Designer Magazine - September Issue 2021

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SEPTEMBER 2021 253

designer signer Fresh Thinking

Why the future of design is in safe hands

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Connect from Boss Design |

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Welcome to the September issue of Designer. Something that we on the magazine have always felt passionately about is the importance of encouraging new design talent. After all, the flow of new ideas and fresh perspectives is what makes the creative sector what it is – innovative, visionary and full of ideas. One of many unfortunate impacts of the pandemic has been the greatly-reduced opportunities for design students – not just in terms of the widespread suspension of faceto-face tuition during lockdown, but also the curtailment of some of the valuable opportunities they would usually have to show-off their work. The annual New Designers exhibition for example has not taken place for two years now – although organisers did a great job with highlighting some future stars with its online presence.

It’s clear that there is some truly inspiring emerging talent out there – and hugely reassuring to see that the future of the design industry looks to be in such very safe and creative hands.

M ar t in Martin Allen-Smith Editor, Designer

e: w:

@designeratiUK designeratiUK @designeratiUK


Esteemed design journalist Barbara Chandler decided that the brilliant work of talented students up and down the country should not go unnoticed however, so she took to the tracks to visit as many of the leading design colleges and universities as she could to meet and photograph them. This month, she shares with us some of the people she met along with a look at their brilliant designs, ahead of an enlightening exhibition that she has helped to curate of ‘Green Grads’ at the Planted exhibition taking place in London’s King’s Cross this month.



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Photo: Carlo William Rossi + Fabio Mureddu — AD: ps+a

CONCA design Ludovica+Roberto Palomba

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CONTENTS 26 08 SOURCE Our monthly round-up of the people, products and events that matter from across the design sector 18 SHOWROOMS Art meets practical office solutions at the bold new showroom for Frem, located in a former London print works 20 IDEAS MAN Sven Baacke explains the evolutionary process behind Gaggenau’s kitchen appliance technology and design philosophy 26 CREATIVE FUTURES With limited scope to exhibit their work over the past year, opportunities for new design graduates have been few and far

48 between. Barbara Chandler decided to go and meet some of the new creative talent on their own patch for a whistle-stop tour of some inspiring degree shows 40 ONE AND ONLY Jana Novakovic, Co-Founder of QUADO, offers some thoughts on how to pick a manufacturer for bespoke work 42 SPACE TO GROW With flexibility at the top of the agenda for many businesses, this new shared workspace in Central London is aimed at those looking for an agile mix of working and meeting areas

48 TREASURE ISLAND Often a focal point for any home, the kitchen island can sometimes take on a whole new level of attention-grabbing style, as in this sumptuous contemporary scheme 54 CREATIVE CAPITAL A look ahead to this month’s London Design Festival and the new Design London 60 STORIES FROM INDIA Drawing inspiration from the history and heritage of the food being served, this multi-layered London restaurant design transports visitors to a distant land 66 EXIT One last thing from this month’s magazine…


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Designer Magazine is published monthly by The DS Group 7 Faraday Close, Oakwood Industrial Estate, Clacton-On-Sea, Essex CO15 4TR Tel: 020 3538 0268

To subscribe email or phone 020 3538 0268. Only those who meet the terms of our controlled circulation are eligible to receive a free copy of Designer Magazine. If you do not reach the criteria, subscription rates are UK £35, Europe £70, Worldwide £115

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Future Thinkers Sir Terence Conran

Anya Hindmarch

The Conran Shop has announced Cameron Rowley as the winner of its inaugural Designer of the Future Award. The Award was launched this year, following the sad passing of The Conran Shop’s iconic founder Sir Terence Conran in 2020. At £40,000, the Designer of the Future Award is the highest-value award in British design. Together with a paid internship and cash prize of £3,000, this investment will be used to develop and market Rowley’s design into an exclusive retail product. Rowley, 23, a recent Kingston University graduate, won with his unique, useful and uplifting design, the One Step Ladder. He said: “When using step stools and ladders around the house, it is usually for a very brief moment and with only one step. I wanted to create an object that facilitated this behaviour while maintaining a smaller footprint. My ladder is a domestic tool, inspired by objects of use. Borrowing features from utilitarian tools and other implements, it is for use around the house; retrieving items from tall kitchen cabinets or dusting cobwebs from the ceiling. Like its derivative objects, its beauty is a consequence of its process and function.” The One Step Ladder was chosen over 97 entries and 11 other finalists by the Award’s panel of judges which included architect Lord Norman Foster, designer Anya Hindmarch, and The Conran Shop Chief Creative Officer Stephen Briars. The judges said of the winning design: “Sir Terence Conran always voiced a philosophy of good design being ‘plain, simple, useful’. This is a good solution to a frequent challenge; its purpose is easy to see and understand. Elegantly executed, it also serves as a great looking product.” Javad Marandi, owner of the Conran Shop, said: “Sir Terence was a trailblazer and an innovator. Admired all over the world, he was a great British success story and was responsible for ushering in a bold new era of contemporary design. The Award will help enable future generations of new designers to prosper and uphold the traditions he set.”

The Conran Shop /


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Sun Shine

Shades of Glaze

Complex glazes are used in the manufacturing process for the sinks in the Mottled Collection by Whitebirk Sink Company, producing a vibrant and distinctive contemporary look. All sinks are handmade at the company’s factory in Lancashire.

Whitebirk Sink Company /


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HOME FROM WORK With a workspace set to become a part of the fabric of the home, BoConcept’s Cupertino aims to strike the right work/home balance. With a clean, minimalist aesthetic, it has been designed to bring a feeling of calm to an office, study or designated workspace. The Cupertino is now available in two additional colour combinations: dark oak with matte black and oak with ash grey. Whether integrating into a large space or a small, city-style apartment, it can be customised to complement any home and features a scratch-resistant surface.

