set of 16 criteria based on sustainability, inclusivity accessibility, adaptability and good value. And vouching for Johnson Naylor’s work on Southbank Place, she says eco/sustainability considerations are part and parcel of what they do. Interior architecture A lot of us don’t really know how an interior architect differs from an interior designer or an architect. Naylor explains that it’s her job to take the raw architect plans for a space
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Left: Southbank Place bathrooms are built off-site in the UK and the entire pod is popped into place. These elegant bathrooms feature water-saving showers, EU marble and porcelain tiles Below: a studio flat. Storage is vital for small-space living, as are great finishes and attention to detail
Above: Fiona Naylor says her work is all about making homes to such a high standard that they’ll last for decades without anyone wanting to put in a new kitchen or bathroom
‘We work hard to source products in the UK/EU and to use British craftspeople. We don’t want to deplete any rainforests.’ Apartments have been designed to use minimal energy, with LED lighting throughout. European hardwood flooring gives a light Scandinavian feel, while judicious use of marble adds a touch of luxury
and basically to re-plan it, to optimize the layout to achieve the best use of space. ‘The plans have to be really sweated and we will work with the architect to improve them. We look at fenestration and solar gain (where to place windows so people don’t boil alive in summer), at the positioning of balconies. We develop the scheme, improve it, we move things and we add layers by bringing in our design skills.’ ‘It’s very involved and it’s a 3D exercise because we have the plans drawn in 3D so we can really get the feel for how it will be to live in the aparment and make it feel great. For example, we try to max out the ceiling height, as people want high ceilings.’ Energy efficiency is one of the first things to think about and Naylor says thank
heavens for LEDs, which mean lighting schemes no longer have to drain the National Grid and cost a fortune to run. ‘The lighting scheme is one of the first things we do and it’s one of the most important because poor lighting ruins everything and it does affect us psychologically. ‘We’ve moved away from ceilings full of spotlights and have horizontal and vertical lighting, lighting that’s layered, dimmable, that’s appropriate for the task and to highlight features. We use a DALI lighting control system because we want to limit the number of switches on the walls, but it’s pretty straightforward, we like to keep things simple.’ When it comes to flooring, Naylor says hardwood is the material of choice for her and
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This image: a computer generated image of how the Southbank Place development will look at dusk. Below right: warm wood dominates in this studio apartment in One York Square
for many people. ‘People do ask about wood, they are starting to ask about FSC certification, so you can see the public are wanting to know more about materials and their provenance. ‘For us at Johnson Naylor, we source European hardwoods from sustainable forests for flooring. We do use MDF for cupboard carcasses but it’s the formaldehyde-free MDF, we’ve switched to having doors sprayed with water-based paints and we generally choose materials that don’t off-gas.’ Talking generally about sourcing materials for their interior design work, Naylor says at the outset of a project the team considers materials from different angles, so to speak: so durability, is habitat being destroyed in the process of getting the material? what are the transport costs in emissions terms of getting it to the UK etc? etc. ‘It’s certainly not the case that if it’s a natural material it’s ok. Take stone. It’s good in that it’s hardwearing and will stand the test of time. But we won’t go
to quarries in India because they aren’t subjected to the environmental management standards as quarries in the EU. We adhere to Breeam’s Mat 03 Responsible sourcing of materials (BREEAM is the leading sustainability assessment method for building projects), and we have to do our own due diligence to be sure materials meet our environmental standards.’ On the subject of marble specifically, Naylor says her practice tries to limit its use and uses it in a way that it’s set against other materials porcelain in the case of the Southbank Place bathrooms. Naylor takes heart that people are demanding high environmental standards from developers. ‘When I was banging on about this stuff a good 10 years ago I’d get black stares in meetings. But gradually there’s been that shift and it’s the market that drives change. Things get into our consciousness and become the norm, so now many more us want to know about sustainability, energy use, water useage.’
