Designer Desire: Ettore Sottsass

Mosaic of Ettore Sottsass product designs | H is for Home

One of the things near the top of my wish list is a cherry red vintage Valentine typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass for Olivetti in 1968. The ones in good condition and complete with their carry cases sell for over a hundred pounds on eBay.

We love lots of his product and furniture designs, although much of his output from the Memphis Group period isn’t our cup of tea – perhaps it’s because we were both hip & trendy young adults in the 80s and we don’t need reminding of the time! 🙂

Ettore Sottsass

Image credits:

NY Times | 1st Dibs | MOMA | V&A | eBay | Utility Design | Amazon

Tibor Reich exhibition

Tibor Reich tapestry | H is for Home

Last week, I made an all too rare visit to Manchester; I was meeting a friend at the Whitworth to view the Tibor Reich exhibition.

Tibor Reich exhibition room at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Tibor Reich mural at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Tigoware sketch by Tibor Reich displayed at the Whitworth

Tibor Reich Tigo-Ware 'Florence' and 'Espanola' vases | H is for Home

It was wonderful seeing his work ‘in the flesh’ so to speak, rather than in books or on the internet, to appreciate the scale. The ‘Florence’ Tigo-Ware vase on the left of the photo above is over a foot tall.

Examples of Tigo-Ware designed by Tibor Reich and produced by Denby Pottery in the 1950s | H is for Home

Tibor Reich designed ceramic tiles | H is for Home

His black & white sgraffito designs are very eye-catching and distinctive.

Ceramic ashtrays designed by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Apparently, he designed and produced these keyhole-shaped ashtrays as presents for friends one Christmas. I’ve never seen one on the open market, they’re absolutely beautiful!

Ceramic ashtray designed by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Tibor Reich pen & ink sketches | H is for Home

A lot of his ceramic work is concerned with the female form and visage – my friend and I wondered whether his wife Freda, who was pictured in many of the photographs in the exhibition, acted as his muse.

Colour sketches of women by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

A displat of tools and other objects used by Tibor Reich | H is for Home

Tibor Reich's sitting room which he designed himself | H is for Home

Reich may be best known for his textiles (his designs were on the seats of Concorde and the QE II), however his practice was multifaceted. Ceramics, fine art, photography… he even designed his own home including the ‘flaming onion’ fire in his sitting room, shown above.

 

A photo posted by TIBOR (@tiborreich) on

Tibor Reich: Art of Colour and Texture, shown above, was published earlier this month to accompany the exhibition. It can be purchased here (£35.00). The Tibor Reich exhibition runs until August 2016, so you still have lots of time to check it out – it’s well worth it! If you can’t get to Manchester, the University of Leeds (where he studied) have a huge archive of his textile work which can be viewed online.

Wallpaper display at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

In an adjoining room, there was an exhibition of vintage wallpaper (which runs until the 4th of September 2016). With the room’s huge, tall walls the long rolls were shown off to spectacular effect.

Wallpaper display at the Whitworth in Manchester | H is for Home

Although I loved most of the designs, it also made me realise how overpowering some of the patterns would be if all four walls in a room were papered. A small feature wall would suffice!

Vintage 'Promenade' wallpaper sample | H is for Home

There were display cabinets of wallpaper samples – here are two of my favourites.

Vintage wallpaper sample with birds pattern | H is for Home

10 decades of iconic interior design

Recently, Hillary’s Blinds contacted us asking us to chose what we thought was an iconic interior design item from the past century. We found it really hard to narrow it down!

What era should we choose from, what type of item? We eventually decided upon Robin Day’s Polo chair designed in 1975. It’s British, has been produced in the millions (and still counting!) and has been exported all over the world. Chances are most of our behinds have graced a Polo at one time or another!

Other bloggers and design experts such as Walnut Grey, Confessions of a Design Geek and Little Green Shed have also chosen their favourites. See the full listing below. What’s your iconic interior design item?

10 decades of iconic interior design
10 decades of iconic interior design – Hillarys

Danish Fortnight at Neiman-Marcus

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Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

We thought that we’d take a closer look at the vintage Neiman-Marcus poster that we showed in yesterday’s Forthcoming Attractions post. As we mentioned, we’ve had this poster in storage for some time and have just had it framed. It looks fantastic!

