Tag Archives: Holly-Anne Rolfe

The Conran Shop’s Friday Tip: Cheer up Shoreditch, give us a smile…

Turn those carefully-curated hipster frowns upside down, Shoreditch: we have some tips to cheer you up this weekend, courtesy of Jess, Ayo and Will, AKA The Conran Shop marketing team.

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Holly’s Friday Tip: Dulwich Artists’ Open House

Once upon a time on this blog, we drew from the rich wellspring of London knowledge at Conran Towers to bring you a weekly London tip. Then we got nervous about giving away all our best secrets and stopped.

Recently we put our heads together and decided that, so long as you promise not to tell too many people, we’re willing to share once more.

So, here goes. The first of our new Friday Tips, from Holly-Anne Rolfe, Brand Development Project Manager for Conran & Company.

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Conran: Sneak peek at new designs from Content by Conran

It’s all go at our furniture line  Content by Conran at the moment…

January is a very busy month for buyers with various tradeshows to visit to headhunt fab new product for next year. And with both Maison Objet in full swing across the channel and the vast Interiors show at the NEC there is plenty to keep both professionals and keen amateurs inspired.

Interiors is one of the largest furniture shows in Europe – and Content by Conran are always there to showcase their newest offerings to retailers from all around the globe.

The team from Conran & Company – who work on all our Conran branded products – are involved right from the beginning of the process, helping the Content team develop new product, producing marketing materials, planning the stand and of course – bracing the arctic temperatures inside the big exhibition hall – helping to set up and style the stand ready for retailers to flock.

Holly-Anne Rolfe has been doing the show for the past 3 years….

The new products we have developed this year are looking great! We are really trying to promote our bespoke fabric option so we have had some fun with some of our iconic bestsellers – like upholstering the back of this Matador love seat in gorgeous fabric from Sanderson and swapping plain cushions on our Aspen chair for some covered in this Romo print– we love the yellow! Plus I’m really pleased with the vintage lights we’ve hired from Reclaimed Enjoyment – they work really well in the space…

..stand in progress

..almost done

It was Jess Corteen’s first year at the show but she seemed to be taking it all in her stride….

It all seems to be going pretty smoothly, apart from the fact we turned up and the floor hadn’t been painted yet! It’s fine though, we seem to be getting on really well now – everything looks great. I’ve got to paint the legs on one of our sofas bright purple now!

A definite favourite has to be our new high-sided Clifton sofa designed in a beautiful tonal palette.


Watch this space for more news….and follow the progress of the new pieces at the photoshoot for this year’s new catalogue…it’s looking good….

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Conran: Out and About with Conran & Company: The Fabric works of Louise Bourgeois

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.

Bed by Conran - 'Jermyn'

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

Gallery hours:

Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm

Location map

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Conran: Designers of the future at Designers Block

As London Design Festival 2010 blurs into a distant memory we are left once again revelling in how great London is when it comes to diversity, ideas, ingenuity and imagination.

Nowhere was this more in evidence than at Designers Block at the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf. This year’s festival may be done and dusted but this exhibition, traditionally a showground for younger, up-and-coming talent, proves there’s plenty to look forward to in the years ahead.

Holly-Anne Rolfe from Conran and Company spent a drizzly Friday morning wandering around this incredible space.

A large group of chairs sitting in the reception area greet you upon entry. Made by a group of nine designers in a wood in Herefordshire using only traditional greenwood techniques their sweeping and beautifully simple forms lit up the crumbling, industrial space.  I nicknamed this one ‘the monkey chair’.

The bench reminded me a bit of Jurgen Bey’s famous tree-trunk bench – minus the bark however, it looked a lot more comfortable!

I adored Naomi McIntosh’s necklaces; beautifully made sculptural forms suspended from the ceiling like chrysalises – definitely statement pieces that I have already started saving up for.

Charlotte Kingsnorth’s Hybreed chairs evolved from the concept of a relationship between a sofa and the voluptuous flesh of its occupier. In reality these are reclaimed chairs transformed into luscious, curvaceous forms. Firm to the touch, the pieces looked really comfortable even if I couldn’t quite get a picture of ‘the Blob’ attacking the Ercol factory out of my head.

As a dog lover put a pooch on anything sellable and you’ve got yourself a taker – and I loved the ‘Gerald the Dog’ kits from Lazerian – I’m just not sure I would have the patience nor the steady hand to make Gerald look quite as beautiful as the examples.

So many other designs and products of note; Puff & Flock’s ‘Make me up’ Wallpaper appealed – a ‘girl thing’ you might say but I enjoyed the interaction – always really important to me at these shows, and Jason Mark’s distorted ceramics pieces are surely investment pieces of the future.

I have to admit to being constantly diverted by the building itself; the colours, shapes and textures in the crumbling interior a great contrast to the diverse designs.


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Conran: Reuse and Recycle

Walking to work this morning Holly-Anne Rolfe from Conran & Company saw an opportunity not to be missed.

Like any design company we tend to have a lot of stuff hanging around the office, and the usual 6 -12 monthly purges are always accompanied by piles of bin bags and never ending processions of people carrying cardboard boxes full to the brim down to the recycling bin.

Like any good hoarder I can’t bear throwing away anything that looks vaguely reusable and every time there’s a move or a clearout I’m laughed at as I constantly scratch around for uses for bits of old upholstery fabric, out of date branded CDs or large scale paper versions of bed linen designs now currently filling the shelves of John Lewis.

