Into the woods - Coppicing

On a bright but chilly Friday morning a group of welly clad Londoners consisting of UK journalists, bloggers and the Heal's furniture team gathered outside Heals HQ. Ready for a woodland adventure into the Kent Countryside. Kirsty Whyte_Blog_Coppicing_Seb Cox_Heals (2)

Reminiscent of a school trip we piled onboard a minibus; excited with the prospect of clean air and green fields. We were blessed with one of the first dry days of the year; the sun even poked out behind some clouds.

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The purpose of our little excision was to join Designer Seb Cox and representatives of Grown in Britain, to learn more about our neglected British woodlands and how they can be sustainably managed to save our native woodland animals alongside harvesting a useful and exportable commodity.

We learnt that Ash is the new oak in furniture production and ranges like the new Cranborne collection, manufactured by UK company Benchmark are just the beginning.

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One of Sebs beautifully crafted Suent Chairs were in pride of place near the hearth, this chair uses the same techniques as the Heal's Oak and Hazel Collection. 

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But we were just in the woods to learn there theories behind the husbandry of Woodland management we we're there to graft too. Part of Sebs long term commitment to this cause is buying and managing his own area of woodland by the ancient process of Coppicing. - which is cutting back the old growth to allow space for new straight rods to grow back. Clearing light to the woodland floor for the flowers as well as producing beautify straight pieces of timber that can be used from fences to furniture.

Wrapped up in multiple layers and fuelled on a big bowl of porridge we then we're put to task (after a short safety introduction about our tools for the day; a Bill Hook and Bow Saw).

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The blue sky and warming rays were very welcome.

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Smoke from our mountainous bonfire, created from the unusable treetops.

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Huge tree scared by lightening.

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Plenty of coat hooks for hanging those unwanted layers.

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After several hours chopping away and using muscles I forgot I had, we stopped for a well deserved lunch break. Lovingly prepared by Sebs Nanna (and amazing cook) soup, homemade Scotch eggs and sausage rolls. Suitably full and spoilt we cracked on with the last felled tree of the day.

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Curious of some other tools of the trade Seb had brought along we then had a spoon making demonstration; it looks much easier than it is in practice!

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Sitting back to admire our achievement for the day by the crackling bonfire; over a cool bottle of beer and celebrating we still all had 10 digits!

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Above; the fruits of our labour ready to be turned into furniture.

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The cleared area of woodland, after our team effort.

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As the sun began to disappear over the horizon we headed back to the minibus; a little more exhausted and muddier that us city dwellers are used to.

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Rather like toddlers after a busy day we then promptly fell asleep on the way home!

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A fantastic and educational day, big thankyou to everyone who made it possible.

For More information about Coppicing watch the video of Seb Cox below:

Sebastian Cox Furniture | Video

London Design Festival 2013 - 3/4

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Emerging Talent AwardsI love searching out new designers, trends and materials at Graduate shows; so I was very excited to be able to curate MADE's first Emerging Talent Awards (ETA's) you may spot some of the finalists from my Graduate 2013 blog* kirsty Whyte_Made.com_Emergint Talent award 2013

The five finalists were then whittled down to: Mona Tripp Tom Gottelier Josie Morris Emily Philips Josie Shenoy You can see a cool video below of the awards evening; edited by the Talented Deborah O.

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The short listed designs we're uploaded to the website for the public to rate their favourite. Josie Morris and her Range Table collection won the award receiving the highest average star rating. Although I'm sure this won't be the last we see of the other finalists.

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Here are a few photos from the awards evening.

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Josie Morris with her proud Mum.

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The award itself.

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Mades Creative Director Chloe Macintosh talking about the award, with guests looking on.

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Me talking about why each design was shortlisted.

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The finalists alongside Steuart Padwick and Chloe who presented the award.

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100% Design London |

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100% Design is always a good collection of corporate brands and small retailers. There were various zones all under the one roof at Earls court, Workplace, Emerging brands, Interiors, Eco, Design & Build, International Pavilions, materials and features.

The entrance was designed by Thomas Matthews and Studio Design UK.

Below are some of my top picks:

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The Walnut set by DDQ Design, The Nottingham based  studio had some beautifully industrial and well made pieces. Using the still very on trend, walnut and brass. They also have a really cool pen top which no executive table should be without.

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Some very pleasing stools from Zeitraum; I really like the crisp edges and smooth contours.

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I also have a small addiction to wall hooks. If my walls weren’t full already I would try to squeeze in these Geometric hooks by Plant & Moss. I think they work great as hooks and also wall art.

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Faceting is still very on trend and these hand made mirrors by Toby House are no exception. Shaped like Emerald-cut diamonds, they add a simple elegance to any space.

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Some candy sweet lights and cups by ceramists Ji-Hyun Chung from Seoul, South Korea.

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Great idea of stackable coasters by Beeen Company Limited inspired by traditional Korean crafts and motifs.

100% Materials

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A CNC 3D miniature world was constructed in the International Pavilion; Worldscape by Atmos studio.

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The international Pavilion area had a Paper Space, made from huge loops of paper, creating a great centre piece designed by Studio Glowacka.

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Mixing of materials and colour still draw me in ; above ‘Crack Vase’ by Taiwanese Designer Jacky Wu. The wood was soured from a factory scrap pile, as the wood had split and cracked during the drying process, for Jacky this is the most interesting element that he wanted to emphasize with coloured lacquer.

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Looking up at the Willow Lamp, by Christina Pacini of South Africa. This was a modern take on a a traditional chandelier;  each delicate drop was actually from metal chain; which would normally be more in place in a bathroom sink! Mesmerizing and tactile.

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This year Designersblock were at the amazing Southbank Centre, with the majority of work positioned in the Clore Ballroom; I had a wander around.

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Eric Calderon’s typographic Sphere used letters to create a layered text artwork.

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The multi Talented Reeps One also know as Harry Yeff has really developed his own graphic identity in the last year or so, these strong graphic shapes look great on the mural created especially for the Designerblock even.