BoConcept /


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The tap that does it all 100°C BOILING, CHILLED AND SPARKLING WATER With a Quooker in your kitchen you always have 100ºC boiling water alongside regular hot and cold. Add a CUBE and you will also have chilled, filtered sparkling water – all from the same tap.

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Refined and Reclined Lightweight in form and environmental footprint, Kata by Altherr Désile Park is designed with circular sustainability at its core. Arper’s first solid wood lounge chair, Kata takes inspiration from artisanmade wood and woven straw chairs and reimagines the near universal typology using contemporary, sustainable solutions. It is one of a number of products from the brand’s 2021 collections which will be on show during Clerkewell Open, a two-day showroom trail event on 9-10 September to celebrate the reopening of the furniture and design spaces in this creative district of London.

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Seating Evolution

Designer Awards 2021

Judging has been taking place for this year’s Designer Awards, with shortlists across all categories to be announced this month… A panel of expert judges from across the design, architecture, and interiors sectors have been assessing what was another bumper crop of entries for this year’s Designer Awards. Despite the challenges of a year blighted by lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions, the number and quality of entries received was impressive, with innovative, high-quality projects in all categories. Martin Allen-Smith, Editor of Designer, said: “Judging was once again held remotely this year, but we were hugely impressed with the entries this year. Right across the board we received some fantastic projects and products to consider – many more than we had expected given how operationally difficult the past year and a half has been for many in our industry. “It’s testament to the professionalism and determination of many of the designers and manufacturers out there than they have achieved as close to ‘business as usual’ as they could in such tricky circumstances, and we look forward to rewarding the very best for their considerable efforts when we reveal the winners later this year.”

Designer Awards 2021 /

Look out for this year’s awards shortlists which will be revealed for all categories during September across Designer’s social media channels and on Winners will be announced at the gala presentation event on Friday 12 November at the Grand Connaught Rooms, Covent Garden, London. To book your tickets, visit


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During the last lockdown, office furniture manufacturer Frem Group moved in to a striking former print works carrying out a sympathetic refurbishment to the historic London building. The building’s high windows allow light to flood in throughout the space, where the brand’s furniture is showcased across three floors. Alongside products from Frem’s portfolio, the showroom also features contemporary artwork complementing each range. Its social initiative – Frem Supports the Arts – creates a platform for British artists to display their work, showing how art sits comfortably with commercial furniture. Pieces on show include work by artist Glen Farrelly.


The lower ground floor is designed to be an oasis of calm, with contemplative artwork and a selection of hubs, booths and pods. Clever tech features too, including anti-viral lighting solutions which deactivate pathogens, CO2 sensors which automatically increase air flow, and personalised lighting controls to help concentration and reduce anxiety. The ground floor has a different energy, with agility and collaboration the theme, showing how workspaces can be made to work more effectively.


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Frem / 84 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RF /


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Ideas Man

Gaggenau’s Head of Design Sven Baacke talks to Martin Allen-Smith about the evolutionary process behind the brand’s kitchen appliance technology and design philosophy

Gaggenau Brand Centre at Lipsheim, France

DESIGNER: It’s been a few years since we last spoke and much has changed in the world. How has Gaggenau steered though the past year or so in particular? Sven Baacke: It’s interesting really, but last year when the pandemic started, many of us thought we will be fine. I live in a safe city, with a job and a place to live, so lockdown didn’t seem quite so bad in some ways. It was nice to spend more time with family and to work at home for a while. That was 2020, but when

it came to 2021, that was when it became really hard for people. I think there was a general sense that we have had enough of isolation and we need to see each other. Personally, I really have missed Milan, and I missed London, and the chance to go out and find inspiration. Of course, we have seen people all the time but only through a screen. So it really was tough. From the business point of view, the good thing is, a lot of people really invested in their homes, because they have been spending more time there.

This includes the kitchen of course. So this is good for brands like Gaggenau, although not that easy because we ourselves had to close for some of the time during lockdown, but overall, I think we coped very well with these very difficult circumstances. It is especially good now that we have started to see each other again – we recently had some workshops with inter-disciplinary teams. It only involved small groups of up to 15 people but to see and interact with other people was just unbelievable. I’m sure everyone can relate to that.


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Gaggenau’s Vario downdraft ventilation 400 Series


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began, what implications do changing work/life patterns for consumers have on the kinds of products they want in their kitchen?

Gaggenau Head of Design Sven Baacke

DESIGNER: How far are we from true ‘normality’ at the moment? Baacke: Everyone used to say that a lot of the digitalisation of work such as remote working was just not practical and would not work. The forced change during the lockdown meant that people got up to speed very quickly with new platforms and ways of working. The systems and stability of IT connectivity have been reinforced, and people working from home now feels more natural than it did before. I think people generally will be working perhaps around 50% from home in the future if they can. How far are we from everyone being back at the office full time? Well, things have changed, and even when we look for a potential new flat or house in future, we will be considering where within the space might be suitable for work. And it certainly means people do not have to live close to the centre of cities as much as they did, and over the decades to come, that will change buildings and the way we look at cities in the future. DESIGNER: With a renewed focus on the home since the pandemic

