Molo is a design practice based in Vancouver [got to love that city] – I stumbled across their softwall during my research. I’m in the process of designing and producing a textile wall for my final MA show. Although my design is very different, I’m really inspired by the endless possibilites of Molo’s softwall –  you can add and subtract pieces of the wall. The texture of the paper is really interesting although I’m primarily interested in softer spaces. Like the accompanying ‘poufs’ and I really like the LED version.  Beautiful.


Visited this mind-blowing exhibition last week.  Heatherwick Studio – Designing The Extraordinary.  There was no photography allowed in the show so….  Will have to buy the book.  The first experience of the exhibition was in the form of rolling your own programme off of a large contraption.  The whole show was breath-takingly clever from  start to finish…if I was only 5% as clever as this guy I’d be a happy woman.  Although ALL the projects exhibited were truly inspirational the one that resonated the most was the British Pavilion designed for the Shanghai Expo in 2010.  My eye was drawn to the structure’s ‘tuftiness’.  I came away from this show feeling like my soul had been filled up. The way this guy thinks is great.  Defines the word inventive.  Go. It’s on until September 2012.

Visited the Seven Architects build Seven Structures exhibition at the V&A earlier in the summer and was captivated by the space designed by architectural historian Terunobo Fujimori.  It’s called the Beetle House and was designed as a retreat to drink tea in..what a splendid idea.

I have a fondness for ‘sheds’ and am using this as an inspiration for one strand of my current work i.e. I’m trying to design the sort of textiles that would be appropriate for a space like this…soft, woolly and textured is what I came up with.

The building is constructed using charred cedar which is a traditional Japanese building technique.  Here’s the interior showing shards of charred cedar decorating the ceiling and the tea-making hearth:

And I believe this is his own personal sky high tea house in Japan:

I’ve been working on my brand design with Chris Wilson at blu inc graphics in Bristol.  The inspiration behind the image came from a postcard I picked up at Labour and Wait in Cheshire Street,London. The card had been handprinted by Harrington and Squires. I liked the greyboard background – unfussy and also the letterpress printing is really classy.  The ‘A’ was inspired by an ecofont [see earlier post] – the holes in the typeface mean that less ink is produced when printing.  The ‘A’ will be my logo and will be rolled out over my communication and product labels.

I’ve been looking at the vision of the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands. They organise the 8 departments as follows which is an interesting approach: the departmental titles focus the attention on the proposed function of design rather than the subject title.

The eight departments form all human activities in relationship to design.

Man and Living

Man and Communication

Man and Well-being

Man and Leisure

Man and Mobility

Man and Identity

Man and Activity

Man and Public Space

Ilse Crawford, Head of department of Man and Well-being

What connects us to our surroundings, gives meaning to the things, spaces and services we use? Man and Well-Being connects form with the way we experience the world around us, emotionally, physically, sensorially and subliminally. Students in the department of Man and Well-Being combine their ‘cool’ head with their ‘warm’ heart – “Form follows feeling,” is their mantra. Their quest is to refine design so that it brings out the best of us as humans. They apply their fine-tuned consciousness and their subtle understanding of human experience to different dimensions, from taste to tactility, from health care to self care, from poetry to technology, in short to daily life. Recent projects have covered: a new water consciousness; flooring – the surface we touch all the time; our sense of colour; and flowers. Product design here reflects social awareness and human relations in everyday life, as well as sustainability and the value of the resources we use. A graduate from the department of Man and Well-Being is fascinated by the emotional value of a product and the range in which the product is applied. He has come to grips with the emotional dimension of design playing a part in the experience of a product or a situation. He combines a keen susceptibility to atmosphere and detail with a competence for working with other disciplines.

I hope to visit the Academy to find out more about its ethos – until then – this book is a celebration of 60 years of great design that’s come out of the college.                                                                     


   I had the good fortune of seeing the Reichstag, in Berlin, wrapped by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.  It was awesome, a feat of engineering and persistence.  It took over 20 years to create.  The effect?  Very strange, like a beautiful protective cover.  As if something is about to revealed – for a ta-dah moment!  Packaging.

Notes from their website state:

After a struggle spanning through the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties, the wrapping of the Reichstag was completed on June 24th, 1995 by a work force of 90 professional climbers and 120 installation workers. The Reichstag remained wrapped for 14 days and all materials were recycled.

100,000 square meters (1,076,000 square feet) of thick woven polypropylene fabric with an aluminum surface and 15,600 meters (51,181 feet) of blue polypropylene rope, diameter 3.2 cm. (1.25?), were used for the wrapping of the Reichstag. The façades, the towers and the roof were covered by 70 tailor-made fabric panels, twice as much fabric as the surface of the building.

