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THE DESIGN CHASER

Spanish Design Tour | GANDIA BLASCO

7.27.2017

Last week I kicked off my Spanish Design Series, highlighting some of the incredible places we visited during the Sunny Design Days Tour in Spain. Today I'm going to share our visit to Gandia Blasco, a design company located in the beautiful town of Ontinyent in the province of Valencia. Founded as a family business in 1941, Gandia Blasco first specialised in the production of blankets. In the late 80s, company president José A. Gandía-Blasco reinvented the business, developing new lines of home textiles and rugs under the name GAN. A change of course in 2000 saw the introduction of outdoor furniture and along with it, further success. Now recognised as a global leader in outdoor furniture, Gandia Blasco have opened shops and showrooms in a number of countries worldwide. Staying true to their beginnings, the indoor textile brand GAN remains an important part of the catalogue.


Arriving at the stunning location we were treated to a delicious Mediterranean breakfast in La Casa Gandia Blasco courtyard, followed by a dip in the pool. Needless to say it was a great start to a day that would reach a soaring temperature of over 40°C!

Next to the pool is a huge courtyard area which showcases the Gandia Blasco outdoor furniture collections and here we got to experience some of the new products for 2017. Shown below, the understated and comfortable Saler Soft and Saler Soft Teak collections are designed by José A. Gandía-Blasco. Blau features a subtle and elegant collection of outdoor furniture with a marked architectural character and timeless quality. Designed by architectural studio Fran Silvestre, the collection includes chairs, sofas, stools, loungers, foot rests, tables and a tree-like lamp, all of which share the same light and fluid forms. 

Blau Collection 

Saler Soft & Saler Soft Teak Collections 

See all of the outdoor collections and accessories here

José A. very kindly gave us a tour of his exquisite home, La Casa Gandia Blasco. A true extension of the brand and a lesson in pared back styling, the white washed interior features incredible concrete staircases and huge windows overlooking the gorgeous courtyard. 


Another highlight of this visit was checking out the new Garden Layers collection designed by famed architect and designer Patricia Urquiola. The first outdoor series under the framework of GAN, the incredible collection is made up of rugs, mats, roll pillows and cushions. These can be arranged together in different ways, providing infinite possibilities for outdoor living.



The inspiration for the collection came from on a trip to India where Patricia Urquiola was captivated by the delicacy and harmony of the Mughal architecture she discovered there. Gardens and terraces found their way into her restless imagination, igniting the first sparks of creativity for the outdoor collection.


An expert at interpreting other worlds and transporting us to them through her exquisite language, Urquiola once again showcases her masterly design skills. The influence of the Orient is evident in Garden Layers by the way it invites reclined relaxation on rugs and mats, with the addition of roll pillows and cushions. It can also be perceived in the fringes, the finishes and the geometry patterned textiles. Having the pleasure of testing out the collection, I can honestly say the comfort levels were exceptional. The roll pillows are so supportive, I could have stayed there for hours. The warm colourways, patterning and textural elements of the products make them even more appealing. 



The collection is available in three colour groups; terracotta, grey and blue. Made with high-tech materials and fillings including weather resistant yarns and foams that dry rapidly, they are perfect for outdoors. To see the full collection take a look here

Images: 1-2, 7-9 photography by Michelle Halford for TDC / All others courtesy of Gandia Blasco 

The Sunny Design Days tour was arranged by RED - Reunión de Empresas de Diseño / Spanish Design Association - a nonprofit organisation that promotes Spanish design worldwide.

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Mim Design Brings Mid-Century Vision to Life

7.26.2017

A classic mid-century home in Melbourne’s leafy east has been given a new lease of life by Mim Design. Capturing the hallmarks of the modern architectural movement, Mim have transformed the once dark and cramped single-storey Caufield North home into a timeless beauty with ample windows that open up the interior spaces and bring the outdoors in.

Filled with natural light, the open plan kitchen and dining area is lined with Crema Cararra Marble and fluted/ribbed cabinetry detailing. A round dining table from Grazia & Co has been paired with the elegantly sculptural DC09 Chairs in walnut.

The original 1964 Harry Ernest-designed home had caught the eye of Melbourne publisher David S. Miller and his wife, who lived up the road. While in desperate need for some serious love and care, it had "amazing bones" and they knew something incredible could be done with it. Engaging award-winning Melbourne designer Mim Design the Millers were determined to respectfully reinstate the home to its former glory days while enhancing their lifestyle. “The Miller’s are a busy young family with a diverse range of hobbies, they needed functional spaces and communal areas, room for entertainment, privacy and storage,” Mim Design Principal Miriam Fanning says.

Vibrant yet cosy, this living room features the Controra Armchair by Ron Gilad for Molteni&C and BassamFallows CB-41 Daybed. The wall unit was custom designed by Mim and cleverly incorporates a wine rack and display shelving for books, objects and the Copycat lamp by Michael Annastassiades for Flos.

