Pages tagged with "design"

    Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Tiny houses all round the world.


    It seems like people are building bigger and bigger and bigger houses. Its not really making sense to me.
    I reckon some families livin in one room huts are way happier than some families living in sprawlin mcmansions.
    Theres some pretty inspiring tiny homes around the world. And when we say tiny we mean tiny. These spaces can be as small as 90 sq feet.
    These guys are takin tiny to a new level.
    But just goes to show what you can do with a very small space.
    We found just a few to show you. Check it out.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    A Little Taste of Heaven


    Wasara describe their product as disposable paperware for spiritual enlightenment, and for what its worth we think they're spot on. Their collection of beautifully designed disposable tableware makes us go weak at the knees. :)

    We've all had the disposable tableware dilemma....borrow in crockery for a chic backyard barby, or buy in the disposables and save on the washing up. In recent years theres been some pretty funky cornstarch alternatives on the market, (plastic hasn't cut the mustard for a long time), but this new offering from Wasara takes disposable to a new level.

    Underlying the concept of the brand is the legacy of  Japanese aesthetic and values. With one of the most refined food cultures in the world and a timeless design aesthetic, this range of bowls, mugs, wine glasses, sushi plates could only of come out of Japan.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Solar Flower Power Street Lamps


    For once one of the multi nationals is looking to nature for the answers, and in doing so has come up with something truly beautiful. Inspired by how flowers open up to the sun to collect the suns energy, the Blossom Street Lighting by Philips transforms cityscapes from industrial to ecological featuring photovoltaic petals that open during the day to collect energy, then at night, the light closes and Led lights turn on to brighten city streets.

    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Insert Coin Here


    Insert Coin Here, is a group exhibition curated by Nella Themelios and Kim Brockett that is part of the 2010 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program.

    Comprising vending machines strategically placed around the Melbourne CBD, Insert Coin Here explores hierarchies of value and mechanised systems of exchange.

    The Insert Coin Here vending machines contain limited edition 'fashion objects' which are randomly dispensed when a member of the public inserts a $2 coin. The artworks contained in the machines have been produced by over 60 Melbourne-based artists, designers and craft practitioners.


    TED is a US based not-for-profit enterprise devoted to the propogation of Ideas Worth Spreading. TED started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment & Design.

    In the spirit of Ideas Worth Spreading TED has created a program called TEDx, a series of local self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

    TEDxSydney at CarriageWorks on Saturday 22 May 2010 will feature a selection of Australia's leading visionaries and storytellers showcasing their Ideas Worth Spreading LIVE to a group of thinkers ... as well as ONLINE to the world at large. At this invitation-only event, a curated group of changemakers, innovators, thinkers, creatives, cultural leaders & social pioneers will witness a back-to-back schedule of talks, performances and other multimedia surprises showcasing “Ideas Worth Spreading” from a carefully selected coterie of presenters whom the event organisers (and their networks) feel have something valuable to contribute.


    Eco artist Edina Tokodi is making her mark in one of Brooklyns’ trendy suburbs. With an emphasis on the touchy feely, her moss installations challenge preconceived notions of art and graffiti.

    The mossy graffiti art offers an opportunity for interaction with nature within the city boundaries, and the artist believes strongly that the reaction (or lack thereof) of passersby speaks volumes. In an article in Inhabitat Edina says, ‘City dwellers often have no relationship with animals or greenery. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to deficiencies in our everyday life.’

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    State. Respond.


    Recent debate within the design community would suggest that sustainability is, or should now be, a fundamental consideration for all designers. Certainly, there is substantial evidence to show how design is making a positive difference in the troubled world in which we live. However, the design industry also continues to contribute to unsustainable systems of waste and excess and has played a significant role in many of the problems we now face. This is both a confronting and exciting time for designers as they make decisions about the work they do, the way they do it and the impact it has on our lives and our planet.

    Object Gallery invited creative directors from five outstanding design studios – each based in New South Wales and each with a genuine track record in the area of ethical and sustainable design – to respond to this statement.

    Bird Textiles was one of them.

    How did we respond?

    Wednesday, April 21, 2010

    Salone del Mobile - design week Milan


    The Salone del Mobile is the International Furniture Fair of Milan, the largest decoration tradefair in the world. The annual show showcases the latest in furniture and design from international sources. It is considered by interior designers as a leading exposition for the display of new products by furniture manufacturers, designers , lighting concepts, and other design items.

