Sunday, January 25, 2015

Highlights From The IMM Cologne 2015

Being a design blogger has its perks. One is that you are out and about when design fairs are taking place. Last week I spent in Cologne at the international furniture fair imm Cologne 2015. The design fair takes place on various places in Cologne: The majority is at the city's fairgrounds, but there are also interesting exhibitors in a showroom area called 'Design Post' and scattered all around town in various interiors shops and other showrooms. Consequently, I've seen lots of cool designs, I've spoken to fantastic designers and I brought back too many impressions as to squeeze them in one single blog post. So expect more to come!

Here are a few of my favorite observations during the imm Cologne 2015:

Jungle Fever!
Green is here to stay in 2015 - in two ways. I've seen lots of green as a colour in its various hues on home textiles, furniture and accessories. I have also seen many jungle prints on textiles and upholstery - one of my favorite was the jungle chair from Danish design label Gubi. I need not mention all the plants - again, many booths have been styled with plants abound. Particularly outstanding were the Vitra stand, the Belgian label Buzzi Space and the German furniture manufacturer Ewald Schillig.

Back To Nature!
Natural materials continue to convince in 2015. Lots of wood furniture was presented and the focus on natural materials is also interpreted in various material combinations like wood and leather. I particularly loved the new Danish label 'Woud'. Their collection features simple and refined furniture pieces created by various designers, mostly Scandinavian ones. I think they will be pretty interesting for all of you who love Scandi styled interiors!

Young Talents!
One of my favorite parts at design fairs is the young designers section. I like to see what the next designer generation is keeping in readiness for us. In Cologne I enjoyed the creative kitchen solutions presented by students from the interior design school of Stuttgart - among their solutions was a lighting idea with potted plants/herbs serving as fresh greens and light in one.

The shelf system 'Deep Forest' by Silvia Terhedebrügge is another cool solution inspired by nature - the shelves rise organically like leaves from branches.

The brass clothing rack 'Foldword' by Friederike Delius is another interesting piece. Its graphic appearance is inspired by German traditional half-timbered constructions and is foldable.

The concrete lamps 'Like Paper' by 'Dua' have a paper like appearance although they are cast in sturdy concrete.

The Berlin based design studio 'llot llov' presented playful solutions for urban homes. I loved the funky, macrame inspired hanging planters.

Neo/Craft is another brand new design label from Berlin. The designer Sebastian Scherer exhibited cool furniture and lighting pieces like the soap bubble looking pendant 'Iris' as well as the colourful 'Diamond' pendant.

The Austrian designer Martin Breuer Bono presented a very cool book shelf called 'Schlagseite' which literally means 'list' (nautical language for tipped over position) - pretty fancy for artsy interiors, isn't it?

Enough for today, I will share more highlights and designer talks with you over the next few days.

Photography by Igor Josifovic

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Exclusive News: Urban Jungle Bloggers In Paris

My blog post is pretty late today but this had a good excuse - I was waiting for the official publication of our fun video interview Judith and I did as Urban Jungle Bloggers for 'The Joy of Plants'. We had the honor to kick start a new interview series about plant loving people and the team of 'The Joy of Plants' followed us along on a weekend in Paris.

I have given a little glimpse in this blog post already, but today I want to share a few shots from the film crew and - yes of course - the video itself. Judith and I had a great time filming with the crew in Paris and showing them our favorite green spots in the City of Lights like the vertical green garden in the Rue des Petits Carreaux, the atelier 'Green Factory' in the Rue Lucien Sampaix or 'Le Comptoir Général' along the Canal St. Martin in the 10th arrondissement.

We've been very curious to see the final results as the filming took place beginning of November (yes can you believe that weather back then!!) and today we can conclude: it was a success and looks pretty cool, don't you agree?

For both of us this was a wonderful momentum to mark the one year anniversary of our mutual blogger project, the Urban Jungle Bloggers. Over that course of time we have seen so many of you join the green digital family and share your ideas about living, styling and decorating with plants. We also hope to see even more of you join in the fun - you can easily subscribe to our monthly topics HERE. After all we truly believe that plants can make people happy!

