Best and latest in design

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Inside Sarah Jessica Parker’s first ‘SJP Collection’ retail store

In a fitting move, the fashionista of Sex and the City has opened a ‘real life’ fashion store. Sarah Jessica Parker is building on the success of her self named accessories and apparel brand –  SJP Collection – with the launch of her first standalone store.

Made famous through her character Carrie Bradshaw in the hit TV series, Parker says the new store treats colour ‘as a neutral’.

“Colour as a neutral allows a sort of whimsical decadence. It sets us apart in the market. It allows real creativity. We’re not always thinking about practicality.”

The walls are painted a muted pink and the shelves and furniture are made from a transparent lucite, letting the brightly coloured shoes steal the attention. Likewise, the customers of SJP Collection tend to be seeking something unconventional and whimsical, with many even choosing to wear the designs for their wedding day.

The store in Washington D.C.’s National Harbor resort houses SJP Collection dresses, candles, bags, fragrances, and of course, shoes under the one roof. Take a look…

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 Images from SJP Collection and Footwear News and header image from here.

What’s new in the world of design: March 2017

This month, we look at products and spaces that challenge the traditional and mainstream notions of design. From gnarly looking pottery to an exhibition based on redemption and spaces that challenge norms, the design industry – and the people behind it – never stand still.

1.Tom Dixon launches new accessories range

Never one to play it safe or do the expected, Tom Dixon has launched his latest collection: this time catering to the bathroom and kitchen. And no, it’s not just a lighting range, it includes hand washes and balms, storage solutions and even a washing up liquid. Dixon says the range was inspired by the hotel bathrooms, spas, apartments and restaurants his design studio team have been working on.

“After working on some of the harder, tougher components of lighting and storage, it all felt a bit incomplete without looking at the softer elements… so it seemed only natural to start thinking of the lotions and potions of this most cleansing of spaces,” said Dixon.

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Images: Tom Dixon

2. Alice McCALL’s Emporium Melbourne store

A visual delight, the new Alice McCALL store at Melbourne’s Emporium shopping complex is now open. Each of the brand’s boutiques have their own unique look. This store features a monochromatic colour theme offset with brass. Designed by Studio Wonder, their aim was to create a “striking, graphic, minimal space offset with polished brass archways ribboning around the store to highlight the colourful, feminine collections”.

Soft grey and white checkerboard tiles, a solid marble counter and velvet pouffes all have a classic appeal, while more modern touches are introduced through Douglas and Bec stools and a pendant by Jamie Gray for Matter Made.

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Images: Studio Wonder. Photography by Tom Blachford.

3. Works by Takuro Kuwata 

Japanese artist Takuro Kuwata redefines the idea of pottery. His surfaces are thickly coated in glaze, which explodes when baked, he adds stones to his clay that puncture the surface when fired, he chooses unusual colour combinations, and he works with needles to create texture on his designs. As a result, his creations look like space objects or living things from another planet. The artist says he likes his work to evoke a sense of ‘irreverence and visual ecstasy’ – and that they do!

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Images: Takuro Kuwata

4. ‘There is Hope to the Last Flower‘ exhibition by Julian Meagher

Now on at the Olsen Gallery, see the work of former medical doctor and now artist, Julian Meagher. The director of Chalk Horse Gallery in Sydney creates unique oil paintings that explore personal and inherited history, including links to our national identity. His latest collection focuses on poignant themes of redemption and extinction. Matte black bottles create a magnetic centre while metallic reflections provide glamour.

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Photos: Mim Stirling from here.


5 incredible lobbies from around the world

While there’s no denying that holidays and travel are one of life’s greatest joys, the design-minded amongst us also get the same excitement out of the places we get to stay at and explore around the world. On that note, we’ve curated our five ‘stand-out’ lobbies from across the globe – from a former palace to a tropical outdoor lobby, take a look…

1. Four Seasons George V, Paris

Positioned just near the Champs-Elysées, Paris’ five star Four Seasons George V hotel is like stepping back in time to a bygone era, complete with 18th century French antiques, original tapestries and bronze sculptures. What’s almost more impressive however is that the hotel spends approximately £1 million per year on flowers, which is one of the reasons the lobby is such an alluring space. Whether you’re a guest in one of the 244 lavishly appointed hotel guest rooms and suites, or simply one of the many visitors who go to see the floral masterpieces in the lobby, you won’t leave disappointed.

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Images from here.

2. Barceló La Bobadilla

Nestled into a 350-hectare estate, Granada’s five start Barceló La Bobadilla hotel exudes a sense of royal charm, being built within the walls of a former palace. The lobby uniquely opens onto the hotel’s lush tropical gardens and is propped up by arches and marble colonnades. Housing just 70 rooms, this hotel provides a taste the authentic Andalusian countryside and history.


Image from here.

 3. The Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Opening its doors in 1887, and this year undergoing a three stage renovation project due for completion in mid 2018, Singapore’s Raffles Hotel Singapore has become an icon of Far East luxury and history. Featuring colonial design and sitting in the heart of the business and civic district, the romance starts as soon as one pulls up in the lobby. Sikh doormen welcome you inside the lobby, with its white marble colonnades, an atrium that soars three floors up and polished teak verandas that lead to 103 suites, 14 restaurants and bars, event spaces and a shopping arcade. It’s no surprise that this hotel is listed as a National Monument by the Singapore Government.

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Images from here.

4. W Retreat Koh Samui, Thailand

The least traditional lobby of the lot is Koh Sumui’s W Retreat. It’s a semi-outdoor lobby which circles a lotus pond and overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. Pop art covers the walls inside, while lotus shaped sunken seats surround water features as you step outside. It’s a modern and chic destination to stay with 74 private pool retreats and six restaurants and bars to explore.

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Images from here.

5. Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai

Touted as ‘the world’s most luxurious hotel’, Dubai’s Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s lobby can best be described as kaleidoscopic. A symbol of modern Dubai, and home to 202 lavish suites and even a helipad, the hotel was built to resemble the sail of a ‘dhow’ (an Arabian vessel). Once inside, guests are witness to a 180m atrium, 24-carat gold leaf pillars in a unique honeycomb design, numerous fountains, Statuario marble and hand-crafted rugs. It’s a combination of traditional Arabian design elements with 21st century applications.

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Images from here and here.

Celebrity Insider: Meghan Markle’s fashionista Toronto Home

Californian-born Meghan Markle rose to fame thanks to her role in hit America TV series, Suits. She has since returned to the spotlight due to her romantic relationship with none other than Prince Harry of Wales. The 35-year old actress and humanitarian is currently based in Toronto and regularly shares vignettes of her home via her Instagram account.

We could be mistaken for thinking Markle works in the fashion industry: her tables decorated with fashion books and a closet solely for her impressive heel collection. Complementing most of these stacks of books are vases of fresh flowers – some even picked from her own garden.

Markle also appreciates fine art, with a nude, watercolour Inslee Fariss piece hanging above the bed and a Gray Malin print in her living room. Throughout the home, white is the dominant colour used for much of the decor and furniture, but touches of rustic timber furniture provide texture and character… as do her two adopted dogs! Take a look…

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Images: and here.