Monday, 29 October 2007

Gravy Boat - Groovy Bird

Terence Conran's Albion range for Royal Doulton is beautifully simple and plain. Most pieces in the collection have straight edges, but this gravy boat has gone all swoopy.

There's a distinct but subtle bird form hiding beneath that essentially practical handle and spout, don't you think? Do zoot over to PointClickHome and read Anne E Collins' post about this shape. I'm so on her side (even though I've been a culprit in the birds trend myself!).

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Gregor Jenkin

(This is a bit of a lazybones Sunday post, but if you follow all the links, you'll see it's so jam-packed with lots to see and do, I think I can get away with it.)

Yesterday, I was delighted to discover a new blog out of Johannesburg, and spent ages going through the archives of the fabulous Smoke & Ochre , resulting in this dual-purposed post:

Firstly, take a look at these iconic lamps made from enamel bowls and cups. These were the first works to get Johannesburg designer Gregor Jenkin noticed in the design world.

(photos courtesy of AmaridianUSA)

Gregor's gone pretty supersonic since, and if you visit to his website, you'll see he is so prolific, it's quite difficult to know where to start talking about his work (especially on a lazy Sunday).

So that's all I'm going to show you of Gregor's design, because the second purpose of this post is to insist that you scoot on over and read much more about it at the excellent Smoke & Ochre.

Thursday, 25 October 2007


Look carefully at these photos, because when you go to see Épat, a new exhibition by Willem Boshoff, opening at Michael Stevenson Contemporary tonight (where and when here), you won't be able to see them very well.
D - Daedalean

That's because the works are part of Boshoff's Blind Alphabet. Started in 1991, this epic work is a series of sculptures making up a dictionary of words relating to form and structure. Each sculpture is in a closed mesh box and the word's definition is written in Braille on the lid. Only blind people are allowed to open the boxes, handle the sculptures and read the text.

D - Dauciform

A, B and C of the alphabet were completed in 1994, and this exhibition will show 30 new sculptures - 15 each for the letters D and E, amongst other work.

D - Dacryoid

See you there.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Dripping with talent

Congratulations to Cara Judd, the 21-year-old winner of the Elle Decoration SOLVE Award for 2007!

This year, the SOLVE challenge for student designers was to come up with an innovative storage solution, and Carla’s Drip shelving system stood out as a winner from of the 140 entries received.

The inspiration for Drip’s fluid shapes comes from Cara's graffiti art, where she often makes use of stylised drips of spraypaint. These drip-inspired curves are just right for storing soft reading matter like newspapers or magazines, while the rest of the shelf can hold a row of favourite hardcovers.

As part of her prize, lucky Cara will spend a month interning at Conran & Partners in London, while back at home, Drip will be put into production and sold in selected Woolworths stores.

With a start like this, Cara's career is sure to be as bold, bright and rulebreaking as her graffitti is!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Spud solution

It makes me nuts to see all the plastic spoons littering my studio from all my takeout coffees and fruit salads. But I shouldn’t go nuts – I should go potatoes, with this brilliant solution called SpudWare.

Spudware plates and cutlery are made from 80% potato starch and 20% soy oil and are reported to be heat resistant, washable and reusable. They look pretty too!

And no, you don’t have to do a Jim Rose circus act and swallow your knife, fork and spoon at the end of a meal. Just put it somewhere lush and watch it biodegrade in 180 days! (via The Empire Collective).

Monday, 22 October 2007

Swings and round-the-blogs

Food innovator and trendspotter Katja Gruijters has a swing in her studio that she uses to help her get inspired.

A somewhat more sedentary source of inspiration can be found by reading design blogs. Here’s evidence (possibly started on that swing) that I’ve noticed bouncing around the web in the last few days:

First, Freshly Found posted about how Katja translated pattern designs into food at a Netherlands fashion fair.

Having read this, the author of the charming My Imperfect Garden combined the idea with the weekend's sporting fever to make a Rugby World Cup-inspired snack.

Brilliant! Who says rugby + food always has to = braai?

It's really worth taking the time to check out Katja Gruijters' amazing ways with food. I'm sure it will get you inspired too.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Tokyo gardens

I've neglected our little balcony garden during winter, but after seeing the beautiful photographs of tiny Tokyo gardens in this Flickr photoset (found via hopingforhappyaccidents), I’m feeling all inspired to do a bit of a potplant springclean this weekend.