Images & video by The Joy of Plants

Monday, January 19, 2015

Young Italian Design At Formabilio

I like to think of design as a language. Similar to the linguistic equivalent, the design language tends to differ from country to country or region to region - think of Scandinavian design, Japanese design, German design. But yet the design language tends to remain an internationally comprehensible language of visual aesthetics. No idioms are necessary to decipher the meaning of design from various countries. Today I want to highlight two young Italian designs: The Antia Chair by the design  duo Alpestudio and the Tusciao Valet Stand by designer Andrea Brugnera. Both designs are produced and sold through the Italian design platform Formabilio.

The Antia Chair is a great example of the power of design - transforming a sturdy material like steel into an airy, graphic construction like this chair. The neat design seems so light as it could float, yet it is grounded by the repetitive structure of the rods of the back and seat. Another design highlight is the chair's base: the joint legs seem to counteract the chair's body and thus create a visual equilibrium that makes it so visually light. Designed by the siblings Luca and Alessia Perini of Alpestudio.

The Tusciao Valet Stand interprets a historical piece with a modern twist and Italian shapes. Forget times where you threw your clothes over a chair - with this valet stand you can combine form and function. Three elements in beech wood with metal rods are smartly conjoint with colourful leather junctions with snap buttons. The three wooden elements give a playful reference to Italian architecture - cubic houses of the Mezzogiorno, merlons of Italian fortresses and the pointed tips of typical Campanile bell towers - it is a little Italian voyage shaped into a wooden structure. Designed by Andrea Brugnera.

And now it's time for a Spritz. Have a great week!

Photography via Formabilio

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Inspired By Africa: Rugs For Modern Homes

One aspect that I love most in interior design is drawing inspiration from cultures, traditions and handicraft. Often I like to think that I hide an archaeologist and an ethnologist in myself - mostly because I am fascinated by history, ancient arts, traditions and cultures. Remember my kilim love? My obsession with vintage ceramics? My apartment is full with traces of my passion. So it comes as no surprise that the new 2015 rug collection 'MUM's loves Africa' from Finland based 'MUM's' got my full attention. They launched new graphic rugs inspired by the Kassena tribe of Burkina Faso, where every building is a piece of unique, handmade art (you can learn more about it HERE).

The Kassena tribe decorate their clay houses with graphic patterns by hand. Their vernacular architecture is amazing and sparked the inspiration of Finland based Outi Puro, the founder of 'MUM's'. She loves African patterns, traditional Indian carpet weaving and Nordic simple and pure design. All three passions were combined for the new 'MUM's loves Africa' collection: The rugs feature African patterns as seen in the villages of the Kassena tribe, the rugs are made fairly in the hands of skilled artisans in Northern India and feature natural hues that are typical for Scandinavia too.

This entire story is even better: Not only these rugs are inspired by a fascinating people in Africa and made fairly by artisans in India, but the entire story of 'MUM's' is based on helping and supporting other women and mothers in less developed countries. 'MUM's' itself was founded back in 2006 as an art project in Africa.

I think 2015 is the year in which we all should bring a piece of traditional art into our homes. Why not such a wonderful rug? I am totally smitten by the patterns, the graphic look and the wonderful, inspiring story behind them. Luckily, these rugs are available worldwide through their webshop.

Here's to our wonderful and inspiring world - against all (current) odds!

Photography: Rugs via 'MUM's'; African images by Rita Willaert

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Green Is The Hope!

Following up my last blog post I feel it is good to continue with a topic that will sketch my current emotional feeling that I want to transfer into my home, too - it is the invincible feeling of hope. In German there is a proverb saying 'Grün ist die Hoffnung' which literally means 'green is hope'. It stems from the dark medieval times when the sprouting green nature heralded spring time and hope germinated in people's hearts. Just like today my heart is filled with hope for a peaceful and great new year.

Green is a special colour when it comes to interiors - at least for me. I have hardly any green accessories apart from my growing urban jungle of course. However, I am always inspired when I see interiors with dashes of green - it is so fresh, vibrant and balancing to the eye. I wonder: Do I need to get myself something green for my home soon?

Green is not only the colour of hope but also the colour mostly associated with nature, youth, spring and envy in Western cultures. And it is the most important colour in Islam, found in the flags of many Islamic countries and representing the lush greens of paradise. Isn't this just wonderful? Green as a color of hope and paradise, in both, Western countries and the Islamic world? Maybe this could herald a better future for all of us. I hope so!

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