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Helping Britain show off

As the pedals whir and the epées clash, all the world and his dog are eyeballing London. And whilst the focus is obviously sporting, it’s a good opportunity for everyone who contributes something or other to our fair city – whether that’s commerce, art or artisan pastries – to show off.

BBE

Britain welcomes the world

The British Business Embassy is an organised way of showing off – a platform for demonstrating the imagination and innovation of British business, and the merits of investing here. As the top brass of the world’s top companies, from Google to General Motors, convene on London, how do you go about showing off the world’s greatest city?

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Good enough to eat in

Conran Contracts are our furniture and interiors supply team. Working with some of the best-regarded architects and interior designers worldwide, they fit restaurants, bars, clubs, retail spaces, offices and residences.

Four of their recent projects have been shortlisted for this year’s Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. We asked Contracts’ Max Pilbeam and Nick Shute to tell us a bit more.

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Out and about in London: Craft, Contemporary Design and Art Deco Architecture

Alana Madden from Conran Contracts checks out some exhibitions perfect for those hungry for beautiful design, iconic imagery and exquisite craftsmanship – go see them now!

Still showing at Gallery Fumi until 30th November is STUDIOWARE,  an exhibition of; sculptural works by Studio Glithero, ceramics by Johannes Nagel and furniture by Max Lamb

The form of Max Lamb’s collection is dictated by struts of dowling in typical English woods, making an unassuming minimal reference to traditional pieces of a similar ilk. These pieces provide the extremely satisfying marriage of both expert craft and contemporary design.

Few better locations could be found than the posturing Art Deco RIBA building to exhibit a selection of vintage photos displaying the best of British Art Deco Architecture.  Puttin’ on the Glitz: The Golden Years of Art Deco Architecture in Britain is a collection of black & white photographs from the RIBA archives carefully chosen to present the reach of this movement to the general domain, which at the time was itself often sneered at as the corruption of modernism. See vintage images of a variety of public buildings, jazz halls and famous cinema’s scattered throughout the breadth of Britain. Beautifully adorned interiors and exteriors, and none without the periods unmistakable brightness and glamour it’s enough to make you yearn for something to get dressed up for. It’s on until 26th November.

RIBA H.Q.

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Conran: Out and About: The Museum of Everything and Tomoko Azumi

Occasionally we do manage to get out and stretch our legs a little…

Here’s Silas Swinstead from Conran Contracts on the opening night of Freize last week…

Despite a queue stretching around the corner onto Primrose Hill High Street, I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see the latest incarnation of The Musuem of Everything.

A sensory feast of surreal taxidermy, folk music and art, circus style performance art and vintage photography… This is the 3rd exhibition by this mysterious collective and it’s opening party was a firm fixture in this years Freize calendar. Open for the next 3 months and not to be missed.


Also one to watch out for is ‘Objective’ at Rocket gallery – the first gallery exhibition of Japanese designer Tomoko Azumi.


Featuring work from 1995 to the present day, this small, well curated exhibition displays both finished work including Hexad tables, Table-Chest and Shingle chests, alongside scale and full size models, giving more information about Azumi’s working methods.

The exhibition also shows Azumi’s new Joint dining table, a collaboration with Rocket, Terence’s furniture factory Benchmark and Azumi.

On until the 20th November, this is worth a visit if you’re in the area.



 

 

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Conran: Out and about with Conran: The latest from LDF 2010

Last night saw the exclusive retail launch of the new Emeco 111 Navy chair at The Conran Shop in Fulham Road. The chair is made from 111 recycled coca-cola bottles – not just a clever name. Read more about the launch here on The Conran Shop blog.

Everyone’s talking about LDF’s new exhibition, Tramshed, on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, a collaborative showcase of authentic high-end design brands. Terence’s furniture company Benchmark are among them. Craftsmen from the company are working in a temporary workshop making a range of furniture from domestic pieces to commercial projects, demonstrating their specialist skills in both woodworking and metalworking. Very exciting. Read more about it here on the Benchmark blog.

