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Jamie Hewlett

Quentin Blake

Design from the library’s Olga Hirsch Collection of Decorative Papers

Think The British Library is just for dusty academics and clever clogs? The Spring Festival, from 1-5 March, should change your mind. Aimed at creative types but available to everyone, there are various workshops, including the Art of Illustration with the likes of Quentin Blake and Jamie Hewlett, but we’re heading to the Spring Market in the library’s Piazza on Thursday 1 March. Twelve designer-makers have been chosen from 80 entries into a competition of people who had used the library in some way to develop their work.

Or if you’re just looking for design inspiration, trawl the library’s fabulous archive and collections, including Japanese woodcuts, textile designs, fashion magazines, vintage knitting patterns, photographs, maps, stamps – and curators more than happy to guide you in the right direction.

Click through for a taste of the Spring Market designers.

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With its sensuously curved roof and gorgeous larch-clad exterior, we already knew the outside of the Olympic Velodrome was a thing of beauty – and now that they’ve opened the doors with the Track Cycling World Cup, an Olympics test event, we can safely say it’s just as lovely on the inside. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Chic blue from our fabulous My Interior Life in March, Georgia Hardinge, (catwalk shot by Kris Atomic, speaking of which – wow).
2 Phoebe English is pretty in pink. click through for more fashionteriors delights…

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We’ve featured the brilliant stitched creations of Peter Crawley on our blog before, remember? He just got in touch to tell us about his latest, very limited-edition series – a stitched sound-wave depiction of classic Sixties songs (from top: A Day In The Life, Good Vibrations and Blowin’ In The Wind). Each line of stitching represents one minute of audio. They’re also available as digital prints from Print Process.

Now we’re not the first people in the world to acknowledge that man of the moment Ryan Gosling is as well built and asthetically pleasing as any classic Eames creation, but of all the articles and blog posts put together in his honour, this, in our humble opinion, could not be any more perfect. The work of someone very clever over at one of our favourite blogs Apartment Therapy, this post marries up two of our favourite things by paring pictures of handsome Ryan with pictures of handsome interiors. What more could anyone want?  Other than being able to buy your very own Ryan in The Conran Shop, but maybe thats asking too much.  Check out the whole thing over here

Popped in to the Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum yesterday. It’s a real sign of the times how much interest there is in urban cycling as designers attempt to find new ways to dress, illuminate and protect two wheeled commuters.

The Brompton Oratory jacket, designed by Will Carleysmith for Brompton bikes, functions as a smart(ish) gents jacket, but in turn, reversable arm and collar flaps and a concealed rear pocket unleashes a series of neon flaps and illuminated patches for riding mode. Hi-tech fabrics make it weather-resistant enough to take you from the cycle lane to the boardroom (or geography lecture). £265 from the Design Museum Shop.

Safety and style get a look in at Swedish designer Hovding‘s clever cycle helmet. Worn as a collar it works on the same principle as an air bag. As soon as you’re struck, out pops a protective helmet which forms around your skull in plenty of time to soften the blow.

If your office doesn’t offer cycle storage, perhaps the boss would consider installing Bike Hanger, which, like New York car parks, stashes your wheels in the sky till you need them again.

See these and other clever Designs of the Year at the Design Museum, until July 15.

Look at these amazing paper-based balls of joy! If that’s not too over-the-top a description. Look out for more from The Balcony Gardener in the April issue of Livingetc. Love this, too.

Mo, acting news ed.

Check out the latest must-see exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery. On show until 27 May 2012.

The planing of the exhibition was well under way with the enthusiastic input of Lucien Freud (born 1922)  himself until his death in July 2011 at the age of 88.  He was literally painting until he dropped. His last, unfinished, picture  ‘Portrait of the Hound 2011’ of his long-time assistant David Dawson posing nude alongside his dog Eli is included in the show.

Other works range from an early self-portrait, ‘Man with a Feather,’ 1943, first picture, above, (Private Collection, copyright The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive.) ‘Two Irishmen in W11,’ 1984-5, second picture, above (Private Collection, Ireland, copyright The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive.)

The ‘Girl with a White Dog,’ 1950-1 third picture, above (Tate: Purchased 1952, copyright Tate, London 2012) is of Freud’s first wife, Kitty Garman. The fourth picture, above, ‘The  Brigadier,’ 2003-4 (Private Collection, copyright The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive) is of his friend and riding companion Andrew Parker Bowles.

Next, is another self-portrait, ‘Reflection,’ 1985 (Private Collection, Ireland, copyright The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive) painted when Freud was in his sixties, and particularly introspective. Finally, an early work, in 1947, ‘Girl in a Dark Jacket’ ( (Private Collection, copyright The Lucian Freud Archive. Photo: Courtesy Lucian Freud Archive) of his first wife Kitty, painted using fine sable brushes.

As his work progressed it became bigger, bolder, more dramatic. He said: ‘What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.’     Mary, Houses Editor

Taking knitting to a whole new level are Amy Butler‘s new patterns for Rowan, from rugs to necklaces!

Beats diamonds any day!

Perfect for this cold weather

What next, knit your own sofa?

Suzanne, editor

We’re partial to a bit of concrete at Livingetc, but even we were wowed by the many beautiful ways it’s been used in architecture. Architectonic: Concrete Walls (1958-1980) is a temporary exhibition telling the story of concrete in buildings, running until 15 April at the Atomium in Brussels. It’s a great excuse for a spring city break, but if you can’t make it, click through and enjoy more designs. Sarah, chief sub-editor

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As the team behind Livingetc, the UK’s leading magazine for modern interiors, we’re always out and about, scouting for inspiration. And when we see something that makes our design minds flutter with joy, we’ll share it with you here. To purchase the digital version of the magazine, click here.

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