In the spirit of London’s summer of sport, we’ve decided to to celebrate a few British winners from our Exclusive Design range for M&S. If you are in Shad Thames, check out our office windows, where you’ll find the champions on their podium. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Conran & Company
Shad Thames was a ghost street last week, as the more fortunate Conranners downed tools and jetted off to Lombardy for the 2012 Salone Internazionale del Mobile (aka the Milan Furniture Fair, or simply Milan Design Week).
To make sure they didn’t have too much fun, we set them some homework: to report back on their ‘top threes’ from Milan.
So, here goes: an esoteric tour of the best of Milan, in two installments, brought to you by Conran’s design and retail experts. First up, Conran & Company gave us their favourites.
Jill Webb, Brand Development Director, Conran & Company
Top three new designers/brands to watch
1. La Chance
Jean-Baptiste Souletie and Louise Breguet, the designers behind the startup, say that La Chance “epitomises their vision of French design”. The people they’ve worked with, though, are defiantly global: 11 designers representing 7 countries.
The collection, Jekyll and Hyde, present two executions of each piece: an understated ‘Jekyll’ version in oiled wood, neutral tones and softly-brushed metal, and a Technicolor Hyde alternative.
French or not, it’s a playful and eye-catching collection – fortunately backed up by great design. Check out the Borghese sofa by Noé Duchaufour Lawrance, for example.
The sober Dr. Jekyll…
…and the eye-catching Mr. Hyde.
Next up was Objekten, also over at MOST (definitely the place to be). “Powered by influential new media entrepreneurs and innovative designers” they may claim to be, but their designs were much better than their copy.
3. Y’a Pas Le Feu Au Lac
Y’a Pas Le Feu Au Lac – a French expression meaning ‘no need to rush’ – was born of a collaboration between Grégory and Marie Bodel and design house FX Balléry in 2011.
Their new collection consists of a range of small, simple, functional wooden objects. Each piece feels like it has been plucked straight out of a dolls house – and they are all uncommonly beautiful.
Alice Walsh, Designer, Conran & Company
Top three new product ranges
1. CAST 001 by Sally Makereth
Like most of Milan’s highlights, Sally Makareth’s CAST 001 collection was found at Tom Dixon’s MOST.
Sally is an award-winning British architect, and CAST 001 consists of a range very sculptural outdoor furniture.
The pieces are made of reconstructed stone with patinated metallic finishes, lending them an unusual, semi-reflective quality.
2. Tom Dixon’s lamps
As Steve Carrell puts it, ‘I love lamp’. Tom Dixon was master curator in Milan, and his own designs didn’t disappoint, either.
His Etch Web lampshade is a wonderful, geometrical thing made from digitally-etched, copper-anodised aluminium. It comprises 60 irregular pentagons which throw savage, spiky shadows in every direction.
3. 1616 by Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings
Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings teamed up to create my Milan highlight: 1616, a colourful range of tableware for Japanese brand Arita.
Clean, simple shapes let colour do the talking: great swathes of pastel and dashes of bright yellow and orange.
The Conran Shop‘s beady-eyed buyers will be unpicking the big trends and the best stands in Part 2, later today.
Mind over Matter at Kemistry gallery on Charlotte Road in east London was one of my fave spots. The exhibition brings together a collection oforiginal material and notes from Alan Fletcher’s archive, documenting thirty or so years of attentive curiosity. A small space but I found myself there for a good hour perusing the sketches filling the walls. Definitely worth a look.
Another favourite was Continue reading
The ‘Conran exclusive design only at Your M&S’ collection has been a very exciting and important one for everyone here at Conran.
The tag line: “Exclusive products for your home from Britain’s most influential designer for Britain’s most iconic retailer…” couldn’t sum it up better.
It’s been a crazy but thoroughly exciting 9 months in the studio of Conran & Company – the team working closely with Terence on this collaboration – beginning with the very first concept or ‘look and feel’ boards that were put together in the first week in January this year.
“Starting to design a collection in January and launching that same collection in-store in September the same year is virtually unheard off when it comes to lead times for projects like this – many people thought we were mad! But all our hard work has paid off and we are all immensely proud of this collection. I also have to keep telling people what you see in stores and online at the moment is just the beginning. The collection out now is our ‘Preview’ range of 70 products. In Spring next year the collection will grow to include over 300 products including bed linen and an Alfresco range. Autumn 2012’s range will be even larger and will include bath linen and a home office collection. Yes – before you ask – we have already designed all of these products! Next up – Spring 2013…
Jill Webb, Brand Development Director, Conran & Company.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be telling you more about these products from the inspiration behind them, to how they made and why we think they are great, concentrating on 10 of Terence’s favourites – in no particular order…!
