Paradise: RCA at Milan 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Module from 2D to 3D by Camille Flammarion, RCA Ceramics & Glass MA student

The RCA's show for Milan 2012 will celebrate the college's 175th birthday by including, for the very first time, work by students across the college's departments alongside that of Design Products students and graduates.

HBL Book of the Week:
Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path

Design + Craft: The Brazilian Path (Terceiro Nome, 2011) is the latest book by Adelia Borges, a renowned Brazilian writer, curator and former director of the Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo.

Published this month in Portuguese and English editions, it uses examples of artisanal objects gathered from every region in Brazil - from cardboard pulp and banana tree fibre bowls in Minas Gerais to annatto seeds used as fabric dyes in Amazona - to create an overview of how craft and design stand in relation to each other in the country today.

Sunbury Antiques Market: vintage inspiration

Antique dealers and enthusiasts flocked to Kempton Park in Sunbury on Tuesday for the bi-monthly antique market. Attracted by the variety of vintage furniture, books and household accessories, new and loyal attendees have helped make Sunbury the largest and longest running market of its kind for over twenty years. 

Free Port by Marti Guixé

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Marti Guixé has designed a new cabinet for BD Barcelona. Called Free Port, the design comprises a series of modular boxes on metal legs, which can be added to, reduced and playfully reconfigured for different purposes.

Retro Poland by Lukasz Wierzbowski

Self-taught photographer Lukasz Wierzbowski is obsessed with interiors, props and surroundings. In these photographs, retro apartments in his native Poland provide a backdrop full of colour, bold fabrics and history. The inclusion of nonchalant models give the images a subtle fashion connection, turning a still life in to a story.

The Gourmet Mallow

Artisan marshmallows by Bea's of Bloomsbury; image via Delicious
Marshmallows are the latest sweet treat to receive a luxury makeover, reports the London Evening Standard, citing new marshmallow flavours like mango, strawberry, passionfruit and cocoa at Bea's of Bloomsbury in London; and strawberry basil and chocolate rosemary combinations in New York, as key parts of the new trend.

Subscribers can read more about US food trends in our latest report, America Eats: Bakeries & Pastries.

Live from Craft Design & Paralela Gift, São Paulo

Greghi at Craft Design & Paralela Gift 2012

Brazilian trade fairs Craft Design and Paralela Gift bring to the market the newest trends in design, arts and crafts. This year, religious themes were reinvented with bright colours and innovative design, and a little touch of fun was added to pieces making the ambience more colourful and playful.

Postmodernism: Italian design subversion at Mart

Martine Bedin (for Memphis): Super Lamp prototype, 1981 © Victoria & Albert Museum

Mart (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Trento and Rovereto, Italy) is the new home for Postmodernism: Style & Subversion 1970–1990, a major exhibition curated by Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt which we first previewed during its London stop at the Victoria & Albert museum.

HBL Blog of the Week: False Arms

False Arms: Green
Described by its founder Ben Critton as "a colour-based image re/depositor", False Arms is a vibrant and haphazard collage of images and ideas arranged simply by colour. There are few sources or links, but for instant inspiration - including plenty of great design images - it's hard to beat.

Today, take a look at Turquoise.

Bambu pet hammock

Monday, 27 February 2012

Since the launch of WGSN-homebuildlife's Pets section, we are always on the lookout for great products for animals. The Bambu Pet Hammock is made with exotic strand bamboo material, which looks like a cross between teak and mahogany. The cushion is stretched out on all four corners and secured with stainless steel anchors and carabineers creating a sling-style sleeping surface. The cushion is washable, reversible and made with upholstery grade ultra-suede.

Studio B launches furniture collection

Pavao chair and ottoman by Studio B
Studio B, a Brazilian design studio founded by brother and sister Eduardo and Cristiana Bortolai, has launched a furniture collection for M Design at ABIMAD fair in Sao Paulo.

Hobo, Indonesia: retail update

We track the progress of Bali-based homewares brand Hobo since it opened its first store in Seminyak (read about it here).

Signwriting by Ornamental Conifer

Ornamental Conifer

East London-based signwriting studio Ornamental Conifer is run by Nicolai Sclater. The studio specialises in beautiful hand-painted signage and typography, but also customises vintage leather jackets, motorcycle helmets and an array of other surfaces.

