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design travels



Design Inspiration at ICFF

My head is spinning with design inspiration from the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC. I love this show as it really gives me a glimpse into the direction of interior design. If I had to pick one word to describe the overlying theme, it would be artisanal as so many pieces had a handmade feel or look to them.


This desk by Stilvoll is a work of art. Comprised of 400 pieces, it converts from a standing work table, with a built in easel, to a standard height desk by adjusting the number of blocks in the legs. A wonderful example of form and function.IMG_3798resizeWorkstead produces gorgeous lighting and furniture. I salivated over the entire vignette of  leather chair, ottoman, table and brass lamp.IMG_3807resize

Just look at the detail and workmanship in the doors of the credenza by Ethan Abramson. Live edge is still very current on wood pieces of furniture.



This handblown glass from Toronto glass artist Jeff Goodman was gorgeous. It had a matte finish and beautiful colours. I especially liked the special process they use to produce the white glass with the textured appearance. This process also makes the glass very durable.IMG_3791resize More handblown glass, this time by Buoyant. The cluster of seeded clear glass creates a stunning chandelier. I would love one of the table lamps for soft ambient lighting.IMG_3775resize

Shakúlt creates glass that looks like it was spun out of honey. The texture of the globes throw beautiful shadows when lit. Super dramatic when the globes are clustered.IMG_3829resize


Bathrooms were not exempt from the artisan trend. Concrete is a terrific material to create organic forms. Lowinfo did just that with this series of concrete hand washed basins.IMG_3773resize This line of bathroom fixtures by Cielo has a beautiful matte finish and unique colours making them look like they were made in the pottery studio.IMG_3774resize Victoria + Albert designed this freestanding vanity and sink with a blend of matte and glossy finishes. Note the biscuit colour making a comeback.IMG_3794resizeThese plumbing fixtures by Rubinet have also been designed to have a handmade feel. Some look like they were put together from copper piping!IMG_3828resize


This was just a fraction of what I saw at ICFF. Many new ideas will percolate out of what I absorbed and will be reflected in my future designs. I hope you enjoyed my tour!


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Marimekko Up Close


A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Marimekko flagship store in Helsinki, Finland. I thought, since this is the 50th anniversary of Maremekkos’ iconic flower pattern Unikko, that it would be a great time to share some thoughts on this fabulous designer.


Founded in 1949, by Armi Ratia, Marimekko was defined as “a cultural phenomenon guiding the quality of living”. However, the company really got off the ground in 1951 with its first fashion show. It created such a sensation that clothing was literally sold off the models backs. In 1960, Jackie Kennedy cemented Marimekko’s place in history with the purchase of seven dresses that she wore throughout the presidential campaign. In the 1990′s, the TV show Sex and the City caused a resurgence in popularity when Carrie wore a bikini in a Marimekko print and later one of their print dresses. Marimekko is characterized by simple, bold, colourful prints. Although Armi disliked florals and forbid them in her fabrics, one of the designers ignored her and created the iconic print Unikko, shown below on fabric and tea accessories.


With the popularity of bright colours this year, in both fashion and decor, Marimekko is still right on trend. They were mixing reds and pinks, blues and greens long before we ever thought it was ok! A little bit of Marimekko print goes a long way. Cushions, napkins, tablecloths, shower curtains and tableware are some of their most popular items. Below are some prints from the new Fall 2014 line.

marimekko fall

I really like the idea of stretching a piece of their bold printed fabric over a wooden frame for instant artwork and a pop of colour. Both EQ3 and Crate and Barrel stock Marimekko products, while Vancouver has the only Marimekko store in Canada.


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