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Interior Trends: Enduring or Fads?

All posts byElizabeth Danon

My interview with George Clarke

On May 12th, 2011 by .

I had the pleasure of interviewing George Clarke at Grand Designs. I started by asking him how he had found the show so far.

I think the good thing is that there’s lots of good quality stands and people tend to just mill from one stand to the next because there’s people that genuinely want to find out about new products. I think most people come wanting to buy something or find out about bathrooms or kitchens, not just browse and shop. Grand designers on a mission to do something for their house! They also want to gain knowledge and leave with something personal to their requirements.

What inspired you to become an architect?

Both of my granddads were builders, so I was on building sites a lot when I was a kid, so when all my mates were playing with toy cars, I’d be out there seeing the real thing. Over school holidays I’d go out on site and help with lifting bricks. So building was always part of my family, architecture became a part of it as I used to just sketch and draw, I loved drawing and I just started drawing buildings and it became a really natural thing for me to do. Even though at the age of 8 or 9 I didn’t really know what architecture was, I got to 11 and realised what it was and have never looked back.

What building materials are vital to use in 2011?

What’s interesting about building technology and materials at the moment is that sustainability and environmentally friendly materials are important. It seems to be getting pushed on even more; companies are not only wanting to do something that’s stylish, looks beautiful, functional and practical but also has a really good sustainable message behind it. I did an eco refit at the ideal home show in March, where we tried to put as many ecological materials in there as we could. It looked great; a kind of slick form of environmental design. There were tiles that we had in the bathroom that were coated in titanium dioxide film, which reacts with artificial or natural light and turns CO2 back into Oxygen, like a tree, which is mad! I think people are trying to reduce their carbon foot print and be more eco whilst being stylish and slick.

Who is your favourite architect?

That’s a tough one! Most of my favourites are all dead unfortunately. Le Corbusier was one of my favourites when I was training to be an architect; he designed amazing one off houses as well as social projects. It’s really difficult because you have your favourite and then they do a really bad building and you think, oh I’ve gone off them now! You’re only as good as your last job unfortunately.

There’s a Scandinavian architect called Sverre Fehn. He was a very modern contemporary architect but he balanced it with Scandinavian tradition by using warm materials, beautiful timbers and leather handles. He was sensitive to details, it’s the sort of architecture that I love as it’s modern and contemporary, but it’s also warm and homely. My favourite designers who are architects as well are Charles and Ray Eames, they were so eclectic; they designed all sorts of furniture, their Eames office in California. I’d like it if we could be the Eames office of the 21st century.

What’s been your most satisfying project to date?

I think the one that was the most interesting and quirky was a restoration of an ice house up near a loch in Scotland. It was a commercialised house, a bit of a telly tubby building that was built into the landscape, right beside a beautiful loch. In the 1800’s when they used to go out and fish on the lochs they would get the ice from the lochs and store the fish in there, which was a natural ecological fridge. We turned that into a two bedroom house and saved the building and gave it a new lease of life, but it also made it one of our most ecological houses with a nice modern glass extension on the end. I’d never really worked on anything that quirky before and it was a bit out of the ordinary and a really unique building.

Where do you find your inspiration on a daily basis?

I would say nature is quite amazing; I do a lot of walking and climbing to get away from the pressures of work. When you look at all the issues in nature of how things build and grow themselves. You get mathematicians who look at nature to see how things are calculated. It also inspires ecological design, you have to be super sensitive to the landscape and blur the edges between architecture and landscape. Landscape and nature is quite a powerful thing for me.

Any top tips for people wanting to do their homes on a budget?

De-cluttering your space is a great thing to do and obviously it’s free! Some of have so much stuff and we talk about wanting more space when really we could probably do with just getting rid of things on free cycle. Painting things white obviously makes a space appear a lot bigger and brighter. It might just be putting a simple skylight in that would make the big difference, like over a staircase to allow for as much natural light to get in as possible. Kitchens and bathrooms are the slightly more expensive way of sprucing up a home but it’s the thing that really adds a lot more value to your home. Even just re-tiling or giving a bathroom a lick of paint makes a difference. Your kitchen and dining spaces are like the heart of the home, people spend a lot of time there being sociable.


My meeting with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson

On April 22nd, 2011 by .

I was invited to Sketch just off Oxford Circus for a breakfast with Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and Anna Ryder Richardson for the launch of their designs for Andrex.

Sketch itself is an extremely quirky bar/restaurant/club which is oozing with individual features, vibrant colours and eccentric furniture.  I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland as I tried to find the room where the breakfast was held.

Overall the meeting was about the current interior design climate and how people are finding it difficult to do up their homes due to funds.

People are no longer after a quick fix as they are not selling their homes, meaning that they want to add personal touches and actually “live” in their homes.

Therefore consumers are more likely to experiment with bold colours through accessories, fabrics and furniture, moving away from the estate agent’s rules of impersonal cream and beige spaces. As well as being bold, design has gone down the route of eco and natural with respect for the earth’s resources and they way things are made and who by.

