Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Petra Borner

Swedish artist, illustrator and designer Petra Borner is well known for her beautiful cut paper collages, like the one below, called Pomegranate Tree.

Her work can be found on lots of different surfaces, including an impressive range of book covers.

Her cutout designs are known to grace textiles too, in both fashion and homeware. She's recently done a collection of gorgeous fabrics for Ikea.

It's only since I visited Petra Borner's website and blog that I realised that she's a skilled embroiderer as well as paper cutter.

Above are two embroidered panels that she made for the home of Jonathan Adler, and the embroidery below is a design for Ikea Sweden.

Petra Borner's website is filled with breathtaking work and well worth a visit.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Tea Towel roundup

After a rare sunny weekend, I'm starting to think about springcleaning, so did a quick roundup of gorgeous tea towels made by those clever Etsy sellers.

I'm really impressed with the beautiful screenprinted tea towels on Russian linen made by Australian outfit Flowerpress, and would be hard pressed to choose between any the Filigree design (top) and Chrysanthemums, which comes in scarlet or blue.

Cape Town Etsy seller Jezze has hand-stencilled tea towels for sale in three shades, named Steam, Vapour and Smoke because, as she says, "even the best cooks sometimes burn things"!

Showpony has another witty take on the tea towel, spelling out kitchen commandments like Keep It Clean in household creepy crawlies, and Do The Dishes in stacks of washing up.

These fresh and clean Red Poppy tea towels by Michelle Brusegaard will add a cheery splash to any kitchen.

I love the new design of fat green and blue Fish by Chicago-based Patapri. She really is an amazing seller, handprinting such an extensive range of multicolour designs.

Etsy seller PhatSheep lives on the Shetland Isles, and has drawn on her island birdlife to print this adorable Seabirds tea towel on linen.

Veering off the beaten tea towel track, Cicada Studio has hit on the brilliant idea of making this tea towel calendar. Sadly sold out (in a flash, it seems), the good news is that there's a brand new version in the pipes. See more here.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Monkey business

A few weeks ago I visited production company Monkey Films on business, and thought their new offices were so lovely, I'd return to take pics to share with the readers of this blog.

Entering the offices means walking through the Gallery, where a pretty top-notch art collection hangs, heavy with work by big hitters like Brett Murray and Paul Edmunds...

...and this gloriously lush Lisa Brice portrait of the Monkey Films gang, Clare van Zyl and Aurelia Driver!
Just off the Gallery is what's known as the Director's Playroom, where things hot up in the filming season.

I love the beautiful 50's style table legs that turn up all over the offices, dreamed up by Clare alongside furniture maker Paul Chames.

The main workspace is quiet now, but a hive of activity when Season comes around. Although how people get anything done with those killer views of Table Mountain is anyone's guess.

Off this workspace is the kitchen, and a clue as to what kind of business I was doing at Monkey Films in the first place.

In the main office is where Aurelia and Clare organise gobsmacking movie miracles. Having to find, say, wolves and owls for Jamiroquai's video, or getting an orchestra to play knee deep in tropical ocean waves for British Airways is all in a day's work for these gals (see some of their recent work here).

Thanks for the tour, Monkey Films!

Thursday, 25 September 2008


I've yet another kids' birthday party on the weekend, and have been scouting for present inspiration.

This post started out as a roundup of cute kids things out there, but I have to admit to getting totally stuck at the incredibly gorgeous things at London store, Couverture.

Not necessarily only for kids, this hand woven wool Apple cushion could tempt me to take a bite out of my budget.

This maple wood japanese rattle is one of a number of wooden musical instruments that Couverture has in stock.

My recent post on coat hangers feels diminished now, seeing as I managed to miss this adorable Ape hanger coathanger.

Aw, velvet elly, I know you'd make a baby sleep tight...
...especially snuggled under a merino baby blanket.

Couverture is to be found in Notting Hill, London (see map here). If you live nearby and read this blog, I have no doubt that you're a frequent visitor, but if you live far away like me, you're in luck, as they sell a limited selection of their gorgeous goods online too.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Report from NYC: The Museum of Arts and Design

I'm planning to go MAD this weekend. MAD is the Museum of Arts and Design, which is opening at its spiffy new location at 2 Columbus Circle in Midtown Manhattan with a weekend of free events. And in this city of $20 museum entrance fees, that's a big pull.

