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Paris needs no introduction of course and we were very excited to be kicking off 2020 in this iconic city in mid-January, warmly wrapped to combat the winter chill.  Not that anyone needs an excuse to visit Paris in any season! For us however, a big drawcard was the opportunity to experience two of the most prestigious lifestyle and design events in the world: Maison et Objet and Paris Deco Off, an open house of the right and left bank designer showrooms.

Paris Deco Off was particularly appealing with trade talks and events hosted by the most stylish and innovative showrooms in the design world. Its festive environment led us on a wonderful design journey through the streets of Paris.

Check out some of our highlights

 

Tropical prints are certainly no passing trend and in 2020 we see them reinterpreted with a new level of sophistication. Murals printed on grass cloth and embroidered fabrics deliver drama, richness and luxury. Some of our favourites were seen at Casamance, Arte and DeGournay. Discover more about -> Tropical Prints.


 

DESIGN INTERVENTION ⇒ Design Trail 

 


 

1. Fabric Dome 2. The Iconic lampshades of Deco Off – over 150 illuminations are strung across Paris 3. Japanese inspired wallpaper @Arte 4. Sitting on one of the Giant Pieces of Furniture exhibited across Paris 6. Zuber splendour

 

Following the design trail set out for Paris Deco Off isn’t the only way to find design inspiration because in the words of Thomas Jefferson:

 

One such enchanted walk lead us to none other than the Plaza De Athenee and Alan Ducasse’s amazing restaurant. Deconstructed glittering chandeliers and elegant silver bells reflect the purity of the menu. While later on, a feminine inspired salon at the La Narcisse boutique hotel was the ultimate memorable venue for a night cap.

 

 

 

 

 With more than 5,000 exhibitors and an enormous exhibition hall, this is an endless source of inspiration for the world of interiors. A mecca of all things lifestyle, each year sees brands pushing the boundaries in design. These are some of our highlights from the design fair which never fails to surprise and delight.

Lights take on an art form –  illumination is purely their function.  Shapes, materials, designs and structures are dramatic and museum worthy.

Colour appears everywhere, in stools and rugs from Ferreira de Sa and objet from luxury lifestyle brand L’Objet.

Animal prints and designs are still centre stage but re-inspired with new designs and colours – the trend is perennial and will be forever chic in any interior. If you’re a big fan of animal print check out our blog post Animal Instincts.

 

My personal favourite – Lladro Porcelain masks

No one could ever find Paris dull, as design week or not, this city is a feast for the senses.  Its beauty, history, food and culture makes it one of our favourites and we just loved beginning this exciting year with a total cultural and design immersion in one of the most famous cities in the world.

Bring on 2020!

 

February 26, 2020 0 comment
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New year, new decade, new start, new hope…. 2020

We return to work after a fun packed holiday break, full of excitement and anticipation about what this new decade will bring for us. And as we begin to attack our latest projects, we can’t help but evaluate how our client’s expectations seem to be at a pivotal turning point as we enter this new decade.

Throughout most of the last decade, our client briefs would emphasize aesthetics and perhaps function. But more recently, expectations extend far beyond simply enhancing the look of the home. Overwhelmingly, we see our clients, thinking about their homes as personal sanctuaries. Individual style preferences may differ but the brief from our clients is surprisingly consistent.

They are asking for personalized homes that are restorative retreats where they can recharge and reset. They are searching for design choices that go beyond improving aesthetics: they are looking to design to promote wellbeing to nurture happiness and foster healthier lifestyles.

Experts predict that stress related illnesses will be the primary cause of sickness in 2020 and scientific studies have proven the disastrous effects of poor sleep on health and happiness. So it stands to reason that the pursuit of effective ways to lead healthier happier lives is going to be a key driver of lifestyle choices. Our environment affects us in real, physiological ways, impacting both physical and mental health.

Since we spend close to 90% of our lives indoors, we expect the single most, all-encompassing design theme will be to harness the transformative power of design to tailor our built environments to reduce stress and influence the way we feel, behave and perform. The pressure is on for our homes to soothe and restore. Home owners will expect their homes to have optimal air quality and clean-filtered water and good natural light.

