The New Kettle's Yard

'A living place where works of art could be enjoyed... where young people could be at home unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum or public art gallery.' Jim Ede.

Kettles_Yard.jpeg

Kettle’s Yard house and gallery in Cambridge has just reopened after a two year make-over and extension to its site, it now includes a café and gift shop. However, the original building remains the same and the eclectic collection of its founder Jim Ede is still displayed exactly as before.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard

What makes Kettle's Yard so unique and magical, setting it apart from any other gallery space, is that the modest row of interconnecting houses remain set up as a home. The style is simple and unpretentious, just as when Ede lived there, with sofas, tables, chairs and bookshelves and his collection is displayed without curators notes or labels.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle's Yard

Originally, the now iconic Kettle's Yard, was a row of small dilapidated workman’s cottages which Jim Ede, a former Tate curator, acquired and converted into a home for himself and his art teacher wife Helen in 1956.

Ede was an avid collector of modernist British and European ceramics and artworks and amassed a collection which includes paintings by Ben and Winifred Nicholson, Alfred Wallis, Christopher Wood, David Jones and Joan Miro, as well as sculptures by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Constantin Brancusi, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.

Jim Ede would display a simple swirl or dish of pebbles with as much respect as he displayed a precious piece of pottery, displaying art and non-art pieces alongside each other.

Kettle's Yard 

Kettle's Yard 

Later he donated the entire collection and the house to Cambridge University, at which time its reputation as a place to visit with reverence grew. His style was based on simplicity and he aspired to create for each room "an atmosphere of quiet and simple charm". The house retains that charm alongside the history it carries within the carefully curated objects. 

We love the effortless style of the home Jim Ede created and the skill of the curators eye which he transferred from his time at the Tate gallery to his own home. We can all use our creativity to curate personal collections or memorabilia and, as Ede has shown in his shell and pebble collections, it’s often how we choose to show those items that is as important as the items themselves. Curating your own collection and changing things around regularly not only brings out our creativity but can make us see things afresh – we may not all own a Lucie Rie dish or a Miro painting but here are a few key ideas to get things started!

For a contemporary take on Jim Ede’s rocking chair and upholstered furniture, try Arlo & Jacob...

We really love the way the paintings and prints are grouped together, sometimes in quite unexpected places, and framed in simple wooden frames allowing the pictures to stand out and also unifying them. Try framing family photographs and prints in matching frames and creating your own gallery to add interest to a stairway or hall for example.

For its clean lines and simplicity, the Galvin Brothers handcrafted furniture is traditionally built but with a contemporary twist.

Have fun curating your own items, and if you want to collect on a shoestring try Habitat for very affordable studio-style pottery or for the real thing go to Maak who will be holding a contemporary ceramics auction in May (online preview from 27 April).


Kettle's Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Kettle's Yard

London Art Fair 2018

The 2018 London Art Fair gives access to an incredible collection of modern and contemporary art and a unique insight into the international art market. The fair has been running for over 30 years and has become a recognised destination for museum quality work.

The Fair runs from 17 January 2018 and we took a sneak peek at what's in store from some of our leading art dealers and collectors.


ALAN WHEATLEY ART | STAND 32

The Alan Wheatley Gallery is just a stone’s throw from the Royal Academy and situated in the heart of St. James’s at 22 Mason’s Yard, SW1. The gallery offers a diverse collection of British and International Modern paintings and sculpture from the latter half of the Twentieth Century with a particular emphasis on Post-War British Art.

L-R: Bridget Riley, Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron


BERNARD CHAUCHET CONTEMPORARY ART | STAND G35

Bernard Chauchet, based in London’s Hollywood Road, specialises in contemporary paintings and sculptures with artists from across Europe and the USA. As well as presenting established 20th and 21st century painters, Chauchet also promotes the work of a younger up-and-coming generation of artists.

The work of Gioacchino Pontrelli was of particular interest to us as he often draws on images taken from interior design magazines, which he re-interprets onto canvas.


BERWALD LONDON | STAND 26B

John Berwald has been dealing in Chinese Ceramics for over thirty years from his New York and London galleries. He also has a very select stock of Modern British paintings and sculptures, and the juxtaposition of these two very different cultures and eras is something we found both fascinating and very much in line with our own ethos of mixing antique and contemporary.

We were particularly impressed to see the vibrant work of John Hoyland juxtaposed with antiques and traditional furnishings.


JOANNA BRYANT & JULIAN PAGE | STAND P18B

Joanna Bryant & Julian Page individually support and represent carefully selected contemporary artists working in London. Since 2015, they have been frequently working in a collaborative partnership by presenting their artists’ work alongside more established artists. By representing emerging artists alongside such famous names as Tracey Emin and Peter Blake, they are also able to offer a number of highly affordable original artworks many of which fall within £1,000-£5,000 price range. Here are some which particularly appealed to us and fall within this lower price bracket.

