Today we are taking inspiration from artistic Danish furniture designer Cecilie Manz, mastermind behind these beautiful lampshades for Lightyears. Her belief is that function should always take precedence over form, rather than pushing innovative techniques in order to gain recognition. Following this ethos, her vision for this product was to develop a design that allowed the light to take centre stage.
We admire her determination for simplicity - Manz explores function through her Danish penchant for durable materials but teamed with a sublime, craftsman-like finish.
If you like them as much as we do, you can find them at one of our favourite interior stores Folklore.
We were recently commissioned by Concern Worldwide, to design a brochure to feature at their annual summer party and auction, to help raise money and drive awareness in the UK. The brochure brought to life the challenges faced by some of the world’s poorest families in Mozambique through engaging typography, illustrations and print finishes. If you would like to know more about the amazing work they do take a look at their website - https://www.concern.net/
The next time your train gets delayed inside a dark Tube tunnel, it’s probably best not to think of plans for Riyadh. While we face poky platforms and overcrowding, a state-of-the art, ultra-luxurious underground station has been commissioned by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
With gold-plated walls, space-age passenger flow systems and overflowing marble walkways, this station has been designed to be a 'stress free' environment. This new Financial District Metro Station, which is set to become the most luxurious underground stop in the world, is not some far-off fantasy either. King Abdullah has demanded the station be ready for passengers in just four years – the time it often takes for a major station overhaul in New York or London.
Designed by London based Architect and MONOGRAM favourite Zaha Hadid, its breathtaking sky bridges, huge car parking system and multi-level shopping areas, the above-ground entrance will be a colossal building built in the futuristic, gently curving, glass-dominated design cement the style of architecture that Hadid has become famous for.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a quintessential event in the British summer calendar, but this year was extra special marking the centenary edition in London's most revered horticultural event. What's exciting about the flower show for us is that it not only sees the launch of dozens of new and exciting plants every year, it's also an event to showcase some of the most exciting new pavilion designs.
One of our favourites from previous shows was a cubed timber structure which followed the organic form of a leaf, curiously named 'Eureka' and designed by British architects NEX, Buro Happold and Chelsea Gold Medallist Marcus Barnett in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens. What's really compelling about this design is how they collectively extended the traditional concept of the garden by taking it back to it's natural forms. By looking closely at the cellular structure of plants, they used these natural principles to guide their processes of growth to inform the design’s development. The focus was the intricate lattice of leaf-like capillaries which were embedded in the walls, and secondary timber cassettes hold the cladding in place to allow visitors to experience the patterns of biological structure at a new scale. The main form is made from grand timber capillaries, and in the gaps are smaller framework elements made from recycled plastic, curved to resemble plant cells.
We look forward to seeing what this year's designs have to offer!
Today we are paying homage to sculptural artist Pablo Reinoso, celebrating his dialogue between visual art and traditional design. The artist was originally a renowned designer, but he has turned his hand to a variety of disciplines, including sculpture, photography, architecture and design, exploring a myriad of techniques and materials. Using his sculptures, he tests the limits of possibility by recontextualising objects, uniting opposites and combining materials, such as wood, slate, brass, marble and steel. Focusing his practice on the entity, we love the unique way he uses space and time as an environment, and how even air becomes a material in his sculptures. Truly inspirational.
His new exhibition Living Sculptures is lined up to feature at one of the largest art Festivals in Asia, Le French May, staging world-class events, ranging from visual arts to music, dance and performance.
Pablo Reinoso: Living Sculptures, April, 25 – July, 14, 2013, One Central and Mandarin Oriental, Macau.
We have waited for months for our new business and complimentary cards to land on our doorstep, but here they are in all their luxurious, embossed and understated glory!
Opera, like no other art form, is the perfect physical and musical expression of emotion. From it's fusion of contemporary art, fashion, choreography and classical music, it becomes the ultimate stage for collaboration. Although it seems like a free form of art, the rules and principles of physical performance guide it - but within those restrictions, people can create masterpieces. Just like design, it’s interesting to take the rules and see what you can do.
Our latest inspiration comes in the form of a magical new production of Boléro at the Opéra Garnier, Paris, created by performance artist Marina Abramovic and costumes from Givenchy Creative Director, Riccardo Tisci. In an interview with the New York Times, Abramovic said that in this collaboration it was very important for them to define what the Boléro is about, agreeing that it is about emotions — love, hate, jealousy — but in an abstract way.
"The dancers are like atoms, uniting to create new groups, splitting off again. There is no center." Abramovic, in the New York Times.
It is always a pleasure to work with brands who fight for worthy causes, and our recent commission from Crème de la Mer has been no exception. We have worked with the product team to design a special edition counter wrap for Selfridges, to celebrate their alliance with World Oceans Day 2013, in support of ocean conservation efforts in the UK through BLUE Marine Foundation, and worldwide through Oceana. Crème de la Mer’s World Oceans Day 2013 campaign is also in support of Selfridges’ Project Ocean, which seeks to raise awareness not only for the beauty and restorative power of the sea, but also its fragility.
The ocean is an integral part of Crème de la Mer’s brand heritage, and the counter wrap was designed as a reflection of their beautiful limited edition Ocean packaging for the lip balm and 100ml Creme. The counter is a perfect extension of the metallic gradient from a deep ocean blue, to a bright shimmering silver.
In the lead up to World Oceans Day, Selfridges will host special events and talks designed around the celebration and protection of the Ocean, and the counter will be in store until 30th June.
Coffee and great design often come hand in hand in our studio, which is why we simply had to share the Don Cafe House interior concept with you. Designed by Kossovan Architects Innarch, the stunning interior derives from the organic shape of coffee grains, reinterpreted through perfectly aligned strips of plywood and a curvaceous bench that bleeds into the wall as though it were a wave crashing.
This textured effect of the wall is mimicked throughout the rest of the space, from the architectural lampshades to the perfectly dissected coffee counters. Visually striking, the end result is a sculptural interior that is equally decorative as it is functional. We told you coffee and design were a great combo!
We were commissioned to design and develop an engaging interactive advert for a luxury iPad magazine that would bring to life Armani's latest fragrance campaign. Our solution encouraged readers to swipe the screen to reveal the new evening version of their well known men's fragrance Eau pour Homme, creating a striking transition from white (day) to black (night).