The last decade saw a meteoric rise in the growth of the wellness industry to exceed a staggering annual turnover in excess of USD $4Trillion dollars. Yoga holidays and exotic spa-breaks have become commonplace. The next decade will see wellness literally coming home with people looking to make a real and daily difference to their lives.

This new way of looking at the design of our homes will lead to an emphasis on the “private zones” of the home as homeowners are looking to include home gyms, bathrooms that serve as personal spas and bedrooms designed to promote better sleep.

SO HOW WILL THIS EFFECT PREVALENT DESIGN TRENDS?

 Home owners will be less concerned with creating show homes, but will focus more on comforting, nurturing authentic environments, designed to soothe and inspire themselves rather than impress others.

We see this translate into 7 key trends:

1. COLOUR

Colour can affect our moods in real and measurable ways, and as homeowners look to create backdrops that soothe, inspire or energize- expect to see more colour in our homes. Pastels are being accepted as neutrals.

Bold, inspiring tones are no longer confined to mere accents.

Perhaps the most notable change is the trend towards colourful kitchens. Once all white kitchen reigned supreme- we are increasingly seeing clients asking for kitchens that are personalized as much as the other areas of their homes.

2. LIGHTING

Technological advancements have impacted lighting – more than any other element in the home. A good lighting designer can alter our perception of space, proportion and affect our mood and even our behaviour. Home owners are no longer content with ceilings peppered with a multitude of harsh spotlights everywhere. We want lighting that does more than facilitate function, we expect lighting that creates atmosphere and mood.

Layered lighting, varying colour temperatures (how white a light is) and brightness to create different mood settings will be de rigour in the years to come.

3. BIOPHYLIIC ELEMENTS

Biophilia is still a new term but it is fast becoming one of the most important considerations in design. Biophilia stems from Greek words for Life (Bios) and Love (Philia) and literally means a love of life or love of nature.

Biophilic design is more than just bringing the outside in. It’s about making and strengthening a connection with nature that has a visceral effect, soothing us at our core. It’s about natural light, views on nature, plants, natural materials, textures and patterns. Incorporating direct or indirect elements of nature into the built environment have been proven to reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, whilst increasing productivity, creativity.

4. BATHROOMS AS SANCTUARIES

The design of bathrooms has moved beyond simply functional areas of the home. Our clients are looking to us to create an experience, they expect nurturing spaces with an emphasis on authenticity.

 

5. TEXTURE

We are tactile beings.Touch makes us feel good -releasing the feel good hormone oxytocin. Pet owners live longer because stroking our pets calms us, relieving stress. Tactile stimulation lowers cortisol, reducing anxiety.

Close up of bed and pillows. Scandi style bedroom decor

With so much of our time spent touching shiny smooth screens and devices, our sense of touch has been deprived for too long. As such, expect to see a demand for natural textural elements in the home. ( Click Here  to find out more about TEXTURE ).

6. CURVACEOUS SHAPES

Life can be hard enough, your sofa doesn’t have to be! Low back, rectilinear furniture shapes are out. Comfort is in. Soft, curvaceous forms that cradle and comfort us will dominate in the decade to come.

 

7. LOCALIZATION AND PERSONALIZATION

The internet, online shopping and social media have made great design accessible for everyone but it has also led to homogenous homes across the globe. The new decade will see a drive for an individual stamp to design- so that our homes reflect our heritage and give a sense of who we are.

Artisanal elements and family heirlooms, trinkets, souvenirs and photos that spark happy memories will be intermixed with new pieces to create personalized interiors that reflect who we are, what we love and where we are from, where we can truly feel at home.

 

 

 

January 14, 2020 0 comment
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The great painter Picasso said:

“Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”  

And for me Colours are emotion. SO I Iove the fact that after almost thirty years of neutral shades dominating the design landscape, there is a renewed interest in colour and we can see that clearly in the  official 2020 colour of the years selections. Pantone. Nippon, Benjamin More P&G have all gone for bold hues, Dulux and Sherwin Williams picks are softer but definitely not neutral. There is not a grey or beige to be found!