Ruth Solomons is a British artist, who uses materials which to many would appear to be simply discarded items from her studio. She transforms these pieces by creating collages incorporating paint-splattered pieces of wood and fragments of old paintings adding her unique painterly gestures, creating pieces which have their own history.

Another artist who utilises found objects is Spanish artist Silvia Lerin, who lives and works in London. Her work stems from an interest in the relationships between shapes, volumes, colours and textures and their resulting presence. Inspiration may come from found objects and remnants of objects that carry stories.

The abstract works of Chris Sims, draw inspiration from the English landscape. Using inks, paints, charcoal and other mediums, he utilises a dynamic layering technique resulting in highly emotive and evocative work.


CRANE KALMAN GALLERY | STAND 25

The Gallery in London’s Brompton Road was originally established in 1949 by Andras Kalman who felt strongly that art should intimately move and nourish the viewer. As interior designers we value the importance of key artwork to provide a focal point and personalise an interior.

Sally and Andrew, Kalman's children, continue to run the gallery along with Robin Light who joined the business in 1986.

Sonia Delaunay

Winifred Nicholson

Jacqueline Marval

Kate Corbett-Winder


The 2018 London Art Fair runs from 17-21 January at Islington's Business Design Centre.

Visit the website to find out more and to book tickets.

 

 

Festive Interiors for Christmas

It’s the festive season and the perfect excuse to get creative with decorations and table settings. Our own signature style at this time of year usually focuses on green white and silver or gold. By having a fresh, neutral theme as a contrast to the colourful food and drinks on offer, it can go some way to creating an air of sophistication even if the mood gets distinctly party!


MAY ALL YOUR CHRISTMASES BE BRIGHT

By contrast we have also been inspired by the modern trend for mixing up colours, and Jasper Conrans Christmas theme particularly caught our attention.

Brights like these work in both a traditional home and also a modern, pared-down interior, as long as they are used against neutrals or white as a backdrop and are not jostling with other colours and patterns.

You can get the look with these party decorations from the Conran Shop.

Flowers are an absolute must for Christmas and we love these vibrant arrangements by Rebel Rebel. They have also put together some gorgeous wreaths for the front door, to make just the right impression when guests arrive, and which we think look just as lovely inside or out.


...LIGHT...

Add some colour but without going overboard with vivid hues by using a pastel theme - stay with a single colour, or mix pastel shades and add some sparkle like this Heal's table setting.

And don’t forget the flowers. Take a look at these gorgeous wreaths and table arrangements from The Real Flower Company.


...NORDIC...

A Nordic-style colour scheme can be distinctly elegant. Decorate your table with deep red flowers, greenery and foraged pine cones - add some glamour with gold cutlery, scented candles and fairy lights.


...OR WHITE

We really are spoilt for choice, and it will be a hard decision this year but you can never get it wrong with a White Christmas! If you decide to go with an all-white theme add colour with greenery, and touches of silver in candles, cutlery and tableware. We especially love these mini pots of flowers with guest tags for each place setting.

With so many seasonal ideas around, why not try your hand at creating your own table decorations, experiment and have fun. Here is a short video showing how to make a simple centrepiece for your Christmas table:


Amara is one of our go-to Christmas shops - from tree decorations, cushions and wreaths to gift ideas, designer tableware and ornaments, with everything you need to prepare for the festivities. 

Amara

Amara

Impressionists in London

French Artists in Exile (1870-1904) - Tate Britain

Tate Britain’s current EY Exhibition tells the story of the artists who fled to Britain in the 1870’s to escape the Franco-Prussian War and insurrection in Paris. 

When we think of Impressionism, many of us immediately imagine the muted colours of Monet’s Waterlilly paintings, but this exhibition includes not just familiar tones, but also figurative works of London scenes such as James Tissot’s London Visitors (1873) and Monet’s Meditation, Mrs Monet Sitting on a Sofa (1870-1871). 

In many ways their inclusion provides a wider view and a fascinating insight into the connections these artists made with British social life.

A room is dedicated to Claude Monet’s studies of the Thames and the Houses of Parliament, painted in his iconic style.

Further paintings, including a number by Pissaro, who lived in the Crystal Palace area while in London, inspired us to put together our own moodboard to reflect the familiar muted shades we associate with the Impressionist style.


We took additional inspiration from Dulux paints. Changing a wall colour, adding some colour to an otherwise neutral palette or simply changing the colour of a few accessories can really change the mood of your interior.


These velvet cushions and bedding from west elm are ideal for cosying up the bedroom and their crinkle lush velvet cushions could also provide just the right impression in the living room, giving a quick seasonal makeover for chilly evenings. Monet said: “Colour owes its brightness to force of contrast rather than to its inherent qualities” – and this is why he chose to use orange and blue in several of his paintings. These two hues create a vibrant contrast as illustrated on the Grey Hamilton Sofa by flashes of turqoise and orange cushions.