    During the fair, Milan becomes a showcase for all things design, so along with the Salone del Mobile official events, a programme ‘Fuori Salone’ (‘outside the showroom’) runs in parallel, and it seems that these satellite design events  around the city are almost more exciting than the fair itself. 

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Free As A Bird

    No matter how much the wind huffs and puffs through the hills above Byron Bay, the home of Rachel Bending, founder and creative director of leading sustainable fashion and homewares label Bird Textiles, and her partner Campbell is one house that certainly won’t blow down – despite the fact that it’s made of straw.

    As someone who’s passionate about environmental responsibility, Rachel knew straw bale would be the perfect choice for the home she planned to create in the lush Byron Bay hinterland. A traditional building material with serious eco cred – it’s a renewable natural resource with exceptional thermal insulating properties – straw bale is undergoing a renaissance in dwellings. “It’s durable and, when you combine it with passive solar principles and an awareness of the site’s environmental considerations, you can design a house with significantly fewer energy requirements,” says Rachel.

    Read more from this interview with Home Beautiful Magazine May 2010.....


    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Deconstructed Architectonics

    Founded in 1948, the Art League is one of the oldest non-profit visual arts organizations in Houston and is the first alternative art space in Texas, USA. 

    But for some time, the Art League has generated relatively little interest amongst either the art crowd or the general public. Perceived (fairly or not) as more of a kaffeeklatsch for local artists of mediocre talent and ambition than as a dynamic organization with interesting programming, the Art League has, for over 30 years, quietly gone about its business of housing classes and exhibitions in a grouping of nondescript white houses in the Montrose.

    Over the years, there have been many abortive attempts to tear down those houses and make a grander architectural gesture; and it seems, finally, that this most recent attempt is actually going to come to fruition. To celebrate, the oft-disregarded Art League has sponsored what is the most exciting installation in Houston in recent memory.

    The C word is misunderstood.
    The C word is a work of art.
    The C word is cutting edge.
    The C word is passed down from generation to generation.
    The C word is desireable
    The C word is unique.

    Brilliantly talented, highly creative, ambitious for their futures..... crafts people have hung their heads in shame in the past when using the C word.

    But the popular resurgence of craft over the last few years, supported by reputable organisations like Object Gallery, Craft Victoria and commercial indie craft ventures like the Finders Keepers markets have impacted on the perception of craft in Australia.

    On the other side of the world, Craftscotlands progressive CEO, Emma Walker, was fresh in the job, when she had a C word epiphany.  ‘Craft, contrary to popular belief or the tired and lacklustre marketing campaigns that so often surround it, is one of the most urgent of art forms’, said Emma. ‘It demands attention. We wanted to inject confidence into the sector.’ And so ‘The C Word’ media campaign was born.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Weaving up a storm

    Danish designer Annemette Beck takes a creative new approach to textile design by utilizing an extremely inventive array of recycled materials.

    Famous for her experiments with new combinations of structures and materials, her line of woven products include rugs, upholstery, fabrics, runners, blinds and even room dividers made from materials such as rubber, paper and metal.

    Beck’s experimental textiles showcase materials that can be salvaged and re-used.

    Sustainable design was given a big thumbs up in Brisbane last week at the inaugural Queensland Premier’s Design Awards.

    Queensland Premier and Arts Minister Anna Bligh announced Alexander Loterzstain and Kent Gration as the winners of the inaugural awards.

    Loterzstain was presented with the $40,000 Smart State Design Fellow, while Gration received the $10,000 Emerging Design Leader award.

    Nice one boys. Great to see Queensland recognising its champions.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Ghosts of Gone Birds

    Enough with the Olympics posters, official or otherwise.....this, my friends, is priceless.

    Doco maker Ceri Levy is the brains behind Ghosts of Gone Birds. Working with hip creative agency Good Pilot out of London Town, Ceri and over 120 artist, writers and muso friends and supporters, have come together to raise awareness for BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions programme.

    Switching off now? Don’t. This campaign is brilliant.

    ‘We are raising a creative army for conservation through a series of multimedia exhibitions and events that will breathe artistic life back into extinct birds species’ says the team at Ghosts of Gone Birds, ‘Shedding light on front line conservation work being done around the world to prevent any more birds migrating to gone status’.

