Sunday, 25 November 2012

Maison Martin Margiela with H&M

I've just had the most fabulous shopping experience! I was very excited about the Maison Martin Margiela collaboration with H&M but unfortunately I wasn't working in London on 14th November, so had to risk ordering from the website. Anyway I ordered the deconstructed pump with removed heel.......
OMG!!!! Gorgeous white on white printed shoe box and labelling, printed cotton shoe bag and the deconstructed shoes. One pair of all leather black pumps with removed heels to wear as a necklace!
Such attention to detail, beautifully packaged, wonderfully designed, just the best shopping experience I've had in years - wouldn't it be great to feel this spoilt all the time!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

City of Coventry Health Centre - Award winner!

 Last week City of Coventry Health Centre won the Building Better Healthcare "Clinicians Choice" award. This is fabulous recognition for a project I was involved with, and for the team at Coventry Care Partnership and architect Cressida Toon of Sonnemann Toon Architects.
The Brass palette for the 2nd Floor - Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Podiatry
Dr Roy MacGregor led the judging panel who selected City of Coventry Health Centre from 220 entries. Dr MacGregor was the driving force behind the acclaimed Kentish Town Health Centre development, so I was really pleased when he mentioned the use of colour in his decision.
The Copper palette for the 3rd Floor - Sexual Health
The colour palette I developed for the centre was inspired by Coventry's industrial heritage. We focused on a different metal for each floor and used this starting point to create palettes for the interior design scheme and the Arts - the murals shown here are digital artworks by Kelly MacPhee who won a competition we set with Coventry University.
The Bronze palette for the 1st Floor - GP Services
What I'm really pleased about with this scheme was everyones willingness to work with the colour palettes to make this building a very special health centre. As you can see from the photos we even managed to get the colour to work from the inside out and the outside in.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


At the recent World Architecture Day I spotted a man in a great pair of yellow trousers - they really stood out in the sea of black and grey worn by everyone else. Later on I was introduced to Andy Parsons of Yelo Architects and heard that he always wears an item of yellow clothing. By coincidence we met again and he was in one of his yellow shirts - what struck me was, that unlike some architects who wear colour as a moniker, Andy wears his with style.
 I thought it would be interesting to talk to him about his style and relationship with the colour yellow - so I googled yellow architect and found Yelo Architects - easy! And clever - by dropping an l and the w, he's created a great word somewhere between yell and hello, that really reflects the values of the colour. The human eye process yellow before other colours in the spectrum, due to the amount of light reflected and when paired with black, as in Yelo Architects' logo, is the easiest colour to read. We associate yellow with hope cheer and vitality - it is a joyful colour, just like the word Yelo.   
Andy started wearing yellow at college and it has now become an integral part of his professional identity. It is an exact shade of yellow that he chooses, almost Process Yellow, and he's lucky because he can wear it. It is also the Giallo Fly colour from Ferrari - very clean yellow, sharp and fresh.

I have used a similar yellow to highlight the entrance to a building and also reception desks - just like Andy's trousers, it really stands out and attracts our attention from a distance.          

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Navy Blue

 As anyone who knows me will know I love navy blue. So when Sarah from 8th Day Design sent me the link to the Nothing But Navy Shop I was so excited. I got in touch with Gemma Kay Waggett of Nothing But Navy, who said "I decided to start the brand because of my love of the colour navy and my understanding that it is also the favourite colour of many individuals"
These pictures were from their most recent event at Material Lab for London Design Week. The Nothing But Navy brand is a series of pop up shops and the website store - The whole concept is about fabulous navy merchandise - heaven!
Why do I love navy? There are the known associations with reason, trust and competence but its navy's affinity to thought and reason that attract me most. When I look at French Navy - saturated blue with a tint of mauve coming through - my thought processes become energised and this encourages my creativity. Whereas when I look at intense inky or slightly green tinged navy, this evokes a sense of calm in me - the more logical thought. Either way they encourage me to loose myself and dream.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

London Design Shows

The recent London design shows were the best I've seen in a long time - here are some of my favourite finds.

 Julie Kouamo's hauntingly romantic wallpaper - Exotic Vine from her new Bangou Collection at 100% Design.

Bethan Gray's elegant and beautifully crafted 'Brogue' leather -topped, solid wood tables at Design Junction.

Flaster  concrete tiles at SuperBrands, I adore how traditional tile designs have been reinterpreted in a truly modern way. I had seen these tiles previously in Liberty's - gorgeous.
And finally, this completely brilliant concrete design from The Sculpture House at Design Junction
  formed of cut concrete paving blocks, the reassembled textured pieces resemble a stunning luxury carpet.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Finchley Memorial Hospital

It's been a really busy summer with two residential projects and my involvement with the redevelopment of Finchley Memorial Hospital. I love these first pictures of the finished hospital building taken by Benedict Luxmore, I think they really show the spirit of the architecture by Murphy Philipps Architects.
The greens of the colour palette I developed were inspired by the hospital's setting within a proposed health campus of therapy gardens, community gardens and playing fields; the gardens will be part of phase two to be completed next year. I have selected the levels of green to provide a sense of calm and reassurance while inspiring feelings of hope, renewal and rejuvenation.  
Green has traditionally been associated with hospitals. It is especially used in operating theatres where surgeons are carrying out close work involving red blood - to look away towards a level of green allows the eye to rest and refocus.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Black Wedding