Or try one of their rugs such as Flame or Verve, in a variety of colourways which also echo the hues and textures of the Impressionist style.

Accessorizing with a personal collection such as vases or ceramics which draw on a single colour spectrum creates a focal point - such as this collection from west elm.

The EY Exhibition Impressionists in London is on now at Tate Britain until 7th May 2018

Find out more here

Fashion and Textile Museum

British Textile Design with Wallace Sewell

The current show, at one of our favourite museums, is a 25 year celebration of the textiles of Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell. Graduates of The Royal College of Art, their work can now be found in around 300 stockists in 20 countries, including prestigious art galleries such as Tate in London and MOMA in New York. 

Their work echoes the aesthetic and ideology of the Bauhaus movement. Based between London and Dorset, their designs take inspiration from the textures and colours of both the countryside and cityscapes. Their manufacturing methods embrace traditional techniques such as hand-looming while fusing tradition with modern technology.

With colder weather on the horizon what better way to cosy up than with one of their signature pieces, a waffle blanket or a pinstriped lambs-wool or Shetland throw.

We are feeling especially envious of these lambs-wool block throws which perfectly echo the Bauhaus influence, particularly the designs of the female weavers of the movement, such as Benita Koch-Otte but with Wallace Sewell’s modern take. 

Woven Bauhaus textile by Benita Koch-Otte 1923

Wallace Sewell’s collaboration with West Elm, a Brooklyn based company with a strong fairtrade ethos and a commitment to sourcing ethical materials, has produced a very beautiful range of throws, wool dhurries and cushions.

This year Wallace Sewell launched a range of exquisite, hand knotted lambs-wool rugs, inspired by their collection of throws - they work particularly well when incorporated alongside them in an interior.

With Christmas just around the corner, Wallace Sewell have produced a number of items which would make perfect gifts. With scarves, cosmetic bags, coin purses, ties and totes all produced using their iconic textile designs there’s something for every member of the family … Christmas solved! Click here to see more.

Some items have been produced in collaboration with Tate Britain and have a distinctly arty style. The blue tones of this wool scarf are inspired by Whistler’s Nocturne: Blue and Silver Chelsea.

The bright colours of this scarf are inspired by Derain’s The Pool of London, and has been designed by Wallace Sewell specially for Tate Britain’s latest exhibition Impressionists in London.

Wallace Sewell: 25 Years of British Textile Design at the Fashion and Textile Museum is on now until 21st January 2018

Find out more here

Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia

The Winter Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia focuses on an eclectic mix ranging from antique to modern, from the ‘traditional to the quirky’.

Winter Art & Antiques Fair

Olympia 2017

At Devas Designs we love mixing the old with the new; contemporary pieces combined with decorative items and furniture which have their own history, to create inspiring, comfortable and stylish interiors. We are regularly asked to source rugs, artworks and paintings as inspiration for an interior project or to create a focus for the clients own treasured collection.

This ethos is at the heart of our interior design and the Fair with its huge array of items from £100 to £1,000,000 should prove a source of inspiration both for interior designers and collectors alike.

With a treasure trove of over 33,000 pieces for sale including art, antiques, furniture, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, textiles and collectors pieces, all under one roof, we have put together just a small selection from the showcase of over 90 exhibitors.

BOCCARA

As well as specialising in sculpture, Didier Marien of Boccara is a leading expert on modern tapestries, silk rugs and customized rugs.

We particularly love his collection of original tapestries by Sonia Delaunay


BROADBENT GALLERY

With over 20 years in the art business Angus Broadbent stocks and sources an inspirational mix of fine art prints and paintings which fit a variety of interiors from contemporary to traditional. 


BABINGTON FINE ART

Babington Fine Art carries a large stock of water-colours, oils and drawings and with prices starting at £100 and also a good range of artworks for under £500 there is no excuse not to put some art on the wall.


OTTOCENTO

Another art dealer with a broad mix of intriguing works of art including old masters, 19th & 20th century paintings, prints and a fabulous collection of vintage posters.


RICHARD HOPPÉ

Richard Hoppé is a dealer and collector with a fascinating collection of glassware and antique tiles. We have picked a selection of his tiles which would work well mixed with plain tiles to add interest to a contemporary bathroom layout or framed to hang alone.


CALLAGHANS OF SHREWSBURY

Callaghans of Shrewsbury specialise in European 19th & 20th century oils and watercolours alongside sculpture, furniture and ceramics. We particularly liked Purple Hills by Rosa Canto, ceramics by Peter Beard and this Arts & Crafts seat.

 

The Winter Art & Antiques Fair at Olympia runs from 31 October – 5 November 2017.

Find out more here.

 

 

London Design Festival 2017

Having just completed its fifteenth year celebration of design, the London Design Festival’s highly ambitious event puts London squarely on the map as a design capital of the world.

The festival was spread across a number of major London venues and offered over 450 projects and events, giving Londoners and visitors alike an amazing opportunity to experience innovative and exciting design.

