As far as coffee sets go, this is one of the most interesting that I’ve seen in a long time. When Raúl Arribas designed the product, he had the two Swedish traditions of glass blowing and coffee in mind. He used the Spanish material, cork, to work with the tinted glass and produced a set that it visually very striking. Often, I dislike the use of brown glass – it reminds me of garish home décor from the eighties. Yet for some reason, the colour used in this product, alongside the cork, is very elegant. Add to the cafetiere and glasses the depth of the coffee which will swim within and the look will be grown up, original sophistication. There’s clearly a lot more to Swedish designers than Ikea lets on…
The photo above has given me a severe case of window envy. I absolutely love the use of the circular window in this home. Perhaps this is an expression of my deep yearning to live on a submarine, but I find round windows to be far more effective than the standard rectangular ones. They are visually more interesting as they don’t follow the contours of typically straight building structures. This makes them more of a focal point. I’m very fond of the axis-like opening that this particular window has too. It could be slightly dangerous for passersby outside, but sometimes aesthetics should come well above health and safety…
When the yearning comes for getting away from the hectic reality of modern life, few places will satiate the desire better than the Tree Hotel in Sweeden. Designed by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, the 4x4x4 metre ‘Mirrorcube’ consists of a lightweight aluminium frame hung from a tree trunk. The structure is dressed up with reflective glass, which mirrors the natural environment outdoors and camouflages the hotel room.
Within the cube, the room is decorated in rustic, understated plywood and caters for two people. We may be touching on Tardis territory when I tell you that within this seemingly petite cube, there is a double bed, a kitchen, a bathroom, a living room and a roof terrace (not technically within!). All of this is accessed via a 12 metre bridge.
The main selling point of this novel hotel room surely has to be the 360º panoramic view of the beautiful natural surroundings that the guests have. Elevated and secluded with sights of lakes and mountains, this hotel room is design at its best.
Portable lamps aren’t something that you see too many of. The ability to transfer your light source from place to place is not something which is deemed necessary in the world of lamp design. There is a rare gem though, in this portable lamp from Plumo. The lamp is designed to be moved around and has a lengthy cord which means you can hang the lamp around anything close by. I especially like this product because the actual lamp has been upcycled from pretty, retro jars. It’d be as great an addition to a car garage as it would to a modern, industrial flat. Attractive, handy and good for the environment – this lamp has it all.
German designer, Richard Dienes, has created this pendant lamp using tinted blown glass and pressed aluminium. The lamp is unique in that it can be utilised both as a suspending pendant lamp and a table lamp.
This house in the leafy area of Maastricht, Netherlands is one of the coolest glass houses that I’ve seen. Designed by Wiel Arets Architects, the house consists of interior and exterior walls made entirely of opaque and transparent glass.
The differing opacity of the glass means that different lighting effects are created within the house dependent on the time of day and what season it is. Curtains in the house add to this effect and also offer a degree of privacy.
There are a few rectangular columns inside the house which are used to support the structure of the two concrete slabs that the house is built upon. They are situated so as to not disrupt the minimal feel of the interior.
The house was designed for an actor and a dancer who work together as landscape architects. The garden at the back of the house is a perfect place for them to carry out this work. The garden is occasionally open to the public too.
One item that I loved from the Milan Furniture Fair 2013 was the Yoko light by Anderssen & Voll. The shade is based upon a bath bubble and provides the lamp with a gentle, almost ephemeral look. The pastel colours work really well with the soft design too. Fortunately, the lamp bubble won’t be bursting any time soon. Look how cool it looks in the home:
When it comes to designing a unique vase, the one thing you want to avoid is making the vase the focal point. After all, the purpose of a vase is quite simply to hold flowers. This is why glass works perfectly. The transparency is not overbearing and it also allows you to see the entirety of the flowers. This doesn’t mean that glass vases cannot have a certain quirkiness about them. Just take look at the three original and understated vases below:
I love this DIY Light Bulb Vase designed by Tim Park. There’s something about the shape of a classic light bulb that is timelessly elegant. Transforming a light bulb into a vase is a simple and cheap way of creating a unique item from something which would otherwise be thrown away. You can follow steps on how to create the vase here
As with the light bulb vase, this SOB (Save Our Bottles) vase is another example of recycling items in an innovative way. Human Republic wanted to make a use of plastic bottles which are so often used and thrown away. This is the beautifully simple creation which they came up with.
The Tourbillon Vase by French studio designers A+A cooren is simple, but very clever. The inner vessel of the vase is a spiralling vortex, which looks like water corkscrewing to the bottom of the vase. As in the photo above, I think that the vase works well against the strength of decorative twigs. I think that the vase works well by itself too – the inner illusion is strong enough to make it work.
Gae Aulenti’s ‘Tour Table’ has a four foot square sheet of glass balanced on four bicycle wheels to create a rather unique looking table. When I first saw this table, I couldn’t really imagine it looking anything but novel in an interior. The photo below, however, shows that it can fit in perfectly against industrial decor. Bike wheels and brick walls go well it seems…
When it comes to home designers, there are few more inventive than those building for fish. I can only assume that designing for an inhabitant whose complaint will never be voiced must be a very liberating task. Below I have selected what I think are five of the best designs out there:
The Umbra Fish Hotel by Canadian designer Teddy Luong is a very cool fishbowl design. Fashioned on modern day homes, the tank has glass windows surrounded by a plastic outer shell. The design also caters for the use of multiple tanks which can be stacked on top of one another to form a condo-like tower. Find out more about Teddy here: http://teddy-teddy.ca/
This tank by Pslat Design looks as if it’s on the verge of toppling over. Worry not, though – the edge hanging over is perfectly counterbalanced with the weight of the other side of the tank. The result is a visually unsettling aquarium which is bound to get noticed. Not really recommended for the anxious sort, but fully recommended for those fish dabbling with suicide. The tank can be purchased here: http://psaltdesign.co.uk
The idea of an oversized light bulb working as a fishbowl is creatively quite simple. What I like about this product though, is the added details which make the idea a little more refined. Firstly, I think that the blackness of the base compliments the glass more than a traditional silver base would. Secondly, in a borderline sadistic way, I like how the black fibres within the bulb look like they could electrocute the fish at any given moment. I’d of course like the design less if they did so.
For those owners a little too attached to their goldfish, this is the perfect tank for you. The design allows you to take your fish for a walk! Why one would wish to do so is beyond me, but I do like the design of the product. It’s like a modern take on the fairground fish bags, only a little more ethical.
For my final choice, I’m going for the timeless classic. In spite of the quality of design out there, I’d always opt for the iconic fishbowl. There’s something about the simplicity of a goldfish and water being the only components required to make a plain glass bowl aesthetically remarkable.