STAG: Explore the city

Image: Ducky Chi-Tak Tse
As part of a cultural project that aims to get people thinking about the space they live and interact in, Hong Kong-based architectural office Parallel Lab has developed a product called STAG (a combination of a stool and a bag) to encourage Hong Kongers to explore the city and to use it as their playground.

A hint of neon

Friday, 24 February 2012

Table from The Fiss Family by My Own Super Studio

The Fiss Family, designed by Portuguese studio My Own Super Studio, is a collection of four wooden tables of different heights, each cut to reveal a glowing neon underside.

HBL News: A Space Elevator by 2050?

Image via Inhabitat

"Japanese infrastructure company The Obayashi Corporation has announced its intention to send tourists to space by building a space elevator by 2050," Inhabitat reports.

Alter-Nature Resin by Lavina Peswani

Lavina Peswani

Students at London's Royal College of Art have created a selection of fabric and material designs inspired by our A/W 13/14 global materials direction - including these resin blocks by Lavina Peswani.

Object Rotterdam: show highlights

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Jo Meesters, Raw Color and Studio MGKG at Object Rotterdam 2012

For four days this month, the Las Palmas building in Rotterdam was taken over by art galleries, design studios and up and coming designers for Object Rotterdam - which drew 12,500 visitors this year. WGSN-homebuildlife presents the exhibitor highlights from a stand-out edition that mixed art and architecture, industrial design and craft.

Donna Wilson for Rococo

British textile designer Donna Wilson has created a range of hand-painted Easter eggs for Rococo Chocolates. The collection features Wilson's trademark illustrative style, bright colours and charming creatures, as well as her version of a Matryoshka doll - a nest of ever-smaller eggs called Food Chain.

HBL Book of the Week: A Visual Inventory by John Pawson

Angkor Wat, Cambodia (January 2011) by John Pawson; image via Phaidon

British architect John Pawson has written a new book for Phaidon, due out next month. Called A Visual Inventory, the book is a compilation of 272 photographs selected by Pawson from his personal archive - intended to act as a source guide for inspiration.

Big Wonkys by Vanja Bazdulj

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Big Wonkys by Vanja Bazdulj are large-scale vessels designed to celebrate the beauty of imperfection and accidental aesthetics. Commissioned by Keith Johnson of Anthropologie, Big Wonkys were inspired by the original Wonky Pots series; however their size is notably larger and each is unique in form and colour.

Paris guide: Taxidermy & pastries in the city of light

Du Pain et Des Idées, Paris

Our insider's guide to Paris recommends following Woody Allen, seeing some maths-inspired art, and indulging for breakfast this spring.

Four Seasons to launch in Russia

Image via Elite Choice

Luxury hotel brand the Four Seasons will launch its first ever Russian hotel in St Petersburg in May. The new hotel will be situated inside a Baroque palace,  originally built in 1820 for Princess Lobanova-Rostovskaya, which is being converted by London-based architects Reardon Smith and US interior design firm Anderson Miller.

The hotel will include 177 rooms, a four-level spa, luxury Russian bar and two restaurants, one serving Asian cuisine and the other Italian. More details on the project on Elite Choice.

Skitsch at the Salone del Mobile 2012

Wunder Cabinet and Wunder Sideboard by Alessandra Baldereschi
For the next Salone del Mobile, contemporary Italian design firm Skitsch has called its new collection Forward - having asked designers to look forward, anticipate and run ahead. New products are realised both by designers that have worked with the brand since its launch, and the new talents that made their debut last season, demonstrating Skitsch's willingness to place its trust in new generations.

HBL Blog of the Week: The Ultra Bright

The Ultra Bright is a website devoted to colour: usages, levels, inspiration, and even the history of certain shades. As well as documenting ongoing themes like colourblocking, key fashion events are analysed for colour trends and the site publishes its own colour forecasts for each season.

Carnival-inspired wallpaper

Monday, 20 February 2012

Confetti wallpaper by Think Surface
Carnival in Brazil is in full swing, and although it will come to an end within a couple of days, carnival lovers are now able to bring a little bit of the party into their homes. Think Surface has just released a wallpaper with a colourful confetti print, designed by the brand's creative director Gina Elimelek.

French Connection launches home range

Fashion brand French Connection has launched its first collection for the home. The premium range includes furniture, tableware, bed linen and accessories, and follows the brand's signature style of contemporary minimalism mixed with rustic detailing.