With such a huge selection it was difficult to make a final choice, but we were particularly impressed with the talents of a number of individual companies, many of whom had a strong commitment to sustainability and the environment, alongside traditional, timeless design and production processes.

Here are just a few who caught our attention ...

MALWINA KONOPACKA

Malwina Konopacka's limited edition hand painted ceramic vases often pay homage to her favourite artists such as Henri Rousseau for her 'Jungle' range.

FLOORSTORY

Floorstory make beautiful rugs with an eye on craft and design. Alongside their own range they also work with like minded designers and can be found in their new retail outlet in Shoreditch.

STOFF STUDIOS

Stoff Studios are a design duo who combine their love of textiles and furniture design. They are based in a Victorian warehouse in London’s Bermondsey. They use traditional methods of production with a very collaborative approach to produce their unique pieces.

CUMULO

Cumulo was founded by Margate based designer Jo Elbourne, she currently sources vintage seat frames, wall-based pieces and found objects, up-cycling and reworking them using traditional woven seating with her own distinctive take.

FOREST AND FOUND

Forest and Found are Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge, who met as students at Chelsea College of Art. Working in visual art and contemporary craft they decided to set up their studio Forest and Found together in the East End of London in 2014.

MISS PRINT

Miss Print is a talented mother and daughter design team based in Essex They share a strong sense of commitment to the community and use non toxic inks and pigments in their production process.

CHRISTABEL BALFOUR

Christabel Balfour is an artist and weaver living and working in South East London, her work seeks to balance simplicity, detail, and organic form and the variations of the handmade.

LAWRENCE GOODWIN

Based in Buckinghamshire, Lawrence Goodwin is a designer-maker who produces functional and stylish furniture that is tailor-made for today's living. Both contemporary and timeless in design, each product highlights the importance of empathising with British sourced materials whilst demonstrating innovative design.

NAMON GASTON

With a strong ethos based on craftsmanship and bespoke design, Namon Gaston set up his Edinburgh studio in 2005. Gaston merges the disciplines of design and craftsmanship to produce timeless, elegant pieces both in his collection and in commissioned work.

LOUISE BODY

Originally trained as a fine artist, Louise Body now produces wallpaper designs from her studio in St Leonards On-Sea. We were particularly impressed with her bespoke hand finished wallpapers and murals, utilising a choice of stencil, gold leaf and hand painting, which can be supplied in numbered panels making them simple to install.

CATHERINE MACGRUER

Catherine MacGruer graduated from The Glasgow School of Art and opened her own studio in the Highlands of Scotland in 2015. Her work includes textile design, commissions and collaborative projects, as well as her own range. Combined with the highest quality materials, her textiles are made to be treasured, and we particularly fell in love with these bold geometric designs from her current range.

Textiles as Art - Paule Vézelay at Tate Britain

The artist Paule Vézelay has been very much out of the limelight since her last exhibition at Tate Britain in 1983. The current Spotlight show at Tate Britain will hopefully re-establish her place at the forefront of modern art.

Despite her French sounding name she was born Marjorie Watson Williams in Bristol in 1892 but moved to Paris in the 1920’s and the influence of the abstraction of Joan Miro, Hans Arp, Kandinsky, and her partner Andre Masson can clearly be detected in her paintings.

In the 1950’s she also started designing textiles, Tate Britain’s current show only has a few of her textile designs on display, but we were intrigued to discover more about her earlier work and also inspired to carry out some further research on her textile designs for companies such as Heals and Ascher. Her influence on contemporary design is evident, not just in her paintings but also in her post-war textile designs as can be seen in a selection of her bed-linens, curtains and furnishing fabrics below.

Orla Kiely is a contemporary designer whose retro designs are inspired by post-war textiles but with a modern twist. She particularly favours the textile prints of the 60's and 70's because of their resonance with the vitality of modern art of the period.

Orla Kiely Designs


Designers Guild have a selection of furnishing fabrics and wallpapers, with a similar aesthetic but with an updated feel.

Designers Guild Furnishings


A number of artists, including Vezeley, put their art on silk scarves for Ascher from the 1940’s onward, with the idea of combining art with industry, demonstrating the connection between craft and art.


Take a look at our mood board of contemporary designs, textiles and furnishings which pay homage to the inspiration of 20th Century art in modern design ...

Lisa Corti is based in Milan and draws inspiration from the exotic and the painterly style of Matisse for her cushions, throws and bed linen.

Lisa Corti Designs


Maxine Sutton, based in Margate, originally trained as a fine artist and her current studio practise reflects this, she describes this interaction as “Holding on and Letting Go. In between cloth and paper”.

Maxine Sutton Designs


Helen Yardley's painterly rugs bring a living room to life with their vibrant tones. She describes her work as "fundamentally paintings about colour and shape and how they relate in space".

Helen Yardley


The Paule Vézelay Spotlight Display is open now until 5 November at Tate Britain.

