Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Marre Moerel lights up design

A few weeks ago I went to Venta Vintage, now in its third year, which is held in Madrid over four days. It’s a pop-up store selling furniture and home decor items from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s at very interesting prices. If I had a larger budget I would have taken each and every one of the wonderful pieces of furniture they had: interesting designer pieces and a selection of original home decor items from France, Germany and England. The small 1950’s coffee tables were particularly difficult to resist. Next time round I’ll be the first one in the door - take it from me, these great finds sell like hotcakes.
Venta Vintage took place in the design studio of Marre Moerel, who we would like to introduce you to in this post and who also exhibited some of her work at the sale.

Marre Moerel is a Dutch artist who studied sculpture and later furniture design at the Royal College of Art in London. After spending some years as a freelance designer and teacher in New York, in 2002 she moved to Madrid where she opened up a multi-use space that functions as a gallery, workshop and shop.

Her creations captivate you right from the start. Organic lines featuring light as the protagonist and a predominance of ceramic - designs that she defines as “industrial crafts”. We got to see some of her lamps, bowls and jugs, all of which were incredible. Several of her creations have been sold by some of the sector’s most important companies such as Cappellini, Celda, Covo, Offecct and WilsonArt Int.

I left with this lamp which I'm dying to hang up in a special place so that it can shine in all of its sculptural glory, this won’t be hard ;-). I’ll show you the result once it’s up.

If you’re in Madrid, we encourage you to go into Marre’s studio to enjoy quality design and the pleasure of buying work directly from the artist. 


Friday, 25 March 2011

Pick 'n' Mix: Spring has sprung

It’s here! Every year it likes to make us wait and be one of the most sought after seasons but at last… Spring has arrived! And with it, our second Pick ‘n’ Mix brimming with flowers, little birds and butterflies and above all, colour.

So putting allergies to one side, we hope you enjoy our selection.

  1. Decorate your ideas with these butterfly hair clips
  2. Spring all year round in this photograph by Irene Suchocki
  3.  Bring the garden into your bedroom
  4. Bird-shaped measuring tape
  5. DIY pom-pom flower to add a cheerful touch to any setting
  6. Flower print on these Topshop shorts
Have a good weekend!


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A pick-me-up

I recently read an article about National Geographic’s experiment to lift a house with helium balloons, which looked like a lot of fun :).

Some people have compared it to a scene from ‘Up’. Since I haven’t seen the film, it didn’t make me think of that but did remind me of another one called ‘Le Ballon Rouge’. 

I saw ‘The Red Balloon’ at primary school and it has stuck with me ever since. It was made in 1956 by Director Albert Lamorisse and won several awards including an Oscar for best original screenplay and the Palme d’Or for short films at Cannes. It’s just a really intriguing and simple story with almost no dialogue that is a real pleasure to watch. The end scene is particularly nice (spoiler alert!):

Have any of you seen it? If not I recommend it!


Friday, 18 March 2011


Swedish Mary Poppins

I’ve just been having a play around with Polyvore, a site that allows you to create your own outfit sets, art sets and even interior design sets. It’s quite good fun, I did the outfit set above although I seem to have picked out all the expensive items so I won’t actually buy any of this, I’ll just look at it for inspiration :). For some reason, I was drawn to yellow and blue and because of the brolly and the laced heels I started to think about Mary Poppins - hence the Swedish Mary Poppins look! I’m sure it’ll be all the rage next season ;).  


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The easiest cake ever

Last-minute guests? Your turn to bring the pudding to a friend’s house for dinner tonight? Don’t panic! Here’s what claims to be the easiest cake recipe in the world and that doesn’t make it any less delicious by the way.  Plus, it looks pretty impressive, don’t you think?

I made it a few weeks ago based on the recipe I found here and I can’t wait to make it again. You only need one bowl for mixing so you can save on time and dishes. I put strawberries in it but you can add any other chopped-up fruit.