Baacke: What has massively changed is that it meant that people really use their kitchen again for lunchtime and this has really prompted people to renovate, invest in, and improve their home. Here in Munich at the moment it is very difficult to find a carpenter or builder because everyone is doing this and they are in such demand. But it has also marked a shift towards better quality kitchens I think. When you are spending a lot of time at home then you see what’s good and what’s not so good in your space. So, these changing life patterns mean that people cook differently, eat differently, do so more often together as a family perhaps. The kitchen itself is becoming more integrated, more part of the architecture. The pandemic has emphasised some of these trends and, as with digitalisation, things are accelerating more quickly than they otherwise would. DESIGNER: New products such as the flex-induction cooktop with integrated ventilation add something different to the Gaggenau product portfolio. What was some of the design thinking behind this product? Baacke: The idea for this kind of product was invented by Gaggenau back in the 1980s, with downdraft extractors that removed the need to have a hood up above the hob. Through technology and the move towards seamless kitchen and living spaces, this was a development that reemerged. Extraction like this is more integrated, with more recirculation options thanks to different filter techniques that are really working

now and which maybe 20 or 30 years ago were not quite there. So now we have easy-to-install solutions that are nearly invisible and are without compromise on the professional kitchen principle, which is really important for Gaggenau. It is a better solution for many users; it offers a better choice for architects and kitchen designers, because although for some the objective is for highly visible, showcase kitchens, others strive for a more invisible design that really hides a lot of the functionality. It was vital for us that although this product is beautiful and integrated, there is absolutely no compromise on the quality of its performance. That would not be the way for Gaggenau. What’s also important for us to remember is that when people choose our brand, it tends not to be for one oven or one fridge; they are looking to buy the full range of appliances. This requires holistic thinking – so we do not focus on just one or two key product ranges because really it is about the interplay of appliances within the kitchen. So we try to ensure a consistency in controls and a wow-factor across the whole user experience. DESIGNER: The principle of smart home technology is not new, but it does seem to be evolving rapidly. What are your thoughts on where we are now with such technology – and where might we be heading? Baacke: We discuss this a lot within Gaggenau, because ours is a very tactile and very tangible brand. We have clear controls, that are solid and good to touch. We also have touch displays, and we have connectivity that enables you to control products using an app on your phone. But when it comes to such connectivity, we have a lot of


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discussion in Germany and across Europe about concerns over data, whereas in the US and China this is not really a discussion – to give such data and to be a transparent user. Many roads lead to Rome, and for us it means controls have to meet many different needs and preferences. On our ovens there are two knobs; if you turn one, you can access the cooking modes and the other is the temperature. If my grandma was still alive, she could use the appliance. But if you want to go deeper, there are a lot of other functions or setups within the menu that you can explore, but you don’t have to. So when it comes to ‘smart appliances’, we’ve all been searching for many years for this ‘killer application’, but I don’t think it’s about expecting a whole new way of life where I will always want to operate my oven from the car on the way home. But eventually, that two or three or even ten times a year that I decide to do so, is great because I can. This is how ‘smart’ has changed. It’s not all about clever technology, it is much more about convenience for the user. DESIGNER: What are the biggest factors you and your team are considering now when developing ideas for the next generation of products? Where do you get your

inspiration for these and how do you attempt to forecast future directions for consumers and developers? Baacke: We try to jump forward to a point in time – not just a couple of years, which are fairly easy to imagine, but way ahead to something like 2040. We collect a lot of ideas of how it could be, how people could live, how they will travel, and what they will think about food. So we come up with this scenario and then try to do some kind of ‘backcasting’ where we jump back to something closer to today, such as 2025 and see how some of these ideas might begin to manifest. For Gaggenau, we do not renew our product range every three years, it is really for a much longer period of time. When we launch a new product, it really is for a long period of time and as a result our new launches can feel a little bit ahead of time. It may mean that sometimes they feel like they are not exactly on point, but it is really important to stretch a little bit so that you start off ahead of the game and do not get outdated. So this backcasting approach works well for us because we can approach the challenge from two sides and have a better idea of what will really work for Gaggenau in 2025. And we really have to lead

this and present the vision, because you cannot ask a consumer to imagine what they will want in the future. Many years ago, if you asked someone how to improve transport, they would have asked for a faster horse because they had no way of knowing what else was to come. We as a company need to read between the lines to understand the needs of consumers and customers, so we work with chefs, architects, designers, mechanics, chemists, psychologists, engineers etc. There is a large group of people who we engage with to develop our next steps. In former times, you had an idea, wrote it down, turned it into a product, and this process took three years. Then by the time it has gone into the market, the world has changed and suddenly the product is not so good. Now we do it differently; it’s much more collaborative, and evolutionary, with lots of scope for incremental adjustment and improvement. The approach is much better – you fail early rather than at the end of a three-year process, and the resulting products are credible and right for the market. It’s hard sometimes for some people to imagine the soft phase of a product development can be so long, but in these times when things are moving so fast, it really is crucial.

Gaggenau / 24

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With limited scope to exhibit their work over the past year, opportunities for new design graduates have been few and far between. Barbara Chandler decided to go and meet some of the new creative talent on their own patch for a whistle-stop tour of some inspiring degree shows… Design graduate showcase New Designers has been cancelled two years running, temporarily cutting off a vital showcase of new design talent. So instead, photographer and design advocate Barbara Chandler, known for her long-running columns in the Evening Standard, toured the country visiting the few degree shows there were, or meeting graduates in personal sessions. She visited Kingston, Brighton, Plymouth, Stoke, Loughborough, Leicester and Manchester, and numerous shows in London. She said: “I have a huge archive of photography taken at New Designers over the years, which was planned for a

solo show last year. But of course, it was cancelled, and this year as well. So I’ve been filling in the gaps of 20/21, hopefully for a show at New Designers next year.” Chandler has also been scouting for Green Grads, a show she is curating of the work of new graduates championing biophilia and sustainability to be held at the Samsung KX experience space in King’s Cross 25-26 September, as part of Planted, the world’s first zero-waste design show. We meet some of the designers from across the disciplines that Barbara has discovered, and learn about some of their innovative creations…


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The future is beautiful if this crystal ball is anything to go by. Giles Fearon could not reveal my destiny, but did share secrets of his glass making at Manchester School of Art. “You’ve got to deflate the glass bubble with random indentations, forcing the molten glass to touch and connect inside. Then you blow the bubble back out and the glass finds its own natural path.” That part can take up to 45 minutes but then there’s all of a day grinding and polishing. And it hasn’t helped that the workshop has been closed for months, so Giles was working out his ideas in things like clay and wood and even ice, checking into Uni on Zoom calls

Ameera Azami made lockdown positive. She sat in her bedroom turning waste into textile fibres and then weaving them into strips and squares – plastic bags, old clothes, and more besides – and has a clutch of beautiful samples full of possibilities. Now she’s made the ‘memory’ bench. Old clothes with particular meaning can be woven into a beautiful lasting treasure.