I knew when I received the invite above, that my niece's wedding would be stylish. The black and white theme followed through all the wedding stationary, table sttings, cake.....

and to these wonderful boxes to take a cup cake away in....
The colour black exudes sophistication and style; beloved of luxury brands for their logos, it is one of the most important colours in the fashion world.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Exquisite Exhibitions

I've visited two exquisite fashion exhibition's recently, the Christian Louboutin retrospective at  the Design Museum and the Hermes Leather Forever exhibition at The Royal Academy's 6 Burlington Gardens.
In both exhibitions the curation is as exciting as the exhibits; at the  Christian Louboutin, curated by Donna Loveday, the special effects included projected images and films as well as fairground carousels.
But the hologram of Dita Von Teese was completely mesmerising.
At the Hermes exhibition the effects included red sand, leather strap curtains and beautiful exhibition cabinets.Curation - Alexandra Plat, Scenography
The two exhibitions brilliantly draw the visitor into the world of these luxury brands and their breathtaking accessories - taking you on a journey into their world. 

With both brands the colour red is indelible; for Louboutin it is the signature lipstick red soles to all his shoes, and with Hermes its the intense orange red for its packaging and branding. These powerful reds both elude to luxury, but to me Louboutin's red is about sexual danger and the Hermes red is about the richness of heritage.  

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Clerkenwell Design Week

Here are some of my highlights from Clerkenwell Design Week
 I love these mirrors from Haidee Drew they would look great in a dressing room or hall.

And I found these Chool seats ingenious - when you sit on the seat, the body of the chair slowly drops down and the back moves up. A neat cube shape when not in use, but really comfortable to sit in - great for a reception area.

Finally how marvelous to see the BarberOsgerby Olympic Torch prototype and developments at Vitra - Stunning!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Snowdon Blue

In last week's Observer Eva Wiseman interviewed Lord Snowdon about his trick of getting his photographic subjects to wear a blue shirt if a session wasn't going to plan. Snowdon says "The blue shirt is anonymous and yet a kind of uniform. It's a simple backdrop that leaves us to focus on the sitter's face without distraction".
Sixty of Snowdon's portraits have now been presented in a book, published by the Swedish fashion company Acne Studios, called Snowdon Blue. To coincide with the book and the exhibition of the portraits in the Acne Studio's store in Dover Street, London, the clothing company have designed a limited edition of blue shirts.
The portrait of David Bowie is extraordinary, but I think portraits of him always are, I find his eyes disturbing and compelling at the same time.
By coincidence I picked up the COS Spring & Summer magazine yesterday, inside is a series of portraits by Anuschka Blommers & Niels Schumm of students from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, all wearing blue COS garments. Studying these portraits made me realise how right Snowdon's observation was, the cool calmness of the blue allows the person to come to the fore. In both sets of photographs, the sitters are white, it would be interesting to see if a blue shirt has the same effect with Asian and black skin.   

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Golden Excess

On my way back from Vietnam, I stopped off in Hong Kong to spend a few days with friends. We had lunch at the Tin Lung Heen restaurant in the Ritz Carleton. The interior is very opulant, with some great dramatic spaces like the corridor pictured above but the rest of the interior design was not my style. This place is so bling they even put gold leaf on the dim sum!
  The food was fabulous and so were the astonishing views across the harbour.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Colour in Design

I'm giving a lecture on Colour in Design for the South East Design Forum next Wednesday. I worked with Richard Wolfstrome to create this poster, I hope it's a really inspirational evening for everyone who's going to be there.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Temple Pink

How to describe this incredible shade of magenta pink, it's not just the vividness of this colour, but the quality of the chalky pigment-rich paint on the walls.
These pictures are taken in a temple in Saigon, I've seen this pink in India too, but here in this city temple it had the most wonderful quality. I could have stood there for hours just absorbing it's intensity. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Saigon Markets

It seems this year has been all about travel, I've just returned from Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as most locals still call it. Fast, exciting, chaotic - an amasing 10 million people live here and 6 million ride scooters and motorbikes, as a result there is a massive market for crash helmets - they come in every colour and design.

In fact there is a massive choice of everything in the amazing markets....from food to flowers to more hats!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Cuban shirts - Guayabera

During our stay in Miami we had a Cuban day - we headed over to Little Havana and the marvellous La Casa de Las Guayaberas on 8th Street. This is the store if you wish to buy a retro-hip Cuban shirt known as the guayabera -- a loose-fitting, pleated, four pocket button-down shirt.
Founded by Ramon Puig, who emigrated to Miami over 40 years ago, the store stocks every imaginable variation, Ramon still uses the same scissors that he arrived with. No one in the store speaks any English but they have produced a short history of the guayabera in this little booklet – I love the graphics. Afterwards we lunched at Versailes, a hugh mirror-lined restaurant, full of Cuban families having a great time. 

Monday, 16 January 2012

South Beach Miami

I spent the first week of January in South Beach, Miami and I loved it! The fabulous Art Deco buildings are reminiscent of confectionery, all crisp white tiers with sugar coloured trims.
The buildings have great signage from the hotels on Ocean Drive right through to these public conveniences!
My souvenir from the trip is this brilliant book by David Leddick - 'In The Spirit of Miami Beach', it really captures the essence of the place, a great read and stunning pictures.  
Just what I need to get through January!