We chuck more, we buy more, and we keep making more, me (unifiedspace) included. The planet is literally awash with homewares. This poses a real dilemma for someone like me who loves designing and producing new ranges, so, in an attempt to rebalance my own input into this mass overindulgence, can I introduce you to, Vintage Nik’s
Having recently been searching for a 1960’s, Norwegian coffee cup to add to a depleted collection I had inherited I was blown over when I came across a brilliant vintage site called Danish Mood. The knowledgable art historian running the site had the cup I was searching for. I duly bought it and completed my set. Easy as that. The ‘orphaned’ cup in Denmark now has a new home and future here in Edinburgh. Satisfying is not a powerful enough word to describe how enriching the experience was and it set me thinking. I wanted to find homes for more unwanted beautiful designs. Perhaps this is how ’empty nest syndrome’ is going to manifest itself with me (eldest leaving home later this summer) but whatever the reason, I can assure you it’s soothing my guilt about producing new ranges and feeding my desire to nurture.
I am specifically looking out for mid century British and Scandinavian homewares, both utilitarian and decorative, purely because that’s what I like. I’ve found some great treasures already including a prized Stig Lindberg saucier, a 1942 Royal Copenhagen vase, some Phoenix glass, and several stunning pieces of ceramics from Britains finest potteries. I’m only looking for pieces in near perfect condition that I would be happy to find space for in my own house. And it’s staggering looking at the quality of the pieces, especially the bone china produced in Stoke on Trent in the 1950’s. Really wonderful.
So I look forward to producing more of my own work (lots of textiles on the way) and finding homes for unwanted, thoughtfully designed objects from the past. A good balance I think.
Do you collect vintage designs and if so what is your favourite era or style?
Having recently embarked upon designing my own textiles, I asked Mum and Dad to look through their photo albums and send me any snaps they had of Mum’s dresses in the late 1950’s. Well I wasn’t disappointed. Mum and Dad appeared looking out of the vintage, slightly crushed photos looking massively stylish…and look at the printed textiles.
These photos were all taken before I was born but I clearly remember the colours, designs and even textures of the cloth Mum and Dad both wore while I was growing up. It made me think how we all subliminally influence our children. The designs Mum and Dad chose are imprinted in my mind and have certainly affected my own taste as an adult (interestingly my eldest teenage son has just bought spectacles which are exactly the same as the ones my Dad, his Grand Father, wore in the late 1950’s).
How clearly I remember interior textiles that surrounded me too. The curtains that hung in our houses tended to be flat blocks of colour in varying but simplistic shapes, something I still crave and indeed base my own designs around. They favoured Danish furniture, something I do too. And then I started thinking a bit harder about my childhood interior and I remember a cylindrical copper suspension lamp shade that Dad (who is a scientist, not a designer) made for the dining room – all before Tom Dixon was even born!
The 1950’s and 1960’s were of course extremely creative decades where people had the confidence to experiment, customise and have fun with clothes and interiors. A time before the dominant big huge brands that many seem to crave now. However, a wave of bespoke and individual designers which have global platforms like etsy and t.v programmes such as The Great British Sewing Bee have shown the public a glimpse of how much talent is out their and believe me, if you have any spare time, surf through etsy and be prepared to be amazed.
Do you remember the textiles your parents wore? If so, do you think they have influenced your choices as an adult?
Have you noticed how many shop fittings are currently manufactured in copper?
Copper was big news last year with product designers such as Tom Dixon using it and the Milan Furniture Fair was certainly awash with it. What is interesting this year is that it is appearing in architectural trims and shop fittings.
Copper columns and door trims can be seen in the new extension at Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Mannequins in John Lewis department store are given an updated look as they stand proud on brand new copper catwalks. The list goes on and on….
David Oliver has long since been an advocate of metallics as they can, “create a quietly glamorous environment, which is sophisticated and fashionable”. He has created a paint finish “gilver” which is a mix of both gold and silver “a timeless classic”. Valtti also have a range of metallic paints, one of which is distinctly copper- like in appearance.
Copper can help create an “industrial chic” interior especially when used with exposed brickwork and deep graphite paints. But it works equally well in vintage settings – specifying a copper bath could be the starting point. Or, if you are after inspiration for extensive architectural interior cladding, have a look at the Canadian Copper and Brass Development Association gallery – it’s certainly an adaptive material which spans many different interior styles.
Well I’m not going to say much about this other than the fact that the frilly edged freshly washed pillowcase blowing around outside a dilapidated fisherman’s hut in Fife made me smile. I liked the contrast, that’s all.
My train of thought then moved onto architectural salvage and reclaimed antiques and I reminded myself of two great shops, one here in UK called RE and one in New York called abc home both of which display a profusion of crafted and recycled home wares, a great antidote to wall to wall matching designer interiors which can sometimes appear rather soulless. Contrasts work. Rare next to utilitarian, designer alongside high street, vintage with modern, rough next to smooth, mix it up and you can create a room with attitude.