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster

It’s the work of Danish artist, Ib Antoni. He designed textiles, porcelain and lamps too, but it’s his posters for which he’s most famous. He was much in demand during his relatively short career. His list of clients is tremendous –  from tourist boards to large manufacturing companies. Tragically he died quite young in a hotel fire aged just 44. He’s much loved in Denmark and indeed worldwide. He left a wonderful body of work with over 300 poster designs and is one of our favourite illustrators.

Ib Antoni's signature

The US department store Neiman-Marcus developed the concept of special fortnights to promote sales in the quiet autumn period before the Christmas rush. They started in 1957 with French Fortnight. It celebrated the distinctive culture, cuisine and fashion of that particular nation. They were a great success and continued up until the 1980s. Danish Fortnight took place in Dallas in 1964.

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

This extract comes from a local newspaper at the time:

Dallas’ Neiman-Marcus will open its Danish Fortnight tomorrow with royal Danes and Great Danes in attendance. And if it’s anything like the fairyland Swiss Fortnight of last year, start wishing that your husbands will find some business in Dallas during the two-week event. The specialty store promises to bring the greatness of Denmark to visitors, dramatizing the Tivoli Gardens with its imaginative play settings for children, the works of Hans Christian Andersen, George Jensen silver and the finest art of the country–its contemporary furniture and needlework. Dallas will join Neiman-Marcus in the exposition with a Danish Street fair sponsored by antique shops, Danish films and Danish entertainers in Dallas supper clubs.Northwest Arkansas Times, Saturday October 17 1964

There would no doubt have been some wonderful mid-century modern homewares on offer!

Vintage Neiman-Marcus Danish Fortnight poster detail

Amazingly, we acquired more than one copy of this rare vintage poster at the time we bought them. So , we could send one rolled up in a tube – you could then choose your own frame and indeed framer – and it will obviously be much cheaper & safer than sending the glazed version. This original poster measures 88cm x 61.5cm. Our blog readers will get first refusal, so get in touch if your interested.

Orla Kiely coffee jars

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Limited edition Orla Kiely print coffee jars for Douwe Egberts

It’s Sunday morning, so what better than coffee and the newspapers?

detail of a Douwe Egberts coffee jar label showing Orla Kiely logo

Did you get hold of your limited edition Orla Kiely design Douwe Egberts coffee jars?

detail of a Douwe Egberts coffee jar with yellow Orla Kiely pattern

We bought in bulk – well 3 jars is bulk coffee buying for us at least!!

detail of a Douwe Egberts coffee jar with green Orla Kiely pattern

The classic Orla Kiely repeat motifs of apple and flowers are lovely. We’re not sure what they’ll house yet, but we always seem to be on the look out for nice storage jars. And they were free – kind of!

detail of a Douwe Egberts coffee jar with orange Orla Kiely pattern

We quite often make real espresso at home, but first thing in the morning the kettle and a teaspoon of instant is what we usually manage. It’s a good job we like this brand of coffee otherwise 3 jars might have been a real slog! 🙂

Miroslav Sasek washi tape

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Detail from a strip of Miroslav Sasek washi tape

We ordered a roll of decorative washi tape off Etsy a couple of weeks ago…

Air mail envelope to us from Japan

 … a very pretty package duly arrived from Japan shortly after.

Contents of envelope from Japan

It came from seller Eriko Shirasawa whose Etsy shop is called Sweet Supplies Store. We have to sing Eriko’s praises – look at the effort that’s gone into sending a humble little item. It was nicely wrapped – stickers & stamps, business card, a hand written message – and what looks like paper confetti – lovely!!

Plastic wrapped Miroslav Sasek illustrated washi tape

On to the tape itself, which features illustrations by Miroslav Sasek from his series of ‘This is…’ children’s books.

Miroslav Sasek illustrated washi tape

In this case, it’s ‘This is London’ which dates from 1959. As we’ve mentioned many times previously, we love Sasek’s artwork. It really is fabulous – charming and witty – and very distinctive. There are a few different designs of tape you can choose from too.

Detail from a strip of Miroslav Sasek washi tape

It’s perfect for decorating notebooks or little gifts – hanging notice board items… or even acting as a decorative border to a shelf or wall.