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Posts Tagged ‘interior design’

I love visiting London, particularly if I’m able to travel there by train. On each occasion, my excitement mounts as we draw nearer to Paddington as there is always something new to discover in the big smoke, whether it is a ‘must have’ item of clothing (Oxford Circus is my first stop, for Top Shop and Uniqlo!), or a fascinating exhibition or show. Travelling by tube is the quickest way of getting from A to B if time is short but the best way of seeing London and really experiencing it is, like anywhere, by foot.

If you happen to wander down any side street from the main thoroughfares of the city, you’d be surprised not only by the relative calm and quiet, but also by the interesting architecture that you’d find. I had some time while I was in London last winter and decided to walk back to my hotel rather than catch the tube. It was a fair distance but very much worth it.

The rows of red brick houses in a residential area just behind the main shopping areas of Knightsbridge were a sight to behold – what a lovely place to live! Row after row of multiple storied terraces snake around the back streets, perfect examples of Victorian architecture.


They remind me of typical Amsterdam canal houses!

Just look at this doorway too:

Not far on my walk, the shape and look of the buildings changed. The ornate design of these streets gave way to the more subtle charm of beautifully presented Georgian period homes, of which this was a lovely example:

It’s hard to believe that such homes lie only a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city!

On my travels I was also excited to happen across the Bibendum restaurant, of Terence Conran fame. See the wonderful stained glass windows featuring ‘Bibendum’ himself, otherwise known as the ‘Michelin Man’. I love that he is holding a cigar, just like Mr Conran is wont to do:

I would have liked to have had the opportunity to have stopped for a bite to eat or at least to have viewed the interior, but I was in a bit of a rush by that point, what with all my walking and pausing to behold the interesting sights. Oh well, there is always next time…

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Also see my ‘Interiors advice’ page!

I’m considering how the tradition of UK interior design television programmes always contains the ‘element of surprise’. This is not surprise in the design sense, where a ‘je ne sais quoi’ is introduced to a scheme, but a surprise in the sense that the owners and inhabitants of a space have no input or idea about the work that the designer is carrying out in their beloved homes! In these programmes, people frequently return to homes that they were forced to evacuate and find that their familiar surroundings have been obliterated and replaced with the designers ideal, but in which they themselves have had no say or involvement. They mostly feign delight but do sometimes cry – it makes me sad!

I’m inclined to think that this makes good television but it does little to fly the flag for interior designers who genuinely want to hear and understand the needs of their clients and work the design scheme around a mutually agreed ideal. It is also lovely for the owner to then fill their homes with meaningful objects that they fall in love with over time. The problem with bringing in everything new for a client is that there is no room for anything else that they might come across in future, and where’s the fun in that?

My approach to design in my own lovely flat is just the same. I’ve lived here for three years and still the walls are bare of art work. Not for long though – I’m starting to put together a collection that gives me pleasure and tomorrow I’m going to pick up my newly framed painting of palm trees bought on the art walk at Santa Barbara and an illustration of Stag’s Leap vineyard from the wine tasting Napa Valley, both treasured mementoes of my recent California road trip!

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anglepoise

Also see my ‘Interiors advice’ page!

This is classic design in its truest sense. Patented originally in 1932 by George Carwardine, whilst attempting to develop a new kind of spring in his spare time, the anglepoise lamp was then licensed to Herbert Terry and Sons of Redditch, the company that would continue to produce anglepoise lamps to this day. Carwardine had realised that the springs he had developed could be applied perfectly to a ‘limbed’ lamp which allowed for the user to position it in any direction and for it to remain in that position until moved again.

An automotive factory owner by trade, Carwardine had concluded that such an adaptable lamp would be of use not only to his employees but also to direct light onto his own desk and paperwork. The first lamp, version 1208, was produced by Herbert Terry and Sons in 1934. This was followed by the design that is more recognisable today, the 1227, with its more art-deco inspired lines, introduced by Charles Terry following the popularity of the original design. The 1227 was slightly adapted in 1938 and it is this more ‘finalised’ design that was produced and revered for the next thirty years until it was replaced by ‘model 75’ in 1969. Herbert Terry Ltd went on to produce the ‘Apex 90’, ‘Type 3’ and, most recently, ‘Type 75’ in 2004.

This classic anglepoise lamp is a piece of modern design that is accessible to everyone. It is understated; as happy to sit in the corner waiting to be used as being endlessly manipulated and standing proud to illuminate important papers. It is as comfortable in a home with grand décor as one with more minimalist tendencies. It looks as good chipped and world-weary as it does pristine and shiny new. It truly is a lamp for all seasons and is an absolute must in any design-conscious person’s home.

It has also enjoyed a presence in the mainstream media, such is its popularity and appeal across culture, class, age, background and, of course, time. The anglepoise lamp has most recently been used as part of the advertising campaign for the re-launch of the Fiat 500, ‘Everyday Masterpieces’, and the lamp’s design is also used as part of the Pixar logo, albeit a squat, cuter version.

A Carwardine/Herbert Terry lamp looks fabulous in a pared-down, modernist home. Nevertheless, it is a lamp that is found in all kinds of offices and homes the world over and is favoured for its function as much as its form. The lamps are so desirable that the 1227 still commands the same kind of price as a brand new Type 75. They are, however, an affordable classic, whether you choose to buy a vintage or a new lamp.

I have been slavering for years over the 1227 designs from the 1938-1969 period because of their pared-down, timeless appeal. The more world-weary the better and in any colour you like, so long as it’s cream…

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