houseJohansson

thoughts on the built environment and interior design

Lloyd Loom of Spalding – cool furniture for the outdoors

Posted by housejohansson on 04/08/2009

 

Lloyd Loom of Spalding

Lloyd Loom of Spalding

It may appear that I hang out on the Pimlico Road all the time, but I can assure you this is not the case. Not that I would mind, there are some really classy and original furniture displayed in the shop windows on this road. One of those shops are Lloyd Loom of Spalding, a shop specialising in making furniture in the traditional Lloyd Loom style. Which in essence means producing furniture made out of paper wrapped wire – isn’t it amazing what technology can enable!

I must confess though that I have never really been a big fan of using this type of wicker furniture for interior purposes. Can’t really put my finger on why that is the case, suppose it’s just not my taste. Exerior use is a completely different matter though! There I think they look fabulous and can easily see myself sitting on a porch, in a garden or similar at any time sipping a glass of wine in a stylish Lloyd Loom production. Especially if they look like the one above :-)!

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Room dividers – practical and decorative

Posted by housejohansson on 04/08/2009

 

Room divider from Homebase

Room divider from Homebase

As the name implies, one purpose of a room divider is to divide a room. For example separating an eating area from the kitchen, or in an open area living, bedroom from living room. Another reason for using a room divider is of course because it’s (usually) a very attractive piece of furniture.

When I’m referring to room dividers I mean the folding kind, although there are naturally other styles out there such as hanging curtains/beads or sliding doors. Folding room dividers are available to buy in a multitude of designs – one is shown above.  If you are reasonably handy though, why not make your own then you will get one which looks exactly the way you like it! Plus it’s fun being creative.  Making a folding room divider is not rocket science, but I thought this link was rather informative on how to get your project moving.

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Swedish Grace – Art Deco the Scandinavian way

Posted by housejohansson on 03/08/2009

axel einar hjort

axel einar hjort

The term Swedish Grace was coined by the British design critic Morton Shand in 1930 referring to what he saw were common attributes of Swedish interior and architectural design at the time. More specifically these attributes could be described as uncluttered, simple lines combined with a cool elegance.

Personally I have always had a weakness for design coming out of this period and I think it’s a real shame it’s not been given more credit. Mind you, the exclusive materials used ensured that it was never a style within reach of “commoners”, and as a result the Swedish Grace era was short-lived. Fortunately, there are still a lot of artefacts living on. Architecturally, Stockholm’s City Hall and Stockholm’s Public Library are two examples well worth visiting.

When it comes to interior design, Axel Einar Hjort was a prominent designer (some of his work can be seen above) as was Carl Malmsten, both of whose works are very much in demand today. It was not until the 1980s that Swedish Grace designs came back into vogue, however. I have been told that in the early 1960s my parents smashed up a sofa designed by the latter as it was no longer required. What a sacrilege!

As a footnote – if you are interested in Scandinavian vintage design you may want to have a look at interiors offered by Jacksons.

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Love Anna James – www.loveannajames.com

Posted by housejohansson on 03/08/2009

Verona - contemporary art by Anna James

Verona - contemporary art by Anna James

Is graffiti-covered furniture attractive? This is a thought that lingers in my head after having read an article on the work of Anna James in the latest edition of Frame Magazine (Issue 69 : Jul/Aug 2009). Having contemplated this question since coming across the article a few days ago I’m still not sure how to answer it. I can most certainly say that her productions look highly innovative, inspirational and cutting-edge. And points to an ability to think outside the box. To say the least. 

But can I see myself having this furniture in my home? While I continue to reflect on this issue, I still think this lady deserves a lot of credit for her work even though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I like people who dares to do things differently.

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French mahogany settees upholstered in lime pony hair

Posted by housejohansson on 03/08/2009

French settees available at Mark Ransom

French settees available at Mark Ransom

Some times things just take your breath away, and that’s what happened to me the other day when I walked past Mark Ransom’s shop on the Pimlico Road (SW1, London).  The two settees displayed in the shop windows just absolutely blew me away, I loved the finishing of the woodwork not to mention the unusual upholstery. At first I thought it may be cow hide, but research on the shop’s website revealed that it’s pony hair. And the beautiful wooden frame in an early 19th century design is mahogany. As you can see above, the total impression is sleek with a slight air of antiquity, yet with the cool, modern upholstery giving it a firm place in any urban interior.  Obviously at a nice price – the exact level is not, however, stated on the website.