In September, I had the great privileged of being invited by Akzonobel, the makers of Dulux paints to be on the panel to choose the colour of the year for 2021 ( yes that is how far in advance these colours are selected. We chose the 2021 in September 2019! It was a wonderful opportunity to witness  the rigorous process that goes into choosing a colour of the year.  It was a multidisciplinary panel. Of course, there were designers and architects but there were also experts from other industries, including, media, robotics, healthcare, auto and representatives from all across the globe. The discussions at the 3 day round table, centred not on colour but on the state of the world. The object of the exercise was to feel the pulse of the people , their fears, their hopes, their aspirations, their concerns. What Akzonobel wanted us to decipher was- what was the mood of the people.

We discussed, politics, climate change, A.I. what movies were popular, which games people were playing… and from there, on the  last afternoon, of the very last day, we chose a colour that reflected the mood we had uncovered. If the colour of the year is a call on the mood of the world’s population, then it is not surprising that different paint companies come up with very similar colour choices.

 

People are often afraid to use strong colours on walls , but they can be a wonderful backdrop to allow other design elements to pop. Just as  the deep coloured lining of a jewellery box, shows off its contents to best effect, so to a strong coloured wall can be a fabulous backdrop for art.

People often worry that strong colours will be too stimulatory, but deep moody shades can evoke their own serenity.

If you are not ready to embrace the bold colour movement just yet, perhaps take it slow and try a statement piece of furniture like a feature sofa against a neutral back ground.

One of my personal favourites is to bright and fun kitchen cabinetry.

For the bold and the brave, combining colour and pattern has to be the way to go add new depth and dimension to your design scheme.

I love to be adventurous on ceilings,  who said ceilings have to be white? A lovely soft blue , is so much more interesting and can draw in exterior sky views.

And I will often use a dark hue on a low ceiling, to give height. That might sound perverse, but dark colours recede and if you paint a ceiling alcove a darker shade, it can give some depth to the room, and so the illusion of height.

 

 

December 11, 2019 0 comment
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It’s that time of year – again! 🎄

We are seeing out another year and ushering in the next, which seems impossible as I feel like I planned my Christmas 2018 celebrations only a few months ago.  But there’s no escaping reality – evidenced by seasonal decorations and accompanying music and reminders about gifting all around us.

Trawling through a popular global site recently, I was struck by the abundance of animal motifs on ornaments, cards, and gifts offering Christmas cheer.  The variety was amazing as we have gone way past the traditional reindeer and cute appeal of animals found in the northern hemisphere to an entire zoo bedecked in red hats, scarves and jingling bells.  Looking at a set of animal print Christmas baubles recalled the beautiful animal themed fabrics, wallpapers and design elements I handle every day and which never fail to inspire me.

Animal prints have been trending for as long as there have been animals to admire and it has enduring staying power, despite our hearing that it has “made a comeback” or that it’s “fashionable again”.  In reality, animal prints have never gone away, as season after season fashion designers incorporate them into their collections and interior designers are attracted to their bold and timeless transformative power – some maybe to the point of obsession!  Some of us may just have a zebra fetish……..

Design Intervention

We’ve seen animal prints in bright colors and bold patterns over bed linen and curtaining in colour combinations suited to children and adults alike.  Evoking a sense of fun or sophistication, there is an endless choice to suit everyone’s pocket.

Pinterest Images

Animal inspired wallpapers provide elegant options for those with a restrained palette as well as those of us who have a taste for the flamboyant.  And there are prints incorporating cheeky animals in colourways that are definitely not for the faint-hearted, but guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

Images via Pinterest

Animal print throws and pillows can add a layer of texture and pattern to a room as they mix well with other patterns and can deliver unexpected effects.

If you are looking for a touch of warmth and glamour, animal print rugs and ottomans are a wonderful way to achieve this.