Geometrics at Tokyo Quilt Festival 2012

WGSN-homebuildlife reports from this year's Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival, held at Tokyo Dome. Exhibits this year drew heavily from Japanese heritage, providing inspiration for our spring/summer 2013 macro trend Idiomatic, which focuses on the uniqueness of regional cultures, celebrating their specific styles and behavioural rituals.

Bottega Veneta's luxury new suite

Friday, 17 February 2012

Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta has designed a luxury suite for the new St. Regis Florence Hotel (formerly known as the Grand Hotel Florence). Situated on the second floor, with views of the Arno, the suite measures 112 sqm and consists of a bedroom, two baths, and a living/dining room. Muted neutrals and soft, earthy colours fill the Bottega Veneta-designed interior, which is furnished with furniture, fabrics, and accessories drawn from the brand’s collections, as well as paintings, mirrors, and books chosen to reflect the identity of both the city and the brand.

Surprising Food

Food is being created to shock at the moment with bespoke, awe-inspiring experiences available from food visionaries including Bompas & Parr, designers of the exploding wedding cake, and Alinea - who have created the world's first ever edible helium balloon.

Japan's manhole cover art

Thursday, 16 February 2012

In Japan, everyday manhole covers are used as blank canvases for creativity and transformed into pieces of art. As reported on Kuriositas, Japan's enthusiasm for modern art is reflected in these humble objects, with designs specific to each location. Here are some of the highlights.

New furniture by Fernanda Brunoro

Conchuda chair by Fernanda Brunoro
London-based, Brazilian designer Fernanda Brunoro has launched a new furniture collection in collaboration with Brazilian manufacturer Schuster. The seven pieces comprise a sofa, a dining chair, a armchair, two dining tables and two coffee tables, and were shown for the first time during an event in Sao Paulo.


We're always on the lookout for great new content for the WGSN-homebuildlife blog. If you have an exciting new project to share that relates to the design, interiors, or lifestyle industry, we'd like to see it. From a new dog bowl to an innovative housing project or fascinating new exhibition - as long as it's design-led, we want to hear about it.

Please send a selection of images and a press release, where appropriate, to:

Real Fake Fur by Sophy Stoenner

Textiles graduate Sophy Stoenner creates sophisticated, 1920s-inspired trimmings using animal hair and dander that has been humanely gathered - either naturally shed by the animal or combed out by hand.

HBL Retail: Young Versace, Milan

Versace’s first children’s store has opened up on Via Borgospesso, adjacent to Versace Home in the swanky Montenapoleone district. The one-storey space is a dreamy lilac and white playground complete with super-sized candy canes, a carousel with velvet chairs and carpet and walls featuring the brand’s instantly recognisable Medusa head logo.

Verso by Tomoko Azumi

London-based designer Tomoko Azumi has designed a new chair, called Verso, for British furniture brand MARK. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, Verso is made from a simple steel frame, with or without arms and upholstered support, and has a number of colour options. It's ideal for contract use and can be stacked up to nine chairs high.

Inference by Graham & Brown

Perle Wallpaper by Superfresco Easy for Graham & Brown

The new Inference collection by Superfresco Easy for Graham & Brown uses a mixture of classic and contemporary geometric prints to create 3D surface effects. The use of subtle embellishments and tonal tricks help to enhance the dymanic, patterned wallpapers.

The Architecture of Cloth, Colour & Space

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Fucila Ikat Chair by Ptolemy Mann and Marina Dragomirova

For colour and textile inspiration, visit London's Aram Gallery this spring to see The Architecture of Cloth, Colour and Space, a solo exhibition showing the work of textile artist and designer Ptolemy Mann

Between Us by Rodrigo Almeida & Fateditions

Fateditions and Brazilian designer Rodrigo Almeida have collaborated to produce the collection Between Us, which seeks to give life to inanimate objects, inspired by the work of late artist Jean-Baptiste Debret.

Milan guide: Speed eats & a five-star fairytale

Château Monfort, Milan

With our expert's guide to Milan live just in time for Fashion Week, we highlight two new speed eateries and a fairytale hotel to dream in.

HBL Book of the Week: The Printed Square

The Printed Square by Nicky Albrechtson (Thames & Hudson, 2012) is a kaleidoscopic archive of vintage handkerchief patterns. These delicate silk squares were a popular accessory for fashion-conscious women of the 1920s - 1950s, and today provide a valuable source of inspiration for print and pattern.