Find out more by clicking here.

Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius

"Colour is a visual experience, not a scientific one. When I look at designers and colour theorists work of the past, the most interesting ideas arose from questioning colour" 

Hella Jongerius -

Colour is one of the most important aspects to consider when planning our living and working spaces. Whether we are considering wall and textile colours or individual items of furniture and accessories, colour plays a key role in determining the mood and atmosphere we wish to create.

The Design Museum’s current exhibition, Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius, is a joyful exploration of colour and how it enriches our lives and our environment.

The way we perceive colour can change depending on the time of day and the light available, both natural and artificial. By dividing the exhibits into separate spaces that simulate Morning, Noon and Night, we can see how colours change, subtly throughout the day, emphasising the importance that colour and design share.

Hella Jongerius is an industrial Designer who fuses industrial production with craft, and traditional with contemporary. She pursues her passion for colour in her designs for companies as diverse as Vitra and IKEA and the current exhibition draws on her many years of research.

"My research on colours, materials and textures is never complete ...

it is part of a never ending process”

A fascinating collection of faceted vessels called Colour Catchers demonstrate the way colour changes as light is refracted from the different surfaces and how a new colour is generated by shadows. These Colour Catchers also serve to engage us in Jongerius’ investigation into how we perceive colour.

Not just confined to hard surfaces, Jongerius is also fascinated by the way woven textiles can create an optical blend and a number of her textile explorations are also on display. These act as an explanation of the intricacies of creating colour through the natural warp and weft of woven fabric, and also demonstrate her respect of the rich tradition and history of craft.

"Cultural and historical awareness are woven into the DNA of any worthwhile product"

Hella Jongerius is convinced of the need to weave cultural awareness into her designs and recently worked alongside a theorist to create her manifesto Beyond The New as an exploration of her belief in combining traditional craft and manufacturing processes with contemporary design - read more here.

"Colour, and objects are influenced by the surrounding colour landscape"

As part of our own design ethos at Devas Designs we always start with a mood board which primarily focuses on colour schemes, then furnishings, working closely with the client to assess their requirements, and blending the old with the new.

Devas Designs - Country House in Ireland

This palette of soft hues of green, blues and greys reflects the seascape in this holiday home off the west coast of Ireland. Bursts of terracotta and red provide interest to an otherwise calm colour scheme.

An approach to creating modern interiors which successfully combine classic pieces with a sense of legacy, together with contemporary pieces has become very much a part of our style.

Devas Designs - Townhouse in West London

Sourcing antiques and works of art to enhance a contemporary lifestyle is one of the most exciting parts of Philippa's practice. Often an item of antique furniture, or a standout antique object, will provide a starting point, and drawing on its colour scheme or material can inspire and inform the overall interior.

We love the idea that simply by changing one or two items or adding colour in the form of accessories, an accent wall, or a piece of furniture it’s possible to transform and refresh an interior. While you may not always be ready to change the design scheme completely, it can be easy to ring the changes and add a few pops of colour for a special occasion or a seasonal makeover.

Here is our colour mood-board of ideas to inspire your own breath of colour ...

A stylish flower arrangement may be all you need to create a different mood. Colour doesn’t just mean bright; a calm palette of cream, whites and soft greys, is just as powerful an influence on our mood, and in setting the ambience of an interior.

Devas Designs interiors

Rebel Rebel are a London based contemporary flower company creating bold bouquets and displays. They also run flower arranging workshops - find out more here.

Breathing Colour by Hella Jongerius is on now at the Design Museum London, until 24 September 2017.

Find out more here

Plywood: Material of the Modern World

The Victoria and Albert Museum has been collecting furniture for over 150 years and is a rich source of inspiration for designers. Not to be missed is their thematically arranged collection in the Furniture Gallery. We recently visited their exhibition Plywood: Material of the Modern World which brings together some of the pieces.

Plywood: Material of the Modern World traces the history of an often overlooked material and how it transformed furniture design and the modern world. Who would have thought a material once considered utilitarian could have become such a direct influence on modern design?

Unlike industrial materials, plywood can be moulded in small scale factories using simple tools, and this inspired pioneering designers of the 1930s to experiment with form and shape.

The exhibition explains how plywood is produced, its history, all the way back to ancient Egypt, its re-emergence in the 19th Century and finally its role in revolutionising the production processes for an incredible range of objects from planes to skateboards.

1920s Plywood Skateboard, © V&A Museum London

Of particular interest to us at Devas Designs, were the ground-breaking designs by Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer and Charles and Ray Eames. Many of their furniture pieces are on display and the exhibits clearly show how the designers themselves have made use of the flexibility of the material and how it has informed their work.

"Form must have a content, and that content must be linked with nature" - Alvar Aalto

Finnish designer, Alvar Aalto was at the forefront of experimentation, manipulating and forming plywood to create his iconic cantilevered chairs. Aalto rejected mass production and embraced the ethos of organic forms created from natural materials, and rejected tubular steel furniture which was popular with the Modernist Movement at the time. The introduction of plywood allowed him to create flowing simple forms which didn't rely on traditional frame construction.

Designs by Alvar Aalto

Ikea is a great source for inexpensive furniture inspired by the classics such as these stacking stools based on Alvar Aalto's design and this simple birch plywood chest.

Ikea's Frosta stools and Moppe chest

"I am as much interested in the smallest detail as in the whole structure" - Marcel Breuer

The architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer based this birch and plywood chair, below, on an earlier aluminium chair he had produced in 1932. Inspired by Alvar Aalto's use of plywood, and realising the appeal of the soft curves and the warm appearance of wood, Breuer went on to reproduce the design in plywood for the British market while working in the UK with ISOKON. The company is still going strong and a number of Breuer's designs are available to order alongside a number of other iconic designs from the 1930s.

Isokon, based in London's Hackney Wick, also produce contemporary pieces of handcrafted furniture such as this Loop Coffee Table and Bodleian Chair, both are contemporary pieces but clearly inspired by the clean lines and sculptural, organic forms of both Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer.

Isokon's Bodleian Chair and Loop Coffee Table - from their contemporary range

"I feel that the knowledge about an object can only enrich your feelings for the object itself" - Charles Eames

Charles and Ray Eames, the husband and wife team who created the Eames Look, with its sleek, sophisticated and beautifully simple forms, were inspired by Aalto and his use of Plywood which they described as ‘a flash of inspiration’. Many of their plywood moulded forms also incorporated their signature chrome tubular frames.

The Conran Shop is always a great source for simple classic styles very much inspired by the work of Eames, Aalto and Breuer.

Conran Shop designs

Finally we also spotted these very decorative vintage posters at the V&A's exhibition, celebrating the progress of new ideas and innovations in the world of design.

Kiki Werth is a London based dealer who has specialised in original vintage posters for over 30 years. We picked some of our favourites ...

Kiki Werth vintage posters

We also liked the Vintage reproductions by King & McGraw which are expertly printed in their Sussex studios, to exact museum conservation standards using inks and papers developed to create a perfect reproduction.

Vintage reproduction posters by King & McGraw

Plywood: Material of the Modern World is open now at the V&A Museum in London until 12 November 2017. Click here to find out more.

Back and Forth – Identifying Art In Everyday Life – Toni Catany

“I take photographs in order to translate my emotions,

my feelings and the responses of my sensibility into images”

Toni Catany

Thousands of visitors travel to Mallorca for the sun, sea and sand, but the Island also has a great deal of culture to offer as well including an impressive number of art galleries and museums. 

A recent visit to Casal Solleric Art Gallery on the Passeig del Born, in the very heart of Palma, rewarded us with an introduction to the unique photography of local artist Toni Catany. The gallery, with a small café, is set in a wonderful 18th century Baroque former manor-house and courtyard and is now one of the city’s free art galleries.

Born in Llucmajor, Mallorca in 1942, Catany was entirely self-taught. His work was inspired by the colours and images of the island and many of his still lifes are of Mediterranean plants, flowers and local artefacts.

When on his extensive worldwide travels later in life, Catany would collect souvenirs, mementoes and objects such as shells and handcrafted objects. On his return Catany would photograph his finds against a Mallorcan backdrop. He also set up a studio in Barcelona, filled with his projects and memories.

Many of the items, he maintained, had no value other than being part of his history, and an expression of the way he identified art in everyday life. As such they were arranged and grouped together without any sense of hierarchy.

We were inspired by Toni Catany’s love of colour to create our own Mediterranean mood board...

This link with his home in Mallorca, his travels around the world, and his life in Barcelona made up his world and have informed the title of the current exhibition, which translates as “Back and Forth”.

For our client in County Mayo, we incorporated their beautiful shell collection as a focal point to their sitting room, while the splash of colour from these fresh flowers enhanced the elegance of the bathroom created for our client in West London.

William Morris' Red House

'HAVE NOTHING IN YOUR HOUSES THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW

TO BE USEFUL OR BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL.’

WILLIAM MORRIS

Red House

Arts and Crafts pioneer and designer William Morris built Red House in Bexleyheath in 1860. The house was co-designed with the architect Philip Webb as a weekend retreat for Morris and his wife Jane. In this idyllic setting he was regularly visited by a number of Pre-Raphaelite painters, including Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones, who contributed to the decoration of the house.

We went in search of the Red House and discovered a treasure of early Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite influences including beautiful stained glass windows, murals, tapestries, painted furniture, and a lovely garden and tea room.

Working together with Ford Maddox Brown and the Pre-Raphaelite painters on the decoration of Red House, but finding it difficult to find hand-crafted items which satisfied his aesthetic, Morris was inspired to co-found his first decorative arts practice. Their utopian ethos included a desire to return to reinstating decoration as a fine art, and rejected the rising mechanisation of the Victorian era. Adopting hand-craftsmanship and returning to the appreciation of artisan production would become the foundations of The Arts and Crafts Movement.