Design Intervention

Stripes and spots can be overwhelming and overdone as we do see them everywhere, but there are other animals who are overlooked, such as giraffe.  Ever fancied a giraffe-print desk or a chandelier or a cheetah side table?  Using small accent furniture pieces, cushions and tableware are a fabulous way to add a touch of whimsy without going the whole hog and they inject an element of surprise….

Images via Pinterest

A recent visit to Perth delivered many a chuckle when viewing the latest trend in lighting: animal lamps!  Table lamps and candle holders with impudent and irreverent monkeys inject levity into the serious business of choosing just the right illumination in a room. Being born in the year of the Monkey, these guys are my greatest pals. I need to find a place for these amazing baboon lights!

Pinterest Image

Additionally, it was very evident that animal themed home accessories are hugely popular just now with the monkey being the current animal of choice.   Other animals include deer and elephant while brilliantly hued birds abound on lamp bases.  Exotic peacock motifs with their jewel colours and iridescent feathers are stamped on fabrics and furnishings – an ageless symbol of good luck and plenty.

Images via Pinterest

And finally, wall murals and large scale art are tipped to be big in 2020 with animals prowling across our walls – as a backdrop behind our bed or making a statement in a living room.   No monkey business and not for the faint-hearted, but there’s no stopping you if you would like to take a walk on the wild side……?

Images via Pinterest

November 20, 2019 0 comment
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Welcome to the Design Oscars!

What a thrill!!… The UPS delivery man has just delivered a big brown (heavy!!!) box from Amazon and we have torn through the packaging to uncover the newest edition of the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review….

The Interior Design Review is published annually and each year as the release date draws near, we are in a state of eager anticipation. The book has been described as “The Bible of the Design World” and it really is the biggest, thickest, heaviest book we own.
We absolutely love it!
Within its hardback cover are over a 1000 beautiful photographs – a compendium of the world’s greatest designers and their best works of the year. The book features the work of almost a hundred designers from every corner of the globe, and that is what makes the book so compelling- it’s sheer variety.

The pages contain the very best examples of classic, eccentric, decadent, minimalist or avant-garde. It is very simply a compilation of the best of every design genre highlighting the current trends in international interior design… What other inspiration could a design-lover need?
Competition amongst designers to have our work included in these pages is fierce. The Times has described it as “The Oscars of the interior Design World”.
In total, three design firms  were selected to represent the best of ASEAN design: Geoffrey Thomas from Malaysia and Bill Bensley from Thailand and we are honoured to have been chosen and to be showcasing Singapore design.
It is the sixth time that Design Intervention has been featured in the Interior Design Review and we are simply thrilled to have made the cut again.

Design Intervention

A living room with earthy tones. A big wine cabinet in the background.

Design Intervention

A colourful sofa in front of the window on the verandah.

Design Intervention

Navy blue wallpaper in a bedroom with bright yellow throws on the bed that brightens up the space

Design Intervention

I am a big fan of Bill Bensley’s work, ever since I stayed at his Intercontinental resort in Vietnam. It’s a great honour to have our projects featured alongside his. Just look at how amazing his projects are!

BILL BENSLEY

Another favourite of ours is British designer, Matthew Williamson, who was also selected this year. He has an amazing sense of colour and a love of pattern and the photos of his showcased projects are some of our favourites in this year’s edition.

MATTHEW WILLIAMSON

We also enjoyed the photos of Steve Leung’s recent projects. He is a master at capturing a sultry, moody ambience. There is a sexiness to his photos that is absolutely mesmerising.

STEVE LEUNG

The Interior Design review is undoubtedly our favourite design publication. Year after year, we find it a rich source of inspiration and it is a joy to flip through the pages. So it is an absolute delight to be included alongside some of the biggest names in Design.

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A huge thank you to the team at Andrew Martin for selecting us!

