This ‘Misty Venice’ bar by Gallotti&Radice is shaking up cocktail hour with a dash of contemporary elegance. Open the lacquered ash doors to reveal a mirrored backboard and glass shelving.
There is design inspiration aplenty in the Design Centre East showroom of Birgit Israel, with carefully conceived vignettes in a laid-back-yet-luxe style. Rest easy with this ‘Vivien’ oversized armchair, which is upholstered in 100% Orkney wool.
In an ever-more-machined world, this season we are celebrating makers and artisans. Their commitment to the creative process, rare skills and great endeavours are elevating craft to luxury status. Nothing is standard; everything is fastidiously considered.
Just a handful of examples include (pictured from top to bottom): On the Fringe, a new range by Tai Ping, an exploration of hand-tufted craft. In 12 abstract designs, yarns are freed to go beyond the outer edges, allowing them to be used on the floor or be hung as artwork on the walls. Davidson’s ‘Galaxy’ drinks cabinet is notable for its hand carved and hand gilded front panels. Miles x Bookshop distributes Alexander Lamont’s furniture which is renowned for its exquisite use of the ancient craft of straw marquetry where each piece is inlaid carefully by hand. Much inspired by the work of the great Jean-Michel Frank, Lamont also uses a wide variety of rare materials and finishes – mother of pearl, patinated copper, lustrous indigo, lacquer, shagreen and smoked Spanish eucalyptus – all of which give his pieces a distinctive, rich appeal. SA Baxter Foundry & Design Studio has developed collections created in collaboration with architects and interior designers. The ‘Joy’ door handles were named after a 70m superyacht designed by Bannenberg & Rowell. Artisans employ a unique wax-casting process for creating their moulds. The result is handcrafted hardware that harkens back to manufacturing of the past, updated for today.
This season we are rejecting a throwaway culture and returning to the familiar. In this globe-spanning, era-leaping look, no single period is fully embraced; instead it is a delightful mash-up put together with considerable flair. The great decorator Sibyl Colefax was a huge fan and under her watchful eye during the post-war period there was a blossoming of worldly eccentricity that we now associate with magpie English design. Mixing period furniture with humble pieces, and silks and damasks with chintz, Oriental motifs and brightly coloured walls, the aesthetic was – and is – all about taste, elegance and comfort. Today, many design houses are embracing the past but remaining hopeful about the future by playing with scale and introducing joyful colourways. It is a kind of nostalgia, but it also signals that what we crave is differences in expression.
Shown here (top to bottom) are the vibrant yellow ‘Palampore’ tree of life design by Jim Thompson, a ‘Caxton’ dining chair by David Seyfried Ltd, a selection of silks, prints, embroideries and epinglé velvets from the Comptoir d’Orient collection by Braquenié at Pierre Frey, a ‘Toby’ desk by Julian Chichester wrapped in vellum and a chinoiserie cabinet by Oficina Inglesa Furniture.
Jim Thompson, Second Floor, North Dome
David Seyfried Ltd, First Floor, Centre Dome
Pierre Frey, First Floor, Design Centre East
Julian Chichester, Ground Floor, Centre Dome
Oficina Inglesa Furniture, Third Floor, Design Centre East
Fathom the depths to discover design that incorporates watery motifs such as scallops and scales. Jean Paul Gaultier’s ‘Ecailles’ wallcovering (pictured top) from Lelièvre Paris looks convincingly three-dimensional thanks to the metallic thread that edges each individual scale, while lacquered furniture from US brand Oomph (pictured centre), available from Nina Campbell, includes the ‘Capri’ vanity unit with its layers of scalloped detailing. Arteriors’ ‘Ramya’ pendant is made from coconut shells dyed a rich black: the uniqueness of each shell results in an organic-looking piece where the light is permitted to peep through at irregular intervals.
Fox Linton’s showroom has undergone a shining transformation, with new brands introduced alongside its own fabrics and wallcoverings. Among its own collections is ‘Springtide’, the company’s first double-width wallcovering; its subtle pattern mirrors the intricate markings on coastal rocks and cliffs left by waves over time. The showroom is now host to two more compelling brands, with statement lighting from CTO Lighting and furniture by Stuart Scott. Both new additions offer a window on to British craftsmanship at its best: Scott is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, and his pieces are all hand-made in Wiltshire, and signed and numbered as a mark of quality.
The sun-soaked beaches, bright colours and laid-back sophistication of chic Mediterranean resorts are providing design inspiration for the latest collections. Holly Hunt’s ‘Tortuga’ chair and ottoman from Fox Linton (pictured top) are perfect for lazy lounging on a long day, while ‘Carioca’ by C&C Milano (pictured centre) is a thickly striped upholstery-weight fabric that would be right at home on the awnings and deckchairs of a smart promenade – in fact, the company supplied the original fabric for the deckchairs on the Venice Lido. Samuel & Sons, meanwhile, has taken the southern Italian coast as inspiration for its Amalfi trimmings, which are made from cooling cotton and linen to deliver a more informal feel; pictured bottom is the ‘Sorrento’ fringe from the collection.