The work of art was entirely financed by the artists, as have all their projects, through the sale of preparatory studies, drawings, collages, scale models as well as early works and original lithographs.

Throughout the history of art, the use of fabric has been a fascination for artists. From the most ancient times to the present, fabric, forming folds, pleats and draperies, is a significant part of paintings, frescoes, reliefs and sculptures made of wood, stone and bronze. The use of fabric on the Reichstag follows the classical tradition. Fabric, like clothing or skin, is fragile, it translates the unique quality of impermanence.

For a period of two weeks, the richness of the silvery fabric, shaped by the blue ropes,
created a sumptuous flow of vertical folds highlighting the features and proportions of the imposing structure, revealing the essence of the Reichstag.’

I discovered this artists’ work in the book Textiles Today.  Do-Ho Suh is a South Korean artist who created Perfect Home II as a reaction to his relocation from South Korea to New York.  The installation was exhibited at the Lehmann Maupin gallery in NYC and the notes state:

This experience motivates the artist’s exploration of the movability of space. Suh perceives space as displacement, defining space as “the experience of it’s own displacement.” Particularly interested in the area that surrounds him both physically and metaphorically, Suh defines space as transportable. Asking questions such as “What is the size of personal space?,” “How much space do I and can I carry with myself?” and “What is the space that defines a person or a group of persons?,” Suh examines the complexities of personal space.’

‘Using translucent nylon, Suh creates a full-scale replica of his New York apartment, the adjoining corridor, and the staircase of his building in the main gallery of Lehmann Maupin. This expanding project, The Perfect Home II, is an interactive installation in which the visitor must examine his or her own individualized space in relation to the piece. The stitched silverish pale blue apartment, pink corridor, and green stairs contain a detailed tactile surface. The translucent nylon used in the creation of the piece relates to the notion of permeable boundaries and space. Doorknobs, plumbing, light switches and other architecturally distinct features are recreated in the interior of the apartment and corridor.’

   I can’t locate a photograph, but he re-created every detail, even down to the door hinges and screws.

What’s missing from the sewn apartment is any of the artists’ personal posessions.  Speaks of impermanence.  You could fold this up and pop it in a suitcase?

In an earlier post I showed the work of Christien Meindertsma and her Flocks project. Now I’ve discovered that a big company like Icebreaker have taken on the idea!

Most of their garments feature a unique ‘Baacode’ [get it?] which can be entered on Icebreaker’s website to trace the wool in a garment to one of 120 sheep stations in New Zealand.  The customer can then view the living conditions of the animals that produced their wool, meet the farmers and find out about the production process.

I’m planning a recce to the Netherlands to try and find out why Dutch design is so clever.  I’ve been looking at Slow Design and environmental issues for designers and realised that the Dutch are so far ahead of the pack. Why is this?  

I was fortunate enough to interview one of the Netherlands’ leading designers years ago for an arts television programme I was making for S4C – the Welsh language channel. Tejo Remy creates new designs out of discarded objects.  I will get a transcript I hope of the interview I made with him.  Here are some pics of his work.  These pieces were designed back in the 1990’s.

Chest of recycled drawers


Rag chair


‘ve found this book Dutch Design a Historyby Mienke Simon Thomas.  It’s helping me discover why Dutch design from the last 20 years was/is so revolutionary.  I guess you could categorise them as Thinker-makers, or as Thomas describes them, “meaning givers”.  The revolution started in 1992 at an exhibition at Gallery Marzee in Nijmegen. The catalogue states that the designers ‘pieces of furniture are not solely a chair, a table or a cupboard. They are designed ideas and experiences reflecting everyday surroundings and furniture art itself.’  Designers showing at that early exhibition were Tejo Remy, Jurgen Bey, Jan Konings and Marcel Wanders – they became the design stars of the design label Droog.
At the beginning, Droog were concerned with transforming old products into new ones, as exemplified by Tejo Remy’s designs seen to the left.  
                                                                  The next phase was simplicity, illustrated by Dick van Hoff’s tap.
Thomas states [Dutch Design History] that van Hoff ‘detests over-designed products such as taps that only start when you put your hands underneath them.’
Thomas states that Droog reached their zenith in 2000 with the Droog do create collection: a series of products to be finished by the consumer [love this]. A metal cube by Marjin van der Poll was supplied with a mallet, the buyer had to smash the cube to form the shape of a chair.                                     These designs were favoured by critics and were museum bound.  I would be interested in how successful the products were commercially?  Did they actually instigate a change of view in the Dutch consumer?  

Helen Amy Murray designs beautiful laser cut [I think] fabric for bespoke chairs, wallcoverings etc..