A while back through an involvement I have with the education dept at Tate Modern I was alerted to scrapstores – recycling warehouses which support the reuse of unwanted resources for the benefit of children and communities; fabulous places filled with bright rolls of unwanted paper from photoshoots, vast bags of foam, trimmings and off cuts and weird plastic things that no one seems able to identify but which make excellent additions to that cardboard box space ship or paper mache head. They all have different means of accessing their scrap materials. In some you need to pay an individual membership fee, at others you simply pay for the scrap you take on the day.

So I was delighted walking through Potters Fields on my way to work this morning to see a group of people gathering underneath a tent with ‘Scrapstores UK’ emblazoned on the side, bright bins of materials spilling out onto the grass, long, coloured hose pipes, quirky foam shapes and bits of string spiralling out as I was almost knocked over by legions of holidaying children rushing past me in shiny gold foil gladiator capes and corrugated paper crowns.

Today’s event on the grass marked the launch of the hundred odd scrapstores around the country teaming up and working together sharing knowledge, funding, opportunities, press and scrap under the banner of Scrapstores UK.

Perfect timing as I had quite a few boxes and bags worth of recyclable wares I had squirreled away from the last clear out. So down we went to Tower Bridge to donate!

Nikki DiGiovanni, the National Coordinatior of the project, was pleased to see us

‘Over 1million people are currently using scrapstores around the UK so we are always on the look out for more stuff!’

It was great to see so many people taking advantage of this great and green creative opportunity -and it was very good to get rid of all those black bin bags under the stairs…

I hope lots of other companies decide to contribute to the scheme too – it’s brilliant to see things we would throw away being reused, bringing so much pleasure and encouraging such creativity.

For info please see: www.scrapstoresuk.org

Did you know?

It’s better if possible to recycle glass separately and divide it by colour as this greatly improves the chances of it being recycled back into usable glass.

Quite often when glass is mixed or ‘polluted’ with other materials it gets reused as road surfacing which means it only gets recycled once. Recycling glass properly means more beautiful recycled glass for the future.

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Conran: Our Creative City

The last few days reminded us once again of how great it is to be in London as the city continues on its path to being the most creative Capital in the world.

Holly-Anne Rolfe from our Brand Development team, Conran & Company, takes us on a short tour of two fabulous events she visited yesterday that could only take place in our great City.

First off a meeting near the Clerkenwell Design Week event meant I could take a look around the open-air displays and exhibitions and see lots of things I had been reading about since the Milan Furniture Fair last month.

I loved the branding for the Design Week this year, really fun, and it’s so nice to see a creative community ‘at work’.

Wandering past St John’s Square I was drawn in by a man on an old Routemaster and the Forest of Lights installation of giant floor lamps showcasing new illustrations from some of the most cutting edge illustrators around.

I recognised the ice cream cloud van from last year’s RCA graduate show – although this time they seemed to be without a vital ingredient.

The new Nissan cube on display also provided another Conran memory: our redesign of this classic automobile a few years ago.

I was desperate to try the ‘chairless’ after seeing pictures of people sitting cross-legged in these brightly coloured contraptions all over the blogosphere and reading about Natasha from Conran Contracts trying one out in Milan. The Vitra showroom on Clerkenwell Road was full of people looking slightly sheepish as they stepped up to the platform to try this deceptively simple device. It’s pretty good – after a bit of shifting around – and a must for summer festival going.

The Farmiloe building was impressive; a great ex-industrial space perfect for showcasing lots of interesting lighting and furniture. I particularly liked the FlexibleLove models in the courtyard space:  pieces that unfold like an accordion made from recycled materials that can be adapted for small or larger groups, great for impromptu gatherings in the garden.

The Design Museum had a selection of their designers in residence there too – I remembered Asif Khan’s Harvest chair from its time in the Design Museum tank on the riverside near our offices.

Next thing I was whizzing over to West London for the private view of SHOW 1 of this year’s Royal College of Art Graduate Exhibition 2010 sponsored by Terence’s Conran Foundation.

Trying to cross London in a humid rush hour is never fun – especially with no trains going Westbound on the Circle Line.

After an impromptu visit to Edgware Road and a hop on the no 27 bus I entered the RCA building underneath the bright vermillion ‘H’ and was immediately reminded of the last time I set foot in this illustrious institution – when CONRAN sponsored the private view of Show 2 last June which I helped organise. Slightly less stress on this occasion I’m glad to say!

Eleanor Bolton’s bold statement necklaces made from coiled up rope were absolutely gorgeous. A friend made a comment that you’d think could easily sum up these strange objects (‘noose’, I believe) but in actual fact they were delightfully light and squashy to the touch, like those large, spirally marshmallows.

The hybrid objects created by Jasleen Kaur as part of her ‘britesh’ range investigating the cultures of Britain and India were also very intriguing – like a weird 3d version of a consequences game knives and forks were topped or tailed with paint brushes or spoons; a smart pair of city shoes were crossed with flipflops – smart-casual taken to the extreme.

Terence had visited the show earlier in the day and had the following words of advice for our young creatives.

At a time when headlines seem endlessly made by MP’s expenses, bankers bonuses and a failing economy, we need our young artists and designers to shine more brightly than ever. We need you to be optimistic, brave and have a tenacious belief in your work because the creative industries are vital to the UK economy. We want you to be confident and help create a future that works, looks fantastic and has a very human centre.

Free beer this time too – thanks Terence!



28 May – 6 June, 11am–8pm daily, free admission

Ceramics & Glass; Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery; Photography and Printmaking

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

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