Ask Naylor to sum up her approach to the Southbank Place apartments and the words she comes back to are durability and longevity. ‘We’re designing and using materials in a way that means our interiors will stay intact for decades, that people who live here will recognise the quality and won’t want to rip anything out. I would add the more attention designers pay to the details, the more they actually
test that something won’t fall to pieces with repeated use, the better. And I am confident that the days when people felt they needed a new kitchen every five years are gone.’ Southbank Place is being developed by Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group PLC and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co. It will offer 877 flats, 770 to be privately owned. Completion ‘19.
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Lüks Linen: ethical, natural affordable luxury
Thick fluffy towels are delicious but there are disadvantages to them, the obvious ones being their weight and the time they take to dry. Which is part of the reason why Rachel Ward, founder of Lüks Linen, fell in love with Turkish peshtemal towels. She loved their long history and their practicality: they were woven for use in the hammams and so don’t weigh much and dry very quickly. For frequent travellers, they take up very little space in a suitcase and they can have many identities - they can be towels, throws, blankets, scarves, baby wraps and picnic blankets, while Ward is also offering cushion covers made from peshtemals. Peshtemals have been woven on hand-looms in communities throughout Turkey for generations, explains Ward, using locally-grown cotton. While this cotton hasn’t been certified organic, it is mountain-grown in parts of the country. Lüks Linen works with small family weavers to high ethical
Above: Lüks Linen cotton peshtemals come in a wide range of colours, sizes and weaves
and fair trade standards. Prices for peshtemal products start at £22 for a towel. Look out for the distinctive traditional diamond weave and choose from a variety of colours from subtle neutrals to stunning jewel brights. www.lukslinen.com
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artist: allan forsyth
Right: Winter Sleep, flowers from the freezer Below, from left: Hypos, 3D motion lenticular; Wild Heart; Aqua Flora I
Floral music Photographic artist Allan Forsyth says he likes to offer a new perspective on familiar subjects. That’s something of an understatement - his images of flowers are truly fantastic. Text: Hari Alexander
The camera, not the paintbrush, is artist Allan Forsyth’s tool of choice. It allows him to capture reality and place it in a new dimension - and this is particularly true of his floral works. An Allan Forsyth flower is definitely not something you look at and think ‘oh that’s pretty‘ and move on. His flowers draw you back to stand and stare. They’re lusciously rich in colour and intensity, often presented on a black background and you feel almost as if you’re taking a tour of the subject’s interior as well as marvelling at the exquisite beauty of its exterior. London-based Forsyth, who hails from the Scottish Highlands, has a background in the technical side of photography, working in retouching and the computer elements of modern image production. ‘I didn’t go to art school and have been a photographic artist, which is how I describe myself, for the past 12 years. I suppose I got inspired by the early days of Photoshop - but these days everyone’s making digital imagery and I think it’s become too gimmicky, too clever possibly.’
Forsyth’s work encompasses abstract designs and what you could term contemporary still life and it’s marrying his subjects with different techniques that makes it so arresting: analogue and digital exposures sit with computer generated imagery, photograms and photographic collages from historic magazines and vintage postcards. Forsyth’s work conveys his love of the drama of nature and returning to those flowers, well, it’s mpossible not to be fascinated by them. Flowers are a universal subject for artists, and have been for centuries for the obvious reason that they’re beautiful. ‘And for me, the image of a flower is so classical that it could be boring,’ says Forsyth. ‘So what I try to do is to make it different by adding a touch of the surreal to the still life. ‘I do love parrot tulips and I’ll dissect them with a scalpel so you can see insdie the flower and have a deeper perspective. I am true ot the colours of the flowers but I make them more saturated.’ Forsyth’s latest works with
them in water and freezing them. ‘I don’t think of myself as an experimental artist, but I look for different ideas. Putting flowers in water or freezing them can produce more abstract images, though you can still see that they’re flowers, I’m not masking what they are.’
Forsyth’s work captures the drama of nature
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Above and below: Allan Forsyth’s abstract works celebrate colour. These works are large - 2x3m - and have understandably been snapped up for corporate interiors as well as by private collectors - including Sir Elton John. Forsyth’s works are all limited editions. www.allanforsyth.com
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The hungry butterfly Butterfly populations are in decline in many parts of Britain and around the world. A design duo from Finland have devised a simple butterfly feeder that can help our fluttering friends to thrive
Above and right: Belightful is a new butterfly oasis designed by Miia Liesegang and Tania Tallal who make up Belightful Design. The feeder is made in Finland from eco-friendly recycled plastic.
Conservationists say butterflies are important indicators of the health of the environment, and therefore the decline in their numbers in the UK and in many other countries should be a concern to us all. But the good news is that anyone with a garden, be it large or a pocket hanky, can help butterflies to survive and indeed thrive. How? by planting butterfly and pollinator-friendly plants such as lavender, gardeners can help create a better home for insects which play a vital role in pollinating wildflowers and many crops. The UK’s estimated 22m gardens represent an area roughly the size of Somerset and, at a time when butterflies are in severe decline, offer a
potentially huge and vitally important habitat. Finnish duo Mila Liesegang and Tania Tallal of ecological design studio Belightful have developed a product just for butterflies, the Butterfly Oasis. Made from eco plastic that contains recycled plastic and is 100 per cent recyclable, the feeder can be hung from a branch, fence or railing and it comes in several eye-catching colours chosen because they match the colours of many summer flowers - lilac, pink, and yellow. Made in two parts, the base unscrews and you fill it with the nectar solution. Then put in a super-absorbent sponge and it will draw up the liquid into the top half of the feeder. You’ll see this part has lots of little holes across its surface. The butterfly will be attracted
to the scent of the nectar and will drink its fill by putting its long proboscis through the holes. Liesegang says she loves butterflies and was moved to design the feeder because of the decline in their populations. ‘Our biodiversity is being badly affected by the built environment. We all know to feed the birds, but butterflies also need our help too.’ And she says by offering another source of food in our gardens or outside space, we can get a moment or two with these elusive, entrancing creatures: ‘It’s so nice to experience happy little moments watching butterflies feed.’
Belightful butterfly oasis cost £49.90 and the pack includes a month’s supply of nectar powder. Thereafter monthly nectar refills cost £8.90
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Left and above: Bathrooms at the Vidago Palace Spa have been designed to be warm and homely with patterned ceramic tiled floors Below: thermal waters fill the outdoor relaxation pools. The natural springs have been put to use for hundreds of years
Taking the waters If you have a few days spare and want to unwind in the midst of nature, head to the splendid Vidago Palace Hotel in northern Portugal, with its beautiful modern spa
*Commissioned by King Carlos I, the candy pink Vidago Palace Hotel opened in 1910. *An hour’s drive north of Porto it sits in a 25-acre nature park that is home to four thermal springs discovered in the 17th century. *The new white spa building was designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira.
The spa at the splendid fivestar Vidago Palace in northern Portugal is in stark design contrast to the belle époque opulence of the main hotel. If you love minimalism, you’ll take delight not only in the fabulous treatments available at the spa, but in the architecture of the building and its interior design. Designed by architect Alvero Siza-Vieira, it shows minimalist design at its very best. While the main hotel dates back to the end of the 19th century and was extensively refurbished in period style between 2006-10, the new spa complex could be described as the polar opposite. Here there’s no orate plasterwork or wood pannelling, no elaborate ironwork or carvings, rather it’s a zen-like space of clean precise lines, dressed simply in locally sourced white marble. The spa building was located to allow natural light to flood the rooms and large windows afford views onto beautiful parkland – which is all the artwork that’s needed. The spa has water at its heart. You can enjoy the outdoor vitality pool, which is in a courtyard space with
sliding glass doors so indoor and out become one. And the zone has a warm vibrant feel, created by painting half of the exterior walls in a deep red. The equally elegant indoor pool has marble walls on one side and grey ceramic tiles on the other. Much thought has gone into sourcing furniture that works with the architecture, and the poolside loungers have precise lines, softened by a wooden frame, and taupe upholstery. The treatment rooms are blissful, with large whirlpool chromotherapy baths, wooden floors and big squishy chairs and footstools upholstered in natural linen. Walls inside the spa building are white and unadorned and flooring is predominantly sustainably sourced pale timber. Low energy LED lighting has been installed throughout and the latest technologies ensure the spa is not a wasteful gas guzzling enterprise. By being so purist and not giving too much in the way of visual distractions, the intention is to allow guests to clear their minds. And from the feedback it seems to work. www.vidagopalace.com
ikea kungsbacka kitchen
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Recycled plastic fantastic Welcome to the new eco friendly Kungsbacka kitchen by Form Us With Love and Ikea
Above: Kungsbacka kitchen cupboard fronts and doors are on sale in Ikea from Feb ‘17. Made from recycled plastic bottles and waste wood, the material offers a chance to bring the kitchen industry into the eco age. Prices from £5 for a door front. More colours will come on stream.