Benchmark at Tramshed

LDF isn’t all about the Southbank, South Kensington or Shoreditch – events are happening all over the capital – Emma Weber from Studio Conran happened across something interesting whilst out for dinner…

Yesterday night I had a magical dinner at the Wapping Project – by chance the design festival was also running ‘Trust Me’, an exhibition by Antwerp-based graphic designer Paul Boudens.

The work was presented in a large scale box covering the inside walls and flooring. Posters, book spreads, prints and invitations covered the entire space. His work for the fashion world such as Dries Van Noten, Yohi Yamamoto, The MoMu – Fashion Museum Antwerp, Jurgi Persoons and Oliver Theyskens has a human feel to it, he uses paint amongst other materials and the work has a sensitivity that makes it less ephemeral than other graphic designs in the world of fashion.

They have some great posters for only £5 on sale, well worth a look.

Paul Boudens at The Wapping Project

Of course no LDF is complete without parties…Silas Swinstead from Conran Contracts is our regular man about town…

Design week, or LDF as I recently discovered it is now referred to – perhaps to keep up with LFW – is usually a blur of samey showroom parties fuelled by way too much champagne, European lager or in my case GnT – ‘my case’ being that of a contract furniture salesman in the employ of Conran. Our multitude of International suppliers means there are no shortage of people to meet and greet at these events, and by now the new designs shown at Milan way back in the Spring are all too familiar.

This Design week however had something unusual; not only a brand new showroom, but a brand new product being launched from within its four walls. Just off Shoreditch High Street is renowned Interior Designer Lee Broom’s new studio and showspace, a necessity now he has expanded his creativity into product design. Being launched was the OLO collection, or One Light Only, the second string to Lee’s commercial lighting bow. The first being Decanter Lights, which we have already provided to a well known restaurant chain for a concept location, and it’s clear the OLO will have no shortage of interest from the A&D community and retail world alike.



Every year one of the highlights of Design Week has to be the Capellini Party, for the last two years at The Poltrona Frau Group’s Barber Osgerby designed space on St. John Street. On arrival I was greeted by the familiar faces of the Conran fraternity, nestled in our very own Proust Geometrica chair, supplied to the Big Brother House of 2009. Being asked to supply Endemol with this iconic piece of furniture was a true eye opener to the capabilities of supplying to the contract market.


What else is there to do at LDF? Too much to shake a hand-turned, ergonomically designed, made-from-wood-from-a-sustainable-source stick at.

What about having a look at Tent 2010?

Or what about Origin – the best craft show in town – at its new home in Spitalfields market. (Did we mention our very own Jill Webb was a judge this year?)

Or Designers Block at Oxo Tower Wharf (more about that on Monday…)

Enjoy it!

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Conran Shop exclusive – the new Emeco 111 Navy Chair as seen at The Serpentine Pavilion

Tomorrow marks the opening of London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – a yearly experiment in architecture and landscape. This year, Emeco’s new 111 Navy Chair, each made of at least 111 recycled plastic Coca-Cola bottles, has been selected for the café space of the Pavilion, designed by Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker Prize-winning architect.

We are delighted to say the chair is exclusively available in the UK at The Conran Shop!

The 111 Navy Chair is a joint venture with the Coca-Cola Company and debuted this year at the Salone de Mobile in Milan. It’s modelled after the original aluminium Emeco Navy 1006 Chair which was originally designed in 1944 for the U.S. Navy and continues to be a best seller for both Conran Contracts and The Conran Shops.


Each 111 Navy Chair contains a mix of 60 percent rPET plastic (recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic) and a special combination of other materials including pigment and glass fiber for strength. It is estimated that more than three million PET plastic bottles will be repurposed annually for the production of 111 Navy Chairs. The chairs are available in six colours: Coca-Cola Red, Snow, Flint, Grass, Persimmon and Charcoal with red being chosen for the pavilion.