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Gerald the Dog and pals took over a huge area, the 3D canines created by Lazerian Studio . Made entirely from a sheet of A1 paper each dog is assembled by hand. Each dog was displayed in a custom made kennel and rather than fur they were covered in exceptional artwork from artists all over the world.

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Man made crystal structures by Sara Lundkvist.

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Rosa Cobrizo , little boat shaped treys were inspired by the trajineras, thin wooden boats from her native Mexico.  The oxidized materials and verdigris are key trends that will continue on into 2014.

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The Royal Festival Hall also has a mini exhibition on the Festival of Britain; with some safely kept mementos dating back from the opening in 1951. well worth a look.

London Design Festival 2013 - 2/4

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Two days in to LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL (LDF) 2013 and this year I wasn't exhibiting anything personally at 100% Design; but that didn't mean I escaped the stress setting up a display and covering myself in paint!

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Made.com was representing at 100% Design; with a small selection of products from Simon Denzel's Lichen shelves to Steuart Padwicks Fonteyn Dresser.

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A dab hand at designing the stand and painting it..not bad for a 7 day turnaround from being offered the space to set up!

100% Design 13–Setting up

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LDF was firmly underway and so we're the evening events. Celebrating the newly refurbished Heals flagship store was event 1; and what a transformation. With a new layout and high end feel; it's lighter brighter and encourages you to discover all the floors.

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All the items from the acclaimed Heals Discovers 2013 were on display. As well as Sebastian Cox, Matthew Elton and Ian Archer, Heals have collaborated with CASS and their third year graduates selecting their top three for customers to vote for.

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There were also showcases in the window for their existing designers; its great to see Heals optimizing on their current design talent, they certainly know how to treat them as their Designer Dinner shows!

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Plenty of Prosecco and designers to rub shoulders with; also some unusual musical drama from Silent Opera, David Irwin, certainly seems moved!

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Tuesday was already here; next job taking French and Italian journalists around LDF pointing out trends, products and designers to promote the Brits abroad. First stop the Design Museums "The Future is Here" exhibition. Where the crowd sourced Love bird sofa for Made.com was featured alongside, 3D printers, modular housing and personalised lemon squeezers.

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Up on the 3rd floor was a display from the Designers in Residence,below Objects – Identity parade.

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Then onto the ever expanding DesignJunction at the old sorting office on New Oxford street; with a huge queue for entry despite the poring rain I knew it would be good!

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Designjuntion was the most superior show of all LDF for me; especially at its size (competing with 100%, Tent and Decorex). With just a good mixture of established brand, small independents and new creative talent.

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Farrow and Ball had a little instillation of their new 2014 colours, there was also a talk on Pattern & Colour in the Home; very informative, although my skirting board now needs painting!

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Lighting |

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Foldability’s  new The Sonobe CollectionOrigami lights which creates complex and beautiful layering of tones of lights, emanating from the centre.

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The modular lampshades of Apollo by International. Designed by Marc Bell and Robin Grasby, each piece is independent and can be mixed and matched to create a multitude of shapes.  The instillation looked great.

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Blown SW3 by & Tradition explores the shadows created by patterned glass.

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Looming above this mini room set of carefully crafted maquettes is the Turned and Spun lamp by Magnus Long Studio.

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Some modernised retro lampshades by Shepherd Wheel.

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Homeware and Accessories |

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Absolutely love these dinky anodized letter tidies by Gavin Coyle.

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From VW+BS comes the Stilt collection, created from purple clay; a traditional Japanese teapot material.

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The textured and faceted wood trend continues; I have my eye on one of these highly crafted vessels from the Experimenta range by The Andes House.

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Wood and polished copper also runs though many projects, Studio Brava based in Chili use local resources of both materials. The design concept is so the inner and outer can either be used as one piece to save space or separated into to two.

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Ali Miller had some of her new customised pieces on display, displayed by some eye-catching wallpaper in her signature style.

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One of my highlights of all of LDF was the Patternity stand (I been an avid follower of the blog and Instagram for a few years now). Which had some beautiful striped ceramics, created in collaboration with Richard Brendon. one for the Christmas list.

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Furniture |

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Dare studio was out in force with a large stand and furniture for every room. New to the Stand was the Katakana dresser, with  cleaver little mirror with hidden storage.

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Barnard debuted with 4 brand new pieces.

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Midcentury Modern has its own zone at the show, with multiple companies , I have blogged about before – lovely stuff indeed.

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Modus Furniture presented the strongly named Norse Chair by Simon Pengelly, following the trend of wooden curved back feature chairs, they come in  a selection of colours but I favour the wooden finish.

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They also extended the successful Noughts and Crosses range by Michael Sodeau into completing tables.

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Simon Pengelly was also busy with his own collection.

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I liked the colours used on these funny little units by Dean Brown, Callum Brown and Namyoung An.

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Another Country; have successfully moved away from their signature rounded leg furniture. Creating another original collection in the form of their new ‘Dining Table Three’ the tables trestle base is influenced from industrial furniture; so it can be used in commercial or domestic interiors.

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The interactive Poke Stool by Kyuhyung Cho for Innermost, adds a nice bit of fun and colour, to a simple product.

And other things that caught my eye |

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Brilliant courier backpack made from English Oak Bark Tanned Leather by Amble; tangible quality.

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The Sorting office itself is a great space with some of them remnants from its past life still present.

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Joy of Design exhibition featured photos by Barbara Chandler a best selling photographer and design and interiors journalist.  The photos were for sale and the money raised will go towards Out of the Dark a furniture restoration workshop for disadvantaged young people.

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Hi-tec 3D printing and crowd sourced design; you can’t escape it!

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Not as hi-tech but highly skilled and made by hand, Brooks, the saddles are a piece of art, which could be mounted on a wall as well as sat on!

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I originally spotted the Lovely Pigeon notepads in the Design museum, and I was pleased to discover the rest of the design collection was just as fantastic!

I had to make a little purchase of some Copper Triangles earrings – lush!

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Following the mint theme, the pleasingly shaped Monocle speaker by Native Union.

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These exquisitely delicate vessels and art, made from Porcelain by Fenella Elms.

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The FAO shop with their new exclusive lines in their monochrome glory.

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The talented Lindsey Lang extended her successful floor tile range.

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One of the 6 pop-up cafes was The Camden Town Brewery Bar in association with TFL, the benches were upholstered in this great moquette design.

Next stop the ETA awards.

London Design Festival 2013 – 1/4

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The London Design Festival was my first stop after returning from China a year ago.12 months have flown by; but it's great to see how companies and designers have developed fresh new designs to exhibit this September.

Now autumn is firmly here I dosed up on cold and flu tablets eager not to miss all the design action on its opening weekend.

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PearsonLloyd 1:1 Inside Design at Great Western Studios |  A selection of new products of key recent work selected to illustrate the PearsonLloyd design language.

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At the preview evening we were treated to an intimate Q&A with Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, everyone was gathered on the 20, 3 metre long plywood boxes; which were modular and could me moved to suit the spaces purpose.

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First stop on Sunday 15th the Victoria and Albert museum. Quite a few small installations at the V&A this year but no show stoppers like the Bouroullec Brothers; Field of 2011.

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God is in the details | One of the best parts of visiting the V&A during LDF is exploring the space and discovering contemporary design exhibits mixed within the permanent collection; in vast Victorian spaces.

14 Designers were asked to pick their particular favorites, following the theme of Designer is here there and everywhere.

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The Swarovski lens allows the viewer to focus in on the minute details, that a passer by might usually miss in the overwhelming assortment of what the V&A has on offer.

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ALESSI Made in Crusinallo|A display of prototypes and behind the scenes of the processes used to manufacture and design the Alessi collection.

Is was great to see some hand made models a contrast to the ever increasing 3D printing.

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Above | ‘Resonance’ Centrepiece and ‘harmonic’ baskets designed by Abi Alice.

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Above | Ally Capellinos “Bums on Seats” . Using the standard Bauhaus tubular steel stacking chair; Ally looked at the way the sitter positions themselves on the chair (to get comfy) the leather slings are then customised to suit the particular seating position.

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Design of time | People discovering what makes a Panerai watch tick.

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One of the highlight of this years displays were; the vertical lighting instillation that covered 2 floors by Omer Arbel for Bocci.

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Obligatory stop in the Ceramics and glass and furniture floor.

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Above | Finalists of the Bodleian Chair competition. The competition was to design a new chair for the historic Bodleian Libraries in Oxford.

The six shortlisted finalists were;  AL_A & Herman, Barber Osgerby & Isokon Plus, Hugo Eccles & Race Furniture, Matthew Hilton & SCP Ltd, Michael Sodeau Partnership & Modus Furniture, TNA Design Studio & Benchmark.

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Above | Julia Lohmann Worshop with prototypes of the Oki Naganode  installation. Which can be seen in the Leighton Room of the V&A a structure in Japanese Seaweed, cane and aluminium.

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This is the full scale piece.

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Wind Portal by Najla El Zein | 5,000 handmade paper windmills, that have been installed and move ever so slightly from the drafty breeze of the huge V&A corridors, each upright tube is actually synced with a computer program so the movement flows though the piece. I great combination of low-tech and high-tech marrying together.

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Final stop the Moleskin sketchbook relay| I was privileged enough to be one of the 70 London based designers invited to take part in the collaboration with Moleskin. A brand I am an avid fan of as my shelf of filled classic pocket sketchbooks will illustrate!

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The theme of this years campaign  was "design is here, there and everywhere".

LDF13_blog_VandA_Kirsty Whyte (6) Using 5 pages of the Japanese concertinaed A5 Moleskin we we're asked to respond to the following 3 questions: Illustrate what objects, items, systems and details you cannot live without in a private space or public domain. Examine what needs improving within your professional or personal life. Draw something you would like to design but haven't had the opportunity to design before.

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It was so interesting to see how different creative minds responded to the same brief; some analytically, some literally and others conceptually. It was great to be associated alongside establish design names like Russel Pinch, Bethan Gray, Simon Pengelly, Michael Sodeau, Tomoko Azumi and Luke Pearson to name but a few.

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I decided to got for a literal answer for each question; adding in answers, colour and pattern true to me...even if that meant I admitted my orange squash addiction! I only had 3 hours to complete the sketches before I was off traveling again; I found the blank pages quite ominous to start with; knowing I would my pages could be sandwiched between anyone! Here are a few photos from the sketching stages…

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…to my chuffed face at the V&A.

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As a bonus surprise; each designer received a goody bag as a thankyou – a good addition to my Moleskin collection.

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Squint | After the V&A there was just enough time to squeeze in a quick visit to Squint. A patchwork sensory overload from fluorescent velvets to shiny lamay fabric; plastered all over chandeliers to dining chairs.

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I really liked this little hallway storage piece.

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The Graffiti interior really helped add to the visual spectacle.

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With Sunday over the task of day job and trying to see as much of LDF began!

Weekend Meanderings – Bath

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As the last bank holiday of the year came and went; I consoled myself with a few days away in historic Bath. Blog_Kirsty Whyte_ Bath (8)

But it had more on offer than just 60AD Roman plumbing! First obligatory stop the merky waters of the thermal Roman Bath Spa.

Blog_Kirsty Whyte_ Bath (13) What remains of the huge sprawling roman foundations is fascinating; from the hypocaust heating to the original steaming water source.

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Most fascinating was some hand written ‘curses’ to the water goddess. With Romans complaining about stolen bags, scrawled onto lead and thrown into the water.

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On the bridge over Pulteney Weir was an amazing design boutique – ‘Found’ concept store, and I’m not the only one to think so as it has been voted Top boutique  as voted by The Sunday Telegraph Vogue and Glamour.

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A real treasure trove of stationary, home accessories, fashion and gifts.

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I love the old school gym equipment for the wrapping paper display.

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I managed to negotiate a trip to Bath Fashion Museum  which is housed within the amazing Bath assembly rooms; as you can see by the astounding high ceilings and chandeliers.

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The temporary show was Laura Ashley – The Romantic Heroine.

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A huge selection of the original Laura Ashley collection; now a far cry from what you see in their shop window of today.

Many of the dress styles really did feel like they had been pulled out of a 18th Century Novel; but the use of colour and contrasting pattern is what brought the dresses into the present.

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Then down in the basement of the building was an amazing display of fashion through the ages including the dress of the year 2011.

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A rainbow of shoes.

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Not to be outdone, I can’t pass up some ‘dress up’, so here is am as a Victorian child!

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The building also features beautifully kept parquet floor, wall to wall …all 8 walls.

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A much needed stop into Bea’s Vintage Tea Rooms;  A huge scone and loose leaf tea, sipped from an eclectic mix of tea sets; served by a lovely waitress  with a scarf in her hair and hot red lipstick.

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Keeping it fair after the fashion museum we popped into the Vintage and Rare Guitars shop, one of the finest in the UK. Three tiny floors packed with an array of these stringed wonders.

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Fortuitously the Bath Vintage and Antiques Market was on, feast your eyes on some of the discoveries:

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The Georgian architecture is a must see with the first Crescents in the UK.

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One final tourist stop; a boat tour on the River Avon. Which ended up being a rather intimate tour for two by Tony Murphy.

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An interesting hour chugging along the river – above the floor lines are marked to the bridge.

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The tour culminated in a photo opportunity right in the middle of the Weir.

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After an action packed weekend the Thermae Bath Spa, cannot be recommended highly enough. Floating around the heated pools and catching the last of the evenings rays on the rooftop pool; felt purely Mediterranean; just like the Romans intended!

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Graduates - 2013

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It's that time of year again. When graduates emerged from their studios and workshops; rubbing their eyes from sleep deprivation and get dressed up for the starkly lit graduates show spaces. I always try to find the time to see as many Graduate shows around, to see what the next generation of talent have on offer. Also to spot any potential designers I can work with in my role at Made; If you look at my New Designers Blog from 2011 I‘ve happily managed to work with quite a few.

Below are my top 17 picks (as I couldn’t narrow it down to 15) across all the shows and disciplines.

Accessories and Homeware -

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Ann Mercer - Her whole ceramic collection was amazing, miniature urban landscapes for your home. – one for the lust list.

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Anna Wheelhouse – the indentations create the illusion of high-rise windows.

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Lucy Norman – Has a number of really interesting projects and Sun Punch really appeals to me due to its simplicity in shape and then additional element of embellishment and shadow.

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Matt Marshall – His multi-use spoons were very pleasing to the eye.

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Andy McKinney – I really liked the minimal and industrial approach to these desk accessories (unfortunately could not find weblink)

 

Graphics, Illustration and Textiles -

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Amanda Grayland – There were definite Art Deco influences to Amanda's work, and I thought you could really visualize the design on a Moquette on the London underground tube seats (that is a compliment). Here miniature hand cross stitches  were a delight.

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Renee Dominique Dorman – Spotted at New Designers, Its rare to have such a nice combination of graphic pattern and hand drawn lines.

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Emma Sheldon – A truly modern and 3D textile, the shape and pattern changes with each fold.

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Sian Elin Thomas – Having graduated in 2012, she was back in the 1 year on section after a very busy year. She has developed many successful, wallpaper, stationary and textiles ranges already. extremely professional work for one so young.

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Josie Shenoy – also in one year on Josie's Parade prints are captivating, initially catching your eye from afar and then pulling you in closer and closer  to discover every little detail.

 

Furniture and Product -

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Emily Phillips – Emily's mold blown pieces have two bulbs, rather unusual. I really like the layering of the tonal hues; and the modular nature of the design.

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Colin O’Dowd – Stix are such fun, encouraging imaginative play for children, using the simple process of cable tying various wings and limbs to twigs to create all sorts of little characters.

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Tom Gottelier – An industrial solution to a domestic product, this stool is cast and true to its materials in its from and weight. Using 3 identical pieces, bolted together to create 1 piece.

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Karthik Poduval – Room for two stool is a playful design, where you can extend your stool to accommodate a friend.

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Mona Tripp – He Hidden Pedestal tables were really interesting, initially starting out with legs like an abacus and then evolving into the much more angular final pieces. This was due to the the manufacturing process Mona developed; creating a modular jig, so the lathe would not have to be reset every time.

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Daniel Liss – A great multifunctional piece perfect for the urban dweller with limited space, the table can be easily adapted from two work stations back to one dining table..or if you’re feeling sporty table tennis!

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Josie Morris – Initially it was Josie's Handle lights that caught my attention. The handle details pulls the lighting family together; but this isn’t the only item she exhibited. She has a great eye for from and material which can be seen right across from her lighting to accessories  - very talented.

Studio Visit - Ali Miller

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Being stuck behind a computer screen is all very well but when ever I get the chance to escape to the real world, I jump at it (all be it with smartphone in hand). As well as working on in-house designs at Made.com I also get the opportunity to work with talented external designers, which is a great way to keep your ideas fresh.

Visiting a designer’s studio or house is always an amazing insight into their way of working. I’m currently developing a range with the Lovely Ali Miller.

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Ali has quite a magpie approach to her work, gleaning and reappropriating images and patterns from a bygone age. With a hands on approach she initially hand cuts all the images and then digitally reworks the composition; using nostalgic references but then creating a modern look with the unusual juxtaposition and editing of the cut-outs.

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Her studio space is also her home and her work is dotted about each room; her work is about her life and also part of it on a day to day basis.

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You don’t usually get tea and biscuits served like this! Unless you’re Sherlock Homes!