With the aim of showing how a circular economy can work at scale, Stockholm-based design studio Form Us With Love in collaboration with Ikea has developed Kungsbacka, the first material for kitchen fronts and worktops made entirely from recycled plastic bottles and reclaimed industrial wood (25 plastic bottles are used for every 40x80cm unit). The anthracite grey Kungsbacka kitchen is pioneering being made from discarded materials. ‘A plastic bottle is not waste, it is a resource,’ says Jonas Pettersson, CEO at Form Us With Love. ‘And most importantly, this kitchen proves these materials can be used for household goods in large scale production.’ Mass produced kitchens
haven’t to date been particuarly eco friendly, being made from unrecyclable chipboard with plastic lacquer coatings. There’s also been a tendency for people to throw out a kitchen when they move house and put a new one in, often just for the sake of it. That behaviour is starting to change and the better made the kitchen, the more likely people are to keep living with it, even if it was someone else’s choice originally. So the development of Kungsbacka and its complementary Hackas handles is tremendous news on several counts: firstly, it’s the embodiment of the circular economy as it puts discarded materials back to work in a new form; secondly, the material has been designed to last for decades, and thirdly, the modular units have been
designed to be timeless Form Us With Love and Ikea maintain the line ‘is resilient to fashion’. Keeping costs down Working with Ikea and an Italian supplier, Form Us With Love wanted at the outset to develop a new eco-friendly kitchen material without losing track of production costs. Pettersson explains that ‘when using recycled and reclaimed materials, more research and development goes into the project’ and that’s why products made from recycled/reclaimed materials are often more expensive than those made from brand new materials. So developing Kungsbacka has been a labour of love too - all those involved wanted to ensure the finished material could withstand daily use for
a good quarter of a century. Anna Granath, product developer at Ikea Sweden, isn’t giving away trade secrets, suffice to say that ‘overcoming the price was a milestone in the development... But we believe sustainability should be for everyone, not just those who can afford it.’ www.ikea.com
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ceramic art london 2017
31 March to 2 April
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Ceramic Art London It’s the wheel of fortune because ceramics have become every bit as collectible as paintings
Sophie Cook’s vessels are pure elegance. Prices from £150
Ceramic Art London, now in its 13th year, is unmissable for anyone interested in contemporary ceramic art. And that’s a lot of us because the collector instinct is innate in human beings, it would seem; and as paintings have become unfeasibly expensive for most of us, so we’ve turned our attention to the many brilliant craft potters working across the world whose designs work is still, mercifully, affordable - albeit that’s a word that means something different to each of us. So if you’re in the London at the end of March, head to Central St Martin’s where you’ll see a huge variety of work from some 90 top ceramicists working in the UK, on the Continent, South Korea and Japan. You’ll meet them and can buy direct
This image: Dark blue cylinder vessel by Peter Beard, H10cm, £250 Left, above: Uneathed Interiors Collection with Flowers by Zevak Zargarian, from £45 each Left, below: Large Ivory Concave Sculpture by James Oughtibridge, £5,000
from them - why go home empty-handed? The fair sees the return of renowned makers such as Akiko Hirai, Sophie Cook and James Hake, as well as first-time exhibitors and rising stars including Ben Arnup, Rachel Wood, Silke Decker, Mathew Horne and Lauren Nauman. Items on sale range from contemporary twists on functional tableware to exquisite sculptural pieces and experimental work that pushes the boundaries of this ancient craft. With prices ranging from £25 for a pretty tea cup by Sue Pryke to £8,000 for an original sculpture by Fenella Elms, CAL does cater for collectors of all budgets. Key themes While ceramics have
