Interiors Birmingham 2011: More Interiors Treasure

Lee Broom’s Architrave furniture

There’s always an item which you see at a trade show or exhibition which sticks in your mind and becomes the brain bookmark for the visit. For me at Interiors Birmingham 2011 it was seeing these Lee Broom for Heal’s pieces on display. We’ve lost our Heal’s store in Manchester so London readers may well have seen these in the flesh already, but it was my first viewing and I loved their simplicity, elegance and blend of the traditional and modern. I’m so used to buying architraves and fixing them around doors it was just such a surprise to see it used in this way, yet somehow so obvious. All the best ideas, eh?

See more images of this range on the De Zeen site:

What else caught my eye? This fabulously organic fish bowl designed by Richard Bell in the New Design Britain area:

Richard Bell’s Bubble Tank

These beautifully woven ‘textiles of the woods’ by Jennifer Jones dressing pieces of timber and with colours reflecting those of the changing seasons of British woodland in the suspended photographs above:

Jennifer Jones Textilis Silvae

This vibrant and property related wallpaper by Monique Stewart:

Monique Stewart’s Across The Street

Textile designer Jessica Penrose’s winning rug design based on the migration patterns and routes of swallows, a romantic and stylish choice in a market saturated with random patterns of little meaning.

Jessica Penrose’s winning rug design, first on the left

This one below had me stumped and though I’ve read the literature, I still don’t really know what it does, but it all seems very clever. Designer Elaine Ng Yan Ling uses natural elements and designs and combines them with technology and shape memory materials so they respond to things like light and heat, and, well, move. Bringing a bit of nature’s eternal changes into man’s sterile environment is the point, I think. Though this one didn’t actually move. It won top prize however so someone must have seen it do something 😉

Elaine Ng Yan Ling’s Techno-Naturology

It was Designersblock’s fourth year presenting a feature area at Interiors Birmingham, with the space growing into a definite crowd puller, lovely to bump into Piers on the stand again this year (it’s getting to be a habit!). I remember the first year when many of the regulars eyed it warily wondering what on earth was going on with this funky little space devoid of brown leather sofas and few ventured over to check it out. Very different now, with many buyers and manufacturers realising people just don’t want bland and boring anymore 🙂 This year amongst other exhibits was The Wall of Great China and this plate on the left caught my eye. The one on the right is clearly for dieters.

Ayda Anlagan ceramics

Nice shot of two proud Geralds, the make-your-own pooch by Manchester based Lazerian, on the Designersblock stand:

Gerald the Lazerian mascot

Not so much a light as a room filler, this carbon fibre contemporary chandelier is about 2m wide and was a hit with commercial visitors:

Lazerian’s carbon fibre light

Surface patterned concrete tiles have been around for a while but the tech just gets better and better. These ones on show by Graphic Relief had such fine surface detail and detailed engineering, it’s hard to imagine why anyone has plain old ceramic anymore!

Graphic Relief’s concrete tiles

Beautiful steam bent strips of walnut, oak and ash create these delicate lights called Pendant No 1 by Tom Raffield who’s based in Cornwall. I like these a lot, especially the walnut one #gorgeous

Tom Raffield’s timber pendants

I found the perfect light for a client who had been looking for a French style pull down light to position over her rustic dining table 🙂

Terre d’Hautaniboul ceramic light

And then I spotted this and did a sharp intake of breath! A mimicry of one of my favourite lights of all time, the Flos Marcel Wanders Skygarden at a tenth of the price. How *do* they get away with it!!?!

Mentioning no names – the copy!!
Marcel Wanders for Flos Skygarden

Finally it was time for a sit down and a seminar, taken by none other than Channel 4’s interior design guru Naomi Cleaver, she of the stylish dresses and intelligent observations. Her talk Homes for Humans was based around her latest book The Joy of Home with its focus not on fashion, trends or fads, but on interior design which makes your heart sing.

Naomi Cleaver at Interiors Birmingham 2011

Not for Naomi the bland, beige, one-style-for-all interiors espoused by other property queens, for her it’s all about the senses, the experience and the detail – enhance your home and you enhance your life. My kind of designer. Plus she had a very naughty sense of humour and spoke her mind, rare with ‘celebs’, I won’t go into who was mentioned, suffice to say we had something in common and I giggled all the way home. Great to find her on Twitter and follow her latest renovation traumas too, it’s not just us mere mortals who have problems with builders!

Naomi Cleaver and I found we had a mutual dislike of blandification and those who recommended it….

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