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Keep an eye out for her first collection due for release Xmas 2013 at Made.com.

Weekend Meanderings–Copenhagen

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I love all things Scandinavian (apart from the pickled herring) especially one if my best friends Rebecca, half of the Green Suitcase in Copenhagen.So a catch up weekend sprinkled with creativity and culture was just what I needed.

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kirsty Whyte_Design_copenhagen_blog (3) Even tough we brought the UK weather with us our spirits couldn't be dampened, and in true Dane style we still went out cycling.

Some creative highlights were:

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An amazing flee-market in the Veterbro area, where vintage shops and car boot style stands jostled for space next to each other. It was amazing; designer sample clothes, mid-century furniture, lighting, ceramics and locals selling off once valued possessions.

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Unfortunately my suitcase wasn't quite big enough to fit most of these amazing pieces; next time I'll come prepared.

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Tivoli -

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The Tivoli gardens are a must for adults and children alike; originally opened in 1843 as an amusement and pleasure gardens, it has evolved over time, my favorites parts are the mid century style Pavilion and the Chinese theatre. Looks like I’m not the only one.

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There are many cool designer furniture high-street shops too. Being the design geeks we are it was fun walking around them. Which included Illums Bolighus, Stilleben and the highlight Hay House.

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Couldn’t resist a small purchase.

kirsty Whyte_Design_copenhagen_blog (11) Hay House - Blink and you'll miss it on the busy ...... Shopping street. Away from the bargain hunters and tourists you go up a lovely stairwell to Hay House. Filled with products and room sets from the Hay catalogue as well as selected items from other designers.

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kirsty Whyte_Design_copenhagen_blog (4) I also popped into Normann Copenhagen to say high and check out the flagship store. The Ready Hook/Mirror are now in stock so I made a purchase (thankfully they have me a special price) all I need now is a flat to put them up in!

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Amongst all the walking we managed to get the obligatory snap of the Little Mermaid too.

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Can't wait to go back.

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Clerkenwell Design Week 2013

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Clerkenwell design week grows from strength to strength year on year. Due to my Far East adventures last year I missed CDW12 but I was glad to see some familiar faces plus some new designers/brands for 2013.

With only a few spare hours stolen out of my working day I managed to visit the main venues.

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First stop the House of Detention an unusual venue an old Victorian prison, below ground level and still pretty foreboding.

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Roey Hunt’s Block edition, the wood is sourced from offcuts from tree surgeons.

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I thought the stacking and assembly method of these ‘Secco’ stools from Julio Thomas had nice detailing; using cardboard and plywood.

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Freyja Sewell ‘Hush’ Pod, a cozy retreat in the damp cells.

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Petrona pendant lights from Fred & Juul. I really liked the subtle colour tones created from the layering of the coloured glass; I recommend looking at the photos on their website for the full effect.

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A luxurious ‘Rock star’ bar for your single malt, by Buster + Punch.

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A close up of the Maurits table also by Fred & Juul, the table top uses reclaimed oak from old wine barrels.

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Brilliant vases by Pia Wüstenberg, the glass is so vibrant, and needs to be seen an daylight for its true beauty.

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Geometric wrapping paper and textiles by Katy Goutefangea. I would love to receive a pressie wrapped in this!

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The ‘Plan Desk’ by James Tattersall the large drawer is A1 so large enough to store A1 architectural prints. I’m a fan of this duck egg blue version.

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Then more subterranean design exhibits in The Order of St John.  I was wowed by the crypt architecture; which is one of the few remaining Norman buildings in London.

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Then the final stop for the day was the main venue for CDW; the Farmiloe Building. Which is worth a visit in itself; its an old Victorian Glasshouse, which is now used for events, photoshoots and filming TV/Movies (like Batman begins).

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Since the launch of ‘Series one’ by Another Country continue to produce strong design led products with an attention to detail and materials.

I’m loving the addition of colour to their ranges.

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James UK are increasing their upholstery offer; launching several new ranges. The Norton armchair with Flouro piping is bang on trend.

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I know I wasn’t the only admirer of the Hive Lights by Dare Studio.

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Kelly Chair by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Tacchini. I like the oversized backrest an spindly legs.

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Hand woven vases by Gone Rural.

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Large hanging pendants by Foscarini.

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Small handblown pendant lights by Workhouse.

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Oversized Buttons used by Mitab please me.

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Then to forget about those aching feet from all that powerwalking around, Campari time at the Icon Magazine Party.

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…got…got..need…

Milan Furniture Fair 2013 - Kirstys Top 20

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At the Milan Furniture Fair there is such a diverse breadth of work exhibited, from handmade, conceptual, mass production, high end and graduate its hard to take to take it all in. Eventually over time you start to get ‘product blindness’ and you start to glaze over! But below some items stand out from the crowd and remain embedded in your mind for weeks and months after. Now the show has passed a few weeks ago these were the standout items for me that I couldn’t forget from all over the Fair. kirsty whyte_Milan 2013_blog_top 25 (1)

1 - Landscapes for living | Muler Van Severen | Valerie_tran |

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2 – Shibuya | Christophe Pillet | Kartell |

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3 - Mathilda chair | Patricia Urquiola | Moroso |

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4 – Sumo Sofa | Sancal |

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5 – Lightwood Chair | Jasper Morrison | Maruni |

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6 – Light Drop | by E27 | Pulpo |

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7 – Great Colours for 2013 | Gradisca Chair | Werther Toffoloni | Billiani |

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8 – CNC Marble Knitted forms | Budri |

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9 – Radice | Sam Hecht | Mattiazza |

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10 – Tatti | Katriina Nuutinen | Kaamos |

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11 – Spade Range |  Kenji Fukushima |

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12 – Shades of Day Calendar | Justin Hu | What NotRossana Orlandi |

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13 – Dark Matter Black Mirror | Ada Mayer | What NotRossana Orlandi |