Meet Ellie Perry, graduating from Furniture and Product Design at Kingston Uni. She’s been testing glazes made from industrial waste which cuts out using mined raw materials – “did you know that, for example, the world is running out of sand?”

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Callum Wardle, graduate of Product and Furniture Design Kingston Uni, collected waste from the beaches of Devon, and transformed it into a robust material for beach toys which will be rented out by beach authorities for use over and over again, thus closing the loop. In the great tradition of Marcel Duchamp, Louis Eager (graduate of Furniture and Product Design Kingston Uni) is having fun with “ready-mades”. Door handles, scrubbing brushes, a glass block, a CD, and even the humble loo plunger get a new life, not simply as art, but as things you can use.

This is Cameron Rowley climbing up the wall on his super-simple One Rung ladder, which won the Conran prize at New Designers online this summer. All you need to reach that top shelf – and so beautifully made with split shaft.

Mona Marina is an Austrian designer and artist who this year graduated from the 3D Design course at Plymouth University. She has invented Materorganic, a new material made from food waste which can be used as a glue, a filler or a coating. “I used tangerine, lemon and lime peel, coffee grounds, waste cabbage, and onions,” she explains. Using her new material, she has created Composite, “the organic Frisbee”, embedded with seeds.

Simon Redstone is a skilled willow weaver, who is an award-winning graduate this year from the 3D Designer Maker course at Staffordshire University, and is pushing his craft in new, even modernist, directions, creating elegantly-structured chairs and lights. Coming from a family with extensive experience of willow growing and weaving, he says: “Willow and coppiced wood are beautiful natural sustainable materials and I have in-depth knowledge of both.”


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Will Hardy designed and built this 3D printer in around five months and it’s a super clever bit of kit. It can change tools – they’re attached by magnets to the printing head – so that you can print different materials in one object. What’s more, at around £800, it’s considerably cheaper than others on the market of this level of sophistication. Manufacturers of this type of equipment really should get in touch.

After researching the best body posture to relieve the distress of menstrual cramps Plymouth Uni’s George Sparks created this curved nest of a chair – and sat in it for my picture at her degree show.

“I thought it would be yellow but it was a gorgeous green.” Georgie Apps is sharing the secrets of natural dyes (in this case chamomile) at her exquisite degree show at Loughborough University. Her samples are handwoven from natural fibres, to needle the conscience of the fashion industry.


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Deconstruction pushed to its limits? This chair is simply four pieces of interlocking beech ply secured with a single screw. “No glue,” says Fabio Fariselli firmly. He calls his design Squadra. It can be adapted for stools, benches and tables.

“A tennis ball’s lifespan is incredibly short, they’re one of the biggest waste streams in the sports world. Why not turn them into a more sustainable material instead?” So says Mathilde Wittock, a recent graduate in Product and Industrial Design from Central St Martins. She has created Soundbounce, a clever name for an ingenious and highly tactile sound-absorbing divider screen. Which is made, yes, from used tennis balls collected painstakingly from local clubs, halved with an ingenious S-cut and coloured with eco-dyes. She asks: “Why do we continue to produce and remove matter from an earth which is overrun with natural and artificial waste, accessible, free and already at our disposal?”

Amy Jackson has just graduated from Staffordshire University and now will artist in residence, applying her striking abstract artwork to pitch perfect shapes. She’s already up and trading – so get in quick while you can still afford her.


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Elizabeth Simms is petite and slender but can deliver a powerful bit of puff, casting her own body parts then blowing hot glass into the mould. She sandblasts some of her sculptures smooth but this one has a luscious gloss. She was just one of the artists I met at Plymouth College of Art at their grad show.

The right light in the prison of lockdown can relieve stress and anxiety, said Ben Warner. He has chosen friendly, tactile materials: wood and thin cast bone china, which hide the light source and emits a soft comforting glow. The light, which is rechargeable and thus easy to move around, is part of a collection called Harmony At Home/Lighter Minds, with alternative ceramic shapes in soft neutrals which can stack onto a low base. “Lockdown actually nourished my work,” says Ben cheerfully, who is further developing his bone china casts.

Who could resist the enchanting Alice Gyles – a self-confessed “clay nerd” – and her potty line-up of seriously big creatures, made to inhabit her garden during lockdown. “I like to explore and use London’s local materials,” she says. “So I go out with my bucket and spade searching for clay, minerals and plants.” She has a first in ceramic design from Central St Martin’s, and Alice has some delightful planters and tableware for sale on her website. Here’s a small sample of the moss Phoebe Dunmow is cultivating for her final year project at Kingston University. She says: “People living in small spaces don’t have many surfaces for plants, so I’m taking my greenery up the wall.” She has designed modular wall units in organic shapes – but is still growing the moss because of lockdown restrictions. The visuals, though, are lovely, and all details of watering and fixing are well worked out.

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Here is Chloe Webster, revealing her magical metal working skills. She is evoking the skyline of Stoke. She looked at old photos by Burt Bentley and found a view from Longport Station. Its bottle kilns, factories and local church were her inspiration. Smooth and hammered copper sheet is oxidised with liver of sulphur and diluted ammonia sulphate with resin sections adding bulk. “Lockdown affected me immensely. Copper is a very good heat conductor and needs very high temperatures for metal to soften and solders to flow. I couldn’t safely work at home.”


