With the Olympics reaching fever pitch it seemed like perfect timing when we came across these fantastic collages by German artist Jens Ullrich, who beautifully combines the motion and adrenalin of the athlete, with the calm perfection of classical sculpture. For one instant the roar of the crowd disappears and the athlete becomes immortal; time stands still and gold, silver or bronze don’t seem to matter anymore.

Amy, Style Intern

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

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Textiles designer Suki Cheema studied printmaking at Central St Martin’s before going on to live in New York where he designed textiles for the likes of Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Diane Von Furstenberg.  He launched his own brand in 2010, we asked him about his wonderful world of colour, pattern and embroidery…

When did you know you wanted to be a textile designer? I inherited my love of textiles and design from my creative parents and nana.  When I was a child my parents owned a textile factory in the Midlands. One of my fondest memories is when I first went through my mother’s dowry.  I played with the colourful fabrics and sharis and loved the patterns and embroidery on the sharis,  my most cherished item was a blanket, which was handwoven for her by my nana.  This is where my love affair with textiles started.

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What are you most proud of in your work? The vast majority of our production is done in India.  We use ancient embroidery and printing techniques and combine them with bright colours and modern prints. I am proud to be creating what I love most while honouring and protecting the validity of these centuries-old crafts in the modern world of design.

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Which other textile designers do you admire? I have great respect and admiration for the innovators of textile and print design.  While in school at Central Saint Martins, I was particularly fond of the work of William Morris and F. Gregory Brown.  I still find myself referencing these two greats when doing research for my new collections

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Which place has inspired you most in your work? It is hard to name just one place!  Each collection that I design is inspired by a different location around the world, whether Masai paintings and jewellery, Incan cave drawings, or the cobblestone streets of London, I find inspiration everywhere.  That said, I do find myself often drawn to India.  The vibrant hues and wonderful fabrics are so varied that there is always more to be influenced by.

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You worked with Diane Von Furstenberg, what did you learn from her? Early in my days at DVF, Diane walked into the design studio with a napkin that was soaked in beetroot juice and said, “THIS is the colour that I want.”  She was so specific about what she was looking for that it has stuck with me ever since.  I learned about the importance of each shade of a colour.  Not only was she a strong leader, but she also taught us the importance of following our dreams.

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Which textile technique do you love to work with most? Hand silk screening and Aari work, which is thread work done as a chain stitch. You’ll find both of these techniques mixed a great deal in my textiles. I loved the added dimension and texture that it brings.

What are you working on now? I have just finished designing our Africa and Safari-inpired Spring 2013 collection, which includes bags and scarves. In 10 years time, we would like to be a well rounded lifestyle brand that is a household name.

 

With our current fascination for the world’s athletes, we got to wondering what makes those well oiled machines work? It seems we’re not the only ones; photographer Michael Bodiham and stylist Sarah Parker have worked together to produce a pleasingly organised visual representation of what athletes, from gymnasts to weightlifters eat in a typical day. The sets were made larger than life from laser cut MDF and card to frame the life sized food; we love the attention to detail such as the giant salt & pepper sachets and milk carton.

 

Kate, Editorial Assistant

Nowness

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.

We love a bit of impractical nail art, especially when it involves flocking. With her nails newly flocked photographer Alice Bartlett visited a model shop where she found people tiny enough to populate her garden like fingertips; life looks so simple on such a small patch of grass… although it’ll be chaos when it’s time to do the washing up.

Amy, Style Intern

I love Dolce & Gabbana, so their first ever couture collection, which recently debuted in Sicily was something of a treat. Though there were many amazing and intricate gowns, oh how I lusted after this lovely frock with it’s delicate hand painted blooms. See this and some of the rest of the collection here.

Then, while browsing other generally wonderful stuff over at AnOther, I came across this beauteousness.  Flowers! In ice cubes! How pretty are they? This would be just the thing to sip while wearing the dream dress.

So maybe D&G couture is a bit out of my league budget wise, but if I make the ice cubes (essentially free) I could still sip the drink while admiring this beautiful, breezy curtain by our friends over at Bluebellgray.  A decidedly more affordable option.

Claudia, Features Editor

 

Forever dismissing our ideas of beige cardigan wearing grannies towing tartan shopping trollies along the high street, these fashionistas are giving the young guns of the fashion world a run for their money. We could all learn a thing or two about style from these utterly fabulous women snapped by Ari Seth Cohen for his blog Advanced Style, which has now been published into a glossy coffee table book. Seriously addictive stuff.

Kate, Editorial Assistant

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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