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14 – Camerino Valet Stand |Brose – Fogale | Design Junction |

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15 – 8ung Plate | Klaar Prims | Wallpaper Handmade |

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16 – True Colours vases | Lex Pott |

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17 - 45°/vetrina, Grado° Collection | Design Ron Gilad | Molteni & C |

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18 – Tower Salt and Pepper Grinder | Tom Dixon |

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19 – Quinque Light | Micomoler |

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20  - PET Lamps | Alvaro Catalan de Ocon | Rossana Orlandi |

Milan Furniture Fair 2013 – Trends

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The Milan Furniture Fair is the highlight in the Furniture design calendar. With the immense Salone sprawling 24 Halls, Ventura Lambrate, Tortona area, furniture showrooms and also independent events dotted all over the city; with only 3 days to see as much as possible I started the impossible task of squeezing in as much as possible; with the Interni Guide clutched in one hand and my camera in the other it was time to wear the soles of my shoes down! Below is a brief summary of emerging trends that caught my eye.

Trends summary:

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Colour: - More Fluro accents - Pastels - Think Sugar coated almonds (mints, candy floss pinks) - 90's spectrum (global hyper colour T-shirts)

 

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Finishes: - Ombre-graduated colour - Quilted fabrics - Raw finished wood - Wood grain through paint

 

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Materials: - Minerals - Marble - Polished Brass and copper. - Natural Wood

 

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Dominant Products: - Scoop back chairs - Storage - Bringing the Indoors out

 

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Styles: - Playful Quirk - Ethic Artisan

Stay posted fro a more detailed look into my highlight products across the whole fair from Saloni to Tortona.

Weekend Meanderings – Brick Lane

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Despite being able to catch a cold in April, I decided to venture out and make the most of the blue sky. By going East side to my much loved London Markets; which I really missed in China and am still deprived off now I live West! Kirsty Whyte_Brick lane (8) It was officially ice cream weather! Brick Lane and Spitalfields are getting a bit posh (mainstream) these days. Sadly many of the stands in Spitalfields are becoming mirror images of each other with the same mass produced t-shirts and statement necklaces. Thankfully towards the Sunday Upmarket on Brick lane there are still the independent creatives selling there wares at great affordable prices and some vintage nuggets...it didn't take me long to blitz through my £50 budget!

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Two main stands I thought were worth a mention:

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Les 2 Coquettes L2C is a lifestyle project. it is fresh and immediate, everything is made with humour. loved their whole ethos and simple but perfectly executed little brand. So I picked up one of their fab Heart t-shirts, optimistic that spring isn't too far away now. If you can’t get east they have some items on ASOS.

I also met Michael of Penroll a great solution to all those loose pens drifting around in my cavernous handbag! I had actually already spent all my £ by then but he kindly accepted a rogue 10Euros from me instead.

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Kirsty Whyte_Brick lane (6) These are a great gift for any creative in your life or Moleskin hoarder.

Kirsty Whyte_Brick lane (10) Not a bad haul in all £45 + 10Euros!

Studio Visit – Dare Studio

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Escaping the great British ‘Spring’ wasn’t going to be an option this Easter weekend, so escaping London would have to do.With a trade of accommodation in turn for some help with child entertaining; we made our way to an equally chilly Brighton to spend some 2Ps and visit Dare Studio.

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 19.43.31 Dare Studio, is a British Furniture and Lighting Design Brand, who I first met back in 2009 through Hidden Art, they are growing from strength to strength and have recently opened a new showroom at Bush Mews, in Brighton. I recommend a visit, but for those that are not Brighton way here are a few photos.

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Swatches; my favourite (such a furniture geek).

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I’m a big fan of the Bronte Chair.

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I love the copper and Marble displayed together.

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Wrapped up warm on the Hardy Wingback chair.

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The Spline chair which has been awarded the Design Guild Mark.

Introducing - Ready Wall Hook for Normann Copenhagen

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Kirsty Whyte_blog_Ready Wall Hook_Normann Copenhagen (12) As you may have seen on my website product pages and Facebook page; 2013 kicked off brilliantly with the launch of my Ready Wall Hook for Danish design brand Normann Copenhagen. They launched ‘Ready’ as part of their new season launch at Maison et Objet in January.

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Here are a few photos of their stand during the fair and me looking pretty pleased with myself next to them! Normann Copenhagen were also kind enough to add a post about me popping by their stand on their blog.

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I initially came up with the idea in my studio while sketching and playing around with cones of cardboard, trying to find the perfect angle to hang coats on. I really like having multiple/flexible usages in my designs so I wanted to design a hook that looked good, even when it isn’t in use. Adding the round mirror in the centre means you can quickly check your appearance before you go out.

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The curved frame of ‘Ready’ means that as well as being suitable to hang bags and scarves you can also drape your coat over it; perfect for expensive jackets you want to keep their shape or coats without a sewn-in loop.

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Ready is made from one continuous piece or powder coated steel, with a cleaver little keyhole fitting, so there is little to no material wastage.

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My Copenhagen spy (and close friend) Rebecca from The Green Suitcase, has spotted the Red and Pink 'Ready' in the window display of the Normann Copenhagen flagship store. (Images above).

 

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If you didn’t get a chance to see them at Maison et Object, don’t worry they will also be at this years Milan Furniture Fair in April; Hall 16, Stand E46. Or if you just love them and want to buy a few for your home they are £33 and can be bought direct on the Normann Copenhagen website.

Studio Visit - Steuart Padwick

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I'm frequently abroad with work visiting suppliers and factories and every once and a while I get to venture a little closer to home.

Last week I had the opportunity to catch up with Steuart Padwick in his creative environment - much better for discussing projects that in a sterile meeting room.

Steuart has an established career within furniture design and in 2009 launched his own design studio; as well as selling directly to customer’s he also designs for retailers, one of which is MADE.

Over in Berkshire is Steuarts home/studio/workshop, an amazing mix of home improvement projects, prototypes, scale furniture maquettes and a full size silverback gorilla model (unexpected).

