Interiors Birmingham 2011, take your (funky) seats please


Claire Anne O'Brien's Knit Stools 2011

Mr Moregeous popped his halo on last week and drove me down to Interiors Birmingham for the last day of the show. Work and other commitments meant that unfortunately it was just a one day visit so I’d to be fairly disciplined and ruthless in what I wanted to see, the exhibition consists of five halls packed with stands, plus seminars to boot, so no time for dilly-dallying!

Having been before several times, I knew which halls which would float my boat and which ones I could skim through. Unlike 100% Design where there are many individual designers/small companies, each stand has only a few items displayed and there can be a totally different look from one year to the next, Interiors has been more about larger corporate stands displaying both new and established lines allowing the trade buyer to get a feel for the market, make contacts and do business. That said, in recent years the show (for me) has become much more interesting with collaborations, seminars and the more edgy interiors of the Thinking Space, plus you do find unearth gems exhibiting exciting and well crafted products.

This years, there were a number of settees / chairs which caught my eye, mostly dotted around Hall 2’s Thinking Space and the designersblock and New Design Britain areas. I guess they sum up the style of interiors I most like: eclectic, fun, surprising, essentially British and not for everyone. I daydream that one day I’ll eventually get around to renovating this home of mine instead of just working on everyone else’s and the inside will be lavishly furnished with pieces just like these 🙂

The opening image above is of British textile designer Claire Anne O’Brien’s Knit Stools which I adored, such a clever twist on an established craft with the tactile seats perched on giant knitting needles.

Interesting to see this sofa below on the Conran stand, a remake of one of their established sofas but using a retro Sanderson print. I’m wondering if they were inspired by the Ercol / Timorous beasties sofa from the 2009 show which I’ve pictured below too, that feeling of the rear of the sofa telling a design story, what do you think?

Interiors Birmingham Conran Sofa 2011

Interiors Birmingham Conran stand 2011

Ercol / Timorous Beasties collaboration 2009

Hannah Stanton’s Utility Nursing Chair below was awarded 2nd place in the New Design Britain Awards fabric section, and you can read the inspiration and story behind it on the link. I thought it was very elegant but also a very ‘female’ piece of furniture before I read that it was a nursing chair.

Hannah Stanton Utility Nursing Chair 2011

On display was one of the sofas from the collaboration between John Paul Gaultier and French furniture company Roche Bobois, funky, glamorous and unconventional, I loved it.

Roche Bobois in collaboration with John Paul Gaultier

Another collaboration featured was this Windsor Chair, where the chair makers Sitting Firm and Surface Design student Kelly-Marie Sifleet joined forces using solid ash, in-house craftsmanship and laser cut ply to make something quite unique. Whether the multi-coloured mosaic is to your taste or not, the possibilities and permutations are endless, it’s such a great idea.

Sitting Firm and Kelly-Marie Sifleet

I had to feature this one if only for the fact that it has a spine running up the middle of it and I have such problems with mine! The S200 Lotus was designed by Maher Reynolds Furniture, a Midlands company which mainly focuses on the contract market, but is looking at bringing a more design led feel to their products. This one uses an original textile design by Rebecca Church.

S200 Lotus chair by MRF and and Rebecca Church

And talking of spines, a bit of a rest in the press room was needed, complete with a modern twist on Hilda Ogden’s ducks….

Someone else was quietly enjoying the designersblock stand too…

Now I know some of you will HATE this upholstered chesterfield but bear with me. It didn’t photograph very well with the flash and purple may not be to your taste but the quality of the sofas on this Roche Designs stand was outstanding. That coupled with the fact that these sofas are manufactured in Manchester made it a winner for me. They upholster timeless classics in soft leather or beautiful fabrics and are moving in a more contemporary direction than their web-site would suggest. Apparently diamond buttoned Chesterfields are selling well…. recession, what recession?!

Roche Designs Chesterfield

This Coach House chair was quite pretty, I thought, part of a range of bedroom furniture new for Spring 2011.

Coach House floral chair

Another much needed rest and rehydration, spot the interior design guru if you can…..

Naomi Cleaver just before her seminar on Homes for Humans!

Time for a quick massage on the most popular chairs at the show at £5 a go 😉

And then hometime. I did actually buy a chair at the show, but I’m going to save that for a little post all of it’s own!

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