October 25, 2019 0 comment
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Touch — the “Feel Good” sense…

A kiss, a hug, a simple pat on the head or a gentle squeeze of a forearm… we show our affection through touch.
We are tactile beings. Touch makes us feel good — releasing the feel good hormone oxytocin. Pet owners live longer because stroking our pets calms us, relieving stress. This is Science Fact.

young boy cuddling cute dog

The world's first magnetic resonance image of a mother kissing her baby

“This is the world’s first magnetic resonance image of a mother kissing her baby. Her kiss has caused a chemical reaction in her son’s brain which generates a burst of oxytocin – a hormone that generates feelings of attachment and affection. Beautiful.” Credit: NH Neuro TrainingLess
Calling for a multi-sensory approach to design.
So it leaves me completely bewildered that we consistently ignore this crucial sense. We experience our environment through our senses but when we design we routinely only address the sense of sight.
We know that music affects our mood and soothes us. So we will instinctively  turn on some gentle music at the end of a long day.
It is a well known trick of the real estate industry to have a home smelling of freshly baked cookies when showing a house for a sale. The scent creates a warm, friendly and homely ambience. It is certainly no secret that scented candles and room fragrance sales have seen phenomenal sales growth, as consumers look for ways to make their homes more inviting.
So why oh why do we ignore the sense of touch – the physical manifestation of love!

TEXTURE

collage of textured materials and fabrics

Warm, textured throws makes the bedroom so cozy!

grey tones and texture in a bedroom

Craving a little bit of rough.

With so much of our time spent touching, shiny smooth man-made materials, screens or keyboards – This sense has been deprived for too long.  Raw hewn natural wood, textured grass cloth walls, woven cane and rattan, embroidered fabrics  are all making a comeback. multiple images of texture in the homeBut it is not simply in organic, natural themed rooms where we can enjoy textile elements. No one can deny the meteoric rise in popularity of lush velvets, it is the rich tactile quality that appeals to  us after so much exposure to hard smooth metals and plastics that surround us every day.examples of textured home accents within the homeI have always been partial to a bit of fur for the same reason. Recently, we have been rediscovering Anagalypta wall coverings to give a subtle layer of texture to our designs. And I am really loving the new Bouclé fabrics that many of the fabric suppliers have launched in the last few weeks. Expect to see so much more of them in 2020.

floral patterned bedroom with sheepskin throw

For a more glamorous look, nothing can beat the iridescence of a room wrapped in a silk.

Dining room with green silk Fromental design wallpaper

And the recent trend towards trims and braids is as much about adding texture as it is about adding detail.Home office of Nikki Hunt showing artwork and fringed curtains in pink huesBy exciting this additional sense, we can add new dimension to our designs, elevating them, bringing them to life like a black and white picture being reworked in colour.

Bring in the texture and feel the love.

October 7, 2019 0 comment
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ACCESSORIES – THEY ARE THE FINAL 10% IN ANY SPACE.

If you look closely at interiors that appear luxurious and appealing, you may notice that they share one thing in common: each detail has been carefully considered. The first impression you receive on entering a room should be that seamless blending of architecture and decoration to create a lasting visual impression.

FILLING A ROOM WITH FURNITURE DOESN’T COMPLETE THE ROOM.

It needs that little bit more to transform it. So at DI, we ensure a client’s rooms are elevated from the mundane to the sublime.

This project below showcases the perfect example of just that, check out one the deconstructed image to show you the power of the last 10%.

Conceptually, its a bit like getting ready for work each morning: selecting the outfit, shoes, bag and accessories —But the look only really comes together after that last flourish of lipstick —- It may account for just 10 per cent, but how vital and transformative that is!

https://www.banuba.com/facearsdk

We view this daily process as the forerunner of what our day brings: helping clients with fabrics, furnishings, colours and window treatments accounts for the major percentage of the many decisions they make, but waving our magic wand over the remaining 10 percent to ensure they achieve their dream interior is what we do best and the difference it makes to an interior is extraordinary.

FEELING INCOMPLETE?

Viewing a great room yet feeling that something’s missing is akin to not getting your ensemble quite right – until someone tweaks it for you and just like that, it’s “finished” and you are ecstatic!  The same holds true with design.  A room needs to be pulled together with objects that have meaning as well as pieces that bring the colour story to life such as cushions and throws, framed photos, ceramics and books.

Design Intervention Image and Pinterest

LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!