Terence is a fan too…

“The classic Emeco Navy Chair is one of my favourite chairs of all time. The fact that Emeco has worked to reproduce such a beautiful and durable version to the original design spec from recyclable materials gives me great pleasure and is a major step forward in producing sustainable, high quality design.”

And he was delighted when the Conran Contract team recently took an order for 300 of the 111 Navy Chairs for his old school which has recently undergone significant refurbishment under the direction of Conran & Partners. More about that later…

Here’s Josh Beach, Head of Conran Contracts and colleague Natasha Notara trying out the chair for size at the sponsor preview by Emeco:

Josh and Natasha at The Pavillion

“It is a fantastic showcase for this new chair – in Coca-Cola red.  Red is definitely the theme. The space is very impressive, with awnings that move changing the light, and many, many red Smeg fridges full of wine and beer and fizzy pop.

We are really pleased with the order for the School project designed by Conran and Partners”


The Conran Shop is delighted to be the exclusive retailer of the 111 Navy Chair in the UK www.conranshop.co.uk

Check out The Serpentine Pavilion this weekend

Admission to the Pavilion is free
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2010
by Jean Nouvel
July – October 2010

Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA
T 020 7402 6075
information@serpentinegallery.org

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Conran Contracts in Milan 2010

Natasha Notara is the only female member of Conran Contracts. Her snazzy stilettos sit stylishly under the desk amid a mass of, admittedly, very finely tailored brogues.

In the last of our reports on Milan 2010, she takes us around the ‘contracts’ best of it…

Being my first time in Milan for the furniture fair I was amazed by the change of this city to accommodate the great Saloni del Mobile. I was also amazed by the amount of crazed furniture obsessive’s (including myself) that stomp throughout  the city during this week of mayhem carrying their tourist maps and clutching their Fiera Tickets to their chests like their life depended on it. After seeing the queues to get them, I soon understood why.

Josh Beach, our Head of Contracts and I began our day on Via Tortona, home to Super Studio and many small garages turned into exhibition spaces for the up and coming furniture designers and graphic artists. The area is such that even though it is one main road, there are passageways leading off with young artists hanging out on the sun soaked streets. At some point Josh and I stumble upon a furniture/art/knitting exhibition going on where part of an art install had a functioning candy floss machine, churning out clouds of spun sugar and encouraging  one to eat the install to help create the art – I didn’t need much encouragement.

Further down we saw some fantastically original pieces, one of my favourite discoveries being two designers from The Hague:


Tiddo de Ruiter,

In Super studio we met with the Tom Dixon guys where they showed us a new chair they thought would work perfectly for Contracts:


Once at the fair itself we headed straight to Vitra and had to fight through the crowd to get on to the stand –  Josh’s crutches came in very handy…

This year Vitra was showing off some new additions to their brand, the Suita Sofa range by Antonio Citterio, the new size of the ever popular Eames Lounge Chair, the upholstered version of the Eames Plastic chair and Chairless.

As Vitra is usually a one stop store (with its accessories as well as furniture) it was great to see that they had taken this chance to add some more quirky vintage styling pieces and the result was a very at home feel.


Here I am trying out the Chairless by Vitra. As you see it’s basically a giant elastic band that you put around you. Very zen.

At Kartell we saw the new products from Starck. These are great pieces for the Contract market; durable, instantly recognisable and they won’t break the budget.

Next we moved on to Magis and were lucky enough to meet the designer Thomas Heatherwick and discuss his new product the Spun Chair.

Josh was brave enough to try it out, even though he did seem to keep his eyes closed throughout…

Conran Contracts is our contract furniture and lighting division. They are supplying furniture for the bedrooms, restaurants and the Spa for Hotel Verta, which lands very soon at The London Heliport, and will be the first integrated hotel heliport solution in the world.


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