echoed the natural realm for millennia, urban and industrial textures make their mark too this year, with Isobel Egan and Fausto Salvi’s ceramic cityscapes. Robert Cooper takes inspiration from urban decay, creating recycled pieces with left-over glazes and ancient pottery shards found on the foreshore of the river Thames. Traditional craft mimics virtual reality with Matt Davis’ ‘pixelated’ porcelain tableware and Ben Arnup’s 3-D optical illusions. Ceramics’ potential for the playful and even surreal is demonstrated by Yun Wook Mun’s melting Dali-esque forms. The storytelling capacity of ceramics is powerfully demonstrated by Midori Takaki’s eccentric folkloric faces and Jenny Southam’s animal and human figures in landscapes. Raewyn
Harrison’s ‘Mudlarking’ and ‘Thames Estuary’ series of slip cast, thrown and hand built vessels use Elizabethan illustrations and maps to tell stories of London.
• CERAMIC ART LONDON • When: 31 March to 2 April. Where: Central St Martin’s behind London’s King’s Cross Station. • Hours: 10-6 pm and 10-5 pm on the last day. • Visit: ceramics. org.uk
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Yuta Segawa’s enchanting world of tiny pots
Above: The Land of Archaeopteryx, £360, by Midori Takaki Below: OPjectMountain Ridge Form, wheel thrown, by Jin Eui Kim, D 34.5cm, £850 Right: Group of Tiles by Chris Taylor, terracotta with slip, underglaze-print, £15 each
Above: slip cast porcelain vessel with Indian pangolin by Charlotte Mary Pack, £220 Left: Beyond Him No 6, gorilla of coil-built construction of black stoneware and terracotta paperclay, £4,000, by Nichola Theakston
Above: Anna Barlow’s Softening Solace, a delicious confection Below: Elizabeth London in four vessels by Raewyn Harrison, £120 each
Visit CAL and see work by more than 90 international ceramic artists.
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Flowers to the people!
bluebellgray has gone from the kitchen table to big time homewares brand in a very short space of time. Abby Trow caught up with Fi Douglas, artist, designer, company founder and lover of flowers to find out how she’s coping with success and why her designs have struck such a chord
Fi Douglas trained as an artist and textile designer at the illustrious Glasgow School of Art. She paints floral and abstract designs and describes her style as modern
bluebellgray is something of a phenomenon if speed of success is a measure. Because this 13-strong Glasgow-based textiles and homewares company started its journey just eight years ago as a one-woman show; on Fi Douglas’s kitchen table to be precise, as she painted some floral designs. ‘I had the idea of transferring my watercolours to fabric which I could have it made up into cushions to sell,’ she explains. ‘I wanted to make cushions where the fabric looked like a
painting.’ And it’s been that way ever since because all bluebellgray’s collections start life as a Fi Douglas watercolour painting. Anyway, low and behold local people loved her large painterly florals and the cushions - initially produced as limited editions - would sell out quickly. ‘At the start I couldn’t believe anyone would want to give me money for my work....’ says Fi. It’s not hyperbole to say bluebellgray has become an international brand, selling in the US, Canada, Australia
and New Zealand, as well as in the UK through John Lewis, other retailers, its own website and showroom, opened last year in Glasgow. ‘Yes, it’s all very exciting,’ says Fi, who thinks she owes a lot of the company’s success to being taken on by Brits’ favourite department store in 2011. But just being in John Lewis isn’t, of course, a guarantee of retail stardom. You need skill, authenticity and an understanding of what your customers want. Skill and authenticity are
very much at the heart of bluebellgray. Fi loves to paint flowers and is very skilled at painting them - she studies them closely so she can capture their essence and likeness in her own unique style. ‘Well I do think we make things that people like to look at - that said our customers are mostly women. But everyone loves flowers because they’re very beautiful and uplifting,’ says Fi. ‘Flowers have always been present in art and have that universal appeal.’