Digital art is one area of design that never fails to push the boundaries of innovation, with technology that usually manages to transform other art forms as we understand them. This Water Light Graffiti Project is a shining example, forming a phenomenal interactive light display brought to life in the heart of Paris.
Graffiti, traditionally an area of art laced with controversy, has been flipped on its head through the digital installation by French artist Antonin Forneau. The technology behind the wall is made of thousands of LED's illuminated by the water sprays, and by spraying the wall with water it creates unique graffiti patterns through its moisture-sensitive surface.
With tiny points of light instead of paint, the installation was created to send ephemeral messages in the urban space and shift associations of graffiti and deterioration.
Who would have thought water and lights would make such a spectacular combination?
We have been working on some exciting animations this week, and when seeking inspiration we discovered 'Oscillate', a mesmerising digital animation by New York based student Daniel Sierra. We are completely captivated by his experimental approach to animation, visualising waveform patterns that evolve from the fundamental sine wave to complex, multi-layered patterns.
The video is a truly exquisite audio-visual experience from start to finish, in which sight and sound are moulded together in unison. For us, recognising up-and-coming talent in the design world is crucial to keep fresh ideas flowing and this project is no exception.
To view on Vimeo, click here. Hit full screen, turn the volume up and press repeat.
Is 3D printing moulding the future of fashion? There is a lot of excitement in the fashion world about this technology, and we are seeing more craftsmanship and abstract structures than ever before. We recently posted about these new technologies and showed you the unforgettable 3D printed dress worn by Dita Von Teese, but it's not just dressmaking that is taking advantage of this exciting technology.
We are captivated by this 3D printed collection from design duo Blueberries who play with light, matter, composition, scale and geometry, creating accessories that are inspired by both organic and in-organic natural structures.
Iconic for their striking use of colour, bold silhouettes and game-changing designs, we all know that Nike are forever pushing the boundaries when it comes to creating show-stopping retail spaces.
Their latest design in Beijing entitled 'The Track' features a dark-tinted mirror mimicking the shape of the track positioned directly above and brightly coloured shoes, suspended around the perimeter like a row of spectators.
The installation as a whole creates a strong yet serene space that allows the footwear to remain the centrepiece. The space is a triumph of style, effortless simplicity and atmosphere that demands attention from even the occasional sports fans.
What excites us so much about being creative with digital technology is being able to put consumers in the hot-seat of their online experiences and connect them with their true passions. This idea is brought to life effortlessly by Adidas & Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 interactive SS13 campaign, which allows consumers to become a digital mixmaster with their latest collection.
The film invites you to create an artful video piece with visual elements along with the experimental ambient music from Tim Hecker. Press any letter key and the action cuts to a new section of video, any number key and the film can be manipulated and distorted in a multitude of different ways.
The campaign, which has been described as a study of movement and transformation, is equally as ambitious as Y-3's multi-platform interactive catwalk show which gives a truly unique user experience from start to finish. The campaign is a true testament to the decade of exciting collaborations between Adidas and Y-3.
To experiment with the film yourself, click here. We particularly like keys C, X, F and G - what's your favourite?
The beauty of being designers is that we can take inspiration and learn from the space around us. What strikes our clients the most when they come to visit is how we have carved such a serene workspace out of the hustle and bustle that is Shoreditch. The studio has been evolving over the past year but has now become a true extension of our brand, and our values.
“Where others only see a blank wall, we create a physical expression of our new name. A steep angled Victorian pitch roof becomes the platform for our experimental lighting scheme. The rough exposed brick walls become the focal point in contrast to our plush amethyst curtains.” David, Interiors Director
“From the delicate hand-crafted tea cups, to the classic Eames inspired chairs, the space continues to revive us. It fuels our brainstorms, inspires our layouts, encourages our creativity and disciplines our attention to detail.” Kris, Creative Director
“We spend more hours working than not in our studio, mainly because we love our work, but also because we have created a small, yet beautiful, oasis around us so we love working there. We have spent time creating a surrounding that reflects our brand but more importantly allows us to feel creative and productive.” Vicky, Creative Director
At MONOGRAM, we see collaboration as one of the most exciting parts of the design journey. One of our favourite collaborative projects this year is between Foster + Partners and Italian furniture designers Molteni &C, who combined their long tradition of craftsmanship with innovative technology at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile exhibition in Milan.
The Architect's have designed an elegant coffee table named Teso, made by stretching a perforated disk of steel upwards to form distinctive geometric patterned mesh base. The experimental approach to materials and production methods results in a delicate filigree texture visible through a simply stunning etched glass top.
We thoroughly enjoyed the 'Pick me up 2013' Exhibition last night, celebrating the wonderfully diverse sphere of contemporary graphic arts from intricate ink drawings to illustration on photography, to humorous pub joke sketches to simple, yet beautiful screen prints. There was something for everyone. It was refreshing to visit an exhibition that was relaxed, the beers were flowing, a live band was playing and areas were full of people participating in creating their own art. Very inspiring.
We always love the fusion of technology and art, especially something as engaging, interactive and thought provoking as the Futurotextiles exhibition, in Paris. Futurotextiles presents an intriguing alliance of textile innovation, high fashion and art.
The exhibition is a playful and poetic artistic journey enabling us to explore the use of a traditional natural material in untraditional circumstances.
A sweater that checks your mood, lace made of strawberry roots or a dress that uses wood as textiles. Well, that sounds very intriguing..
Milan has been at the forefront of the design world this month, and we simply had to share the stunning images from the 'Unexpected Welcome' exhibition by Dutch brand Moooi which took place in the Tortona district last week.
The work played with conventional interior design concepts, featuring exquisitely colourful furniture, giant portraits and bathtubs, undressed mannequins and lamps formed from upside down buckets. Moooi's collection excited our imagination, and really shows how a wide soulless space can be extraordinarily transformed into a flavourful and charismatic living quarter.