    An innovative art exhibition, spoken word and music events make for a tidy creative events programme. But it is the brand identity, images and series of information posters which sell the concept and cause so brilliantly. Do read on to see the series of posters, and follow this link to their website to read the ‘Ghost Stories’ behind each image.

    Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Bring it on.

    Here’s five favourite highlights that we’re looking forward to the most......but for a full programme please go to www.sydneydesign.com.au

    Young Blood Designer Markets   Way back in 2005, Bird featured in the very first Young Blood Designer Market. Offering an opportunity to buy direct from the best new design talent in the country, Young Blood features fashion, furniture, jewellery, graphics, industrial design and more. This curated market is a glimpse into the future, a critical launch pad for Australia’s talented young designers, as well as a vibrant market for the design-savvy shopper.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    The Audio Design Museum

    How's this for a wicked idea.

    Object Gallery, and the guys who brought us the Sydney and Melbourne Design Guides, have got together to create the Audio Design Museum.

    The theory is, no gallery space could ever be big enough to capture the creativity of an entire city. So, they’ve done away with the concept of a conventional design museum, and made the city the exhibition space.....with tours that guide towards hotspots of design and the stories and people behind it.

    You can download the audio tours and accompanying maps, for free, direct from the Audio Design Museum website straight to your mp3 player or iphone and hear designers tell there story as you pound the pavement.

    On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me..... one cheeky chook doorstop......two fat quarter stars......three petticoat skirts.......four feather filled cushions.........five beach umbrellas......six  shoulder tie dresses.........seven sausage dogs.......eight bird purses...... nine tennis dresses......ten dressed soaps......eleven tube lampshades..... twelve lavender eye pillows....

    All made from certified organic cotton and handprinted here in Australia. How fabulous is my true love? :)                 

    25% off all products shown in the Xmas tree, for the month of October.  

    There are 12 weeks left til Christmas...so why not kick off your Christmas and Summer shopping with a one off special offer from Bird. Shop online at www.birdtextile.com using the code CHRISTREE,  at our Surry Hills, Sydney Emporium, or by calling +61 2 8399 0230  

    **Selected lines only. Minimum spend $100. Offer ends 30/10/2010

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Organic Christmas Giftboxes

    Bringing eco style to the Christmas Hamper.....limited edition Bird organic Christmas gift boxes.

    Ohhh...how could you resist. :) There are three types to choose from....

    'Everything But The Girl' Organic Giftbox....

    'Sweet Smell of...' Organic Giftbox.....

    'You Crafty Minx' Organic Giftbox.....

    ....all at just $99 each. Be sure to read on for further details, and scroll down for 18 fabulous variations.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    View from a birds wing

    In my mid twenties I learnt to fly. I know, it kinda makes sense, being top mama bird an‘ all.....but truly, it was something I’d always wanted to do......to soar through the skies, free as a bird, with the wind in my face and my feathers ruffled. No machinery, no noise, just me and an inflatable wing.

    So the opportunity arose, whilst I was travelling in India in 2000, to tandem paraglide in the hills west of Pune. Spiralling in the lift bands of rising air at the edge of the range, as the sun set. I was hooked. Instantly. Just magical.

    Later that year I learned to fly solo, and on arriving in Australia, I retrained to get my Australian paragliding pilots license. For a few years I travelled around to flying sites along the east coast in my spare time. The highlight, and my longest solo flight was near Manila in rural NSW, where I flew up to 6000ft above the earth, and with just the power of nature flew 30km’s across the countryside. I shared a good part of the journey with a wedgetail eagle. It flew in the slipstream created by my paraglider and terrified the living daylight out of me....its claws a constant threat to deflating my wing.

    The earth looks so very different up there. You get a whole new perspective on the lay of the land.

    So when I saw these divine aerial photographs by Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter it brought back lots of lovely birdy flying high memories.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Treehotel - eco luxury on the Arctic Rim

    Many hotels around the world offer guests the chance to get closer to nature, but only this one, in the forests of Swedish Lapland, lets them disappear within it.

    Treehotel is an eco based boutique design hotel located just outside Harads, a small town just 60km from the Arctic Circle.

    Think abstract luxury tree house.

    Drawn by Sweden’s best architects, a series of unique rooms including a giant birds nest, a mirror cube and a UFO sit high above the ground as a series of suspended sculptures. Each tree house is unique and there are plans to build another 20 over the next five years.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Egg Nogg for the Urban Chooksta

    In January 2010 we became the proud mama and papa of eight (yes eight!) baby girls.