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Olivia Howick is a 2021 graduate of the Royal College of Art. During lockdown, she made a series of enchantingly ethereal creations from bags of single use plastics garnered from a neighbour. Using heat forming with a sandwich toaster, augmented by hand carving and CNC machining, she fabricated sheets and webs for vessels beautiful enough for any gallery. That sculptural vase? “Oh, milk cartons finally carved with a hand tool.” Colours come from bottle tops and plastic bags. “I want to put a new value on waste. My collection showcases how we can re-think the materials of even our most mundane day-to-day activities.”

Ruth Lloyd, graduating from the Royal College of Art this year, is working with a bacterium called Streptomyces Coelicolor M520. She’s discovered that M520 will dye fabrics as it flourishes. This opens up a new world of natural dye and patterning, where designs are literally ‘grown’ on the cloth. “Days and weeks have been spent learning its preferences and desires, how it thrives, what will encourage its growth, and what will cause it to shrink away or cease to grow at all.”

Graduating this year from the Design Crafts course at De Monfort University this year, Rosie Williams has made Plastic Species, imagined ceramic fossils of the future, where sea creatures are embedded with deadly streaks of plastic. It’s a highly original concept, with strong emotional impact, and her ‘specimens’ are carefully annotated – “a large fossilised fish strangled by fishing line and tangled trash... an example of how ghost fishing equipment lost at sea affects the ocean’s marine life”.


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Graduating last year from the University of Brighton, Imogen Gray has fabricated a new material, a composite of leather scraps, which, unlike leather itself, can be cast in a mould. The designer explains that a staggering 800,000 tonnes of leather scraps end up on landfill annually. “I was driven to prevent leather scraps from local crafts people going to waste.” Imogen won the New Designer of the Year Award 2020 (Environmental Design) in association with Creative Conscience and the Business Design Centre.

Here is Ben Astrop with a cast of characters he has made himself from parts of old computers, bottle tops and plasticene. Using stop animation, they have become a delightful clip you can see on YouTube (search Ben Astrop, More Space). Ben has been studying for the Design Crafts degree at De Montfort Uni but his heart’s in animation, which shows how wonderfully broad our design education is.

Creating her beautiful ceramics at Manchester School of Art was Cicely Peers. She scooped the prestigious Thrown Contemporary Award at New Designers online. She uses 3D printing to painstakingly build her moulds layer by layer. This is her St David’s Collection inspired by the encaustic floor tiles in the mediaeval cathedral to create a powerful blend of old/new crafts and ancient/modern aesthetics. Delivered with all the radiance of the celebrated pure white Parian clay which is self-glazing.

Leonie Edmead is a wondrous weaver. She got a small table loom for lockdown and took over the dining table of her shared house… “well, the others were doing history and English!” Look at all the samples she made. “I hadn’t done wool before. I was a bit nervous in case it snapped and tangled.” Well, it didn’t. The textures are so lovely, with the feel of smocking. And the colours are subtle variations on African-Caribbean themes – she has been rifling through family archives, including remnants from her tailor grandfather.

Meet Claudette Forbes, a former executive director of the London Development Agency. “Now comes my foray into life as a ceramic artist,” she says. And a herd of cows to mark the occasion. They are slip cast in stoneware, and the mould was very tricky. “I’m the child of first generation immigrants. On a trip to Jamaica some 20 years ago, Montego Bay opened its first MacDonald’s – and I noticed a solitary cow in a neighbouring field. I appreciated the irony of that.”


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The cohort 2021 of De Montfort Uni is bursting with talent. And here is Henry Bright which seems an apt name for the maker of such vibrant pieces. Locked away in Nottingham during Covid, his walks took him past numerous sports stadia. He has expressed the colour and movement of crowds by rolling coloured canes into his lively and uplifting chunky bowls and plates, which I saw at his degree show in Leicester.

Connie Brownjohn graduated from Brighton University this summer. She explored the “rewilding” of Knepp Estate in East Sussex, which was started in 2001. Connie also wandered around adjacent farmland given over to industrial agriculture. Her final imagery, brimming with landscape and animals, contrasts the two approaches/aesthetics, linked with a strong colour palette dominated by orange, olive and brown.

Selina Ayse calls her embroidery slow sewing making these lovely panels entirely by hand. A five-week residency in Slovakia confirmed her love of handicrafts (including basketry), and has added a touch of folk art to some of her designs. She loves to work in monochrome, revealing the pure beauty of the threads. “Sewing by hand is so good for mental health and general wellbeing,” she told me, volunteering her services at community workshops.

SEE MORE… Over 30 design graduates focusing on the wider issues of sustainability and presenting a cleaner, greener way to live will showcase their work for the first time at Planted, the first zero waste design event in the world from 25-26 September at Samsung KX, Coal Drops Yard, Kings’s Cross, London. Planted / Discover more of Barbara Chandler’s photography of graduates’ work and many other weird and wonderful design sights on Instagram at


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Read more exclusive interviews at

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#DesignerLeaders, a series of interviews with senior professionals who share their experience, insight and vision of both the current and future business role for design and creativity.

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One and Only

Jana Novakovic, Co-Founder of QUADO, offers some thoughts on how to pick a manufacturer for bespoke work Let’s start with the budget… Budget levels are a quick and easy way to eliminate a number of manufacturers – a good thing because it is difficult to make a decision when you have too many initial options. All the same, budgets are a fine balancing act. You do not want to go over budget, but neither should you fall too far under budget; watch out for repercussions on quality and quantity.

Established or new? Established manufacturers come with experience and an existing reputation and it may be good for your project to get a well-known brand behind your design. Young manufacturers who are less well known may be more willing on the other hand to compromise in the designer’s favour or go the extra mile to impress a new designer and client.

Another easy elimination is the manufacturers who may not have the capacity to produce the quantities you need. At the same time, it is good to be aware that some manufacturers with big operations will not do projects under a certain quantity. It is also usually a good sign when a manufacturer tells you they cannot take on a project immediately. It means they care about their work and will not risk compromising the final product.