We have always loved Millais’ painting of Ophelia and been fascinated by the story of the model Elizabeth Siddal. She was a very unusual choice of model, and like the Pre-Raphaelite painters she was quite unconventional for her time. Having fallen in love with Rossetti, she became a regular visitor to William Morris’ Red House. Recent renovations of William and Jane Morris’ bedroom have uncovered a mural with self portraits painted by Rosetti and Elizabeth Siddal. It seems Elizabeth was not just the pretty face we see in so many Pre-Raphaelite paintings but also a talented, if unsung, artist in her own right.

Millais' 'Ophelia'

‘WHATEVER YOU HAVE IN YOUR ROOMS THINK FIRST OF THE WALLS;

FOR THEY ARE THAT WHICH MAKES YOUR HOUSE AND HOME.’

WILLIAM MORRIS

This hallway in Red House, called Pilgrim’s Rest, incorporates a blue-painted and mural decorated settle, in classic Morris’ colours, with a Persian rug. Although he insisted on British design as his main inspiration, Morris also incorporated Persian rugs and Delft inspired tiles, alongside embroidered wall hangings and weavings created both by him and his wife Jane.

William Morris' 'Pilgrim's Rest' at Red House

In this conversion of a Mayfair Town House into a comfortable office, Devas Design used similar colours for the walls and Oriental rugs to create an interior which both reflects the building original use as a home and to create a relaxed sanctuary from the pressures of the working day.

Devas Designs Mayfair Townhouse

In this Belgravia Town House, Devas Designs created a reading room and library and an elegant dining room inspired by the gothic fireplace and wall hanging, all of which reflect Morris’ love of traditional colours to create a calm palette.

Devas Designs Belgravia Town House

Throughout June, Red House is hosting ‘Roses at Red House’ celebrating William Morris’ love of English gardens. The roses, honey suckle, jasmine of the Red House gardens together with an appreciation of the natural world were an inspiration for Morris’ hand blocked wallpaper designs.

Click here to take a look at Morris & Co. for original wallpaper designs and fabrics.

Clerkenwell Design Week

"Colour is my passion. My designs are fundamentally paintings about colour and shape and how they relate in space…. Take one colour, add another and there is a dynamic”

Helen Yardley, Textile Designer

Clerkenwell Design Week

#CDW2017

Clerkenwell was a recent hub of creativity as it once again hosted Clerkenwell Design Week. Devas Designs was impressed to see such a diversity of talent and what also caught our attention was the number of designers and manufacturers dedicated to returning to hand-crafting traditions and materials and a commitment to sustainability and ethical production. With this in mind here are just a few who really stood out for us.

Bermondsey based British Designer Helen Yardley, is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, where she studied Textile Design. Helen is known for her painterly style and dramatic use of colour. Initially attracted to designing rugs, seeing them as ‘drawings for floors’, Helen has been producing handcrafted rugs, runners, carpets and wall hangings for over 25 years. Through her process and by manufacturing in Britain she aims to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. 
Here are just a few of our favourite designs ...

We were greeted by a quirky colourful Installation designed by Hakwood flooring, amusingly called Double Vision, which they produced specially for the Event. Hakwood are a Netherlands-based manufacturer, producing environmentally responsible hardwood floors which include reclaimed antique woods.

A wonderful canal-side loft apartment in Amsterdam blends the history of the classic Dutch warehouse with a contemporary feel. This is enhanced by the clever use of different Hakwood flooring to define spaces and incorporates the clients request for a black and white interior theme.

Bute Fabrics is based on the Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. Having established their traditional hand-loomed woollen textile business in 1947, they still share a commitment to serving the community and a reliance on traditional methods of production. The local landscape and the Island’s natural colours, textures and patterns is woven into their designs making them bold, bright and contemporary. 

From traditional tweeds to block colours their range is so eclectic it’s possible to create a bold statement piece like these Twin Tone cushions or something more subdued to blend in with the interior scheme.

Another Country, based in Marylebone, is another design company with high standards of responsibility, only using sustainably harvested timbers for all their furniture. Their designs are inspired by British Country and Shaker style and also call on Japan and Scandinavia as inspiration for their unpretentious forms. Every piece is hand-finished and hand-assembled. The simplicity of their designs and truth to their materials blends comfortably with both traditional and contemporary schemes.