    Crikey I can hear you cry!  Eight? Yes. Eight darling lickle chooks.

    Our new lickle family, Queenie, Blacky, Glynis, Dorothy, Sharon and M’Lady all lived in a lickle house, under some trees in our orchard on the edge of the rainforest.

    They loved the home we had made for them. Sharon, the Silky, thought her new home was nearly as dapper as her hair do. 

    The girls thought this was a pretty cool place to live. Glynis liked hanging out on her perch. There were mangos dripping off the trees. Citrus. Lychees. Bananas. Figs.

    Queenie and Dorothy had a little natter and decided they were on to a good thing at Rach and Cams nest. And because they were on to such a good thing they laid beautiful fresh golden eggs for our breakfast every morning.

    But, you know, M’Lady ...well M’Lady had an eye for detail. She was a cut above the rest. She yearned for a home, with a little bit more style. Panache. She wanted to nest down in something a little more stylin.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    The Nesting Instinct

    So while we’re on the subject of top birds, comfy nests, and chook eggs.....do we talk about anything else?.....we thought you might like a sneak peak of this new offering from German furniture company Dedon.

    Dedons take on it is an oversized birds nest, but I’m thinking it looks more like a wild bee hive. Either way, this hanging pod looks tres comf, very cosy cuddly, just the thing for a super chilled lazy Sunday arvo.

    Loving the natural fibre and feel. And their emu shot is classic.

    I'm thinking I might ditch my bed, and get one of these instead. All top birds need a super comfy nest to sleep in.

    Designed by two of Paris’s most intriguing design talents, Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety.


    Bring it on.

    Ten out of ten for Matt W Moore’s scrumptious seed packaging which I happened across yesterday whilst surfin, duckin and diving the net. I am gonna ooze and rave about them because they really do embody just about all that I love about well designed sustainable product/packaging.

    I’m seriously diggin the combination of illustration and typography....could it be possible to get this much pleasure from a play on shape and colour. Love love love.

    With a ridiculously impressive client list, Matt of MWM Graphics considers custom typography his lifes work...and it shows. Based in Portland, Maine, in the U.S., Matt works across several different disciplines. His style is really unique. Colourful digital illustrations and commercial projects, all sit comfortably next to a growing list of Fine Art gallery commissions and exhibitions around the world.

    Oooh...how we all love a bit of vintage.....my house is full of classic treasures found during the good old days when I drove up and down the coast touring op shops looking for vintage fabric for Slingfings.

    But it seems I'm not the only one who loves an old classic. A bit of mid century magic.

    Finding quaility mid century classic furniture pieces has become an art in itself...knowing where to look, knowing what to look for. ...and then choosing the right fabric to reupholster with.

    Having repeatedly been asked to sell the reupholstered vintage 50's Parker chairs we use in our Sydney store, we thought it was time to try and find some special pieces to reupholster just for you.

    We came up with these little beauties, a set of four late 50's Parker-esque day chairs, and three divine early 60's Fleur swivel loungers. We will sell them as singles, in the Bird fabric of your choice, pairs, or as sets of three/four.

    All sales or media enquiries should be directed to Bird Textiles Emporium on 02 8006 4522. The chairs can be shipped nationwide.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Reverse Graffiti

    Sustainable communication......street art.......green graffiti. Call it what you will. A new style of communication has hit the streets and the corporate world is sitting up and taking note.

    An early pioneer of the movement is Englishman Paul Curtis, better known as ‘Moose’. No paint, no defacing, Moose takes his cue from the ‘wash me’ messages on the back of trucks. He works in sooty tunnels and on dirty road sidings, by inscribing images, slogans and tags in the dirt. He has been commissioned by a number of brands, such as Smirnoff, who want to convey a sense of “clean” in an innovative way.

    Other artists have used snow, chalk and sand in the same way.

    Leading the way internationally is Dutch new media and communication agency Greengraffiti. Working in the public, government and not for profit sectors, their messages are clean and strong. In their words, ‘using our business as a tool for social and environmental improvement, we aim to be the world market leader in sustainable communication.’

    Tuesday, May 03, 2011

    Derek Jarman's Garden

    Derek Jarman’s (1942-1994) public image is that of a filmmaker, who dwelled on themes of sexuality  and violence. He was best known for his films Sebastiane, Jubilee and Caravaggio. He was outspoken about homosexuality and his never ending public fight for gay rights, most notably he was a leading campaigner against Clause 28 in the UK. He also broke new ground in creating and expanding the fledgling form of ‘pop video’.