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‘I’m not one for small tight designs, I like my flowers to be large and painterly and I love the softness you get with watercolour.’
Left: Lola is an abstract design and it’s available as a hand-tufted or digitally-printed wool rug. Rugs from £415. Below left: Catrin cushion Below: curtains in Wisteria linen £85 per m
A lot a floral designs in the 19th and 20th century were quite small and tight with a strict repeat - think about those ‘30s flowery wallpapers - so among the reasons why Fi’s designs have struck such a chord with us is their scale and a carefree looseness to them that means they avoid that potentially
boring tight repeat. And of course developments in digital printing have allowed Fi’s paintings to move from paper to fabric without losing the brush strokes or the sense of the watercolours ebbing and flowing into each other with the ensuing slightly blurry edges.
bluebellgray’s colour palette is also very pretty and gentle and easy to incorporate into modern or more traditional homes. ‘I like pastel shades and I do love pink - I don’t know why it gets such as bad press - and I like colours to have that slight.. how can I put it... edge of dirtiness to them to knock
Fi’s favourite fabric is linen, one of the most eco-friendly. And making to last is her guiding principle when it comes to sustainability
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Above left: new Kippen oversized design. Wallpapers are uncoated and printed in the UK. Top right: the Glasgow showroom
Above, centre: bluebellgray’s high impact wallpaper collection launched last year and is doing its bit to get us back into feature walls.
Above: tassles (£9) in those delicious bbg colours are among the accessories on offer. Look out for candles, bags and curtain ties too.
them back a bit. I do have occasional pops of neon but really primary colours are not really my thing,’ says Fi. Fi says environmental considerations are important to her and the company. She grew up in Fort William in the Scottish Highlands and has that inherent love of nature that comes from growing up in it. So it’s perhaps not surprising to find that her favourite fabric is linen, it being one of the most sustainable fibres. ‘I love the way linen takes dye, the way it drapes and it wears so well. It’s eco-friendly and breathable and is generally fantastic. ‘And what’s important to me is to make products that last. When you buy one of our wool rugs, for example, with a bit of care it should last you a lifetime.’ Manufacturing locally is important, so cushions and fabrics are made in the UK, while rugs are digitally-printed in the Netherlands. The bluebellgray collection is growing all the time. From cushions and fabrics it now offers rugs, wallpapers, lampshades, curtain tiebacks ceramics, trays and giclee prints and when looked at as a brand, it’s one that is, well,
joyful and full of personality. It’s colourful, full of flowers, it’s pretty and feminine but without being too girly-girl. ‘Because I paint and those paintings are the start of our collections, I think people sense there’s heart and soul and integrity to what we do. I am a bit of a hippy I suppose and I do paint from my heart,’ says Fi. And while she has of course learned a lot about business and marketing and no doubt knows her way around a balance sheet, you feel this is a company that is in no way rapacious. ‘I just want people to have things that give them a bit of joy in their lives,’ says Fi.
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If you think statement walls have had their day, well Fi Douglas begs to differ. She’s a fan and points out that a stunning wallpaper can work like a piece of art - and it’ll be much cheaper than an oil painting!
‘I do paint from my heart’ Fi Douglas
Above: flowers on a grand scale - Florrie wallpaper Far left: soft lilacs, greys, blues and yellows in the abstract Morar design, seen here in linen curtains Left: Fumikko cherry blossom wallpaper and Wisteria lampshade. Lampshades from £70, wallpapers, printed to order, from £155 per 10m roll.
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Pour me a floor! Sphere8 poured resin floors are bio-based and have none of the toxicity of epoxy resin
A Sphere8 poured resin floor is seamless, which gives a lovely smooth surface that flows from room to room. The castor oil-based resin can be colour matched to pretty much any shade.
