Thursday, 31 January 2008

Anti Design

There is sometimes too much pressure to fill ones house with luxurious objects. Much opportunity lies in the makeshift to create a simple and unobtrusive comfort. The epitome of this approach I found in Juergen Bey's 'Linnenkasthuis' and also Michael Marriott's breathtaking 'Economy of Means' exhibition:

The Linnenkasthuis bed is a beauty made of blankets, a cupboard and a table which become a bed.

And Michael Marriott's tables are made from various found objects that had the potential to be used as 'legs' and with the top cut to fit the eventual gesture.

Rearranged reclaimed objects can either serve as a temporary substitute by adding on without permanent fixing or can be spliced together to reach a next level of the interim object (although the Bey bed and Marriott table are eternal objects of desire), like Martino Gamper's individually crafted pieces that encourage reassessment of the meaning and function of the chair.

You can buy Gamper's beautiful book '100 Chairs in 100 Days and its 100 Ways' via his website:
The ad hoc or make-shift is still found all across Cape Town in small local shops or markets, like these upside-down crates with cushions used as stools.

Very intriguing is the way elusive design group Airconditioned gives an ordinary conservative piece of furniture an unexpected twist by chopping it in half. Later the intervention is translated into permanent features in the "Karate Chop" range.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a piece of furniture that wasn't designed by humans but by animals? Swedish group Front have let rats, rabbits and snakes design wallpaper and vases for them.
PS: Have you ever seen a lamp with its light source immersed in fat? 'Slow Glow Lamp' by NEXT Architects for Droog, makes you speechless.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Tea with Frauke

Today I wanted to post a few of my favourite items based around cosy teatime.

Why not pour a lovely cup of tea from Wieki Somers' thinly cast bone china "High-Tea" teapot...

...into one of Maxim Velčovský's Cola Cups for Qubus, made from a cast of a coke bottle (you choose, Delft or bling?).

Have a slice of cake off a china plate by Timorous Beasties ...

... while sitting on Eelko Moorer's irresistible bear rug.

Or just use Maxim Velčovský's "Legendary Pink Dots" teaset all in one.
PS: Maxim Velčovský will be speaking at this year's Design Indaba at the end of Feb. Read more about him here, and his role at the conference here.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Sweet Dreams

With the growing concerns about home security, both here in South Africa and abroad, I couldn't resist starting my guest blog spot by featuring Matthias Megyeri's "non-threatening security products", appropriately named Sweet Dreams Security.

It struck me that softened security systems are not an uncommon sight in suburban South Africa, but our local version is a lot more utilitarian, and without Megyeri's knowing twist:

Eina Ivy conceals nasty security spikes with nice realistic plastic ivy leaves. As the website puts it, Eina provides "security products that are not only extremely effective but are also pleasing to the eye".

More from Frauke tomorrow...

Friday, 25 January 2008

Guest blogger - Frauke Stegmann

Have a great weekend, everyone, and look out for our latest guest blogger next week: Frauke Stegmann.

Frauke is also one of our EDIDA winners, for her porcelain Milnerton Market is Nice series, and she's also a highly regarded graphic designer, whose work is known all over the world. I can't wait to see all the exciting things she's got lined up for us!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


In the reVamp issue, we announce the winners of our sixth annual design awards, each of whom will be entered into the Elle Decoration International Design Awards (EDIDA), with the overall, global winners to be announced at the Milan Furniture Fair in April.

South African designers tend to be frustratingly under-represented online, but I've managed to find a link or two to add a bit extra to what you've already read about our EDIDA winners:

Designers of the Year - Tonic Design StudioOur Designers of the Year, Greg Gamble and Philippe van der Merwe ofTonic Design Studio, continue to serve up a consistent diet of quality and style. See more of their stylishly restrained design at the Tonic Design website, and take a showroom tour here.
Emerging Designer - Adriaan Hugo
Winner in the Emerging Designer category, Adriaan Hugo develops his lasercut furniture from his life-size drawings in black vinyl tape. Take a look at his lamps, chairs and cabinets at the What if the World Design Studio.

Seating - Swing Seat 07, by Egg Designs

The seating award was snapped up by Egg Designs, who based their idea for the Swing Seat 07 on the ubiquitous South African tyre swing. See more of the boldly conceived Eggy oevre at the Egg Design website.

Furniture - Infrastructure, by Gregor Jenkin

Gregor Jenkin has taken inspiration from everyday municipal objects to create the Infrastructure series of furniture. Take a tour of his awesome studio space and wide range of work at his website.

Tableware - Milnerton Market is Nice, by Frauke Stegmann
The latest addition to Frauke Stegmann's Milnerton Market is Nice series of tableware splices mass-produced mug handles with delicate porcelain cups. Frauke will be guest blogging for us soon, so perhaps you'll find out lots more about this intruiging work of hers.

Flooring - Top Mat, by Heath Nash
The ever-ingenious Heath Nash has developed a set of beautiful floor mats made from interlinked cooldrink bottle caps. Check out more of his work made from recycled materials at his website.

Lighting - Faraway Tree, by Willowlamp
The Willowlamp chandeliers are mesmerisingly beautiful. They're somewhat surprisingly made from cascading streams of ball chains, commonly used to tether bathplugs! See more of the amazing Willowlamp chandeliers by TeamTwo here.

Kitchens - Luigi, by Tattoo
Luigi is the helpful presence you always wished for in the kitchen, and now spices, kitchen towel, useful hooks and recipe books will never be more than an arm's length away. This multi-purpose, portable kitchen storage unit is made by Tattoo Furniture.

Bedding - HelonMelon
HelonMelon's bedlinen embroidered with metallic thread has been a major hit, and is now available at Selfridges, as well as other boutiques all over the globe. See more of HelonMelon's lovely linens here.

Wallcovering - The Design TeamLise Butler and Amanda Haupt (aka The Design Team) have collaborated with Fabcote to produce a South African-inspired collection of wallpaper.

Fabric - Daddy Buy me a Pony for Afro

Design agency Daddy Buy me a Pony is distilling an African graphic design language in a most exciting way, and their textile designs for coffee brand Afro are an eloquent expression of the vibrancy of the African visual style.

Bathrooms - the Himbasin, by Maira Koutsoudakis

This solid copper basin was inspired by the colours of the Namib desert and the simple lifestyle of the nomadic Himba people who dwell there. Take a tour of Maira's design studio here

Your vote

Can you think of a local designer you think should be given credit for their brilliance? Vote for your own EDIDA candidate by leaving a comment right here!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Issue 53 - reVamp

Read more about it! The reVamp issue is on the shelves today!

Now read even more about it, right here on the blog.

Old goes bold

So, you've read the feature on page 20 of the reVamp issue and now you're feeling bold about revamping Granny's furniture? Follow these links for some wild ideas:

You have a teenage son and a Louis XV walnut armoire? Yes, it's a match made in heaven. Give him a can of spraypaint and carte blanche, and see if he can match this feat by Burke and Hazledon.

Jimmy Martin managed to wreak a pretty fabulous update to this old-style cocktail cabinet, I reckon.

I mean, who actually wants a grotty old gilt frame when Squint Limited can come up with something like this?

Nobody at Elle Deco will take responsibility if you decide to stick Ouma's sideboard on a pyre, but if you want to make like Maarten Baas did in his Smoke collection for Moooi, just make sure you're not wearing nylon or false eyelashes at the time!

Lush house

Daniela and Garth Paton are the visionaries behind Lush floristry shop in Cape Town, and their renovated Victorian shows that their flair doesn't stop with flowers. Check out the extra pics that didn't make it into the story on pages 84 - 91.