Among the creative chaos are design nuggets; some of which are projects I'm working on with him for MADE including a new upholstery range ... watch this space.

I was left pining for a creative space of my own once more; a luxury my compact London flat can't accommodate. 

Life drawing sketches.

Horse Shoe Chair and scale model.

The Walk Desk which started of the Stroller range.

I want some stairs like this!

It looks retro but this is an 'Amp Lamp' connected to an Ipod.

Steuart contemplating a workshop tidy up! 

On the way back we popped in to the beautifully located Benchmark showroom and workshops (now 35,000 square feet) which area converted farm near the village of Kintbury in West Berkshire. Some highlights in the showroom were Mrs B Dining table by Russell Pinch, CH33 Designed by Hans Wegner and the exquisitely made scale models.

No photos of the busy workshops but it was great to see the highly skilled craftsmen diligently working on varied projects from catalogue products to huge bespoke hotel reception desks. No photos as I'm a 'competitor', but would prefer to be seen as an aspiring designer; with an aim to be one of the first Female designer for the brand, alongside Kay + Stemmer and Tomoko Azumi!

 

This is the very cool order book; which has every product ever sold by Benchmark and who the designer was; brilliant forward thinking and a 'who's-who' of its design legacy.

Maison Et Objet January 2013

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kirsty_whyte_Maison et Objet_2013 (7) On a sub zero early Friday morning I made my way on the Eurostar to Paris to check out new trends and talent at Maison et Objet.

kirsty_whyte_Maison et Objet_2013 (10) With under 3 days to cover all 8 halls and see some of the design shops in the City centre I prioritised with the 'Now' hall which is the primary destination for all visitors who want to see the leaders in contemporary furniture (& all homewares) alongside smaller independent creatives like on the BEDG stands.

With the continued trends of: hand crafted techniques/modern processes True and honest to materials Mixed materials Quirky humor Graphic patterns Brass/bronze Juxtaposition of fluro brights and muted neutrals.

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There are allot of strong Scandinavian brands represented at Mason; the & tradition stand was no exception. I really liked the SW1 and SW2 tables by Samuel Wilkinson. Their new catalogue was so nice it made its way into my heavily laden bag (only the best catalogues make it in).

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GAN rugs, with work by the prolific Patricia Urquiola.

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The Functionals stand had its usual impactful monochrome look.

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After her success with ‘Circus’ at Innermost Corinna Warm has now launched ‘Glaze’ with them; you may remember me admiring her originals at the Milan furniture Fair in 2010.

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HAY can do no wrong in my eyes and yes again launched an impeccable new accessory range; I want all of it!

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Day 2 was spend in Paris city centre frequenting some cool design boutiques and high-street retailers; thanks to the handy Interni guide.

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Epice Scarves had amazing products beautifully displayed.

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Time for a Vin Chaud to keep the snow at bay.

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Above is Les Deaux Plateaux a 1986 art instillation at Palais-Royal by Daniel Buren.

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Clever sugar cubes.

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There was plenty of beautifully crafted design to catch my eye on the Discipline Stand, the ethos of being true to material is very true to my heart. Below the Roule Tray in polished brass and copper; lovely. You should also follow their Instagram to see the adventures of Bob, their well travelled wooden bird friend.

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Colonel had a great collection of new products I really liked these Dowood Lights.

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The Japan Handmade stand had some exquisitely executed pieces of design; above is a collaboration between Danish design studio OeO and KAIKADO.

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In the BEDG Tomas Eyck had some interesting new ceramics.

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Vitamin have made a dramatic move away from their quite dated white ceramics; to these two really interesting ranges. The Element vessels (above) which use a mixture of modern machine produced sections right next to hand crafted natural materials.

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Luckyboysunday's quirky knitware brought a smile to my face, from the more commercial geometric cushions and throws to the full of character Fancy Nulle (below).

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Normann Copenhagen had a large selection of new season products in a breadth of zingy colours. Their catalogue photography is well worth checking out, really strong branding and eye catching.

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One very exciting thing for me was that Normann Copenhagen launched the 'Ready' Wall hook and Mirror that I designed (more photos to follow in a new blog).

It was great to see the hooks featured in every 'colour zone' of their stand.

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Japanese company Karimoku New Standard  had a collection from Scholten & Baijings . I really loved the use of material colour and pattern on each piece.

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Artecnica above.

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The Pinch stand had its usual collection of beautifully crafted and designed products above the new Holland Park chair.

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New storage units on the Case Furniture were following the trend, of mixing textures and colours. I also liked the way they displayed nick-nacks below.

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Some lovely new brass accessories on the Matthew Hilton/ De La Espada stand.

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Soren Rose Studio  had individually numbered and hand made business cards; one way to ensure you didn't loose it.

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Malmö Collection by Michele Cazzaniga, Simone Mandelli and  Antonio Pagliarulo for Pedrali, very tactile.

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Branca Lisboa had quite a few interesting products on their small stand but their WR02 Chair with colour blocking caught my eye first. The paint is rubberised following the mixed materials and colour trend too..

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The above stools by Foundry, were interesting and a step away from their wooden/softer looking products; the hammered stool came in several finishes.

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Is also had a few hours to skim through the other halls, there were a few brief diamonds in the rough (between fury sofas, golden Buddha's and cooking paraphernalia).

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Textile canopy Frondesco Statue - made by La Fabrique Grande De Coloeur.

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Tipy a French art agent had this eye catching neon piece on display.

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Rory Dobners black and white ceramics pull you in for a closer look;

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Always a fan of Miss Print's textiles and wall papers; a retro twist for modern times.

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Tracy Kendall Wallpaper (above); adds a 3d bespoke look to walls.

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The Orla Keily stand had a huge selection of new furniture and home products.

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Time for lunch.

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..and then it was time to get the Eurostar back home, in time for a flight to China the next day!