    In 1986 Jarman was diagnosed as HIV positive, and was one of a handful of public figures who discussed HIV publically at that time. By the time of his 1993 film ‘Blue’, in which Jarman describes his life and vision, he was losing his sight and dying of AIDS related complications.

    He was in fact, a very private man, and chose to live out the remainder of his life at a tiny fishermans cottage called ‘Prospect Cottage’ in Kent, on the south coast of England. The solitude and silence attracted him to what was in all reality one of the most harsh and barren landscapes possible ....within a stones throw of Dungeness nuclear power station.

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Solar snowflakes

    It’s hard to believe, but these divine glitter sized shape forms are actually tiny microphotovoltaic cells. Did you ever think solar could be this cool?

    I know I’m a textile designer, and random repeat patterns rock my boat, but truly......it’s a beautiful thing.

    The ability of light to produce electrons, and thus electricity, has been known for more than a hundred years, but these little snowflakes take solar to a new level. Each cell is formed on silicon wafers, etched and then released  in hexagonal shapes.

    They could revolutionize the way solar energy is used, in textiles and clothing, turning a person into a walking solar battery charger. From 14 to 20 micrometers thick (a human hair is approximately 70 micrometers thick), they are 10 times thinner than conventional 6-inch-by-6-inch brick-sized cells using 100 times less material to generate the same amount of electricity as standard solar cells.

    All this, and soooooooooooo beautiful. Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    A compostable USB stick?

    Russia’s leading industrial, graphic and web design studio Art. Lebedev has come up with a new concept for the flash drive USB stick. The Flashkus.

    Purchased in magazine sheets, and detached along perforations as needed, the bulk of the packaging can be composted, with the electronics all contained in the tip of a detachable cardboard module. The recycled cardboard material is easy to write on directly, negating the need for stickers or additional packaging.

    Alternatively, the cardboard can be custom branded or use feature graphics. Maybe a Bird Flashkus?

    Art. Levebdev Studio’s Constitution is worth a glance.  I particularly like points 11 & 20.

    As are the portraits of its art directors.


    Tuesday, July 05, 2011

    The curvilicious Villa Nefkens

    Those of you who’ve seen this mama birds nest, will know I have a thing for curves. At my house, the walls are made from strawbales, so we were able to create long ambling organic curves with the bales and a chainsaw (see my blog post on our home from last year).

    But the bottom line is....curves just do it for me. I think being a curvy kinda girl gave me a head start on appreciation for the non straight line. But when you put curves with architecture and a northern European aesthetic, well.... it’s enough to make me think I’ve died and am on my way to curvalicious heaven.

    Enter Mecanoo. That’s Mecanoo the prominent Dutch architectural practice, not Meccano the children’s model construction system...although there are parallels across both brands. Both have a joyful approach to building. Both are the complete opposite of cool, abstract and minimalism. Maximalist might be a more appropriate term for their approach to building. But it’s creating that warm fuzzy feeling that both brands really have down pat.

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Burd Haus. Home to the uber chic chick.

    Wrap Modern Birdhouse in Vintage Orange
    Wrap Modern Birdhouse in Vintage Orange

    I was a very early bird this morning, up with the dawn chorus, tweeting and twirping, and gathering info on my favourite designer bird houses around the world.

    Some of you will remember the Bird Textiles cuckoo clock, a limited edition range of clocks we released a couple of years ago, inspired by both the classic German cuckoo clock and the humble bird house. I love a good bird house.  So, here’s a few treats to tickle your fancy....plus a  special treat for those of you who don’t have a spot for a bird house.

    First up, Nathan Danials amazing Burd-Haus.  Nathan says his goal is to ‘create modern shelters for our fine, feathered friends’.  His is a contemporary, tongue-in-cheek take on the humble bird house, using classic modernist shapes and fresh aesthetics. With names like ‘Mid Century Modern Birdhouse in Matte Black’ and ‘Case Study: Modern Birdhouse with Attached Pool’, these little gems get 10/10 from us. He describes the aforementioned as ‘the second addition of the modern case study series for the upper middle class modernist birds. A fully functional, water-tight pool is accessible from a side entrance of the house. There are two chill-out spots pool-side that hover above the water surface and act as a perch for the main house.’ Love it.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Charley Harper....an Illustrated Life

    For those of you who haven’t as yet had the pleasure, I am about to introduce you to the amazing work of the late American modernist artist, Charley Harper.