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon (optional, for flavour)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½cup strawberries
1 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180º C.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest.
Add in the sugar, eggs, vanilla and oil and mix to combine.
Butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch cake pan and add in the batter, which will be quite thick.
Position the strawberries fairly closely together, pressing them into the batter slightly. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hr or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

Bon appétit!


Friday, 11 March 2011

Snapping the streets

For those of you interested in photography, I thought I would write a post about Derby’s Format International Photography Festival, which I’ve been volunteering at. The Festival has been running since 2004 and this year’s central theme is street photography - an area which I find particularly interesting. I was lucky enough to meet and greet all the VIPs on the Festival’s launch night and was also involved in the Portfolio Reviews given by photographers as famous as Joel Meyerowitz (who is also the Festival’s patron), and important publishers, editors and curators. 

Photograph by Joel Meyerowitz  

Photograph by Brian Griffin (also a patron of the Format Festival)

The Format Festival runs until the 3rd of April and includes a variety of exhibitions situated across venues in Derby as well as talks, conferences and workshops – with some even held by the photography agency, Magnum. I’m hoping to get involved in a lot of these and discover more about street photography but what I’ve learned so far in just two days has really fascinated me.

Finding out about John Maloof’s discovery of Vivian Maier’s work has been particularly intriguing. You can watch a video all about him and his investigation into Maier’s work here on his blog about her captivating, and until recently un-heard of, street photography from the 60’s and 70’s.

Photographs by Vivian Maier

A list of all the exhibiting artists and venues across Derby can be found here so if you’re in the area go and check it out!


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thought-provoking urban art

Candy Chang is a town planner, graphic designer and public installation artist who interacts with the urban landscape in her work. Her most recent project can be found in her New Orleans neighbourhood where she has positioned several blackboards on the wall of an abandoned house on which she invites people to write out and display what they would like to do before they die. The artist said she wanted to transform a neglected space into a constructive one in which people from the neighbourhood announced their hopes and aspirations.
It was a risky proposal that required people’s personal and private thoughts but it seems to have been received well by the public. There are messages for all tastes; from people who would like to swim with dolphins to those who yearn to find fame on YouTube before kicking the bucket. There are so many things I’d like to do that I’d be able to fill up the whole installation myself :).

How would you finish the sentence?

Friday, 4 March 2011


It’s almost the weekend so I thought I’d share a tutorial for making an original gift bag for wine bottles just in case you happen to be heading round to a friend’s house for din dins and want to take them something.

You will need:
  • Some nice and fairly stiff material.
  • Thread and needle/sewing machine.
  • A piece of ribbon.
  • Any other accessories you might like to add, e.g. badges, pins, brooches, beads, anything!

Step 1
Cut out your fabric so that it fits around your wine bottle plus a little extra allowance to cover the top of the bottle and to make the seam (around 3cm).

Step 2
Fold your fabric in half to make a rectangular shape and sew along the bottom and side, leaving a slight margin.

Step 3
Now slip the wine bottle into the bag and tie around the neck of the bottle with a ribbon and voila - your bottle of wine is all dressed up and ready for the weekend!

Have a good one :)


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A house with a view

This unique building is a house located in Kyoto, Japan, designed by Hideyuki Nakayama Architecture.
The “O House”, so called because of the way the kitchen, dining room and bathroom are arranged on the ground floor, is built over two storeys and, strange as it may seem, is the family home of dezain.net's Editor-in-Chief, Eizo Okada, his wife and two children.
The most striking part of the house is the main façade, which is made up of a floor-to-roof glass pane spanning both storeys. It makes the dwelling seem almost like a doll’s house. Outdoor light is controlled, and privacy from prying eyes is granted, by a huge curtain made from a single piece of translucent fabric. At night-time, when the lights are on inside, the house appears to be glowing due to the slight transparency of the curtain material.
We’ve no idea how practical it would be to live here but who says originality doesn’t come at a price?

The photos speak for themselves. 

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