Photo courtesy David Heald on MAD Web site

I've been watching the building taking shape for a while now. You can see a video of the (much-abbreviated) process here. With its gently curved facade looking out on busy Columbus Circle, the building is situated at a major node of human activity. The mirrored towers of the Time Warner Center rise nearby, and Central Park beckons just across the street.

The architecture critics are having their say about the new building, with some detractors and some big fans. The New York Times has a wonderfully entertaining and informative multi-media feature about the building's transformation from Edward Durell Stone’s Gallery of Modern Art, which was built in 1964 to house Huntington Hartford’s art collection. "The galleries weren't elegant, they were snazzy - walnut panels, parquet floors, bronze fixtures and crimson carpeting," says the Times narrator about the old gallery space. Love that description, but my favourite part is where the narrator cites architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable's description of the old building as "a factory-made Venetian palazzo on lollipops!"

Personally, I love the way Allied Works Architecture, led by Brad Cloepfil, took a bulky oddity of a building and turned it into a shimmering, elegant edifice. Pearlescent ceramic tiles cover the exterior, taking on different sheens as the light changes.

The excisions into the exterior allow light to flood into the galleries and apparently the transparent glass bands traverse the building internally as well.

It's a building within a building. The architects removed the marble cladding of the old building (bottom left picture, below), but they kept the famous "lollipop" arcades on the ground floor as a reference to the building's past, which are only visible from the interior (above left picture).

Photos clockwise from top left: Hannah Whitaker (2); Ed Bailey/AP from the New York Web site

I can't wait to experience the building from the inside. More about that at a later date.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Issue 57: Abundant nature

And with this gorgeous pic from the Abundant Nature shoot on pages 74 - 79, we wrap up the extra goodies from the Spring Zing issue.

Production: Tracy Lynch
Photographs: Mark Williams

And if you enjoyed these little peeks into ELLE DECORATION South Africa, think how much you'll enjoy getting your very own copy in your mailbox! Remember, blog readers get a 30% discount on subscriptions!

Well, what are you waiting for? Email us now for a subscription. International subscribers welcome!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Issue 57: Manna Born

Although far from a dab hand in the kitchen myself, I'm always arrested by the amazing colours and styling of the ELLE DECORATION food pages. Just looking at these spring-themed pages in the latest issue, styled by Manna Epicure makes even me want to cook!

It makes perfect sense that anyone able to style food like this would have a beautiful home too. And of course that's just the case with Maranda Engelbrecht of Manna Epicure. We've got some extra pics of her place, which is featured on pages 66 - 73 of the magazine.

Maranda's tiny, yet spacious Cape Town home is an essay of white on white, with crisp fabrics brilliantly shadowed and highlighted by natural textures, delicate detail and luscious colour, all elegantly placed with a confidence of an artist.

Like the food pages? Like the house? Then you've got to visit Manna Epicure on Kloof Street, Cape Town to savour more of Maranda's flair - this time with your tastebuds.

Production: Maranda Engelbrecht and Karen Roos
Photographs: Micky Hoyle

Friday, 19 September 2008

Issue 57 : Open House

Many local readers will know that Kerryn Fischer used to be the editor of this here magazine! So stepping through the doors into her renovated Green Point Victorian semi feels just a little bit like coming home.

See more pics of this lovely home on pages 110 - 117 in the Spring Zing issue.

Production: Kerstin Eser
Photographs: Dave Southwood

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Issue 57 : Fable

I'm utterly in love with photographer Daron Chatz' exquisite pics for the 'Fable' fabric story on pages 88 -93, beautifully directed and styled by Kerstin Eser on production.

Silk Road by Brunschwig & Fils

Lanehurst by Warner Fabrics.

Amanpui by Sanderson

Artichoke by Morris & Co.

Genvieve by Pierre Frey

Heron and Lotus Flower by GP & J Baker.

Production: Kerstin Eser
Photographs: Daron Chatz