Thursday, 30 September 2010
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
'It is the combination of quality and craftsmanship and a straightforward, yet elegant approach to the design that attracts me to this particular period of Ercol furniture and has led me to re-evaluate Ercolani's original designs' (Margaret Howell, 2004)
Monday, 27 September 2010
First up was Luis de Oliveira, principal of Portugese company De La Espada who talked about ‘decentralised companies’; using local production, small runs and frequent innovation. Oliveira believes this business model to be ‘a decade away.’
Furniture designer Matthew Hilton then told a story about one of his early products - a candlestick made in Charlton, packaged in felt bags from Hackney, sold through the UK retailer Joseph. (If anyone would like to give us one of these, do feel free.)
Hilton now works for Habitat and has a global perspective on manufacturing. He illustrated his experience with a video of some Sri Lankans making a chair to his specfications. Being versed in more traditional methods, the Sri Lankans couldn’t quite create the modern style required. ‘Older manufacturing is more forgiving than new methods’ concluded Hilton.
Theo Williams, creative director of Habitat gave a compelling talk on bridging the gap between design and development, stating that it is ‘essential.’ Williams suggests that we need to move closer to the Italian design model - quicker reaction times, locally produced products.
‘Communications need to get stronger and more focused. We need to understand better what the consumer wants,’ Williams said, warning of giving over too much power to the consumer, ‘There needs to be a parameter for consumers to work within.’
‘Customisation to customerisation’ is taking hold and this is partly due to design, development and manufacturing moving closer together. Williams also gave examples of Habitat making certain products in the UK. Sadly there were no illustrations of this but he referred to a ‘small guy in Cornwall.’ He rounded off his section mentioning that Robin Day can get on a train to his supplier - ‘a big thing.’
Thanks to the parties behind London Design Festival for bringing such a good group of speakers together.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
Saturday, 18 September 2010
M&I spent Friday evening drinking many fine ales from across the capital. There's plenty to say about our experience but right now the words are being quelled by the locally brewed hangover.
Friday, 17 September 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
The second issue of our favourite womens' magazine, The Gentlewoman, is out this week and we were delighted to come across an interview with Meena Pathak of the eponymous (minus the 'h' for ease of pronunciation according to the article) curry sauce brand. What really caught the eye was the images taken (by Daniel Riera) inside the Patak's factory in Leigh, Lancashire (see pages 122-123 of the magazine.)
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
A PSALM OF LIFE
Tell me not in mournful numbers,
"Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest,"
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us further than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act -- act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait,
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).
Picture of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Julia Margaret Cameron
Sunday, 5 September 2010
Saturday, 4 September 2010
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Nice interview with Sir Paul Smith by Simon Usborne in The Independent on Monday. Here's a small extract: