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THE DESIGN CHASER

A Sustainably Designed Hotel in the Mountains of Northern Italy by Boxx Creative

4.18.2019

London-based design studio Boxx Creative recently completed the interior redesign of Miramonti, a luxury boutique hotel, in the mountains of Brescia, Italy. Located just two hours from Milan, and surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Miramonti, meaning mountain view, draws its name from nature. Boxx Creative, chosen for their approach to local suppliers and longterm sustainable options, redesigned each floor of the hotel, creating interior schemes that draw on the elements of earth, fire, air, water, wood and metal.


A deep terracotta facade evokes the changing seasons and rich natural Italian colour palette, while the bedrooms' complementary green and blue colour schemes, punctuated with deeper accents, are both balanced and calming. Materials, selected for their authentic properties that link to the surrounding environment, include natural stone wash basins, carved wooden bedframes, solid trunk coffee tables, round metal bedside tables and soft natural fabrics. 


Nicola Keenan, Interior Designer and Co-founder of Boxx Creative says “We always focus on quality and environmental impact in our work. All design details have been fully considered across the hotel. Carpet made from recycled fibres line the corridors and is inlaid within the sustainable, hand-crafted wooden flooring. Locally sourced and sustainable materials were used wherever possible and the build contractor was chosen for his energy saving principles and employment of workers within the area.”


The majority of the furnishings were made completely bespoke by a talented artisan in his local workshop. The bedrooms feature wooden headboard panelling, metal framed open cabinetry storage and sturdy desks, each thoughtfully hand-crafted. The unique hand-made wooden flooring with individually controlled underfloor heating system, adds warmth and grounding to each room. Beautiful reeded glass panelled doors with curved frame detailing provide privacy to each en-suite and rippled wooden under-sink cabinets hang beneath attractive natural stone basins.

In addition to understanding the sustainability goals of the Miramonti owners, Boxx Creative were able to bring their artistic vision of the hotel to life. Lighting was incredibly important, and for this element Boxx Creative chose Italian designed, Flos feature pendants in each of the en-suites and Scandinavian inspired adjustable wall lights to create an appealing focal point in the bedrooms. 

Boxx Creative worked with Mariell Lind Hansen, the Norwegian interiors and architecture photographer whose artistic style beautifully captured the eclectic mix of natural, Scandinavian inspired and made-to-last design.

Photography by Mariell Lind Hansen

Wouldn't this be the perfect place to unwind after a visit to Milan Design Week? A beautiful tranquil place where guests can experience total relaxation in their surroundings, reconnect with nature and re-balance, Miramonti is now on my wish list of places to stay! 


Images courtesy of Boxx Creative

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Simple Bedroom Styling with a Play on Light

4.12.2019

We've had all the seasons today. In between sudden downpours, there have been moments of sunshine, and not knowing how long the sun will last makes it all the more precious. Capturing the mood, this gorgeous sunfilled bedroom is so beautifully airy and bright. I love the placement of the bed between the big windows with the pendant light hanging down the centre. Styled with simplicity, it features pretty windowsill details and cosy layers of bedding. Crinkled linen and a pop of colour brings warmth and texture to the space, while the mirror and framed glass room divider enhance the sense of spaciousness.



Images via Alvhem 

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Mud Australia Celebrates 25th Anniversary with Debut Installation in Milan + New All-Matte Finish

4.11.2019

In celebration of their 25th Anniversary, acclaimed handmade porcelain brand Mud Australia are currently presenting for the first time in Milan during Salone del Mobile 2019. In partnership with Calico Wallpaper and Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, STILL / LIFE, the exhibition, provides an interactive installation exposing the senses to the possibilities that lie between stillness and life. The incredible exhibition sees Mud debut a new all-matte finish, while interplaying with light and shade to showcase the timeless design and functionality of the brand.


Mud's porcelain range, designed by Shelley Simpson, combines handmade processes and clean lines to neatly intersect a minimalist aesthetic with an artisan finish. Celebrating longevity, with very rare releases of new pieces or colours, the new all-matte finish is an exciting introduction for the brand. Showcased alongside site-specific gradients by Calico Wallpaper with interiors and lighting by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, STILL / LIFE provides visitors with a series of visual-sensory vignettes, weaving natural materials with original design works by the exhibitors. Embodying handmade craft, alongside nature-inspired colours and shapes, Mud Australia instills the space with timeless silhouettes, harmonious materiality and organic calmness.

Still / Life exhibition / styling and photography by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio

The spatial concept for STILL / LIFE was designed by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio founders Dylan Davis and Jean Lee, who imagined a space that embraces a dual state of tranquillity and vitality, revealing a calming yet enriching environment that opens the senses to elemental possibilities: a momentary day dream, a memorable flavour, or a chance conversation. For the installation, Calico Wallpaper developed a site-specific custom colourway of their Aurora design, which has been integrated into the gallery’s focal wall metaphorically mirroring a vast landscape that usher’s visitors to a place of transcendence.

Still / Life exhibition imagery / styling and photography by Ladies & Gentlemen Studio

With the Milan exhibition now in full swing, I speak to Mud's founder and designer Shelley Simpson about the collaboration, the new all-matte finish and what's next for the iconic brand...

An amazing way to mark Mud Australia’s 25th Anniversary, how did the Still / Life collaboration in Milan come about?

Milan’s been our radar for a long time, however, the sheer volume of exhibitors plus the hordes of design professionals that descend on the city for the week, has always seemed a creative challenge. As a craft-based business that celebrates longevity and avoids newness, we’ve always had an appreciation for collaboration and design, so it was serendipitous to receive an invitation from the creative minds at Calico Wallpaper and Ladies & Gentlemen to collaborate with them on STILL / LIFE; a sensory installation in a gallery space just north of Brera, Milan's artist quarter. We had previously got to know Rachel and Nick at Calico through our Brooklyn store (and having Mud on their wedding registry).

Traditionally offering a glazed finish across your collections, what was the driving force/idea behind the new matte product?

We very much like the sculptural light qualities of biscuit porcelain. Unglazed, the pieces take on a more earthy, raw aesthetic that celebrates the natural material. Porcelain is a vitrified material, and when left unglazed, it takes on a really beautiful smooth and dense character. Leaving the pieces unglazed also adds to the durability of the product, making the matte collection particularly suitable for commercial high-use environments.

Tell us about the colour palette you chose for the pieces being presented in Milan and how this fits in with the overall spacial concept.

On exhibit is a series of matte forms—both tableware and lighting—in an emotive colour palette of Ink, Citrus, Sand, Steel and Milk. Jean and Dylan from Ladies and Gentlemen, selected these five colours from our palette of 20 options, to complement the colours in Calico’s new wallpapers: the custom Aurora drop in the STILL / LIFE exhibition; and the new MUSE wallpaper by Faye Toogood in the adjoining space. The intention of STILL / LIFE aims to create a calm space for introspection and interaction and the combination of soft, gentle colours enhances the end result.


Mud Australia's new All-Matte Finish / styling by Shelley Simpson and photography by Petrina Tinslay

You’ve come such a long way since 1994 when you first picked up clay! Did you ever dream of being where you are now and what do you think it is about Mud that really resonates with people?

You can never plan for the future - four weeks ago we didn’t even know we’d be exhibiting in Milan right now!

After my first experience picking up clay, I knew I wanted to build a business around it. I applied for a local small business scheme, which required me to complete a business plan. This helped me set the intent from the start to build a profitable business in the process of doing something I loved. The range has developed over the 25 years and all the pieces we make generally come from a personal need with a specific use in mind. Our making process sits right on the edge of production and craft which means there’s an emotional aspect to our pieces but they still retain their functional edge. Having 20 colours allows people to create their “own range” and they can also add over time as their needs change. I’d like to think that people also connect to our Australian studio made story.

All of your products are made in your Sydney studio using porcelain clay sourced directly from Limoges, France. What is special about your processes and this type of clay?

Colour, durability and consistency are the factors we need for reliable production. We tried a lot of porcelain bodies and the quality of the Limoges porcelain from France has met our requirements over the years. The plasticity of the body for casting as well as it’s ability to take stain without major warping issues, even in our larger pieces, makes it perfect for us. The raw colour of the Limoges body is also really nice and comes through in our overall colour palette.

Mud Australia's new All-Matte Finish with styling by Shelley Simpson and photography by Petrina Tinslay

Mud has stores across Australia, and also in New York, LA and London. Are there any more stores on the horizon?

We’re really focused on our online store right now, available in Australia, the US and the UK. The growth potential for this channel is really strong and we’re enjoying the challenge of trying to replicate our very immersive instore experience in the online realm. In the real world another store in Melbourne’s east is definitely on our radar and we’d also like to open a small studio in Manhattan again, assuming we can find the right location.

I sense you're not one to sit still for long.... once the excitement of Milan settles down and you have officially launched the new matte collection, what’s next for Mud?

We’re focused on building our presence in Europe, and looking at other partnerships through the region, beyond our store in London’s Marylebone. We’re also refurbishing our Fitzroy store, extending it to incorporate a dedicated space to showcase our lighting collection, plus a courtyard garden area for our staff and visitors to enjoy.