Here are some of my favourites:

All pics copyright of McCock

Thursday, 18 October 2007 has been a favourite Cape Town lifestyle and homes store for a good few years now, with shops previously in Observatory and in Muizenberg.

Now proprietor Rupert Smith has given an urban revamp, opening a glammed up new-look store at the recently-revitalized bottom end of Kloof Street, just before Buitensingel.
The stylish mix of new treasures and vintage finds makes it a pretty good bet that here's where to find a gift or home accessory that's far from run-of-the-mill. And if you're in line for a gold lame sofa, you've come to the right spot too!

Oh and (cue shameless plug of my own work) don’t forget to pick up some Skinny laMinx teatowels while you’re there (see below). Rupert tells me they’re selling like hotcakes!

Monday, 15 October 2007

Ordinary things

At home, we have a “useful things drawer”, where we keep things like candles, matches, batteries, ribbon, thumbtacks, and other bits and bobs of little value but with much purpose.

Kiosk is a little store whose owners travel the world to stock their shop with just this kind of thing: the humble, anonymous, often traditional design that anyone can get at the general store down the road.

Chalk from Finland

Finnish Sisu Candy

But because Kiosk’s goods have been sourced from Japan, Germany, Sweden, Mexico or Finland, they reflect local aesthetics and needs, providing a hard-to-bottle flavour of ordinary life in each country. The owners say:

"We opened Kiosk to offer an antidote to over-design. We consider the objects we stock to be humble, straightforward and beautiful for their simplicity and directness."

dish brush from Sweden

So next time you’re in Soho, New York, be sure to visit the Kiosk store… or just click here for the online version.

And next time you're in the supermarket buying candles, matches or soap, take a moment to appreciate how these bits of humble design reflect our needs and aesthetics too.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Get hooked

Not hooked yet? Then check these out too...

Sometimes this kind of thing can end up a bit too hippy for me, but the old-time crafting of these hooks and shelf supports gives them something special, I reckon. After having been cut from maple, beech or birch trees grown in Vermont, the wood is dried for 24 months before each hook is crafted by hand, with the end polished smooth so as not to snag.

Visit the surprisingly agricultural-looking Live Wire Farms website to see more hooks, as well as exquisite handcarved spoons and napkin rings.

Found via the consistently fabulous hopingforhappyaccidents, who found it (no surprises here) on the Martha Stewart/Blueprint blog, bluelines.

Tuesday, 09 October 2007

A visitor

The Elle Deco blog is delighted to have its first visitor, and I think it's most auspicious that she's another SA blogger.

Make a return visit to Denise Kiggan's Freshly Found, where you'll get to see what's inspiring her in Durban... and everywhere else too.

Today Denise has a great post about Cape Dutch riempie furniture, and how designer Haldane Martin has brought the riempie right up-to-date, using recycled plastic and contemporary lines.

I have no doubt this won't be the last time the Elle Deco blog visits Haldane's site, but in the meanwhile, get ahead of the pack and check out his other contemporary classics.

Monday, 08 October 2007

Water marks don't matter

I'm a bit paranoid about getting ring marks on our kitchen's newly-installed wooden counter tops, as well as all the other wooden surfaces in our home. So if you come around for tea, expect me to get all twitchy, until I just can't help myself and I swoop down and slide a coaster under your teacup/mug/wineglass/baby bottle.

My coaster fixation makes me feel awfully uptight, so perhaps I should invest in some of these clever stamp cups by Valeria Miglioli & Barnaby Barford (available at Thorsten van Elten).

The patterns on their bases leave pretty floral patterns that can be organised and arranged into repeats.

It's a great idea, quite reminiscent of last year's Sakurasaku (cherry blossom) glass, designed by Hironao Tsuboi for the 100% Store.

I think I prefer this one, because of the way the blossom is so well integrated into the design of the glass.

Oh, and I just love the machine translation of the Japanese description:

"It is the glass where the flower of the cherry tree blooms in the desk top with the phenomenon of the dew condensation which it occurs in temperature difference inside the air and the glass. " (thanks Oliver Ozoux)

Friday, 05 October 2007


We're terribly excited to launch the Elle Decoration South Africa blog - it's digital Deco!

On this site, we'll be showing you additional images from our gorgeous shoots and offering practical advice, as well as sharing some inspiring moments of design.

We're also honoured that star blogger and local designer Heather Moore (aka: Skinny laMinx) will be sharing her delightful creative world with our readers on a regular basis.

The next issue of South Africa's favourite Deco mag will be on shelves on 19 November, in the meantime, keep checking in to our blog for all the latest...