Where does their expertise lie? All manufacturers have certain strengths, from highly-detailed, traditional woodworking to minimalist Scandinavian style, for example, whilst projects require very different skillsets too. Manufacturing for a luxury private residential job needs different knowledge to manufacturing for a big hotel. Always ask to see previous work to be sure, ideally in person.

Is it better to choose a large or small manufacturer? Big manufacturers are more likely to have larger capacity and shorter turn-around times. Economies of scale might also mean better pricing. But larger companies can be more set in their ways and inflexible when it comes to changes or special touches. Smaller manufacturers might struggle to produce high quantities without a long lead time but can often be more willing to make changes along the way and think outside the box when it comes to any challenges.


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How organised are they? This aspect of choosing a manufacturer is often overlooked but can become a real burden as a project progresses if you get it wrong. Start by thinking about your own management expectations. Do you want to oversee the co-ordination process from a distance or be fully involved in every aspect? Designers are often responsible for co-ordinating various manufacturers and tasks as well as liaising with the client, all whilst producing design work. Working with an organised manufacturer can be a great asset if it frees you to be more creative.

Test out their communication skills There’s a fine balance between not communicating enough and communicating too much, and both extremes can be a drain. If it is difficult to get a hold of someone, or they do not express themselves well, gaps can occur in scheduling – and the final product can be surprising. On the other hand, if you are being pestered about the smallest thing, it can be very time-consuming. The shop drawing process is the biggest part of this and can make or break a project. A supplier who can communicate the design through shop drawings speaks a common language. Having good personal relationships can really help this process. Where are they located? Ask yourself this both in relation to your location and the project’s location. If you expect to be very involved in the manufacturing process, it will be important that it is easy to get to. Quality control visits can be pivotal. More gets done during a factory visit than you could ever do via shop drawings, calls and emails. As for the project location, it is always extremely helpful when someone from the manufacturing team can support the installation process on site. Shipping across the world can be tricky for many reasons, from storage issues to customs delays, so if you are shipping from afar, be prepared to deal with things that could go wrong. And always keep environmental impact in mind!


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To find out more information, please speak to your Regional Account Manager JENNA FYFE












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View of the bar in the ground floor café lounge at 16 Dufour’s Place in London’s Soho

Various working areas on the workspace floors


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SPACE TO GROW With flexibility at the top of the agenda for many businesses, this new shared workspace in Central London is aimed at those looking for an agile mix of working and meeting areas

Photography: Great Portland Estates


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Kitchen area on the workspace floors


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E Bookable meeting room and large WiFi-enabled shared lounge on the ground floor

dge has recently completed a 16,300 sq ft fully-fitted, fully-managed workspace at 16 Dufour’s Place in Soho, London, for Great Portland Estates. The space offers seven self-contained, private floors for seven companies, available on a fully-managed basis. Increasing demand for this type of workspace has been driven by companies looking to move away from the confines of traditional leases into a new, hassle-free home. Michael Fern, Director at Edge, says: “We worked with GPE to design this new concept as a step-up from more standard co-working environments. It’s attractive to occupiers who are growing cautiously, giving them a sense of ownership without being tied down to an unbreakable lease. “The private floors at 16 Dufour’s Place have plenty of space that occupiers can brand their way. With their own facilities – including meeting rooms, kitchen and breakout spaces – they also have the benefit of a communal lounge space with café bar, additional meeting space and great outdoor spaces.” Flexibility is at the heart of the interior design. Private workspaces can be adapted to accommodate growth or changing business requirements with minimal physical alterations, while the aesthetic was developed to ensure longevity and deliver contemporary insertions of materials, furniture and finishes in order to feel relevant to the Soho customer base. A sustainable approach was hugely important to Great Portland Estates and was woven into each element of the design. This was recognised with a SKA Gold rating.


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Ground floor shared courtyard space Below: The workspace floors offer a choice of private meeting rooms

The building has a wealth of integrated tech which is managed via Great Portland Estate’s smart workplace app Sesame. It gives users access to features such as contactless entry, environmental control, desk and meeting room booking functionality, 150+ free newspapers and magazines, and a dedicated lifestyle concierge. Philippa O’Flynn, Portfolio Manager at Great Portland Estates, said: “The team at Edge combined our strategic objectives into a warm and contemporary occupier experience that is already generating significant interest, based on its Soho location and our new serviceled approach to building long lasting relationships with our occupiers.”

Edge / 46

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Drink. Prep. Clean. Everything you need, all in one place. The new 4-in-1 EVOL-S Pro boiling and filtered water tap seamlessly combines with sinks and in-cabinet organisers to create the perfect BLANCO UNIT at the heart of a home. Discover the stunning EVOL-S at

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Photography: Denis Dalmasso


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The island in this kitchen by Charlotte Raynaud Hegenbart features HI-MACS Ispani for the worksurface and HI-MACS peanut butter for the island base


Often a focal point for any home, the kitchen island can sometimes take on a whole new level of attention-grabbing style, as in this sumptuous contemporary scheme


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his creative design from Charlotte Raynaud Hegenbart combines a visually seamless HI-MACS island unit with bespoke joinery from Hegenbart Cabinetmakers. The island draws the eye with its simple yet sophisticated finish. With a natural, sinuous flow, the island is layered in different shades of HI-MACS and contrasting metallic detail. The island top and upper sides are in Ispani, chosen for its even veining similar to that of natural stone. Peanut butter was chosen for the island base because of its similarity to the natural stone floor, sourced from Portugal. The base blends into the floor, emphasising the perfect surfaces of the island, which seems to float above the floor.

