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Posts Tagged ‘Best of Britannia’

“Blink” Lifestyle: SOLIDWOOL at BoB

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Another revisit of the brands we discovered at the Best of Britannia show a couple of weeks back. Hope you enjoyed our post about FAN and Jessica de Lotz. Today we look at SOLIDWOOL.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a chair addict. There have been times that my home has looked like some sort of chair showroom. I am working through it and have managed to move on a few fine examples and so we’re down to an acceptable level, but I still indulge my chair love through Pinterest and experience regular chair envy when anywhere graced by a particularly desirable example. That chair envy certainly popped up when I passed the SOLIDWOOL stand.

SOLIDWOOL

SOLIDWOOL

This small but perfectly formed stand showcased a pair of rather fine chairs that have a subtly mid Century feel about them. That in itself was enough to stop me. I then started chatting with one of the founders of SOLIDWOOL and discovered that the chairs were the very beautiful vehicle for a new material that they have developed. SOLIDWOOL is essentially a sustainable and eco friendly version of fibreglass, and therefore could be formed into pretty much any shape that fibreglass is used for. I’m so pleased that they chose such a beautiful chair to start with.

The material is made from wool which is sourced from the Highland sheep farming industry, and in so doing they have created a fresh opportunity for a product that has fallen out of commercial favour and is now almost considered a waste product, which is such a shame for a British based, brilliantly renewable resource. (Well, for anyone of you who follow my Twitter feed you may have seen my PETA inspired rant about the poor treatment of British sheep so I hope that the farmers who supply this resource are shearing their flocks with more care and respect so that we can feel as good about this material as we’d like to…). The fleece is then combined with a high bio content resin, and along with some brilliantly inspired jiggery-pokery (lets not give away all of their secrets!) you have a stunning new material that is both functional and also beautifully showcasing the texture and softly tonal colours of the natural fleece.

All of the production happens in and around Buckfastleigh in Devon, with SOLIDWOOL collaborating with local craftsmen to produce the wooden and metal elements of the chair.

SOLIDWOOL

SOLIDWOOL

This chair is called the Hembury and is available to order at about £450.00 £395.00. I don’t think that’s too steep for a product that is sustainably created, beautifully designed, supporting many diverse British industries and I think is also potentially a design classic. If this concept has inspired you and your brain is now racing with all sorts of other brilliant uses for this amazing new material, then the SOLIDWOOL team are also open to discussing collaborations.

For more lifestyle posts, just take a look here.

“Blink” Accessories: Fan Optics at BoB

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Back to Best of Britannia and I hope that you enjoyed our previous post about Jessica de Lotz, and here’s another British creative innovator that we think you should be looking out for (no pun intended…). Allow us to introduce you to Fan Optics, the passion project of design duo, Sarah Coburn (graphic designer) and Guillaume Furminger (product designer).

Fan was founded in 2010. Sarah and Guillaume discovered an almost abandoned British glasses manufacturer and set about reviving it’s fortunes, embracing the hand-making skills of the remaining few staff, hand in hand with Sarah and Guillaume’s aesthetic sensibilities and desire to create frames that are both well designed, relevant yet also instilled with a certain longevity that comes when products are made with care and attention to every detail. Fan use high quality Italian acetate to create their frames, but from vintage or ‘end-of-line’ stocks which ensures that each colour or finish of frame is only one of a limited edition run.

Sarah and Guillaume of FAN Optics

Sarah and Guillaume of FAN Optics

FAN Optics

FAN Optics

It was a delight to meet Sarah and Guillaume, and gain a brief insight into the passion they have for well designed, considerately produced, functional yet aesthetically pleasing glasses, especially as a proud specs wearer myself. If you’d like to have a try on yourself, here’s a list of their stockists.

For more accessories posts, have a look here. If you’d like to see more about events we’ve posted about, click here.

“Blink” Accessories: Jessica de Lotz at BoB

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

A couple of weeks back we headed over to the Farmiloe Building in Clerkenwell. Aside from being a gorgeous space, it was the location for the second Best of Britannia exhibition. This event is an opportunity for brands founded and made in Britain to celebrate their creativity, individuality, achievements and brilliance. From cars, through iconic furniture brands to unique accessories this is a showcase of ingenuity and clarity of vision. Perhaps you recall our post about last year’s event, about the brilliant Blodwen?

Best of Britannia, 2013

Best of Britannia, 2013

We’d like to kick off our highlights from this event with a look at Jessica de Lotz jewellery collection. The stand looked like a mini version of our favourite kind of shop; one that’s filled with beautifully quirky selection of creative treasures and evocative ephemera. The scene was particularly set by the stuffed squirrel seated on his own throne on the counter, stuffed by de Lotz herself!

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz at Best of Britannia

Jessica de Lotz collection of jewellery is made from silver or silver plated with rose of yellow gold, or solid gold for those after the ultimate indulgence. All pieces are handmade in her Clerkenwell studio. De Lotz aesthetic is informed by her passion for flea market and antique fair discoveries, with recent collections being inspired by antique wax seals and a collection of vintage love letters found in France. Every single piece seems filled with its own history, careworn by years of love and marked with heartfelt significance and symbolism. Here are some of our favourites from these collections, and if you’d like to see more have a look at Jessica de Lotz’ website.

Fortnums 19th Century seal chain earrings, Jessica de Lotz

Fortnums 19th Century seal chain earrings, Jessica de Lotz

Fortnums 19th century seal Friendship ring, Jessica de Lotz

Fortnums 19th century seal Friendship ring, Jessica de Lotz

Handcuff necklace, Jessica de Lotz

Handcuff necklace, Jessica de Lotz

Rose heart hoop earrings, Jessica de Lotz

Rose heart hoop earrings, Jessica de Lotz

For more on accessories, have a look here, and keep an eye out for more from Best of Britannia…

“Blink” Events: Blodwen at ‘Best of Britannia’

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

On Friday I headed East to the ‘Best of Britannia‘ exhibition, located in a really beautiful Smithfield’s warehouse. We really enjoyed discovering the new labels, brands and produce that is all British design and made, from boats, cars and bikes to jewellery, accessories and homewares.

One of the labels we fell hard for is ‘Blodwen‘, the creation of the lovely Denise Lewis. Based on Welsh traditional, rural crafts and resources, but brought very much up to date through Lewis’ really beautiful creative handwriting. I personally have a thing for Welsh blankets, so Blodwen’s collection of both new and vintage was particularly exciting, as is the addition of gorgeously graphic Welsh blanket style rugs. The candles and ‘cosmeceuticals’ smell, look and feel delicious. All of Blodwen’s collection was artfully displayed on a lovely variation of the ‘Welsh Dresser’, which it turns out is also part of Lewis’ collection- what a hard working lady!

Do check out her website to learn more about the brand, and to see more of the wonderful products. Also, the label has been bought by Liberty, so you can find it there soon too.

Denise Lewis, Director of Blodwen

Denise Lewis, Director of Blodwen, at BoB

Blodwen products at BoB

Blodwen products at BoB

Blodwen

Blodwen

Blodwen

Blodwen

Blodwen

Blodwen

For more posts about events, click here. For more retail news, click here.