‘Home’ London 2013

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Kirsty-whyte-Home London-2013-Blog (1) Still a fledgling in the tradeshow calendar Home at Earls Court London offers a contemporary mix of small-medium established companies to recent graduates. Perfect for finding unusual designs to buy or aspiring talent to commission. Plus it's always good to keep an eye out for emerging trends for 2013. Kirsty-whyte-Home London-2013-Blog (10)

The Home show is twinned with Top Drawer and more gift and jewellery focused buyers fair and the companions work well. Home is quite small so had plenty of space to leisurely view each stand rather than being squeezed between narrow walkways. Moustaches, bikes, quirkiness and owls ruled this year; below are some of the key products that caught my eye this year.

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New innovative pendant lights by Luminosity inspired from  sculptural forms in the natural world, the Banksia (below) and Rosa (above) are great complimentary additions to the Aperture light.

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Outline Works Ltd presented Trophy – mixing the wild with urban living with their Trophy bike holders. Minimal, quirky and practical.

A bike can be easily hooked on the animal horns  to be placed tidily away. Currently in the Bull and Dear designs and in a mix of colours. My personal favorite is the flocked ‘soft fur’ in purple.

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The UK representative for Scandinavian brand Ferm Living , I’ve been an avid admirer of their textiles for some time, but I love their geometry cups. Check out their new SS13 catalogue, for inspiring lifestyle photography, and a long ‘wish list’.

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The House of Hemmingway, build a micro home exhibiting products across their retro inspired collection, from G-Plan Sofas, mid-century wall paper and some great ceramic tiles.

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Another Country have extended their accessory collection to the office, above with “Desk top Series two', the simplicity of line and being true to the materials of Maple and Brass work effortlessly together.

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SCP had a stand again this year, Donna Wilson’s designs are commonplace at SCP and has now broken out from the perimeters of textiles over to these cute and user friendly ‘Fort’ trays.

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The talented Lindsey Lang presented some new patterns; an evolution from her previous work but still has her distinct balance of shape and colour.

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All Lovely Stuff’s stand gets bigger every year and their ethos of designing things that make you smile and work well continues. Their MMM Doughnuts are a great example of this. Made from solid beech and ‘iced; in 3 colours.

Even the doughnut packaging (below) continue the foody pun.

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The Belle and Bespoke light boxes caught my eye.

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Owls are all over the place but these little fellows by Catherine Tough would add a smile and colour to any room.

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Collective Nouns in Pictures by Woop Studios, is such a great idea; who would have known that a flock of Canaries is an “Opera” .

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Then my favourite discovery of the whole show was Custhom. I’m a sucker for graphic patterns, shiny surfaces and textured textiles; I have my eye on their Goldsmiths Embroidered Jersey quilt – beautiful and all all designed in Peckham.

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All in all I think Home would be a great source for buyers trying to find new small Spring summer products; plus it doesn’t take more than a few hours get get around.

Carraway Cushions

Working within a small creative team at Made.com gives me to opportunity to explore creative avenues I haven’t before. For AW12 we had a new textiles manufacturer where I selected up and coming textiles designers such as Tanya VentressRachel Rosie West and Eleanor Young developing designs with them that I had originally spotted at show like Pulse and New Designers.

As well as working directly with the designers and manufacture in getting these designs released I also had the chance to work on some in-house briefs, creating some exclusive designs. Looking at inspiration from current trends such as the Art Deco revival and graphic patterns. I used traditional shapes and contemporised the colour pallets.

Some of these successful patterns have now been used in the AW12-SS13 rug collections.

Images here show the some of the original artwork, behind the scenes of the shoot, me signing off the mass production in the Chinese factory and then back in the UK with the re-touch team finalising images for the website.

Original Artwork above.

Signing off the samples at the factory.

Styling the photoshoot.

Lifestyle shots with the model.

Retouching the images back in the UK office for the Made website product pages.

The final product; available to buy now.

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Travelling is an inescapable necessary evil in the product and furniture world. 
Visiting factories around the world comes hand in hand with design, development and manufacture. It may sound like a glamorous jet-set lifestyle but the truth is you never see the countries and see more of the inside of factories and airports, plus I need to plant allot of trees to offset my carbon footprint!
So below are some snaps of the inside of factories and glimpse of the countries through car windows. From my most recent trip across China and India.

 

China:

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Chair frames as far as the eye can see.

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Followed by a 2 day photoshoot; the New Jonah Table coming soon to MADE.

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I went to an amazing fabric mill, that had the latest Italian machinery parked right next to some turn of the century mills, that still used punched cards; both busily clunking away  being used.

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Painstakingly connecting the next roll of thread.

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QC check – fancy staring at that for 6 hours a day.

 

India:

Was information overload for the eyes, everywhere I looked was a photo ready to be snapped. Below is a fleeting view of what I managed to spot.

I saw a huge range of animals roaming the streets as I was carted,from factory to factory. Cows, goats, dogs, pigs, camels, horses, elephants, monkeys…

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I think the entire Indian economy is funded from this chair it was everywhere.

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A brief stop for Xmas presents then onwards.

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Loving the cello taped flowers on this wedding car.

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Nowhere looks quite finished!

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Off to rug factories and I just love the ‘pompom’ books, like Pantone Chips for rugs.

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Picking out some colours for new rugs.

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Metal elephant anyone?

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Stool forest

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Dinner under the stars, eating my weight in meat skewers, yum.

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Hand painted signage on shops and truck, just add to the kaleidoscope of colours as you drive down dusty roads.

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Always look up, how amazing is this and I nearly missed it.

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Another showroom stacked high.

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ooh lovely swatches.

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Nomadic corner shop.

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a proper traffic jam.

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I saw allot of people and things being transported about on a back of a bike, but this trip this was my record: 6.

Note the Dad is the only one in a helmet!

 

2 Countries

4 Flights

6 train journeys

15 Days

25 factories

+ 2 Day shoot

= 1 exhausted Kirsty!