We love a good process at MONOGRAM especially one that really adds to the outcome of something creative and individual. So when we saw how C-fabriek created their unique clothing we were hooked. We love this video demonstrating the entire production cycle using layers of fabrics through to the design, manufacturing and onto showroom, with the help of a large balloon. We thought it is such a creative approach to dress making: with only three main tools at hand, glue, fabrics and a large balloon, the process called Fast Fashion, only takes up to half an hour to create a stunning piece for the summer to come.
We were excited to attend the greatly anticipated light show at the Hayward Gallery last night. Experimenting with light as a medium for art, the show explores how we experience and psychologically respond to illumination and colour.
The exhibition was illuminating in every sense of the word. Each dynamic light display invites you to interact with the visual and sensory effects, and challenges our perceptions of the space around us.
As designers we are constantly seeking inspiration from, and exploring our relationship with our environments. It was fascinating to enter this playground of colour and light which ultimately encouraged us to open our eyes to the world around us. We highly recommend a visit.
It was great to meet with our Spanish friends Grind Industrial Design this week. Their work inspired us in studio with their innovative and beautiful products. They design so many beautiful products from chairs to toilet brush holders to lunchboxes!
Our favourite was the 'OTTO' that has showcased in Wallpaper and other magazines globally. An open and modern product with ancestor value, it works like stool or ottoman. Unique design and simple lecture; Function, Form & Emotion in its highest state of grace.
We want one.
At MONOGRAM, what really lights us up is thinking about the future of spatial branding experiences. We're fascinated by new concepts for communicating brands through architecture and interior design. We find brand communication is becoming increasingly sophisticated in order to keep a brand relevant, and more and more businesses are discovering the benefit of spatial design to connect with consumers on an emotional level. Until recently, uniformity was the rule. But today, the name of the game is playing with colour, form, materials, and even sculptural elements.
Here's three branded spaces that caught our eye this week:
1. Who*s Who boutique by Fabio Novembre
Arguably one of the most cutting edge fashion boutiques set to launch this year. The new beautiful Who*s Who store concept, dreamt up by Italian designer Fabio Novembre, is dominated by a series of human figures, each striking a different pose. These stunning glass silhouettes divide the racks of clothing, whilst the walls glimmer in polished stainless steel contrasting the floor which is covered in monochrome ceramic tiles. The boutique opens on 8 April to coincide with the Milan Furniture Fair taking place in the city between 9 and 14 April.
2. Aesop retail concept
'I was horrified at the thought of a soulless chain', says Aesop founder Dennis Paphitis, who worked with architects from around the world to craft his heart and should into each and every Aesop store. With no two stores being the same, we admire his dedication to letting each space speak for itself, whilst allowing the products breathe. A firm believer in the correlation between captivating store spaces and customer traffic, Paphitis' concept dissolves and recedes rather than screaming 'look how clever I am''. To find out more about this clever brand, click here.
3. Neil Barrett Shop in Shop by Zaha Hadid Architects
We love the sweeping curves of yet another creation by Zaha Hadid Architects, who has now completed the 'the Shop in Shop' concept for five new boutiques for Milan-based fashion designer Neil Barrett. They designed a free flowing shape that was then divided up into 16 pieces, and distributed to each of the four stores in Seoul and one in Hong Kong. Being used as a modular display system, each block can be utilised in a variety of arrangements to display different garments, accessories and shoes. To find out more about the project, click here.
We have often mentioned our love for technology and interactive environments, however today we are putting down our 'mice' and tablets as we are excited to hear about the inaugural launch of one of the most dynamic exhibitions in the art world coming this Autumn... No fancy fandangled techonology here, just a little creativity and some tape.
The three dimensional installation by a Polish artist Monika Grzymala which has captured our imaginations is called Raumzeichnung, roughly 'Drawing Room', and will be exhibited in the Sumarria Lunn gallery in London from the 12th October to the 5th of November.
We love the energy in her work. The only material being used, black tape has been stretched, cut, and criss-crossed, and it's bizarre lines seem to spill out into 3D space, bursting from floors to walls to ceilings and back again. Dramatic is an understatement.
The artist begins her work from scratch working intuitively with tape to sketch out ideas as she conceives them until the work is done. There is something to be said in her ability to create something so eccentric and powerful from the world's least dramatic material, tape. Don't try this at home!
We love the new Rose Li Collection of Thai Chi inspired lights by Albi that made us think of Thai Chi postures (which also inspired us to learn some!) creating a meaning and an interesting story behind the product. The lights offer a warm copper glow to fill in any space and create that special atmosphere to indulge into.
The inspiration behind this project comes from the designer’s Tai Chi master:
“Head up, shoulders down” was Master Rose Li’s repeated advice in each class and these wise words are still with me and I keep on trying, with my head up shoulders down. The first lamp I made that lead to the Rose Li collection came from the feeling of Tai Chi, with your head in the clouds and your feet rooted deep in the earth. Copper, a precious metal alongside silver and gold, is used in the Rose Li collection in its natural polished color as a contemporary interpretation for candles.”
For us, Architect Zaha Hadid's beautiful creations never fail to impress, and this transparent Liquid Glacial table is no exception.
The design is based on the beauty of changing states, capturing the phase change point from liquid to ice. We love it's dynamic appearance that Zaha has created, the illusion plays with our perceptions as if water has been thrown at high speed and suspended mid-air. The sleek table top resembles the surface of the infamous crystal clear waters of Sameranger Lake in Austria, and the legs seem to pour from its top in an intense vortex of water frozen in time.
The dazzling design of Liquid Glacial table has already created a buzz in the design world and has received a nomination in the 'Future Segment' of the London Design Museum's 2013 awards. The tables are on view at David Gill Galleries in London until May 30th.
From their origins as the best architectural antiques dealers in the UK to their current status as leaders in the field of luxury bathrooms, Drummonds embrace the current trend for British based manufacturing creating timeless bathrooms that will stand the test of time. Their exquisite collection ranges from free-standing cast iron baths, to beautifully bespoke brass taps and showers.
We are really impressed how even in a fast paced interior landscape of changing trends, Drummonds classic designs with their crisp and elegant lines have the ability to transcend any environment, evoking a calm and priceless experience whether placed in a slick contemporary room or contrasted against the current edgy trend of the salvaged industrial, distressed appeal.