If it doesn’t feel like home, it’s not complete.  So, adding layers to a room with accessories can turn it into an exceptional space.  Fill each room with things you love as they will bring you enjoyment every time you enter a room.

I am a self-confessed maximalist and I get it that not everyone is a fan, (for who after all loves dusting), but you can surely add a little something to a bare surface.  A wonderful vase, a sculpture… or perhaps some animal print?

Fill a pretty tray with coveted glassware or use it to creatively tidy up all those bits and pieces that can often clutter up your coffee table.

Pinterest

Your sofa, bed or chaise will welcome a couple of decorative cushions or a throw….Pastel coloured interior with light blue lounge chair and tie-dyed curtains

OUR MIRROR LOVE AFFAIR!

There’s a lot to love about mirrors because they add glamour, they sparkle and bounce light around a room.  Use one as an opportunity to do something amazing in your room while injecting dimension and depth.

Design Intervention Image

HAVE YOU CONSIDERED AN OTTOMAN?

It could be just the thing your living room needs as its versatility is legendary – a coffee table, extra seating, storage and it can be whisked away when it’s not needed.

Pinterest and Design Intervention Image

GOLD, SILVER AND LAMPS

Just like jewellery, go for gold but please don’t underestimate the impact of silver or a mix of both. Using a mix of metals can elevate a space and add pizzazz.  For an easy implementation of this think table lamps for that golden or silver accent…

And lamps lead me to the importance of great lighting.  From table lamps to floor lamps, statement making chandeliers and pendants, they are mood infusing and incomparable.

THAT STATEMENT PIECE!

The crowning glory could be that statement piece: a special and prized art work… a treasured rug, an inherited item of furniture or even a knife collection, check out our client’s images below! No matter what it is, it might be the very item that helps to anchor your room and provide that missing 10 percent.

Design Intervention Image

BOTANICALS

Lastly but definitely not least, greenery and fresh flowers – my all-year-round favourite room lifters, because I doubt there is a room anywhere that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of their wonderful fragrance and organic appeal.

Pinterest

White Lilies remain my personally favoured floral accent. Its like heaven in a flower and just smells so good!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317292736243548244/

 

 

September 11, 2019 0 comment
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This apartment is home to well-travelled, cosmopolitan couple approaching retirement. They wanted a home with a warm, welcoming vibe, free from ostentation that resonated with homely comfort rather than “haute design”.

A collector of art, wine and…300 custom knives!!!

The couple are avid collectors and have been building up their extensive collections for over 30 years.

When asked about their beloved art pieces the couple singled out a few pieces that required special prominence. Three large pieces by MF Hussein, one in particular was purchased, delivered and hung in complete secrecy as an anniversary gift to his wife.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (The wife sure had a pleasant surprise!)

(Artworks are displayed in every part of the house!)

Our aim was to showcase the owner’s impeccable sense of eye for art and design, to pull together all these elements and to create a stunning family home.

A sight to impress Oenophiles everywhere. Well they say its always 6pm somewhere… it certainly here all the time!

Sporting a minimalist profile, these bronze and rimless glass doors enclose a state-of-the-art storage solutions. Combined with this broad expanse of marble-clad bar and seating, we created the ultimate inducement for entertaining and impressing the oenophile in everyone!

The singular shelving layout displays the bottles horizontally with each label facing the front, vertical LED lights creating the ambience, offering a beautiful showcase that heroes the whilst protecting it.

Upholstered barstools inject colour and a joyful counterbalance against the sleek metal and glass fascia.

There’s a first time for everything! We were amazed to know this client collects knives as well.

HANDCRAFTED KNIFE CABINET

This cabinet was handcrafted to hold these spectacular knives. A layered timber and bronze console forms the support for 6 pairs of magnetized metal bars anchored inside.

These slim bars appear to float above the console and belie the strength and security of the structure. Each bespoke knife has its own special position with this cabinet highlighting its unique character and detail.

 

This cabinet doubles as a display and a divider between the dining room and the study room.

Avid entertainers, we wanted to ensure that our client’s dining area did not disappoint. Being the home’s social hub, we have strived to ensure it is convivial and comfortable as well as beautiful.