Tonal Vase Collection
“I love this collection of vases in varying shapes and sizes. Individually they each have their own personality and are beautiful and very useful objects. Grouped together, they make a really striking visual statement.” Terence Conran.
The glaze on each of these vases is a slightly different tone – from deep sea blues to pale, spring sky hues.
As objects they look great just sitting on the shelf but are also a really useful size for small to medium bunches of flowers and foliage that often don’t look their best lolling about in a larger vase.
Prices from £9.50 available from M&S stores throughout the UK and online at www.marksandspencer.com/autumn
Like this? You might also like our Science Vase collection , a domestic take on scientific labware:
Still, they are really fun and surely a great solution for outside – available to buy at the Design Museum shop!
In the ‘Interactive’ category the crowdsourced Johnny Cash project was really intriguing and beautiful – such a great idea. (Crowdsourcing and crowfunding is rather a hot topic at the moment – see our post from the debate we held here a few weeks ago– with full report to come…)
There’s more than one cycling enthusiast in our offices and the Transport section gave us plenty of food for thought when it came to new designs and innovations in this category.
We became slightly obsessed with the videos of people using the rather unusual but very fun looking Yike Bikes
– but some were less impressed by the new ‘super commuter’ offering from Vanmoof – which while very practical (especially loving the integrated heavy-duty lock) was deemed to be slightly ugly – still, anything to stop your bike getting nicked!
In general the Graphics category was much admired, not in the least the eventual winner, the amazingly simple, almost Feng-Shui type images for a Swedish Cookery book: Homemade is Best by Forsman & Bodenfors for IKEA- carefully composed graphic still lifes that bring the ingredients centrestage.
If you missed Designs of the Year do not fret there’s an equally brilliant exhibition on Kenneth Grange (you’ll know more of his products than you think) – and watch this space for details of a very special exhibition later in the year…all about Terence!
Celebrating his 80th birthday in September, it’s entitled THE WAY WE LIVE NOW and will feature work from over 60 years including original habitat pieces, Terence’s sketches and bestselling products from over the eras.
A quick whirlwind tour of rainy Clerkenwell last Thursday saw us scampering from venue to venue sheltering from the rain. God bless the estate agents handing out free umbrellas…you can never be too clever with a marketing initiative….
It’s always great to see Russel Pinch’s beautifully and deceptively simple looking products in the flesh, as we did at The Farmiloe Building.
Holly-Anne Rolfe from Conran & Company gives us a little insight into the inspiration behind some of the Conran branded textiles ranges..
Last year, when coming up with concepts and ideas for our Conran Fine Linen range – inspired by premium hotels and the longevity of family heirlooms – it was love at first sight when we spied Louise Bourgeois’s textiles in an issue of Selvedge, one of our favourite magazines.
Beautiful in their graphic simplicity, handmade grace, perfect construction and sophisticated colour palettes they were integral to quite a few of our designs which eventually hit the shops last year.
So when I noticed that there was an exhibition of her fabric works at Hauser and Wirth gallery on until the 18th December I had to pop in and take a look…
Appropriately for this textile-based show the gallery is in Savile Row, the home of fine shirts and premium tailoring, whose traditional shirting fabrics, ticking cloths and trims have long been an inspiration for the team here for many of our branded textiles ranges.
The exhibition features over seventy fabric drawings made between 2002 and 2008, as well as four large-scale sculptures.
My absolute favourite were 12 pictures collectively entitled ‘The Waking Hours’ from 2007, only three years before her death. The precision of the patchwork compositions in stunning gradients of colour – predominantly teals, sea blues and navys – is utterly beautiful and the 12 pieces seem to play out a simple narrative – which we can presumably look to the title of the work to help explain.
Not something you see everyday but blimey would I like to have those hanging on my bedroom wall…
We are currently working on the development of the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection of fine linens so watch this space and see if you can spot any Bourgeois-style ideas on the shelves in a year or so!
The exhibition is on from the 15 October – 18 December 2010 at Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row
Hauser & Wirth London,
Savile Row, 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET
Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm