In London we stayed at The Laslett hotel in Notting Hill. Would definitely stay here again. Mid-price range and a fantastic location right by Notting Hill tube station. We found it very easy to get around from this vantage point.
They upgraded our room so I am not sure what it would have been like in a smaller room, but it was clean and comfortable and well put together. Because we didn’t have time to run around looking for breakfast we had it in our room and it was actually reasonable (and not ridiculous, like the platter of 7 pastries I received for like $45 at one hotel…I mean, I love pastries, but can really only eat one or two at most).
Inga Sempé w103c Clamp Table Light in the library.
More shots of the library. There is also a little eating space and bar on the other side of the entrance.
Naturally our first stop in London was to visit Margaret Howell, unattainable up to this point, since her clothing is not readily available in Toronto and we are wary online clothing shopper. Let’s just say we did some shopping.
R: A gorgeous wall hanging (or rug?) by Mourne Textiles
Margaret Howell seamlessly incorporates lifestyle and homestyle in one space, with a focus on British design.
We asked for a lunch recommendation and ended up at Fishworks on Marylebone High Street. From the outside it just looks like a fishmonger but there is a restaurant nestled in the back. Although we felt a bit unadventurous ordering the Fish & Chips, it was the BEST decision.
Then some wandering around and a lovely dinner at Fera at Claridge’s with a customer of ours.
From the very beginning, Sucabaruca and Aureola, was about involving people from different cultures and countries; Luca Nichetto, a designer from Venice, Italy, but residing in Stockholm, Sweden; Lera Moiseeva, designer and artist of Russian origin, but New Yorker by adoption; Mjölk, a purveyor of objects and furniture from Japan and Scandinavia; Canadian ceramicist Alissa Coe, who carefully crafted the prototypes and the first edition of the sets; Kihara Inc, the manufacturer of the sets, skillfully handcrafted each piece in Arita, Japan. All of these people have enriched the project, making it an extraordinary melting pot of ideas and energy on an international scale.
We chose to work with Kihara because of the history and expertise of the makers in the studio. Arita was one of the first places to produce porcelain wares in Japan in the early 17th Century. The work that was produced was heavily influenced by Korea, using an underglaze in blue, the Sometsuke porcelain became the primary finishing technique.
Today, Arita ceramics are considered both works of fine art as well as vessels primarily used for function. Kihara, a studio that has been producing for over 400 years, uses a traditional white glaze with blue undertones. The company still produces work with techniques that have remained unchanged while also incorporating new technologies to enhance the nature of the material.
The Sucabaruca Coffee Set is rich in cultural and formal references that come from the influences of several people involved in the project. The main cone-shaped body is reminiscent of Carmencita, the famous character created by Armando Testa in1966 for the tv show Carosello. The lines in the ceramic are meant to emphasize the uniqueness of the pieces which can be stacked and combined in various ways.
Set includes pot, filter funnel and 3 cups.
The Aureola Tea Set was designed based on research about ancient and modern tea sharing rituals that play a significant role in the social relationships in several countries. The tea ceremony represents an important tradition in many areas of the world, and particularly in Asia, influencing numerous other cultures. By observing how tea is consumed in Russia, Luca Nichetto noticed that the infuse is served not in cups but in small bowls without the handle and realized how this small detail gives more solemnity to the whole ritual.
Set includes pot, strainer and 2 bowls.
Hey! It’s our first visit (in a long time) to someplace other than Scandinavia or Japan! Off to London with a three day stay in Kent for our friends Hollie & Pete’s wedding.
After a slightly terrifying taxi ride from the airport (did you know you can prebook a taxi that will meet you at the airport with a sign? Much better than traipsing through London with luggage on the tube and train after no sleep) we took a walk in the nearby village of Bearsted to grab a bite at a pub and take in the spring scenery.
Hi! We’re terrible at selfies and we’re ok with that.
Day two meant a hen spa day for me, and a trip over to Whitstable for John. Windy Corner Stores is a cute cafe.
When John has an idea in his head…vintage trench coat shopping…
Lunch was full at the highly recommended Wheelers Oyster Bar. Next time!
A perfect intimate wedding at The Secret Garden. Probably my last turn at bridesmaid.
Had to share this photo of the bride and groom, in front of this super rad Bluebird Coach. Coolest. I missed out on getting some inside detail shots, like the milk glass electric lights.
Kent was a nice easygoing start to our trip.
As we mentioned previously, Spark Design Space closed at the end of March. We were thankful that we had one last opportunity to check it out and to speak with owner Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir.
We picked up one of the candleholders from Spark’s last show 1+1+1, whereby three design studios reimagine and collaborate on a variety of objects. This candlestick is comprised of elements designed separately by each group, and then put together to make about 30+ unique combinations.
I also attempted to impulse purchase the book Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland but ended up receiving it as a gift from Sigríður (thanks again!!!).
Also pictured: A sculpture by Paul Wackers and a vintage Alvar Aalto door handle.
Although these pretty Hafod Grange Paperweights hail from the UK (our next trip!), John has been obsessing over them for awhile. One for John.
Also pictured: Tapio Wirkkala copper bowl
One for Elodie.
Howell got this gorgeous sweater by As We Grow. Based out of Reykjavik, the company is trying to bring back a sense of value to children’s clothing, with the idea that it can be passed on. Really beautiful quality. I wanted to get the kids Icelandic sweaters but most of them can be a bit scratchy. This one is so soft. Howell hates when we put it on him but then we can’t take it off him. I have to hover by him while he eats so he doesn’t get food on it (he also refuses a bib). So I’d say he loves it.
[photo of Howell by Gaby]
During our last visit to Copenhagen, Denmark we had the pleasure to finally visit one of our favourite homes in the world. The home of iconic Danish furniture designer and architect Finn Juhl. The house has been profiled and photographed so many times, it already felt incredibly familiar to us, as if we know every detail in the house. Of course seeing the home in person is like switching on a light, something inside of us just gets turned on and during that visit we understood how important Finn Juhl as a designer, architect and artist was. You start to see all of the incredible nuances that you might not notice in photographs. For example in different rooms the ceilings are painted different colours, like a warm beige in the living room and a cool teal in the guest bedroom.
I think the interesting thing about Finn Juhl’s house is that he designed it when he was quite young, and as a work of architecture it is functional and simple. I think when people see images of his home we are struck by the Vilhelm Lundstrom painting of his wife above the Poet sofa, the soft patination on the cognac leather of his Chieftains chair, the Vibeke Klint runner, the Japanese textiles and African stools. It is his personal details that we are struck with, his masterful way of bringing warmth and texture into his home. The building itself is a perfect shell to be inhabited with many smaller rooms, various seating arrangements and compositions of art mostly by his friends and various collections.
Red bricks marking the entrance to the home, with a stool by Alvar Aalto peeking at us. Visitors are also immediately introduced to Juhl’s study in colour.
One of Finn Juhl’s most famous lounge chairs, the 45 chair.
Finn Juhl was on a mission to design everything in his home, including the porcelain service in the kitchen.
The Silver markings on this table indicate the placement for dishes and cutlery.
“One cannot create happiness with beautiful objects, but one can spoil quite a lot of happiness with bad ones.”
- Finn Juhl
The Reading chair sitting next to a wood sculpture by Erik Thommesen.
A Japanese duvet and pillow rest on Finn Juhl’s bed.
In my opinion Finn Juhl’s most beautiful dining chair, the 109 chair which was designed in 1946.
“It is so obvious that furniture should be used. If not, I have been seriously wrong. To me, it is so obvious that it also needs an artistic dimension, which makes it exciting and in harmony with its surroundings. However, furniture was not created only to be looked at. Furniture is an applied art, which is necessary for people in a home, and office of public spaces.”
- Finn Juhl
The Poet sofa was originally designed for Finn Juhl’s own home in 1941, and it looks perfect underneath the Lundstrom painting of Finn Juhl’s wife Hanne Wilhelm.
There was a great Matisse show at the Ordrupgaard Museum (which owns the Finn Juhl house).
A coffee break and walk through the sculpture garden.
Zaha Hadid extension.
We dropped by the Muuto headquarters to have lunch at their lovely rooftop patio, complete with nice planted flowers, herbs, and vegetables. We’d like to get something like this going on our back roof.
Grabbed dinner at Almanak in The Standard.
Lunch at Øl & Brød
View of Reykjavik, from The Presidential Residence. Guests of Design March were invited to meet the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.
John signing the guest book.
After a speech we were left to mingle and explore the residence.
In the basement there are some excavated spaces. From their website:
The history of Bessastaðir has been closely associated with the history of Iceland since the times of the settlement in the 9th century AD. Archeological excavations have shown that the first inhabitants of Bessastaðir settled there before AD 1000, and ever since the site has been inhabited. In the 13th century the great writer Snorri Sturluson had one of his farms there. After Snorri’s death, the king of Norway confiscated the property, and during the remainder of the middle ages it was used by top representatives of the foreign rulers of Iceland. In the 17th century Bessastaðir was the residence of the most powerful representative of the Danish monarch in Iceland.
Wild weather, we arrived with a dark cloud looming and then there was this spectacular whiteout with a glowing yellow sun, and then clear skies.
We also spent some time with Ingibjörg Hanna Bjarnadóttir of original Krummi bird hanger fame. She took us around to various exhibitions that she was participating in. Above is a tiny house named Stöðlakot (that you can apparently rent via Air B n B) where they had one exhibition.
This piece was showing at Epal, in collaboration with Umemi. I can’t find any more details but it is a rug and the pattern is sound waves. Regretting not picking up a few Umemi Knot Cushions for the kids.
We also had the pleasure with spending some time with Andrea Maack, whereby she showed us her newest scents and bottle design, available soon at Mjölk (currently sold out).
On our last day we visited The Culture House, which was a new stop for us, prompted by a designer we met while having a bite in the hotel cafe. I wish we had more time as there were quite a few exhibitions happening. On the left is Universe, a piece that is a part of the Primitiva show by Katrín Ólína Pétursdóttir.
A visit to Reykjavik is not complete without a visit to Mokka for coffee and waffles. Love the sign.
One major thing we noticed since our last visit is the huge rise in tourism. Tourist shops line the main street, pushing design shops out of the downtown, and a long lineup at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
One casualty to rising rents is Spark Design Space, which will be closing April 1.
1+1+1 is an experimental collaboration between designers from three Nordic countries – Hugdetta from Iceland, Petra Lilja from Sweden and Aalto+Aalto from Finland. The project examines and reimagines objects by having each studio design an object consisting of three distinct parts and then mixing the parts up into unpredictable combinations.
Clever show. They created parameters such as the dimensions, and three components. Then each of the three design studios takes the elements to create new combinations.
Founded by Sigríður Sigurjónsdóttir, Spark has been an important gallery to visit since our first trip, and we will really miss it as a beacon for local design and art.