    I first came across, and fell in love with, Charleys work a number of years ago, whilst researching modernist style bird illustrations (of course).

    Charley was best known for his vast collection of highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. During his career, he illustrated numerous books, notably The Golden Book of Biology, magazines such as Ford Times, as well as many prints, posters, and other works. He also created works for many nature-based organizations, among them the National Park Service; Cincinnati Zoo; Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania and the Everglades National Park.

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Richard Rogers' ode to Wales

    ODE  1. A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner, written in varied or irregular meter and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion. 2. A poem meant to be sung.

    Many of you will know that I grew up in Wales. That’s Old South Wales, rather than New South Wales. The land of song.  ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside, we’ll keep a welcome in the vales, this land you knew will still be singing, when you come home again to Wales....’ Sigh.

    This Christmas I’ll be going home for Christmas in Wales. We are taking our daughter home to the land of song for the very first time.

    So it seems kinda fitting to share a special bit of Wales with you today. To share with you a building whose structure ebbs and flows with the songs of Wales, encapsulating the heart and soul of its nation.


    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Little Bird, Little Bird takes flight

    Today our new bespoke and limited edition organic childrenswear label Little Bird, Little Bird took flight. Yippee!

    What’s Little Bird, Little Bird all about? Well, for years, customers have asked us to design a childrenswear range, it was on ‘the list’. The list was very long!

    In October 2010 I gave birth to my first child, Quincy...or Little Miss Q, as she is known to us. There’s nothing like having a baby to focus you, and in the moments between sleeping and feeding and the general mayhem of being a new mum, I wanted to make something special for her. She is such a gorgeous little poppet. Well, two and two makes four ......Little Bird, Little Bird just kinda happened.

    My greatest inspiration comes from children....seeing how switched on they are to the changes we need to make. Our future lies with the children….and they are really clued up when it comes to sustainability and taking care of this planet we live on. It made sense to make sustainable fashion for little people.


    The 2011 London Design Festival has just come to an end, and I’ve been watching from afar, a little in awe of this years amazing programme. Now in its ninth year, it is a showcase for the best of furniture, interi¬ors, textiles, craft, graphics, fashion, and architecture. Phewi.

    The V&A Museum is the Festivals main hub venue, with Tent at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, Shoreditch, the unofficial HQ for East London’s Design Festival.

    My favourite installation from this years festival has been the V&A’s showpiece this year.

    Naturally, it’s a textile installation.

    Frances most accomplished design duo, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec,  in collaboration with Kvadrat, are responsible for this stunning installation in the V & A Museum, intended to provide a space to “lounge” while contemplating the surrounding Raphael Cartoons Gallery in a more relaxed setting. The textile installation is 30 meters long and 8 meters wide, and takes up over 240sqm of the floor of the famous gallery floor.

    Hyper-minimalist poster designs of the classic children’s stories we’ve grown to know and love by former design gun for hire, Christian Jackson of Square Inch Design.

    There are more here.

    What’s not to like. :)

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    The curvilicous Wright House in Durban

    Following up our series of posts on curvy homes, I came across this stunning home in Durban, South Africa. But this one’s a double whammy.

    Those of you who’ve seen our nest, will know I have a thing for curves. Curves.....ahhhh.. But I also have a thing for straw. At our house, the walls are made from strawbales, so we were able to create long ambling organic curves with the bales and a chainsaw (see my blog post on our home from last year).

    What’s fabulous about the Wright house in Durban, is the way they’ve combined the straw and curves. Not strawbales, as we’ve used at our home, but straw thatch.

    South Africans are renowned for their thatched roof homes, its a traditional building technique used for centuries. This take on traditional technique with a very modernist building style is highly unusual...and yet it works. The texture of the straw is divine, and works well with the smooth flowing curved structure.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2011

    The Fly Catcher

    Originally trading as makers of fly catching paper in the early 1920s, Japanese company Kamoi have been manufacturing various forms of industrial masking tape for over 80 years.

