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Invites are on our mind this week as London Design Festival fires up, here are a few we’ve stumbled across that we just love!


We have been going a little concrete crazy here recently, so we were thrilled to come across these unbelievable photographs of Brutalist buildings photographed by Frédéric Chaubin for his book Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed. Scattered across former Soviet Republics these buildings are memories of chaotic and decaying systems, masterpieces of expressive architecture which hauntingly seem to fit into both the past and the future.

Amy, Style Intern

Fruits Table Lamp by Hisakazu Shimizu

Getting your 5 a day has never been easier thanks to this gorgeous candy coloured fruit bowl lamp – we feel healthier (& happier) just looking at it! Designed by Hisakazu Shimizu of S&O Design, it was first displayed last year at Galerie VIVID in Rotterdam, as part of Shimizu’s Fruits exhibition. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Photo: Yoshi Shirane. See more photos at Dezeen

Kate, Editorial Assistant

Afternoon tea will never be the same again with this elegantly engineered tea set from Emma Louise Payne. Inspired by the days when English ladies would place their teaspoons in specific positions to indicate if they needed a refill, were still drinking or had finished, the tea set stands upright when full and gently tips back when empty, wordlessly telling the host a top up is required. Victorian etiquette, modern design- simply brilliant.

Amy, Style Intern

 Sophie Smallhorn is a London based artist who’s work sits somewhere between art and design. Known for the strong use of colour within her work and her specific colour palettes, Sophie was commissioned to create a very special work for the Olympics that involved wrapping the gargantuan Olympic stadium in a riot of colour. Inspired by the colours associated with the Olympic rings and the flags of the 204 countries participating, Sophie has transformed the monochrome structure into a dynamic piece of architecture. Here she tells us about her work, inspirations, and what it was like working on such a large scale project.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I made furniture at college and was definitely on the design path but the sculptural pieces started to evolve initially made from offcuts from the furniture projects. I certainly didn’t set out to be an artist but it’s a very good place to be now.

Was colour something you were always fascinated by?
My mum was a textile designer so I was brought up with quite a lot of colour around and ever since college my work has centered around colour. I like the endless possibilities of it and the idea that you can make a seemingly ‘difficult’ colour work within a piece; In fact it’s essential to work with the tricky colours otherwise a composition can just be too safe.

What are you most proud of in your work?
I am very proud of the Olympic project because of the scale and idea that the colour will influence the way in which visitors will interact with the building. Apart from that I just feel proud and very lucky to be working and making a living from creating things.

Which designer or artist do you admire most for their colour sensibility?
I think Sauerbruch + Hutton architects have created some amazing buildings using colour ingeniously. And Japanese textile designer Mina Perhonen whose books I dip into often

Where would you like to apply your work next? 
I am currently working on a glass canopy which will be installed in Victoria in London. It uses glass enamel screen printed colours and I hope will create a beautiful covered public space. I am also starting out on a commission to make a large hanging mobile which I am particularly excited about.

What was the biggest challenge about the Olympic project?
The biggest challenge was dealing with the politics involved in this type of project. One of the best parts was watching the stadium being built and working with Populous the architects because they allowed me a lot of freedom to play.

See more of Sophie’s work here.

Over the next few weeks, all eyes will be on the architectural wonders of the East End’s Olympic Park. But that’s not where all the interest lies. Less than a mile from the action, local Hackney artist Alex Chinneck has found true beauty in the broken factory windows of an industrial wasteland and staged an artistic ‘intervention’ to transform a former cannabis factory into an amazing public art project. 

Chinneck spent a gruelling four months removing the detritus of its former life – bags of soil, wiring, grow bags, water tanks, plant pots and heat lamps.

After clearing the site, Chinneck duplicated one of the smashed panes 312 times, then used it to replace each original factory window.


“There is something mesmerising about the way light catches a broken window pane, not only is the glass shattered but so is the reflection,” says Chinneck.


Fast becoming a ‘Hackney landmark’, the former factory, which is on the corner of Mare Street and Tudor Road, will soon be demolished, the work disappearing with it. So if you can’t make it to the 100 metres…

Title: Telling the Truth Through False Teeth

Artist: Alex Chinneck in association with Sumarria Lunn Gallery

Location: corner of Mare Street and Tudor Road, Hackney, E9 7FE

Installation on view: now until November 2012















Whether it’s the primrose tufts and periwinkle trails of Spring that appeal, or it’s the Autumn season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that you long for – all Four Seasons are represented until the 16th September at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London.

These giant 15-foot high fibre-glass sculptures by American artist Philip Haas are based upon the artworks of 16th-century Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, who painted portraits composed of various objects.

Go enjoy Summer. Well, at least in some form.

Bethan, News & Travel Editor

No, these aren’t photos of a model toy set but photographer Richard Silver‘s wonderfully whimsical Tilt Shift photography. Turning the world into a hazy background, Silver highlights the minuteness of human beings and challenges the perspective of how we view the world. Beautiful!

Amy, Style Intern

We love a bit of set design here at Livingetc, so we were more than intrigued to see what three contemporary artists would conjure up for the Royal Ballet’s exciting collaboration with the National Gallery entitled Metamorphisis: Titian 2012. Based on three Titian’s great paintings of the Diana and Actaeon myth, three short ballets were choreographed around sets designed by Conran Shawross, Mark Wallinger and Chris Ofili. Wallinger’s vision included futuristic two way mirrors, Ofili opted for psychedelic forest like scenery, and Shawcross put a giant robot behind the dancers, whose single lit arm mirrored the dancer’s movements. Tonight the piece will be shown live on big screens across the UK for free, see where you can watch here.

Kate, Editorial Assistant

Photography: Johan Persson, courtesy of ROH

I do love it when I spot something ‘unusual’ on my ‘usual’ walk to work…

The iconic red phone box is a rarity to see these days, but when I saw this one on the corner of Borough Market it stopped me in my tracks!

No phone calls to be made in this little number however, for it was the BTArtBox!

Across London, replicas of the phone box are being transformed by 80 creatives such as Lily Cole, Giles Deacon and Zandra Rhodes. These are some of my personal favourites.

These phone boxes are to be auctioned off on Ebay as from today, with proceeds going to Childline. The charity auction is being launched at SEALIFE London Aquarium’s shark tank.

So if you fancy your very own funky phone box get your bidding fingers at the ready, as the auction ends on July 22nd.

Mel, Art Editor.

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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