Project manager and builder Project Friday coordinated the work as Mim Design started connecting spaces, making the home light, bright and welcoming, while retaining the integrity of the mid-century features that are all too often lost. The open-plan kitchen area is flooded with natural light from clerestory glazing added to the living room ceiling while the relocated swimming pool and new pop-up dining room adds theatre and activity.

“The abundance of natural light changes the home’s dynamic, making rooms more inviting while highlighting aspects and features such as a view, artwork, panelling or joinery,” Miriam says. Several original features were retained and restored in appreciation for their beauty and highly prized vintage qualities.


Natural white and muted grey tones are met with contrasting walnut and deluxe finishes such as stone benchtops and 100% wood carpets. Character details such as the crazy-pave travertine floors were redone by skilled craftsman, while new fittings and fixtures pay homage to the mid-century era while complementing the original features.

Photography by Sharyn Cairns

What an entrance! The exquisite D.154.2 Armchair by Gio Ponti for Molteni&C and Moroso Net Table sit below a striking artwork by Dale Frank

Images courtesy of Mim Design 

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HAY HOUSE in Copenhagen

7.24.2017

With a few extra days to explore Copenhagen following 3daysofdesign, a trip to Hay's flagship store Hay House was on my must-do list. Located in the heart of Copenhagen in a grand apartment building on Østergade street, the huge store offers the full Hay design experience. This includes furniture, lighting as well as the full range of accessories and Hay Mini Market, showcased across two generous floors. A thoroughly enjoyable visit exploring the store and looking through all the collections, here are a few photos I took along the way. 

Photography by Michelle Halford for TDC

Hay House Copenhagen is located Østergade 61, 1100 København K, Denmark. 

For those based down under, The Hay House concept was introduced in Australia last year by Cult and follows the same apartment layout over two floors including a permanent installation of the Hay Mini Market concept, offering a wide selection of accessories, from lighting and textiles to stationery and glassware. The store is located at 285A Crown St, Surry Hills, Sydney. 


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ZAKKIA | 2017 Collection 02

7.21.2017

I'm sharing some exciting news from Zakkia today, with a peek at the their 2017 Collection 02. Founder Swede-turned-Sydneysider Sara Lundgren has revisited her roots, exploring a darker side this season. The new pieces draw inspiration from a winter spent in Sweden where the mornings are icy and the waters frozen, where the sun barely makes an appearance and the trees are bare. Experimenting with new materials such as frosted handblown glass, silver metal and painted ceramics, she says "there is something exciting about pairing the texture of mouth blown glass with the shiny surface of our silver finish to create a new feel."  


Sara and fellow designer Hollie Paterson have created a range of pieces for the home that are both beautiful and functional. Evoking a sense of calm, they feature the timeless shapes that have become the staple for Zakkia. In addition to the new silver finishes, mouth blown glass and hand painted ceramics, the collection includes a new slow drip coffee brewer, botanical vases, glass straws and mirror hooks.


The new collection will be available online and in stores throughout Australia September 2017.

Images courtesy of Zakkia

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Spanish Design Tour | Marset

7.20.2017


As mentioned earlier this week, I've just returned from a trip to Spain where I took part in the amazing Sunny Design Days tour. Organised by Spanish Design Association RED (Reuniòn Empresas De Diséno), the tour takes a small group of international bloggers to a series of exciting events, with the aim to present the best of Spanish design to the world through visits to showrooms and talks with renowned designers. We also visited architecture studios, workshops and factories, stayed in beautiful design hotels and were treated to delicious Spanish food at top restaurants. Travelling to Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, it was an honour to be included and I had the most inspiring, fun and memorable time which I'm excited to share with you all. 


As part of the blog series, I will be featuring each of the participating companies who we had the pleasure of visiting, and I'll also be shining a light on a few that really struck a chord with me. The first was a visit to the Marset Showroom in Barcelona. The award-winning lighting company began in the 1940s as a family business and produces refined and innovative lamps. Tucked away in a beautiful indoor/outdoor setting in the neighbourhood of Sant Gervasi, the industrial space designed by Stefano Colli is painted all-white, providing a simple and clean backdrop to showcase the brand's diverse lighting range. A display system inspired by the sawyers' process of stacking and drying planks, the versatile space has a natural look and feel that can be adapted over time to suit new collections.



Over cocktails we viewed the Reflections of Light videos which feature each of the designers talking about their products, not just from a technical point of view, but their personal feelings around light and what inspires them. Beautiful and insightful, I highly recommend taking a look here.

Following on from this we were treated to a delicious Spanish dinner (including our first Paella of the trip!) and wine in the gorgeous outdoor courtyard surrounded by Marset lighting and lush greenery. Such a fun night, I loved meeting the Marset team and having the opportunity to talk to the talented designers in person.