Deciding on flooring for your home can be surprisingly difficult. There’s carpet, wood, stone, ceramic tile, vinyl and resilient flooring...but for those who want an easy maintence smooth floor that doesn’t have joins, and which has good eco credentials, enter the bio resin poured floor. This material - which can also be used on walls - is poured to a depth of just 4mm and offers a seamless floor that can flow from room to room. Sweep it and wash it regularly (but use a non soap spray) and it’ll reward you with many years’ service. Sphere8 is a London-based company offer bio-based poured resin flooring and it explains the environmental and health benefits:
*firstly, the material has castor oil as its core ingredient, so it’s bio-based rather than derived from petro-chemicals; *it doesn’t off-gas so is a good choice if good indoor air quality is a priority. Castor oil bean-based resins Industry is looking to use biodegradable materials, non-polluting and biomass products, and castor oilbased polyurethane resin is a good alternative to formaldehyde-based resins. Castor is a sustainable plant (and one that must be handled very carefully as castor beans are the source of the deadly poison ricin) that thrives in Asia and tropical regions and as such castor
oil is increasingly seen as a bio-product that can help the vinyl flooring industry move away from petrochemicals as the core ingredient. The use of renewable raw materials reduces fossil-fuel dependency and can help mitigate climate change. Q&A with Isobel Stewart at Sphere8 What are the advantages of a poured resin floor over, say, a vinyl floor? Obviously there are the eco benefits of using a sustainably-derived product. But when it comes to vinyl or rubber flooring, these floors tend to come in sheets or tile form, so you don’t have the wastage associated with them
Our floors are poured and are built-up in layers so they are completely seamless in any interior. We can work within any space and over several floors. We have expert installers who carry out our projects – so you don’t need to source or pay for a third-party installer. We also offer complete flexibility in colour and design – unlike vinyl flooring that comes in set ranges. A poured floor - it sounds like it could be very messy to install! It’s definitely an expert process, but it’s not that messy! Essentially our floors are made up of several layers that are each poured and then allowed to cure – they
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You can clad stairs in poured resin to - be as dramatic as you like!
This image: poured bio-resin flooring is perfect for clean contemporary design Below: the flooring is built up in layers to a depth of just 4mm
are poured from a bucket, and spread carefully using a trowel. So in a standard residential project we would first check the subfloor (and recommend any repairs if necessary) and then pour the first primer layer. A second primer layer is added (these are about 1mm together), before the base coat. The body coat (the thickest layer at about 2mm) contains the pigment – determining what colour your floor is. Then we lay 1 – 2 seal coats which are UV stable and create the final matt silk finish.
This image: interior designer Paul Warren chose a Sphere8 floor for the large basement kitchen of this south London house
How does a poured floor score on longevity - if you have it in your home and you have kids running around, is it easy to look after? These floors are very durable. We advise that if you have young children or a lot of foot traffic to perhaps steer clear of a solid white floor. In general, the more ‘noise’ a floor has (i.e. movement of colour/terrazzo aggregate) the better it is at disguising
the odd scratch, dirt or dust. A solid gloss floor in a light colour probably does require a more pristine lifestyle. But as long as you use common sense, poured resin floors are as easy to maintain as carpet, wood or vinyl. In terms of price how does resin compare to say stone/ porcelain tiles or Amtico vinyl? Our floors work out from £150 m2 so thay may be more expensive than ceramic tiles – but remember our price does include all materials and installation. Over a large area, we are a similar price to Amtico. I would stress there’s no wastage with resin, we charge only for what we pour. Are more Brits becoming receptive to the idea of a poured resin floor? The market here is growing. People are coming to us for floors that look like polished concrete or because they want a soft warm easycare floor. www.sphere8.com
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Paeans of praise for peonies Nurseryman Alec White of Befordshire’s Primrose Hall Nursery urges us to fill our gardens with peonies, that most lushly petalled beauty
Above: peonies are very easy to grow, just follow a few simple rules when planting and they will bloom spring after spring Right: if pink’s your colour, then Peony Sarah Bernhardt is an excellent choice
Peonies are possibly the most indulgent of all flowers. Impervious to the harshest of winters they emerge spring after spring and light up the garden with masses of beautifully decadent blooms. Then, before we’ve really had time to appreciate them, they’re gone...petals scattered on the spring breeze leaving nothing but their perfume in the air.