In the studio we have new kilns arriving from Germany soon and there’ll be new colours and shapes on the horizon. We test all sorts of things in the studio, sometimes over a period of years, and only enter a style or colour into production when we feel it is 100% right. We’ve loved moving further into the design space with our lighting collection, and definitely want to continue growing that alongside special trade and hospitality projects.

A Scholarship Programme is also something we hope to introduce this year. Offering an annual grant for a selected student to put towards developing a body of work or using different materials. We’re in talks with a few design institutions in Australia, America and the UK to explore how we can best do this.

Mud Australia's new All-Matte Finish with styling by Shelley Simpson and photography by Petrina Tinslay


The earthy rawness of the new finish is just stunning! If you're lucky enough to be in Milan, STILL / LIFE will be on view for the duration of Salone del Mobile, from from 10:00 – 19:00 daily at Via Pietro Maroncelli 7, Milano. 

Images courtesy of Mud Australia 

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New Season Wishlist

4.10.2019

We turned our clocks back on Sunday, marking the end of daylight savings and the inevitable seasonal shift. The cooler temperatures this week have me craving cosy comforts, and while I'm feeling the need to Marie Kondo my home and work on creating a capsule wardrobe, I'm also thinking about cosy armchairs, soft lighting and some new sculptural pieces. I'm also itching for my Ark Journal to arrive. Founded by former editor-in-chief of Danish Rum magazine, Mette Barfod, the new biannual magazine bridges architecture, design and art, with a sense of enduring Scandinavian values and aesthetics. I can't wait to read it!





This post contains an affiliate link. I only work with products I love and all opinions are my own. For more information please visit my About Page.

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Objects by Camilla Vest | Take Two

4.08.2019

I'm kicking off the week by revisiting a favourite, Objects by Camilla Vest. The New York-based design source specialising in stunning Nordic furniture and home wares resonates so strongly, I can't resist sharing the latest imagery that has just come my way. Featuring pieces from Objects range of Danish brands curated inside the beautiful Brooklyn showroom, Camilla's pared back approach and effortless style brings out the very best in these timeless designs.

Reykjavik Daybed designed by Included Middle, Hven bench by Anton Bjorsing and Edge Terracotta Pot designed by Stilleben, all for Skagerak

Hven bench designed by Anton Bjorsing for Skagerak

The Penguin Lounge Chair (an Ib Kofoed Larsen design) manufactured by Brdr. Petersen

Hven Dining Table & Hven Armchair designed by Anton Bjorsing for Skagerak

Norr Magazine holder by Ditte Buus Nielsen and Hven table by Anton Bjorsing for Skagerak

Brut table designed by TAF Architects for Skagerak

In case you missed it, my introductory post on Objects NYC provides more insight into the company founded by Danish-born Camilla Vest and the brands they represent. Take a look here

Styling by Camilla Vest / Photography by Sarah Elliott

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Seville Estate by Welcome to Here

4.04.2019

Nestled into the landscape of the Yarra Valley, a popular getaway for Melbourne locals and international tourists alike, is the beautiful Seville Estate. Comprising a winery, restaurant and family homestead that was first built in the 1970s, the accommodation was recently revived by Leora Mendelson of Interior Architecture practice Welcome to Here. Offering a place to unwind in a stunning contemporary space overlooking the pool area, native gardens and the distant hills to the west, I reached out to Leora to find out a little more about this inspiring project.


Leora says that although there was no formal brief, there was a strong focus to ensure the outcome was in-line with the brand and history of Seville Estate. "My intention was to create a timeless, luxurious, calming and relaxed accommodation that felt like a combination of a retreat and home." Minimal but by no means sparse, Leora's focus on materials, texture, space and detailing can be seen throughout. Using natural materials, Leora says the emphasis was on keeping the integrity of the materials, while highlighting and enhancing their natural beauty.


Marrying the original wooden ceiling boards with white-washed brickwork and new timber joinery, Leora has created spaces that are layered with richness and warmth. Further texture has been added with stone bench tops and brushed brass tapware.

The furniture and cabinetry features locally made and sourced pieces including dining tables by Made by Morgan and bathroom cabinets by Simon Wightwick. These sit alongside classic design pieces including the String Shelving SystemMattiazzi Solo Dining Chairs, the Lantern Pendant by New Works and Offset Tables designed by Philippe Malouin for Resident

Photography by Rochelle Eagle

With the beautiful Seville Restaurant (also designed by Leora) on the estate, and enough space to accommodate up to eight people, this really would be a dream weekend getaway with friends and family! 


Imagery courtesy of Welcome to Here 

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