A few quotes below of what Laurence and Anna had to say:

“People are finding it difficult to afford large purchase so the smaller touches are more effective.”

“There’s nothing us British like more than a bit of loo humour” (whilst holding a toilet roll)

“Next weekend is the big DIY weekend with the spring cleaning and the summer approaching”

“There is so much you can do by making small changes”

“In your bathroom you can experiment with bold colours, a lick of paint doesn’t cost much and makes a dramatic effect”

“MDF’s lovely, it’ll have a revival one day”

“As we emerge from the recession, we have forgotten what it’s like to have a real home. When designing our homes functional and affordable is key.

Little things are easy to accessories

Design has been going natural eco with leaves and  flowers

We are stirring up what was laying dorment for so long – interior design”



Repro designer furniture

On March 31st, 2011 by .

Being able to afford designer furniture is not something many of us can do, especially in these tough times. Happily there is now an answer: Interior Addict have been running for around two years, selling high quality designer reproductions online. Two weeks ago they opened their very first showroom, on Commercial Street, Shoreditch.

“For some people, furniture is just a tool: a functional object to sit on, eat at or sleep in. But that’s not how we see things. You see, we’re addicts… Interior Addicts. We’re not just passionate about furniture design from the likes of Arne Jacobsen, Joseph Hoffman, Le Corbusier and Charles Eames… we’re absolutely, positively and utterly addicted to it.”

Selling only the finest reproduction pieces inspired by their favourite classic designers, they have our whole range available to buy on their website. Shoreditch is a beautiful area of London known for being a design hub, so why not make a day of it?

File Name: Charles Eames Style Rar Rocking Chair.jpg
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Product Name: Charles Eames Style Rar Rocking Chair
Description: * reproduction inspired by Charles Eames’ signature rocking chair * hard fibreglass shell * number of colours available * rounded profile designed to fit the human body * dimensions: width 46cm * depth 58cm * height 66cm
Price: £189

File Name: Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Style Barcelona Sofa 2 Seat.jpg
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Product Name: Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Style Barcelona Sofa 2 Seat
Description: * reproduction in the style of the classic Barcelona design * high quality specifications as per the original * functional and pure in geometric form * a classic example of Bauhaus design * available semi aniline, aniline leather * a number of colours * 12mm, 304 highly polished stainless steels * dimensions: width 130cm * depth 75 cm * height 76cm
Price: £729

File Name: Eileen Gray Style Bibendum Chair.jpg
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Product Name: Eileen Gray Style Bibendum Chair
Description: * reproduction in the style of Eileen Gray’s striking design * tubular cushions upholstered in Italian leather * highly polished base * dimensions : width 93cm * depth 84cm * height 74cm.
Price: £499

File Name: Arne Jacobsen Style Egg Chair – Red.jpg
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Product Name: Arne Jacobsen Style Egg Chair – Red
Description: # Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair reproduction # high spec as per the original design # available semi aniline, full aniline or danish wool (whats this) # cast aluminium base, with tilt and swivel mechanism # egg chairs hand stitched, no sewing line down the back ! # Height: 107 cm highest point * Depth:79 cm* Width :86 cm Widest Point
Price: £599

File Name: Verner Panton Style Side Chair – Fibreglass.jpg
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Product Name: Verner Panton Style Side Chair – Fibreglass
Description: * reproduction influenced by Panton’s playful and exciting original * commercial quality fibre glass * various vibrant colours * dimensions: Width 47cm * Depth 52cm * Height * 84cm. Seat height is 41cm.
Price: £95

File Name: Charles Eames Style Dar Dining Chair.jpg
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Product Name: Charles Eames Style Dar Dining Chair
Description: Charles Eames Style DAR Dining Chair This high-quality reproduction is created in the style of Charles Eames’ DAR Dining Chair and is a stylish addition to not just the dining room but any room of your home. The rounded profile of the seat contrasts starkly with the thin and angular legs to create a striking piece. Charles Eames Style DAR Dining Chair features a sumptuous seat shell that conforms to the body’s shape with graceful armrest. Dimension: H: 81 * W:46 * D:53 cm # reproduced in the style of Eames’ classic DAR Dining Chair # rounded profile of the seat contrasts starkly with the angular legs to create a striking piece # stylish addition to any room in the home # sumptuous seat shell that conforms to the shape of the human body # dimensions: height: 81cm * width: 46cm * depth 53cm
Price: £189

File Name: Arne Jacobsen Style 3103 Chair.jpg
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Product Name: Arne Jacobsen Style 3103 Chair
Description: Arne Jacobsen styke 3103 chairs, Walnut “3103” chairs orginally designed by Arne Jacobsen. Constructed from molded plywood with desirable walnut veneer, this design classic is also known as the “Hammer” Chair. Dimensions : width 46cm * height 77cm * depth 45cm Seat height 44 cm * real walnut veneer plywood * stainless steel base * designer iconic dining chair * dimensions : width 46cm * height 77cm * depth 45cm * seat height 44 cm REPRODUCTION
Price: £129