While I have been admiring Marset lamps for some time (you may remember this recent post featuring the Theia collection), talking with the designers has provided a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the brand. I think these words sum it up beautifully: 

Marset is about more than lamps: we take care of light, in its different nuances and effects, to create atmospheres with character and improve our clients’ quality of life. We dedicate all our efforts to creating first-class designs and helping ensure the flawless completion of each product. We seek to produce innovative, clever fixtures, kindling our audience’s senses while taking them on a journey. 

Refined and contemporary, Marset aims to discover new functions and applications for their time-honoured fixtures through technical precision and creativity. This constant quest for new directions, combined with a curiosity and foresight into the shape of things to come, has driven the ethos and design behind their collection. The main characteristics of this collection are its authentic feel, meaningful simplicity and decorative yet restrained visual approach. 

Here's a look at some of the new lighting collections for 2017:

Bicoca 'The Independent Light' by Christophe Mathieu is born with with the optimism of brightening life and accompanying the good times, wherever you go. Available in a wide range of colours to suit any taste and space, this versatile, lightweight portable lamp projects an intimate light that adds warmth to all your personal spaces. These accompanied us in the outdoor courtyard and were a real talking point!


Following on from the success of the award-winning portable FollowMe lamp by Inma BermúdezMarset is launching a new version with a with a larger size and greater light output: the FollowMe Plus. Designed to complement its classic predecessor, the Plus reproduces the same warmth and quality of light with greater power. While the original size is perfect for cosy areas, the new version stands out for its ability to create entire atmospheres, and is great as a table lamp, desk lamp, or even on the floor. The FollowMe’s oak handle invites you to carry it with you. Both sizes utilise LED technology and have a tilting polycarbonate screen that offers both cosy atmospheric light and direct reading light, while a three- position dimmer regulates the light intensity. We were very lucky to be given the original FollowMe lamp to take home and I am so in love. Look out for a photo on my Instagram soon! 


With just a touch of the fingertips, you can achieve a feeling of weightlessness with the Copérnica. 'The Weightless Light' by Ramírez i Carrillo establishes an intimate relationship with space, combining functionality with the beauty of pure lines. As if levitating, the lamp moves through space effortlessly, without friction or resistance. The collection, which draws minimalist sculptures in space with carefully selected colours, consists of desktop and standing versions that play with counterweights of mixed materials and density, such as steel and aluminium. This design allows one to move the lamp with great precision, providing a wide range of heights, distances, and adjustments to the beam of light. The upright version, a true statement piece, stands almost two meters in height and directly or indirectly illuminates the environment with its tilting head system. 


Pu-erh 'The Delicate Light' is distinctive in its use of ceramics and delicate, fabric like effect. Designer and ceramist Xavier Mañosa has created a texture that mimics pleated silk, which is then applied to a conical shade, casting a wide and beautiful ray of illumination. Created by way of a simple and truly artisanal process that begins with a rough sketch applied directly to the ceramic mold, the lamp features irregular variations and a raw, natural effect. Available in three sizes and a wide range of muted colours that highlights the texture of the ceramic,  Pu-erh’s light is warm, pleasant, and playful.


Piola 'Wrapping the Light' by Christophe Mathieu is a playful collection about imitating this fluidity of infinite movement, in search of a balance between the diffusion of light and the creation of shadows. The fixture’s spiralling form breaks with the monotony of cleanly ordered lines, offering a different face from every angle. At the same time, the central column provides a symmetry and solidity that supports and reinforces the visual movement of the screen. While the light comes in four colours, the structure and screen is in the same colour to lend the fixture cohesion and unity. In this way, by contrast, the quality of the light takes centre stage.


Djembé 'The Echo of Light' by Joan Gaspar is designed for repetition, creating musical compositions of light on the ceiling. A bell-shaped ceiling fixture with an exposed interior, Djembé is available in a numerous sizes and bright, airy colours that can be used individually or combined to create a brilliant statement piece. Truly unique, I was certainly drawn to its dramatic presence inside the Marset Showroom. 


Jaima 'Wearing the Light' by Joan Gaspar has been designed via the language of textiles. Constructed of flexible, ductile materials that sifts the light as readily as it moves with the wind, the beautiful light is the shade and weaver of emotions. Taking its name from the Bedouin tents of North Africa, this collection is inspired by their varied fabrics and forms. The shade is available in two sizes and four different colours, with a blank interior to optimise the quality of the downward light. They can also be combined with one of three versatile stands to make various sizes of adjustable, rotating floor lamps. Alternatively, the fixture can also be affixed directly to the floor or wall, and the shades can be hung independently as pendants. A standout feature of the Marset outdoor courtyard, I couldn't help but admire its beautiful silhouette and textural quality.  


Images 1,  8-23 courtesy of Marset / 2-7  photography by Michelle Halford for TDC

To find out more about Marset, the full range of products and stockists, take a look here

The Sunny Design Days tour was arranged by RED - Reunión de Empresas de Diseño / Spanish Design Association - a nonprofit organisation that promotes Spanish design worldwide.

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