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Interiors 1930s style

Posted by housejohansson on 27/07/2009

Swedish interiors from the 1930s

Swedish interiors from the 1930s

I have a major weakness for Swedish 1920s/1930s interiors. Although I wouldn’t copy any of the interiors shown on the images above straight off, I love the furniture and the use of textiles. I also find it very interesting to see how popular pot plants were even back then!

Source:  early 1930s copies of the Swedish journal Husmodern

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The Secrets of Southeast Asian Textiles – Myth, Status and the Supernatural

Posted by housejohansson on 21/07/2009

The Secrets of Southeast Asian Textiles

The Secrets of Southeast Asian Textiles

Not sure about you, but I love beautiful fabrics because of the way they look and feel. Also because I love the potential of raw textiles, they are just waiting to be made into to something decorative and/or useful.  Having come across the above book though, those instincts make me feel rather simple. And there’s nothing simple about the content of The Secrets of Southeast Asian Textiles … (A River Books Production, 2007).

The book is a product of papers submitted for a James H W Thompson Foundation textile symposium and as such comprise texts from fifteen scholars examining the hidden meanings behind traditional textiles. Not surprisingly, textiles in Asia have played an important role in concepts of power and kingship and are also closely associated with shamanistic, Buddhist and Islamic beliefs. The book tackles these aspects in depth (maybe a bit too deep for me, but don’t let that put you off). If you get bored you can always get engrossed in the images :-).

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MOROCCAN TEXTILE EMBROIDERY

Posted by housejohansson on 21/07/2009

Moroccan textile embroidery

Moroccan textile embroidery

This stunning book is written by Isabelle Denamur, a lady who knows what she’s talking about – as an ethonologist she wrote the book in connection with researching for her thesis on the art of Moroccan embroidery. The book is full of stunning images illustrating embroidery finely crafted by women from areas around the country. I particularly like the older photographs and paintings showing the rich history of this craft tradition. Especially since I can imagine that the lady carrying out the work put her heart and soul into creating something that expressed her particular style, creating a really unique piece. I may be wrong by somehow I doubt that many Moroccan women today have neither the patience nor time to create pieces of similar standards.

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As opposed to minimalism

Posted by housejohansson on 17/07/2009

Bold colours!

Bold colours!

That minimalism has been the keyword in interior design for a looong time now has probably not by-passed anyone. Is it just me that’s beginning to feel that we should spice things up a bit? I’m thinking bold colours and contrasting patterns – how about walking on the wild side for a while? It’s not going to kill us. Quite the opposite I think.  I have the feeling that it may make our homes a wee bit more original and not all looking like they’re an exact copy of a page in the IKEA catalogue.  The images that I have posted on Flickr will give you an idea of what I mean. Some of them are very daring indeed.

(Images are sourced from House & Garden’s Guide to Interior Decoraction, The Conde Nast Publications, 1967)

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A holiday in Tampa, Florida, USA

Posted by housejohansson on 17/07/2009

Gone with the wind architecture in Tampa, Florida

Gone with the wind architecture in Tampa, Florida

Recently went on a most interesting, hot and fun holiday to Tampa, Florida. It’s been a while since I was last in the US and I had forgotten about what a highly car dependent society it is. Rather scary actually. You just wonder, in this age of environmentalism, financial crisis and town planning trends towards densifying and gentrifying dilapidated downtows, if it’s at all possible to change the American lifestyle. Even if it’s possible, I think that it will take a very long time.

As it stands, downtown Tampa to 70% currently consists of carparks if feels like. There are no shopping centres, and even though there has been some apartment blocks built, the place is really dead. Everyone seems to live, work and play on the outskirts of town. And what is so suprising, with the place being situated right on the waterfront of Tampa Bay, there is no beach in sight. You need to take the car (of course – the bus takes ages and only runs Monday to Friday) to Clearwater beach or similar. Now, there may be a reason for not having a beach or some man-made swimming facilities, but if that is the case it’s not immediately obvious to me. To let you in on a “secret” though – after a lot of searching we eventually did manage to find a beach at the very end of Davis Island behind the airport. And even a supermarket!!!

Having said all that though, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Tampa. Apart from knowing that the weather was going to be great, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the place certainly had a rough charm about it. And if you are looking for some great nightlife head for Ybor City, you are bound to find something to entertain you.

If you are into architecture, especially old southern state architecture, I recommend that you pay a visit to the Hyde Park / Bayshore area. Some really lovely and very grand houses there to take your breath away!

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