This area is characterised by the vibrant art and display set against modern furniture pieces. Plus, those knives will be a good conversation starter!

Being frequent entertainers, we wanted to ensure that our client’s dining area did not disappoint. Being the home’s social hub, we strived to ensure it was convivial and comfortable as well as dynamic. This area is characterised by the vibrant art and display set against modern furniture pieces.

(Plus those knives will be a good conversation starter!)

 

 

When we thought we had seen it all, our client showed us another extensive collection of theirs…treasured handmade shoes!

For their ease, these shoes are to be stored at the lift lobby. Contemplating storage for this area, we elected to install cabinets at either side of the lift doors. We avoided having floor to ceiling cabinetry as it would look to heavy. Instead, we custom-made floating consoles that are designed to fit their shoe sizes.

We are very proud to have been able to integrate their collections seamlessly into their new home avoiding any showy or ostentatious display whilst still allowing total ease of function, achieving the practical requirements listed by our clients.

 

July 30, 2019 0 comment
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We took a single storey residence, home to a couple with two young kids and a dog, and made it into a pad that is worthy enough for the cast of Madmen!

With an impressive art collection that needed careful consideration and placement, this became a good starting point for the design concept. Strong cobalt blues were a dominant colour for many of the public spaces, while warm autumnal colours set the tones for others.

With a cold grey architectural palette, the house needed vibrancy and warmth. Splashes of colour were used in fabrics, rugs and customised carpentry pieces. Brushed brass was seamlessly integrated into the space in trims and light fixtures. We wanted the house to have splashes of colour and warmth, with a continuous nod to mid-century elements.

Enviably, natural light streams into the entire house and was an important influencing factor in the final colour palette,  juxtaposed with the client’s vivid art work. Bespoke and curated furniture pieces were carefully chosen. 

ENTRANCE

The entry way is a high traffic area in this bustling household, criss-crossed daily by adults, children and pets.  To add warmth the walls are papered in a custom coloured Japanese veneer wallpaper which also serves to link the area with the timber cabinetry in the rest of the house.
A bespoke hide rug in a classic Y pattern adds a layer of texture underfoot and serves as a patterned pathway that naturally leads towards the adjacent living area. The subdued sheen of brass makes its introduction in the classic light fitting adding an understated touch of luxe.

LIVING ROOM

A velvet floral sofa provides textural opulence, peach tones are fresh against the hazelnut veneers. Curved shapes, a mixture of leather, velvet, brass and glass are in total contrast. One offsets the other to achieve balance and cohesion.
Fabrics are fresh and zesty, yet durable to endure the rough and tumble associated with everyday family life.

SEAMLESS BLEND THROUGHOUT THE HOME

Cobalt blue has been chosen to link the open plan living spaces with the real hero piece a custom made bar counter.

FAMILY ROOM

What’s mid-century without palm motifs! The vibrantly patterned wallpaper is bold and dramatic and adds an artistic flair to the room. A Coltrane ceiling light in black with brass accents adds a subtle element of sophistication.

THE STUDY ROOM

This room was designed around artworks with more earthy tones. Leather, cowhides and sage green sit against pops of chartreuse. A retro print armchair acknowledges the Danish influence in the mid-century movement.
Metallic glints from the gold toned bar trolley add a touch of luxe and wood – this is so mid-century.
Romeo (the glorious German Shepherd) takes centre stage, doesn’t he perfectly blend in with the earthy tones??

THE MASTER BEDROOM

Fun coral and mustard tones set against raspberry accents make this master bedroom happy while textural materials such as faux fur and antique mirror add sophistication and contrast.