Laura Spring is a textile designer and maker, having graduated from Glasgow School of Art, she now lives and works in Glasgow. Laura uses bold graphics combined with bright colours to produce beautifully crafted products. This, combined with ethical methods of production, are a signature of her beautiful hand-woven rugs, textiles and accessories. She often incorporates traditional tie-dye techniques from Jaipur in her designs. Her enormous love of colour print, pattern and process are evident in these beautiful accessories and furnishings

The British Collection showcased some of the most exciting UK designers latest designs in the unique setting of the barrel vaulted crypt of St. James’s Church on Clerkenwell Green. We were particularly drawn to the Classic English Kitchen on display from deVOL Kitchens who are based in Leicestershire but also have a showroom in Clerkenwell. DeVOL have been creating handmade bespoke kitchens for almost 25 years and pride themselves on their use of sustainable British timbers.

They describe their look as a ‘beautifully considered mix of classic and contemporary design’ and we couldn’t agree more.

This is an ethos which is very much at the heart of Devas Designs, and a theme we aspired to, in creating these classic kitchens for our clients in County Mayo and the Irish countrside.

Tulips from Amsterdam ...

'Choose only one master - nature'

- Rembrandt van Rijn -

May is a wonderful time of year to visit Amsterdam. Even if you don’t venture out into the tulip fields you won’t miss the flowers as the city of Amsterdam is ablaze with tulips. A visit to the Amsterdam Flower Market is uplifting, situated on the banks of the Amstel, with its cafes, shops and delightful gabled Dutch houses.

A well as the colourful displays of flowers the classic colours of the Dutch buildings are inspiring.

Papers and Paints in London’s Park Walk have an incredible range of traditional paint colours and will also mix and match tailor-made colours using a unique method called spectrophotometry to ensure complete accuracy and since 1995 have developed unrivalled expertise in this work. You can take a sample as small as a flake of paint or a small swatch of fabric and they will colour match for you. We couldn’t agree more when they say that colour is one of the most important choices we can make.

The Modern Dutch style shares many of the aesthetics of Scandinavian Style in terms of utilising natural light sources, an effective use of wood and a palette of gentle hues. Soft blues and greys against pale walls, sometimes with a signature wallpaper or colour, and an emphasis on the family dining table at the heart of the home all add to a harmonious living environment. The interior details and table linen below are from Designers Guild while the table setting and crockery are from John Lewis.

One of our favourite hotels to stay in Amsterdam is Hotel De L’Europe in the heart of the city overlooking the beautiful Amstel and a stone’s throw from the Rijksmuseum. The hotel exudes an air of sophistication and interestingly has used oversized images of Dutch Masters on the walls. These have been recreated from the collection of the Rijksmuseum.

Did you know....

Europeana Collections has, alongside other organisations and initiatives, worked with The Rijksmuseum since 2011 to make their public domain collection available online without restrictions. This has resulted in over 150,000 high resolution images for anyone to view, download, copy, remix, print and use for any purpose.

See more by clicking here.

The occasional signature of traditional Dutch tiles and Delftware are used in a very understated way at Hotel De L’Europe but are cleverly combined with contemporary elements.

We also love to add accessories and textiles to ring the changes. Take a look at our Delft inspired mood board for a contemporary Dutch look - which includes accessories from Designers Guild. Their Delft Polonaise cushion and Murrine Delft fabric echo the blues of traditional Delft tiles.

As a starting point, we are often asked to take into consideration a client’s own personal collection of art and antiques when designing a new scheme or focus on a particular element they wish to incorporate. Our client in Ireland had an interesting collection of pottery and the inclusion of this very personal collection was a prime consideration.

Josef Frank: Patterns, Paintings, Furniture

“There’s nothing wrong with mixing old and new, with combining different furniture styles, colours and patterns. Things that you like will automatically fuse to form a relaxing entity.”

- Josef Frank -

We recently visited the Fashion and Textile Museum in London’s Bermondsey, to see the work of Josef Frank. This is the first ever UK exhibition of his textiles, furniture and vibrant fabric designs and also includes a collection of his previously unknown watercolours.

Although he was born and raised in Austria, Frank emigrated to Sweden, and together with the company Svenskt Tenn he redefined what is regarded as the Swedish Modern style. His work celebrates comfort, positivity and homeliness, and just taking a look at his work is a wonderfully uplifting experience. 

Josef Frank’s textile designs, his prints of fruits, flowers, trees, and foliage, weave together in a glorious celebration of nature. ‘Himalaya’ was one of his final prints made in 1950 and sums up his love of colour pattern and a perfect world.

After the 1950’s, Frank started painting watercolours. Having used watercolours as his medium for creating his print and textile designs, he was experienced in the technique and went on to produce over 400 paintings. Some of these express his most popular prints such as ‘Tulpaner’, Tulips.

Many of Josef Frank's wallpapers and textiles are still available from Svenskt Tenn Sweden, and even the lower budget IKEA has produced ranges of both furniture and wallpaper inspired by his design ethic. We have put together some design ideas of our own which we feel celebrate nature, pattern, and texture in a way which reflects Josef Franks ethos. A number of our favourite companies include botanical images in their design.

We were particularly drawn to Rose Dust rug by Vivienne Westwood and also The Oriental Bird rug by Paul Smith, both for The Rug Company.