Paulo Goldstein: Repair & Reconnect

Central Saint Martins' MA student Paulo Goldstein has created a collection of six hacked objects - including this steampunk-style lamp. The project taps into our tendency to form deep bonds with objects we use regularly: Goldstein advocates a culture of repair and reconnection, and each object has been fixed using creativity, craftsmanship and a touch of ingenuity.

To see more contemporary designs drawing on the steampunk aesthetic, read our Steampunk report. For more hacked solutions, subscribers can read our autumn/winter 2013/13 macro trend, Hack-tivate.

Alexander Kent: spotlight on design

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

© Alexander Kent

London-based photographer Alexander Kent uses spotlights of colour and touches of surreal detail to give everyday items a hidden life and a new appeal.

The Paper Cinema's Odyssey

The Paper Cinema have interpreted Homer's The Odyssey in their first feature length film, described as "live animation for adults". Using a combination of hand-drawn paper puppets and live music, the performance depicts Odysseus's epic journey home after the fall of Troy.

Born from the music scene in Bournemouth, The Paper Cinema have been touring for 7 years and specialise in transforming literature into performance using illustration, paper-cutting and contemporary puppetry. For more illustrative inspiration, subscribers can read our Hand-drawn report, and for more performance art, our highlights from the Prague Quadrennial.

Fashion or design? Drumbox by Diesel with Foscarini

The alliance between fashion and design is a fascinating mark of our times, and among the most established brands on this front are Diesel and Foscarini. Their latest collaboration, the Drumbox lamp, is one of the most interesting outcomes so far, as it expresses the character of both Italian companies well.

HBL Blog of the Week: Frolic


This week's blog is great for seasonal gifting inspiration - apt given what day it is today. Frolic was founded in 2006 by Chelsea Fuss, a commercial floral and prop stylist who uses the site to share everything she comes across that inspires her. The writing is intimate and personal, and although she doesn't post every day, she has good taste - so we recommend bookmarking it and checking it every once in a while.

Designed in USA

The Designed in USA brand certification mark is a new identifier and brand enhancer for goods, services and environments designed in the United States. It is now available for free use by members of the design community, business community and by leaders championing the design profession. The mark was created by RKS.

Bonbon by Rebecca Moyster

Monday, 13 February 2012

With party decorations, elements of magic and fantasy are imperative. Designer Rebecca Moyster understands this, and uses delicacy and detail to create the right celebratory atmosphere. With an eye for elegant creations, she has set up Bonbon, a creative alternative to the ordinary helium balloon.

Live from Ambiente 2012

Royal Doulton at Ambiente 2012
Innovation comes to the fore at consumer goods fair Ambiente 2012, which runs until tomorrow at Messe Frankfurt. Designers have experimented with pattern, placement and form to create tableware with a twist, while decorative accessories are updated with colour and finish.

The Timbergram

Online retail concept The Plinth showcases one product at a time, placing it on 'the plinth' at a competitive price. Just in time for Valentine's Day, the store have placed The Timbergram on the plinth - a personalised engraved wooden postcard which can be mailed to any UK Valentine for £3.85.

Greyhound Cafe comes to Hong Kong

Greyhound Cafe at Harbour City, Hong Kong
As an extension of its apparel offer, Thai fashion label Greyhound opened its first café in Bangkok in 1997. Moving on to international expansion, the café has now launched two premises in Hong Kong, at the IFC shopping mall and Harbour City shopping mall.

HBL News: Brown is the new green

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Companies such as Dunkin' Brands Inc. and Cascades Tissue Group have made the change from white napkins to brown in an attempt to seduce green customers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Recent tests show that the brown napkins make customers "feel like they [are] doing something good for the environment."

Scott Murphy, vice president of strategic manufacturing and supply for Dunkin' Brands, says that Dunkin' Donuts decided to use recycled brown napkins because of what the colour "symbolizes". Brown is a colour traditionally associated with health; it's now also linked with recycled and eco-friendly materials, and when used for napkins also brings the high-quality associations of linen to mind.

Live from Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair

Friday, 10 February 2012

Abstracta at Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair 2012
The Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair is currently taking place at Stockholmsmässan until 11th February. It is the Nordic design industry's most important annual event and caters in particular to the contract sector. Although many brands choose to launch new products at the Milan Furniture Fair or Maison&Objet to ensure good press coverage, many exhibitors reported that this fair is particularly beneficial for them in terms of sales.