We admire their use of largely handmade processes such as lost wax brass casting, which requires great skill and craftsmanship. This acute attention to detail enriches the luxurious experience, inspiring you to reflect and engage with the space.
At MONOGRAM we regularly seek inspiration from our environments, and we find this trend of contrasting tactile textures really interesting. We believe luxury is a very personal experience, and this careful selection of materials and level of craftsmanship can combine to create a powerful spacial experience. Drummonds embody this ethos in their products, helping to create the space needed to pause and reflect.
As one of our design heroes, we're really excited to announce we have been commissioned to work with Drummonds to design their new brochure showcasing their beautiful and opulent product range. We look forward to perusing the content over a long soak in the bath!
We always strive to go that extra mile and take pride in everything we do and when we find something that embodies what we stand for with beautiful design, attention to detail and stunning finishes, we like to share it. We're not selfish.
Our absolute favourite this week is the UK-based hard graft design lifestyle and technological accessories. Founded in 2008 via the Working Class Heroes store, they now do a range of accessories: laptop bags, wallets, along with iPhone and iPad cases, made from a combination of high-quality wool and leather.
We agree with their idea that every step matters, from the initial conception of an idea and the process of production, to the perfect photograph being taken to precisely portray the brand's soul.
Clearly, hard graft are the embodiment of this philosophy, representing that perfection is key when it comes to high quality design that delivers a practical, durable and stylish product.
Our new beautiful hard graft iPad case fits perfectly with our studio environment - it's smart, elegant, and unique. The carefully considered design reflects serenity and practicality with unrivalled attention to detail. We simply love it.
Electric, a new 'cultural platform' in Paris, is a day and night venue designed by a man who once renovated a Romanesque church in France and whose chief inspiration is science - Mathieu Lehanneur. In collaboration with architect Ana Moussinet, they have conceived the interior of the space which features a canopy of sound and light suspended from black tree-like columns formed from what looks like braided electrical wires. These braided tree trunks almost give an impression that it is only a small part of the massive tree house. More space for imagination.
We particularly love the idea of lighting projectors and cables that hang from the spindly branches of chunky black trees allowing the guests beneath them indulge into various experiences and perceptions of light and sound.
The emphasis has been put on the multi-functionality of this venue: whilst it is impressive by day serving as a restaurant and a lounge, providing an infinite number of layouts, it is magical by night at the same time. The installations of soundproofed modules allow Electric to be used from dusk 'til dawn as a lounge, a bar or a club in the main ballroom area providing new perspective over Paris.
Clearly, Lehanneur knows a lot about space: the massive terrace extending the ballroom floor outside presents the gorgeous views of romantic and night-loving Paris to indulge into. Well, what's there not to love?
We know that when it comes to luxury hotels, guests expect a unique experience from the moment they step through the door. It’s all in the finer details, from the way you are greeted at the door to the story behind the architecture.
Most of the boutique hotels around the world do meet such expectations providing the right kind of atmosphere and luxury experience throughout their stay. But do they try to push the boundaries of expectation to create a more unique and rich experience? We believe that the real value of luxury is not just about the satisfaction of expectations; it is about challenging perceptions and experiences.
We love the aptly named ‘Arrest Hotel’ precisely because it welcomes its guests to indulge in the world of controversy and to experience the prohibited. Once an oppressive correctional facility, the space has been transformed into an extraordinary, authentic luxury experience. The prison-like structure has retained its neoclassical facade, cast iron staircases and cell blocks to play on the intrigue of the prison life that once was.
The style is clean and pure, but it's provocative and well thought out. The hotel remains grounded and relevant by keeping part of their offer true to the building's heritage - there is an underlying sombre tone in the muted colour schemes and furniture choices, all of which are reminiscent of the building's past. This mood is only heightened by the bespoke lighting design – there has been real thought as to how light enters the room through the use of original windows that are elegantly woven into the hotel’s facade.
What's interesting to us is that in times of austerity, high-end hotels are looking for ways to push preconceptions about luxury retreats. It's not just about plush interiors and good service...it's about playing on consumer curiosities and imaginations.
Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh and Finnish illustrator Kustaa Saksi have designed the installation that will set the stage for talks on design and architecture at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair that was taking place from 5-9th February.
The stunning pavilion is made up of '1,120 stacks consisting of a total of 11,000 A3 sheets in 44,000 points of attachment' which fill a 200 sqm area in which discussions will take on a whole new dimension. Mirrored table tops help add to the riot of colours and shapes suspended from the ceiling.
We love the idea of floating pieces of paper which allows Wingårdh to create a space while giving Saksi a canvas, the combination of the two which is rather impressive.
Kutsaa says: “I’m fascinated by architecture and antique ceiling paintings in temples all over the world, and the way they’ve attracted people to share their thoughts and ideas. I’ve wanted to create a similar aesthetics, mixed with orientalism, art, mathematics, science and psychedelia, by depicting communication as Darwinistic evolution. Constantly on the move and a work in progress, like bacteria and marine animals when they crawled out of the depths of the sea millions of years ago.
We believe that when it comes to a luxurious experience - it doesn't necessarily need to be high-priced. It might be the smallest hotel in the world but with its historical meaning it still can deliver something very special and extraordinary - exclusivity and intimacy, and what's most important - the ability to spend your very precious time with someone very special on a very special day like this: Valentine's day.
The smallest hotel in the world, the Eh’haeusl in Amberg, Germany, is just 2.5 meters wide and can fit in only 1 couple at a time, and surprisingly, includes its own mini spa.
What we love about this hotel is that it has a nice history to it: in 1728 there was a law that couples were not allowed to get married unless they were going to live together. The house was therefore built so that poor couples could afford to buy it and thus get married. After the house served the purpose, the couple sold it to the next couple with the same problem before moving into a proper rented space. With a different newlywed couple as occupants every few weeks, it became known as Eh'haeusl - or 'the Wedding House'.
Despite its size the hotel spares no expense and you’ll find the inside decorated to a high standard with excellent facilities, which has lead to it being awarded 5 stars.
Today, the extraordinary hotel is owned by Marina Schreiner, who welcomes couples in love from all over the world to stay all year round. According to an old legend told by the locals, couples who stay at the hotel live happily ever after and never get divorced.
If you are seeking artistic inspiration from your holidays and want to stay somewhere rather unusual, then Blow Up Hall 50 50 Hotel in Poznan could be the right choice for you.
Described as an 'interactive work of art' with 22 sumptuous rooms, it encompasses a 5-star restaurant and a bar surrounded by an amazing collection of contemporary art. In contrast to other high-end hotels, it offers a combination of luxury, high tech facilities, the finest design and personal artistic experimentation. Not only does the hotel guest experience art, but also participates in its creation and becomes its main substance.
How does it work? Instead of a key, each guest receives an iPhone to find and open their bedroom door themselves. There's no particular room number upon arrival as you'd normally expect – guests select their room by picking one from each category of presented pictures, colours and numbers.
A truly unique hotel experience with personalised rooms according to each guest's taste. Amazing stuff, isn't it?
Some people say silence is golden. In a world that bombards us with noise, information and stimulation, Selfridges have launched a 'No Noise' initiative, inviting us to celebrate stillness, finding calm among the crowds.
No Noise focuses on the re-launch of its legendary Silence Room, first created in 1909, in collaboration with meditation practitioner Headspace. The new Silence Room is a fresh take on the original model but encompassing the same purpose: providing an oasis of calm for those eager to take a moment to pause and switch off. We visited early on a Sunday morning to experience the campaign for ourselves. Just before the entry into the Silence Room, we were asked to leave our shoes and mobile phones by the door. Surprisingly, it felt like we finally had time to put things in to perspective and clear our minds of unneeded information; our eyes and ears became much clearer. A mental detox you could say.
After the meditation sessions we walked into the Quiet Shop – a hub of minimalist aesthetic and pure design, focusing on a product’s quality and function rather than its packaging. All of the products in this shop have been de-branded – a truly surreal experience seeing all these iconic brands without their logos, yet equally as recognisable.
Check it out for yourselves here.
Wang exploded onto the design scene three years ago, marked by the successful completion of a 60-room hotel renovation in Los Angeles – but it was an international award from INTERIOR DESIGN Magazine that brought her into the spotlight. With her level of detailing, determination and ambitious style, Wang blazed the trail for new designers with her signature dramatic architecture to excite even the untrained eye.
We hope you enjoy her work as much as we do.
Unfortunately, we don’t mean the ‘big’ screen – although I wouldn’t rule out a film in the future, this man’s work is more than worthy.
This time, we're talking about the first screen printing of Bruce Denny’s sculptures. We have selected a number of the evocative shots photographed by Bruce himself (a man of many talents) which are to become limited edition screen prints.
The prints will soon be on sale in our new shop (watch this space) or at www.brucedenny.com.
We all love dining out – be it the restoration of inner peace, obligatory indulgence or a beautifully set table, it really is one of life’s true pleasures.
At MONOGRAM we believe that with any social occasion, it’s important that every single detail is considered. We love the art of dining and believe that choosing the right cutlery can be one of the most important details (apart from the meal itself!).
Feel free to be inspired by this wonderfully surprising interpretation of cutlery, a concept of one of our favourite Architects Zaha Hadid. The cutlery transforms all of the familiar elements into a contemporary art form with its sumptuous curves and delicately finned edges.
Whenever there's a choice, make it special.
Recently we took some time out from the studio to seek inspiration from one of our fashion heroes. We had our tickets booked months in advance for Valentino’s Master of Couture exhibition at Somerset House which focuses exclusively on the Italian designer’s heritage in haute couture.
The exhibition features over 130 dresses spanning across his 50 year career, including many seen previously on the red carpet worn by famous names such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren to name a few.
It was a real pleasure to see Valentino’s creations in such an intimate environment. We were nearly falling over the barriers trying to get a closer view at the most amazing little details and designs, such extraordinary attention has been paid to the stitching of the stunning garments.
The space at Pisacco is characterised by the close connection to contemporary art. The artwork decorates every corner of the space, and is focused on enhancing original details as well as incorporating quality materials, bold colors and a touch of quirkiness. The ‘table for smokers’ is cleverly inserted in the window on via Solferino to create an indoor feel, even though the section is technically outside.
The real art is arguably the simple and sophisticated menu offering a modern take on traditional Italian fare using quality ingredients that are sourced primarily from local producers. The dishes, conceived by chef Andrea Berton, put a surrealist twist on everyday favourites like spaghetti with tomato and basil with mozzarella cream or basic grilled vegetables.
Although the interior may not be visually associated with luxury right away, seems like Pisacco’s idea of luxury however lies behind the concept of quality and simplicity. The aesthetics isn’t the primary focus when developing a luxury brand, the experience is equally if not more important in making people feel special.
What do you define as Luxury, is it sumptuous interiors, champagne and lobster or is it simple surroundings and food created with thought, skill and experience?
In Hadid's latest venture, she has been commissioned by American Art Dealer and Writer Kenny Schachter to design a limited edition speedboat. Although Zaha Hadid has previously conceived ‘Z-car’ for Schachter, the assymetrical boat is a first for the London-based Architect.
The 7.5 metre long vessel, named Z-Boat, is being built in France and is due for release in spring.
Zaha Hadid Architects say that ‘the idea is to think of vessels and vehicles as highly individualistic expressions of art, architecture and design reflecting the edge of what is possible using the most advanced means, including materials, software systems and methods of fabrication.’
In their latest collaboration, photographer Thomas Brown and creative director Anna Burns have delved into the world of B-movies and created an inspiring new project using umbrellas.
The ‘Pop Pop Bang’ project features the three key elements of B-movies; guns, girls and explosives, but with a British twist.
As a mix of ‘film, photography and pyro’, the project represents the iconic B-movie motifs incorporated into three giant walls of umbrellas and each of them set up in three stereotypical British landscapes; a forest, London’s Docklands and the grounds of a country house in Suffolk.
We love how the concepts of these fiercely American works translate to a British context showing that controversial motifs work well when there’s a unified idea.
‘Pop Pop Bang’ is currently displayed at the Mother agency on Redchurch Street just round the corner from our studio!