The sheer size of the flower is impressive, with many of the intersectional peonies producing flowers the size of dinner plates and with colours ranging from white to yellow, pink to purple and everything in between. There are single, semi-double and double flowers, all of which are exceptionally beautiful and that’s before you get to the deliciously fragrant varieties.
Many of us are put off growing peonies because of the relatively short flowering season. And there’s an assumption they’re a difficult flower to grow, one best left for the professional gardener, the truly green-fingered.
In fact most peonies are fragrant, but some more so than others. For example, Peony lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’ AGM is an exquisite double white flower with a cream centre and the most delightful perfume.
But that’s not the case at all, because peonies are an excellent low-maintenance plant, perfect for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. Don’t be afraid of them, they’re very obliging!
And a personal favourite are the delicate blush flowers of Peony lactiflora ‘Catharina Fontijn’ which produce quite an intense perfume. Few other plants can boast such attributes as the peony.
How to grow peonies * Don’t plant too deeply. The tuberous roots shouldn’t be more than about 2.5cm below the surface. Any deeper and they may give wonderful foliage but they simply won’t flower. So if you have a peony that isn’t flowering, it’s probably because it was been planted too deeply or perhaps inadvertently got buried. In whch case just wait until autumn and taking care not to damage the buds on the roots, lift the peony and re-plant it at the right depth.
* Plant in a sunny position. Though many varieties will tolerate some shade (for eg Peony lactiflora ‘White Wings’) if your peony is in heavy shade it will be reluctant to flower well. * Plant in fertile, free draining soil. Peonies are not generally too fussy about the soil and are quite happy in chalky or clay soil provided it’s free draining. One thing they don’t like is sittting in water in winter. As you can see, the rules
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Above: Peony ‘Lollipop’ Below: Peony Duchesse de Nemours Right: Peony Coral Charm Below Right: Peony Red Charm
really only apply to planting your peony. Once in the ground it will be quite content to be left alone. In fact if you have rich, fertile soil you probably don’t need to feed it; but if your soil is not so good a balanced general fertiliser such as Growmore applied in
spring should do the trick. It’s also a good idea to cut back and remove dead leaves in autumn to avoid the plant wilting. I hope I can encourage you to develop a love of peonies because they’re truly a highlight of the year. The show they put on may be
relatively short - but my goodness what a show it is. Peonies’ hardiness, low maintenance and longevity are reasons enough to be charmed by them - but it’s their abundance, colour and fragrance that make them so heartstopping. www.primrosehall.co.uk
‘Peonies are an excellent low-maintenance plant, perfect for beginner gardeners.’ Alec White, expert grower
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Better Shelter Flat-packed refugee shelter wins award for best design
Better Shelter has won the architecture prize in the Beazley Design Of The Year awards, now in their ninth year. Designed by Johan Karlsson, Dennis Kanter, Nicolò Barlera Christian Gustafsson, John van Leer, Tim de Haas, the IKEA Foundation and UNHCR, these shelters provide more dignified homes for people who’ve been displaced by war or natural disasters; presently more than 30,000 Better Shelters are in use around the world, including in refugee camps in the Middle East. Better Shelter is a social
enterprise bringing design industry innovation to emergency and temporary shelter in a time of ever growing need. Featuring a lockable front door and a solar-powered wall, this award-winning shelter took the flat-pack technology found in furniture design and used it to create a home that can be easily assembled and transported. It’s delivered in a two-box kit along with all the required tools, and would take two-four people around four hours to assemble it. The photovoltaic panel provides enough energy to
power the supplied light or to charge a mobile phone. The judges chose Better Shelter as the winner
because it offers ‘a clear demonstration of scalable design that has the ability to make a worldwide impact.’
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Published on Feb 17, 2017
Deco mag, based in London, is for everyone who loves great design and stylish interiors but wants to do things in the most eco friendly way....