    In the summer of 2006, three women; a gallery owner, an artist and a graphic designer, made a trip from Tokyo to the production factory. They had with them a small book of collages and patterns made using some of Kamoi’s coloured rice-paper tapes. After their visit, they were further inspired, and invited 17 of their artist friends to design patterns and prints for them. These in turn, were once again presented to Kamoi.

    Kamoi saw the potential for growth into a whole new market, and realised the idea, launching the sub-brand MT, focusing on ‘sweetness and functionality’. Cleverly designed packaging and a super slick, very Japenesee marketing campaign complete the picture. The rest is history.

    MT, the Japanese washi masking tape, has become a global art, craft and design phenomenon.
    The kinda idea we all wished we thought of. Enjoy the piccies courtesy of Hello Sandwich. :)

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Eco Chic for Three

    A block of land in Byron Bay, slowly evolved into one couples prefect eco-house, designed to have the lightest possible footprint on the land.

    Rachel Bending remembers the first time she laid eyes on the Byron Bay hinterland and the strong connection she felt to the area. ‘The Byron Shire is very similar to where I grew up in ‘Old’ South Wales in the UK’ she says. ‘Both have stunning, unspoilt beaches, rolling hills and farming land, leading to rugged, wild forests and cliffs’.

    With her partner, Campbell Rowe, Rachel bought a block of land in Byron Bay in 2003. To familiarise themselves with the property and see how it reacted to natures elements, such as the sun and wind, Rachel and Cam spent four years living part time on the site in a caravan, all the while commuting to Byron Bay and Sydney to run Rachel’s environmentally focused business Bird Textiles.

    Read the rest of this interview, from the current November issue of Australian Womens Weekly, by clicking this 'read more' link.

    Love it or hate it, modern, abstract BritArt is back in the headlines this month with the launch of the 2012 London Olympic poster series. The designs are for the Games’ official commemorative posters which will be shown around the world over the next ten months.

    A predictable cry of ‘infant school art’ from the UK's Daily Mail has been tempered by a more informed ‘touching idealism’ from The Guardian. Art critics are kinder, but it seems members of the public were hoping for a more ‘crowd-centric’ approach.

    The twelve leading UK artists selected to design the posters, including four Turner prize-winners, have stirred up quite a storm despite following in the footsteps of art greats David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichenstein, all of whom created posters for previous Games.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

    Spontaneous City is a space creation experiment for birds, appearing in a number of urban green spaces across the UK over the last 18 months.

    Started in London in 2010, and continuing in Norwich, Norfolk in 2011 for the Norfolk Festival, the sculptures are installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks.

    The sculptures are made from hundreds of bespoke, wooden bird and bug boxes that create a sculptural ‘habitat’ for the birds, insects and invertebrates that occupy the gardens, providing spaces for shelter, nesting or feeding.  The design of the boxes reflects the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human.

    Images 1-4 are taken from three new sites in Norwich. The boxes in image 5 reflect the architecture of the nearby Worlds End housing estate in Chelsea whilst images 6-8 refelct the Georgian terrace and 1960's flats that surround the neighbourhood park.

    If you are in the hood check them out. Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides...

    This weeks post from the homeland is on a stunning art installation in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

    Wales is a land of contrast. The draw of its great natural beauty, the rugged coastline, and magical mountains, moorlands and valleys, contrast with the scars left by the coal mines of the 1900’s. A nation, whose wealth was built exporting coal from the South Wales Valleys to the rest of the world, helped to power the industrial age. In his time, the Third Marquis of Bute, who owned Cardiff Bay docks, was the richest man in the world.

    The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in the UK.  The area has undergone a massive transformation over the past 20 years, now hosting world class buildings like The Senedd (see my previous post) and Wales Millennium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    A Childs Christmas in Wales

    Today my friends, is my first day at home in Wales (UK), and this will be my first Christmas here in over 13 years! But most importantly, this will be childs first Christmas in Wales, and oh what a Christmas there shall be.

    As the playwright Dylan Thomas, from my hometown of Swansea, wrote in his famous poem, A Child’s Christmas in Wales,  ‘All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea.’ Magic.

    So a little bit of birdy magic for my little girl this week. Follow this link for 16 seconds of animated magic, then read on.

    Bronia Sawyer describes herself as a contemporary experimental paper artist, jewellery maker and crafts woman. There is something quite magical about her work. She colours, folds, and rolls the pages of books to create these bird and flower-like plumes of colour. So simple, so beautiful, so magical. I just love them. 'Read more' for more inspiring images of her work.