Hegenbart said: “The kitchen is the centre of the home and its design should encourage people to move around, spend time together and enjoy good company. A kitchen should be beautiful to look at as well as welcoming and functional. The design of a kitchen layout should leave nothing to chance.” The sink, the hob and the secret spice rack – which can be raised from within the worksurface – are all integrated into the worktop, with no visible seams. Elsewhere in the kitchen, the cupboard carcasses are in natural American walnut, with fronts which were hand-made in the workshop in elm veneer and box-jointed drawers in solid walnut. The island and open niche worksurfaces are in HI-MACS, with details in a metallic finish. The recessed handles were


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designed to blend with the veining of the material. As a backdrop, two complete walls are panelled in handmade elm veneer. They are in elegant contrast to the island, allowing it the centre-stage, while adding warmth to the whole design. The kitchen includes two existing rounded arches which lead to the entrance hall and the dining room. Among the other features are a drinks cupboard with illuminated glass shelves for stemmed glassware


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and a strengthened glass door allowing bottles to be displayed in a decorative way. The design also includes a space for aprons, cutting boards and oven trays behind the curved doors which frame the first archway. A pull-out pantry composed of Blum glass drawers allows each drawer to be opened separately, while indirect linear LED lighting is mounted at an angle of 45° to light up the insides of the cupboards.

The built-in appliances are all from V-ZUG and include a steam oven, a vacuum sealing drawer for sousvide preparation, dishwasher and an induction hob with integrated hood. Finally, two open niches, lined in a burnished metallic finish, give added depth to the kitchen. In the niche to the right, an openwork metal screen echoes the shape of the leaves of the olive trees surrounding the house, bring nature to the forefront of this striking kitchen.

Menuiserie Hegenbart / HI-MACS /

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Creative Capital London Design Festival returns for its 19th edition this month, with a selection of landmark projects and design districts for visitors to explore… The London Design Festival will once again aim to transform the capital’s landmarks, neighbourhoods and cultural institutions with a series of outdoor installations, exhibitions and special events that will bring people together as London continues to return to normal post-lockdown life.

pockets of London, and find works by leading designers and emerging talent, while enjoying all the city has to offer.” A number of landmark projects will help to define the festival’s creative outlook. In a collaboration between mixed reality studio and technology developer Tin Drum and Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto, the V&A will host a new mixed reality installation Architecture + Reality

Photography: Thom Atkinson

As a result of the pandemic, there has been a rise in hyper-localisation. This

year’s festival will provide an inventive enquiry of design and enable audiences to rediscover the entire city, playing a central role in London’s economic recovery. Ben Evans CBE, London Design Festival Director, said: “Cultural and creative activity is a powerful tool to help reignite the city and kick-start London’s economy. London Design Festival will provide the public and visitors with an opportunity to take to the streets to discover new

For the first time in festival history, the design districts of LDF will each have a distinctive sculptural design marker to greet visitors. Alongside its work on the Design Museum show Discovered, AHEC is also joining forces with the Conran-founded furniture studio Benchmark to commission 10 Designposts. These one-off public sculptures will welcome visitors to each district, capture the unique character of their surroundings, demonstrate the principles of good design, and showcase the aesthetic and sustainability credentials of American red oak.

The designers have been selected from two of the city’s leading design schools: four from London Met picked by Peter Marigold; and six from the Bartlett chosen by Izaskun Chinchilla. They will be whisked off to Benchmark’s Berkshire workshop to learn new skills and create their respective Designposts, which will be in place for the duration of the festival.


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Among the design districts at this year’s festival is the newlyintroduced creative quarter due to open on Greenwich Peninsula. Helen Arvanitakis (pictured) is a consultant and strategist whose task is to coordinate eight leading architects and the construction of 16 visually unique buildings as the new design district takes shape beside the O2.

Photography: Taran Wilkhu


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Concept drawing for Architecture + Reality, by Barbara Stallone and Francisco Silva or Sou Fujimoto, to be produced and presented during the festival at the Victoria & Albert Museum

As part of the Mayor of London’s initiative Let’s Do London, London Design Festival 2020 Emerging Design Medal winner Yinka Ilori will be leading a major initiative that will transform central London and the City of London into an outdoor art gallery.

Sir John Sorrell CBE, London Design Festival Chairman, said: “London has some of the world’s greatest designers living and working here, who come from all over and make this city their home. Over the years, this has enabled us to develop exciting programmes which showcase both design’s joyous side but also the ideas and innovations with the capacity to shape our societies. We hope that this year’s festival will not only be seen by those in London but audiences all around the world, and that we’re able to demonstrate that design will be at the heart of the future.”

London Design Festival / 56

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Finnish furniture and homewares brand Vaarnii will make its international debut at LDF. Striking and simple designs are made in Finland by local manufacturers using wild-grown Finnish pine. Products will be launched at twentytwentyone’s Clerkenwell showroom.

Photography: Jussi Puikkonen

(A+R), which examines structure, nature and visualisation. A succession of natural and architectural features will slowly morph and evolve based on the movement of audiences in the space, creating an almost living design that indicates the interrelation of all things and prompts thought about climate change, the role of nature in modern life and designed space.

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Entrances.Openings. Confirm direction.Catch up.Choose chairs.Task light tasks.Touch.Feel.Finally meet.Specify suite.Bumped into.On my way.You here now?. That stand this stand. Seminar buzz.Get it down. Get coffee.Got an idea. Hold that thought.Client drinks.Share that thought. Entrances.Openings. Change direction. It’s happening at HIX 18-19 November 2021, London’s Business Design Centre, N1 Get your free pass online:

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The everchanging design experience that makes hotels incredible

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Design London will take place at the new Magazine venue in London’s North Greenwich

New Beginnings The show formerly known as 100% Design takes on a new direction and location with a four-day line-up as part of the London Design Festival… Design London is gearing up to welcome the architecture and design community to London’s North Greenwich neighbourhood for its inaugural event. Taking place from 22-25 September, Design London, will be the largest official trade destination at this year’s London Design Festival marking a new phase for what was formerly known as 100% Design, the UK’s longest running trade show dedicated to design. The show will be housed in Magazine London, a new venue on the Greenwich Peninsula overlooking Canary Wharf and just a short walk from North Greenwich Station and its new Design District. As part of the main programme there will be a timetable of talks curated by


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Katie Richardson, led by renowned industry influencers and thought leaders. British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori is headline speaker and chief collaborator; he will open the talks programme on day one of the show and welcome guests through a kaleidoscopic tunnel of colour inviting them to take a seat in his joyfully-designed auditorium, called ‘Transparency in Shades of Colour’. Ilori said: “I’m super-excited to be part of Design London’s launch and to design my first ever dedicated talks space; meeting people and expressing my creativity is what I love most and this brings the two together. Community and creating spaces to make people feel safe and comfortable is so important, especially this year, and

with Design London being the UK’s first major design show, it’s the perfect environment to unite, celebrate and uplift one another.” Other speakers will include Eley Kishimoto, and Pearson Lloyd. New London Architecture (NLA) will form a specialist panel to debate the future of our cities whilst commercial interior design studio Trifle Creative will join a workspace discussion. Dulux’s Creative Director, Marianne Shillingford will take to the stage with a cast of colour experts, Roddy Clarke will conduct a talk centred around sustainability in craft, and in a hospitality panel, speakers will discuss how hotels are reinventing themselves in a post pandemic world.

Design London /

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Integralis antiviral ultraviolet light by Artimide

Kuulas handmade chandelier by Empty State

Rafael Lounge bed by Paola Navone for Italian brand Ethimo Design


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STORIES FROM INDIA Drawing inspiration from the history and heritage of the food being served there, this multi-layered London restaurant design transports visitors to a distant land


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Photography: John McDavid

A priority was to make this lower ground floor restaurant feet indulgent and luxurious rather than like a basement, so the space opens out to a double height ceiling with bespoke, suede ribbon chandeliers emphasising the height and openness. Additionally, the back wall of the restaurant is home to an extensive wine cellar, exposed through a huge wall of glass to further emphasise the scale of the space


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AI Interiors were approached by Michelin starred chef Peter Joseph to design his first solo venture restaurant. Taking inspiration from the concept of sharing food and swapping stories, essences of Indian anecdotes and fables have been scattered around the restaurant, which led to the name Kahani meaning ‘stories’ in Hindi. Set in Sloane Square, underneath the Phoenix House Hotel and opposite Cadogan Hall, visitors will first arrive at a deep green set of double doors nestled into the classic architecture of Wilbraham Place. Just inside, there is a beautiful upholstered wall made of soft

blush, woven leather, leading down the stairs, which are lined with Indian antiquities and Kavaad – Indian story boxes. Along the way, there is a warm mustard velvet curtained private dining room that is inspired by India’s national bird, the peacock. It’s a luxurious room in deep blues and greens. Using a large deep blue leather table top with brass trim and an elegant slim brass chandelier above, this space creates a cosy environment in which guests can enjoy a unique and intimate experience. The ceiling is filled with an imprint of millions of miniscule beads laid out in an elegant weaving pattern. The chairs are deep blue velvet with a woven leather backing.

Bespoke wallpaper, beautifully handdrawn by the team at creative agency Lyons & Tigers hangs as a backdrop to the room, which overlooks the main restaurant space with a balcony style mezzanine level. From above it is possible to spot the ‘K’ within the timber floorboards, laid in different angles with brass trims. One of the main obstacles the designers at Kai Interiors had to face was in making sure that this lower ground floor restaurant felt indulgent and luxurious rather than like a basement. To do this the main restaurant opens out to a double height ceiling with bespoke, suede ribbon chandeliers emphasising the height and openness. Additionally, the back wall of the restaurant is home to the extensive


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wine cellar, exposed through a huge wall of glass to further emphasise the scale of the space. As guests enter the main restaurant, on the left is a mosaic wall. This involved mixing a special render to obtain the exact colour, then meticulously hand placing the small, square mosaic tiles piece by piece into a pattern that was taken from Indian architecture. Sat in line with the mosaic wall is some teal velvet seating, embellished with Indian embroidered ribbon. The room dividers give privacy to the bar area with a peacock feather embossed glass and timber panel. Sat in the back corner is the original fireplace with cosy armchairs and a traditional Indian carved table.


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One of the challenges was finding a balance between making the interiors exciting and welcoming but without detracting too much from the food and drink. The food served at the restaurant is colourful and the Kai team had to think about how it would look on the table. The edge of the tables were etched with a henna pattern which linked with the bespoke handdrawn henna-style wallpaper. The toilets are intimate yet exciting spaces. Taking inspiration from a colourful wall painting in India, Kai developed a pattern that was filled with hands poised in different positions replicating the various Mudras (hand gestures), while rich greens and soft pinks

covered the walls. Terrazzo basins echo the colours from the walls, matched with elegant brass taps. The bar, meanwhile, has been modelled on Chand Baori, which is a beautiful step well of 3,500 narrow steps built over a thousand years ago in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Textured wallpapers are a backdrop to the brass cantilevered steps that appear to be floating whilst displaying the premium alcohol offering. Elegant tubular pendant lights glow above the bar counter which is timber with marble infills. The bar façade is a unique herringbone veneer to complete the look with a subtle nod to the back bar steps.

Kai Interiors /

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One last thing from this month’s magazine…

High-end dining is all about creating the right ambience and this seafood restaurant in China has gone particularly bold, utilising technology and lighting craft to deliver a striking visual impact. Guests enter the restaurant from the 4th floor of the adjoining W Hotel, venturing into a space where the light is dimmed but then dramatically illuminated with the moving images of fish swimming on a giant LED screen which wraps around the space above the central bar. Mirrors and reflective surfaces add to the multitude of spatial illusions in the design of the XU JU seafood restaurant by Daxiang Design Studio in Hunan province, Southern China.

Photography: Chuan He


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Daxiang Design Studio /

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NATURAL UNION Glass and steel, grace and strength, connected to perfection in MING bowls



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