Touch is the biggest of our senses, yet it’s often something we take for granted. One of the times we don’t take touch for granted is when it comes to interiors - when designing an interior space, the material, fabric and finishings should all be something you simply want to touch and experience. Engaging with an interior is often about texture.
Because it’s that time of the year to hibernate, our thoughts are on what makes a home a relaxing environment. Traditionally natural materials with texture and neutral tones such as roots and washed up wood, or the colours of sand and stone along with the warmth of beige and neutral, are a great choice for creating a relaxing and comfortable environment. That’s still the case for 2013, everything will be all about tactile qualities, experiencing and engaging in your home.
It's that time of year to dig out the formal wear, and this festive season we have already picked our favourite bow ties for our husbands, boyfriends and brothers. Whether you are going out this weekend or already planning your Christmas outfit, perhaps a Brackish bow tie is what a chap needs to impress. Made with Eastern Turkey feathers, the original bowtie is perfect if you want to spice up your formal attire or add some more excitement to your less formal outfit. No doubt, whatever you wear with these extraordinary ties, heads will be turn and you will be the talk of the event.
We love how each bow tie is handcrafted with carefully selected feathers from farm-raised, unharmed eastern turkeys. Once selected, the feathers are then manipulated into the right size and shape giving off an iridescent bronze colour. We love that no two bow ties are the same; they all represent individuality.
The creative mind behind these bow ties, Ben Gross, grew up in the outdoors of South Carolina where he developed his passion for nature. He learned to hunt and fish at a very young age and this has stayed close to his heart ever since. As he got older, Ben started to experiment with different versions of the classic bow tie. He wanted to change the way people think of bow ties as just another component of the suit. He wanted something that nobody had ever seen before.
When Ben got married, he gave his groomsmen something a little more meaningful than a flask. So he combined his love of the outdoors with a little craftiness and made each one of them out of turkey feathers. This classy alternative to the black bow tie was that one little thing that made his guests turn their heads. The response has been overwhelming and Ben has made countless bow ties since, each one is a handmade piece of art.
Brackish currently offers three ties: the Jive Turkey, the Carolina Copper, and the Phunky Pheasant. Needless to say we love them all.
We love the design of these luxurious Moser crystals, and we are not alone - well known for their world class quality, they make regular appearances at Royal weddings and meetings of the top representatives of the Political world.
Each Moser product is handcrafted by glass masters. The above pictures of the Brussels Bowl is a unique piece of art with hand cut lens for all the crystal admirers and collectors of art. Every hand cut lens shows a different picture and the whole bowl produces endless quantity of optical effects.
Marilyn Monroe may have departed 50 years ago, but her iconic image lives strong - from the platinum blonde hair, the ruby red lips, the beauty mark, those curves and the shimmering, to those body-clinging garments she covered them with.
As the ultimate style icon, Monroe is celebrated in a new exhibition at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence that pays tribute to this timeless myth with an important exhibition involving the study of documents, photographs, films, writings and the actress’ life, in order to understand the countless facets of this woman and star. Like other Hollywood divas (Audrey Hepburn and Greta Garbo), Marilyn adored wearing Salvatore Ferragamo shoes – she owned dozens of pairs, each with a simple design and not one without a stiletto heel.
The exhibition includes 30 pairs of shoes and over 50 outfits from the actress’ wardrobe, worn on the set of her most important movies, in her personal life and in public. Her clothing and accessories that over time, as with anything she touched, have become cult objects sought after by collectors around the world and sold at auctions for astronomical prices.
Marilyn Monroe continues to be one of the most enduring and admired icons of our time. While today a new female celebrity is created every minute only to disappear into obscurity next week, Marilyn’s glamour has outlasted them all and her influence on the fashion world is indisputable.
Last week we came across a video of an interactive sculpture made of 6,000 light bulbs which instantly made us think about Hackney designer’s Lee Broom’s gorgeous crystal light bulbs. Not just because his studio is right next door to ours but also because we really think the crystal bulbs are absolutely gorgeous!
A while ago we tweeted about London Design Festival and how much we love having Lee Broom’s crystal bulbs hanging from our ceiling. We have also shown our support by voting for him in the Elle Decoration British Design Awards. Have you voted? Well, if not, you can still wait with us for the results to be unveiled in Elle’s December issue, as voting is now closed.
Inspiring is the fact that Lee Broom founded his company in 2007 and has since gone on to become one of the UK’s leading interior and product designers. In his career to date, Broom has designed over 40 bar and restaurant interiors across the UK and has won over 17 awards, with his work featuring in most major broadsheet and interior design publications.
For the London Design Festival and the launch of the Crystal Bulb Shop, Lee Broom had transformed his studio into an old-fashioned grocery store and created a special video, which provided a unique insight into the making of the Crystal Bulb, it was really interesting and inspiring. Two hundred of the bulbs were presented in crates, cabinets, weighing scales and jars, as well as hanging from the ceiling and reflected in mirrors. We learnt that the crystal bulbs were inspired by whisky decanters, are hand blown, hand cut and hand engraved by artisan glassmakers in Cumbria Crystal’s factory situated on the edge of the Lake District.
A bulb for life, the Crystal Bulb is designed to fit any standard ceiling, wall or lamp fitting, and can be hung alone or in clusters, as well as used with a light shade to create enchanting light effects.
So, we all know Lenny Kravitz. Yes, of course we do. He launched a music career that earned Grammys. However, did you know that his name is not only associated with ‘Rock God’, a label that Kravitz has been wearing with skillful aplomb for over two decades now, but also with the melody of interior design – the architecture, the palettes and grace of beautiful things set in beautiful places?
For those who didn’t know, Lenny founded his design firm Kravitz Design Inc. in 2003, when he fitted it with a number of interior designers, architects, and creatives, a tasteful brew he reportedly plans to expand into a Ralph Lauren-style lifestyle brand with an eco-hotel on a Brazilian farm.
Just a year ago Kravitz Design Inc. was lending their eye for luxury home design to Miami condominium Paramount Bay. Back then, the vision was just beginning but now it’s a sophisticated reality, offering residents 47-stories of thoughtful design and amenities for every age. Now, Lenny Kravitz is in charge of the Paramount Bay, improving the 47-storey residential tower’s spa, fitness center, lobby, driveway, pool area, and other outdoor spaces. His goal is to combine urban chic with waterfront living by focusing on comfortable luxury. It harmonises with what Coco Chanel once said that ‘luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury’, a quote with which we can’t disagree with.