    Time to curl up in front of the open fire, with a hot toddy, and wish for a sprinkling of snow on the ground in the morning. I couldn’t feel more northern hemisphere Christmassy if I tried. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas wherever you are around the world.  Mama Bird x

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    The Too High Tea House

    Maverick Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori is interested in "architecture before civilization," a time when people were more exposed to the elements. And if his Takasugi-an, or Too-High Tea House , is anything to go by you couldn’t really be more exposed.

    Perched 20 feet in the air, atop two chestnut trees, accessible by only free standing ladders, the Too-High Tea House,  more of a Too-High Tree House,  is a one of a kind. As are most of his buildings.  He makes his architectural models by hacking tree stumps into abstract, sculptural shapes using a chainsaw. And when he’s completed the final drawings for a project, he invites his clients to his weekend house in Nagano for a little ceremony he’s devised. Sitting in the private Too-High Tea House, he hands them a hand-rendered version of the final plans. “If they don’t like my design, I shake the building!” he says.

    We love.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Birds, Bats and Bees

    timber: Rolf Sachs
    timber: Rolf Sachs

    As you know, we’re a sucker for funky lookin bird houses. This little selection caught our eye.

    Back in 2008, around 20 international artists and designers came together to create habitats for threatened British species from recycled materials for a charity auction in London. The brief was set by environmental organisation, Adventure Ecology and auction house, Phillips de Pury & Company, as an attempt to upcycle the auction house’s waste in a creative way.

    The paper, plastic and wood discarded in the process of packing, moving and installing art works and exhibitions was up-cycled to create habitats for the rapidly declining numbers of bird, bat and bee species in urban areas.

    Not sure how practical they are, but we love anyway. :)

    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    Folk of the kin.

    I first came across Kinfolk Magazine late last year, and fell head over heels in love.

    It's a bit like the divine Dumbo Feather magazine, but with their own style, content, and format. Their magazine, like Dumbo, leaves me feeling warm, and gooey ....part of a community based on core grass roots values, good design and food!

    Their Manifesto reads, ‘Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love. Every element of Kinfolk—the features, photography, and general aesthetics—are consistent with the way we feel entertaining should be: simple, uncomplicated, and less contrived. Kinfolk is the marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends.'

    We love.

    And so do others, looking at their rapidly expanding stockist list!

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Painting the town red

    In honour of all things red and lovely this Valentines Day,......courtesy of the ever fabulous Dezeen archives.......

    A bright red psychiatric centre in Zaragoza, Spain by Jose Javier Gallardo.
    The waiting room of a health centre by architects Migue Barahona and Luis Castillo in southern Spain.
    The garden of 10,000 bridges by West 8 in Xi'an, China.
    Brazilian architects Metro’s red glass chocolate museum.
    A bright red car showroom in Bangkok, Thailand by Supermachine Studio.
    The Nanhe River Landscape Bridge in the Sichuan province, China by New York studio WXY Architecture.
    A pedestrian crossing by Atelier 9.81 in Tourcoing, France.
    The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion by Jean Nouvel in London.




    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Oiva Toikka - Genius in Glass

    Finland’s oldest glass factory is located at the Nuutajärvi Glass Village, in the south of Finland. For over 200 years, glassblowing has been the central industry for this small community. It’s most famous resident is Oiva Toikka...he of the world reknowned Toikka glass Birds for Iittala, the Finnish design company.

    I made it over to Scandinavia in 2006. In search of all things on the holy grail of Scandinavian design, I had dreamt of collecting Toikka's Birds, and this was to be my first purchase. Oiva Toikka's glass birds were born in 1972, the year of my birth, so this journey felt somewhat predestined.

    A small golden, green-striped bird created for a Christmas exhibition mounted by the Nuutajärvi Museum in 1979 attracted the attention of a journalist at the family magazine, "Kotiliesi", which decided to offer it to its readers instead of a print as in previous years. The bird proved to be a great success. Since the inception of his glass bird creations, Oiva Toikka has created over 500 variations of glassblown birds including the annual bird release every year since 1996.

    Toikka glass birds are collected all around the world. Rarities are as eagerly tracked down and talked about as their real equivalents in the ornithological world. My small, but precious collection, sits on high in our living room, out of the reach of little hands, whilst their real equivalents fly by our windows their lungs full with the joys of song.

    Love, love, love. Sigh.