THE KIDS HALLWAY

Mid-century motifs are incorporated into a customized rug design. This 12m rug adds drama yet, injects vibrancy into a transitional  and very functional space.  Challenged by a low ceiling, clear acrylic pendant lights resolve that problem: they add interest and a pop of colour, without making the ceiling feel any lower.
The client has been delivered a home that is sophisticated yet playful and fresh, brimming with Mid-Century references.
June 24, 2019 0 comment
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I have always counted myself unbelievably fortunate to have been able to forge a career from doing what I love. Design for me is not work, it is a joy but as much as I love my job, from time to time, we all need a break and last week, I escaped for 4 days to beautiful Chiang Mai. 4 glorious days of Thai massages, great, clean , organic food, days lazing by the pool with my kindle (no design magazine in sight)- a total and complete unwind- utter bliss.

After an early morning flight, I reached the resort by 1pm and the very next morning, as I sat enjoying my breakfast amidst the lush jungle foliage, I realised that I was already in a state of total relaxation. Incredibly, in less than 24 hours, the cares of city life had all but vanished and I found myself in a calm, blissful state.

Design Intervention

How could that be possible? As I sat there, contemplating the verdant beauty that surrounded me, listening to the hum of the jungle and the sound of birds and taking in the heady fragrance of the frangipanis, I recalled similar trips to Ubud in Bali and remembered how those too induced similar feelings of serenity. What was it about these jungle escapes, that had such a powerful calming effect?

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As designers, we know the power our environment can have in shaping our mood and influencing how we feel. Good design should be more than just a visual creation. We experience our environment through all our senses so by working with fragrances, textures and sounds, as well as  visual stimuli, we can  create a total sensory experience to genuinely influence how we feel. And for me, this lush resort, in the midst of the Chiang Mai jungle had certainly succeeded in creating the perfect place for relaxing.

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So now that I am back in the office, conscious of deadlines and thinking about of my mounting to do list I am asking myself, is it possible to create a similarly calming ambience right here at home?

 

The science of serenity

In 1984, a doctor in a hospital in Pennsylvania noticed a curious pattern among patients who were recovering from surgery. Those who had rooms with a tree view were being discharged almost a day earlier, than those in otherwise identical rooms whose windows faced a wall. This observation  led to a flurry of recent research which has since proven emphatically that looking at trees has significant measurable healing effect on our bodies and mind-  Yes, scientists have proven that the simple tree can ease blood pressure , slow pulse rate, calm breathing and loosen muscles -in other words plants helps us relax. Indeed, clinical  studies have proven that people living in green areas have lower rates of cardio vascular, respiratory disease and stroke.

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The Japanese have longed practiced Shirin-yoku, taking in the forest atmosphere or “forest bathing,” to alleviate stress,  fatigue, and feelings of depression or aggression. Experiments conducted in Japan found that either walking in the woods or even stationary viewing of  trees reduces levels of the stress hormone ,cortisol. Cortisol reduction and calming our metabolic rates can actually bolster the immune system. The science of forest medicine encourages breathing in the woodsy air because plants emit phytoncides, gasses that ward off rot and attack from bacteria, fungi, and insects. More than 5,000 of these compounds are recognized and such compounds have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to boost the immune system and now science is proving the herbalists right.

But it is not just about these chemicals, natural images have a particular structure : they are “scale invariant,” meaning that no matter how much you enlarge them they contain the same amount of detail. Such images are easy for our brains to process. In contrast, unnatural images are scale variant, and the greater the variance, the more uncomfortable we find an image.

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Unnatural images, are measurably more uncomfortable to look at than natural ones and require larger oxygen intake in the brain and requires more brain energy. In other words, constantly looking at unnatural images is physically draining.

 

Creating calm environments at home.

The good news is that we can employ some of these scientific findings in our designs to create environments that promote relaxation. If we are lucky enough to live in a home with a garden , then positioning a seating arrangement to optimise a verdant view would be an easy design tactic.

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But for many city dwellers, that is not an accessible luxury. Luckily, research shows that simply incorporating house plants into our rooms or even pictures of trees into our designs can help lower our metabolism and alleviate stress.

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That’s why in many public buildings like hospitals, designers incorporate murals of natural images into the interior design.

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These inexpensive design elements, not only look great but can genuinely improve our health at the same time.

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And ultimately that is the true purpose of design- the creation of built environments that make us feel good and improve our wellbeing.

 

 

May 6, 2019 0 comment
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