While Kravitz’s distinctive vision embraces a suave, masculine vibe and luxe appeal – sumptuous upholstery, shag pile and chandeliers, marble cool to the touch – he is more concerned with the pleasures of everyday comfort and convivial mood than he is with a slick, imposing grandeur.
With London Fashion Week on the horizon, our minds are rapidly swinging into fashion mode and who better to inspire us this week than Erwin Blumenfeld – a man who has shot more covers for Vogue than any other photographer.
Undoubtedly one of the most influential fashion photographers of the twentieth century, Berlin-born Erwin Blumenfeld was an experimenter and innovator who produced an extensive body of work throughout his thirty-five year career in the fashion world. Blumenfeld’s work helped to bring about a new level of creative artistry to the photographic medium.
The influential talent appeared in the pages of Vogue and other American Fashion magazines during the 1940’s. However, the array of his creativity didn’t just end with his input to magazines or the advertising campaigns he created for likes of Helena Rubenstein, Elizabeth Arden and L’Oreal.
Blumenfeld created a more radical style of images, having taught himself a mix of photomontage, collage and drawing, as well as unusual technical processes, this unique style of image making is testament to his work as an artist. Inspired by the Dadaist and Surrealist movements, he made radical satirical pieces that denounced power and totalitarianism. This was Blumenfeld as an artist – as far away from fashion photography as he could be.
While looking at Blumenfeld’s work, keep in mind that his portfolio consists of his personal work, which was primarily done in black and white, and his commercial work, which was primarily done, in colour. The fact that he could balance fashion photography with experimental work and keeping it separate at the same time – is a great source of inspiration. We particularly admire his ability to naturally depict women in surreal and abstract way in the creative fashion photography he took for Vogue in the 40's and 50's.
We have been following the Christian Louboutin exhibition at London's Design Museum, and we're a little obsessed with beautiful shoes, especially those of Portugese contemporary artist Joana Vasconcelos, who coincidentally has become the first woman featured in an exhibit at the Hall of Mirrors.
But these are no ordinary shoes. Until September 30, you have a chance to please your eyes with Marylin, the installation of an elegant pair of high-heeled sandals that was put together repeatedly using stainless steel pans and lids of different sizes.
We like how the gigantic installation creates a Gulliver effect making the work stand in this vast hall as an ode to womens’ achievements. It is said that Vasconcelos work made of household materials is a way of focusing on women who worked in the palace, instead of on Kings and Queens.
Positioned at the south end of Hall of Mirrors, the monumental pair of sandals refers the visitor to the accomplishments of the absent female figure, as grandiose as the glories celebrated by Louis XIV through the paintings of Le Brun, now reflected on Marilyn’s cold metallic surface.
We love interiors of Hall of Mirrors and the way the installation is positioned but interesting that it is also another cunning and eye catching window display from Selfridges. Another place we love.
One may wonder what’s behind a name? It’s a lot if we speak about personality and ego.
Former Creative Director of Dior Homme Hedi Slimane is about to change the name of the fashion house to Saint Laurent Paris. With total creative responsibility for the brand image and all its collections, he plans to take Yves Saint Laurent into a new era with a more youthful and modern aesthetic. Slimane is currently working on new store designs for Saint Laurent Paris, but it seems that the YSL logo will remain on some products. Perfumes and cosmetics bearing the name will not be altered. A brave move.
We wait with bated breath to see how they transform the brand for the Spring collection.
None other than the master of shoes, Christian Louboutin, is exhibiting in the Design Museum and celebrating his 20 years in the business, which has pushed the limits of top-end fashion shoe design.
Louboutin’s fascinating shoes are recognisable by their glossy red soles and embrace not only an epitome of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance, but also craftsmanship, engineering and sculpture. Alongside the shoes, the exhibition will also reveal the latest Louboutin’s collections including a range for men and desirable handbags.
The exhibition is all about Louboutin’s artistic and creative personality. His unique approach addresses the inspiration from performance, cabaret and the showgirl; fantasy and fairy tale; art and architecture; film; landscape and travel.
The most exciting part of the exhibition is the unique exploration of Louboutin’s design process, taking you through every stage of the design journey – revealing the process of shoe construction, from the initial drawing and first
prototype through to production in the factory.
Take a closer look beyond design, innovation and production, and go to the Design Museum. It’s a great place to be inspired!
We have just come across the most beautiful apple from the garden of Eden!
Chopard, who have been an official partner of the Cannes International Film Festival since 1998, will unveil it's new Red Carpet range at the 65th Festival taking place May 16 - 27. The brand have developed a new range each year since 2007, and this year's line is set to be no exception.
The latest creation of Chopard’s collection is a delightful apple shaped ring that has a radiance thanks to its 200 brown diamonds and 800 tsavorites that total more than 57.2 carats. There is also a luxury floral inspired necklace that had been designed with more than 1,100 diamonds, pink sapphire and rubies which total more than 38.8 carats and is a spectacular creation.
See you in Cannes!
We just found out that Roy Lichtenstein´s famous image “Sleeping Girl” (1964) is on auction on Wednesday 9th May at Sothebys. This was the main discussion topic recently held between Tobias Meyer, the debonair auctioneer of contemporary art at Sothebys, and Tom Ford, fashion guru and film director. In the conversation, Tom Ford argues that Lichtenstein perfectly captured the role of women in the 1960's by using Pop Art as means of artistic expression.
“The fact that we are watching her sleep and that she is vulnerable is another idea of how men perceived women, the ideal women at that particular moment, beautiful, gorgeous but vulnerable. Our beauty ideal for woman today is very different because today´s beauty standard is harder, is more powerful, it often dominates. It would be interesting what he would be painting today, as today´s ideal woman,” Ford added.
The masterpiece is expected to reach US $30-40 million or higher. Get your cheque books ready...
As our attention turns back to the appreciation of all things natural, we have something new to tell you about. An Italian company, owned by the husband and wife team of Marsotto Edizioni and Costanza Olfi, have launched a collection of limited edition furniture made entirely from the natural, milky coloured stone - a unique material called white carrara marble.
By focusing on design and re-evaluation of marble within this process, Marsotto Edizioni wants to preserve the experience and ancient manual techniques of marble craftsmen. Marsotto has collaborated with some of the most brilliant international designers who have participated in this project with enthusiasm, pushing the use of marble into unexpected areas that resulted in a timeless collection of products.
Although the company continues to work on large scale design, the main focus this year is on smaller, more extravagant items in order to diversify the collection. The essence of the project was to create sculptural objects that are still functional and at the same time remaining faithful to the philosophy of making products totally in marble, producing pieces by hand with the craftsmanship of the artisan.
Marsotto has adopted a more contemporary approach and has reintroduced the use of marble using it in a way that integrates gestures of relationships, sharing and affection. Marsotto reminds us that natural products can still be a perfect source for creating something truly unique and luxurious.
Rauwolf, the new luxury accessories fashion brand, was founded in 2011 in New York. Recently, Kristine Johannes introduced the Spring and Summer debut collection created for women of the 21st century. The finest accessories of Rauwolf are handcrafted in Italy paying close attention to each and every detail making it functional and ultra-modern. Kristine Johannes collection is something absolutely different to what is seen on the market using Plexiglas and mirrors among other materials, and is aimed at the discriminating modern woman. The exclusive collection is a challenge to the formula for the finest of designs because of its innovation, eye-catching design and a futuristic look that is stunning.
Mercedes-Benz knows about exterior styling more than we thought and is launching a collection of furniture at the upcoming Milan Furniture Fair. The luxury furniture collection includes various items such as sofas, beds, dining tables and home theater systems – all of them crafted out of familiar automotive materials like aluminum, glass and wood, with styling details borrowed from automotive design. The presentation of the new furniture collection by Mercedes-Benz Style will take place from 16th April till 21st April in Milan.
We were deeply saddened this morning to hear that Steve Jobs finally lost his battle with cancer. He changed the world we all live in and was a great inspiration to so many people.
There is nothing we can say that has not already been said this morning. So we say farewell Steve Jobs, may you rest in peace, and we leave you with this, a fitting memory of a great man.
I know, I know, it doesn’t quite work but I like the title anyway. I think it could be this Indian summer frying my brain.
Anyway, hilarity aside, I wanted to share this inspirational (as always) TED Talk with you on the benefits of doodling.
It’s something, I personally, have always done. Put a pen and paper in my hands – away from my computer and I am doodling for England.
Nothing quiet as constructive as Sunni Brown mentioned but I think, always positive.
Doodling helps me to focus my thinking instead of veering off in different tangents as I have a tendency to do if I am not engaged in something.
Simple actions such as doodling has become passe or even frowned upon because people feel it’s not worth the time, and time is such a commodity these days.
But I do believe doodling can really help you to take time out, and that’s when you can really access your creativity and focus on the important elements of a project, or a problem.
Doodling is a simple version of story boarding ideas, and like doodling this is a dying art. I do find it hard to work on a storyboard at the start of any project to jot down ideas and not go straight to the computer, but I know when I spend at least a little time before each project putting pen, or pencil, to paper the outcome is much more thought out. Or at least I am more confident in the ideas.
Whatever your thoughts, I think you’ll find this an interesting view.
At last, the Museum of Everything has finally opened. We are very excited here in the MONOGRAM studio as it means a trip to Selfridges – I mean, it would be rude not to visit the champagne bar.
The exhibition includes delights such as:
The Windows of Everything
10 of the finest artists in Exhibition #4 reimagined for a street-level exhibition enticing the world and his wife, Bianca, into our new abode.
The Exhibition of Everything
Around 400 works, over 50 artists, half a dozen of the films of Everything, telling you more about where and how our artists work, plus 10 conversations with such luminaries as artist Cindy Sherman, museum director Chris Dercon, musician David Byrne, psychoanalyst Adam Philips, educator Sir Ken Robinson and many more.
And much more such as screenings, talks, guided tours, bingo and dance-athons!
So, it’s the weekend, it’s sunny, get yourself down there – or find out more online first.
See you there!
At last! I know you have been on the edge of your seats wondering ‘Where on earth will the Museum of Everything be this year?’ Well fear not the venue has now been announced, and oh it’s exciting! It’s a corker.
Not only will you be able to peruse the new discoveries in the new show, from wrestle-maniac Tomoyuki Shinki’s technicolour ring of combat to the magical flying cities of Teutonic meister Hans-Jorg Georgi. You will be able to seat your weary bottom down in Cafe of Everything then marvel at the outrageously priced goodies outside of the exhibition.
And why can you do that?
Well, it’s because the Museum of Everything is to be in Selfridges. Oh yes! The Museum of Everything will curate the entire Ultralonge exhibition hall and all the windows along Oxford Street and Orchard Street.
How exciting. We shall keep you updated.
Exciting things are happening in September. The Museum of Everything, London’s first public space devoted entirely to artists “living outside modern society”, is opening on September 2nd 2012 at a hush-hush Central London venue (tba soon). This new hang-out will feature live events, weekly art workshops and all sorts of essential ephemera.
Last Friday evening, MONOGRAM + friends decided to pop down to the V&A for the ‘Late Friday – Summer Camp’, for an evening of culture and cocktails. Every last Friday of the month the V&A Museum stays open past dark, serves drinks and nibbles and has an array of different artists and installations.
Each Late Friday focuses on the creative design process, with workshops and other events exploring the design impetus and how things come into being with live performances, fashion, debates, installations, special guests, DJs and much more. What more could you want on a Friday evening?
Ensuring we all had a Bellini in one hand and a program in the other, we set off to peruse all the amazing installations around the museum. It’s a great atmosphere and so warming to see people from all walks of life engaging in the whole evening. The rest of the evening we spent in the garden enjoying the live music and watching the ‘Skill Swap’ area. What a fantastic idea - you have 5 minutes in which to share a skill with a complete stranger. I couldn’t think of anything I could swap – unless I had my trusty computer with me but there was language skills, cocktail making and illustration – there are some very talented people out there.