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Rapsel Tub Vanishes from Trade Show

Thieves snatched Rapsel’s Grand Tour bathtub at a recent trade show.

Great design is coveted by, well, many. Just ask Rapsel, which had its full-sized Grand Tour bathtub stolen right off the trade show floor at last week’s Cersaie International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings in Bologna, Italy. The thieves were not just content to haul off the Carlo dal Bianco-designed tub, however. The company also discovered other products missing from its booth at the close of the show.

The question puzzling everyone: How did such a large item vanish without a trace? City police and exhibit organizers are still trying to figure that one out. As of yet, police have not charged anyone with the theft.

Ron Arad receives London Design Medal

Furniture designer Ron Arad has become the latest recipient of the London Design Medal, joining a who’s who of talent who have worked in the capital. At a presentation dinner last month as part of the London Design Festival, the Israeli-born designer said: “I can’t imagine doing whatever it is I do anywhere else in the world.”

The London Design Medal has been awarded to many top designers including Thomas Heatherwick, Zaha Hadid, Paul Smith and Marc Newson and is one of British design’s most coveted accolades. The winners are shortlisted and selected by a distinguished panel of peers and experts.

London Design Festival director Ben Evans said: “Ron Arad defies categorisation. During his long career, he has been an architect, a product and a furniture designer and achieved a formidable reputation in each of these fields. He has carved out a market of his own and his work is now included in virtually every major collection. As professor of design products at the RCA for 10 years, his influence on design and young designers has been huge and he has contributed greatly to the current generation of talented designers now dominating design.”

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was also presented to Vidal Sassoon.

The task of choosing this year’s winner fell to a panel that included last year’s winner, Thomas Heatherwick, Greater London Authority’s director of arts and culture Munira Mirza, design gallerist Libby Sellers, Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota and Nadja Swarovski, creative director of Swarovski. The medal was presented at a VIP dinner held in St Paul’s Cathedral. The London Design Medal is designed by Pentagram.

Looking Younger Every Day

Kiehl’s Since 1851 was founded on the very same East Village corner where the flagship stands today. The subsequent 160 years have seen Kiehl’s stores open around the world, selling high-quality products for skin and hair. But there had never been a spa that harnessed those products for men’s and women’s facial and body treatments. So president Chris Salgardo enlisted Allen + Killcoyne Architects to work with an in-house design team on Spa 1851. Though it may physically be on the Upper East Side, the 950-square-foot space feels decidedly downtown. Flooring is wide-plank oak reclaimed from demolished warehouses, and tin ceiling tiles are vintage, as is reception’s chandelier. Edgy artwork, everywhere including the three treatment rooms, is by the likes of David LaChapelle.

Guggenheim Debuts New Paint Collection

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has always been keen on colourful, enthusiastic applications of paint—exuberant abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky is venerated as a saint around there, and the twisting corridors of Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark building have been host to work from artists like Willem De Kooning and Jackson Pollock. But now, in line with a longstanding policy of canny marketing initiatives, the Guggenheim is taking their pigment prowess to a new level: next month will see the unveiling of a new line of co-branded specialty paints, released in conjunction with Vermont-based paint maker Fine Paints of Europe.

Some 200 individual shades will be available when the collection goes on sale October 13, with most of the colors drawn from or inspired by paintings in the Guggenheim’s vast holdings of modern and contemporary art. (No mention is being made yet as to particular titles of particular paints, but think “Van Gogh Yellow” or “Picasso Pink.”) A smaller portion of the line, 50 tones in all, comprises the special “Gallery Colours” group, representing specific paint colours chosen by Guggenheim curators over the years to accompany different exhibitions.

Eclectic Interior Designer Keith Irvine Dies at 82

Keith Irvine, an interior designer who brought a sense of wit and unpredictability to the English country-house style that won the allegiance of clients like Jacqueline Onassis, Rex and Lady Harrison, and Pat and William F. Buckley Jr., died on May 31 in Carmel, N.Y. He was 82.

The cause was cardiac arrest, said his wife, Chippy.

Mr. Irvine learned his trade at the hands of John Fowler of Colefax & Fowler, the firm that popularized the English country-house style after World War II.

Pantone Color Institute is coming up rosy this year with Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle, their 2011 color of the year.

Switching gears from last year’s Turquoise, which was meant to elicit peace and relaxation, this bright new colour serves to empower with spirit and vitality. The authority on colour hopes the dynamic hue will elevate psyches and instil confidence and courage to meet the challenges of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating colour that gets the adrenaline going—perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother colour red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this colour, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

In residential and commercial interiors, Honeysuckle is an upbeat and dynamic statement. Used to shape a room as a wall colour or in short bursts with accessories, the hue will vibrantly accent any project.

London’s rough-luxe aesthetic is alive and well as evidenced by Hostem, a men’s clothing shop that offers an eclectic selection of international labels-Ann Demeulemeester, Rick Owens, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Visvim-in an environment that marries heritage and modernity.

To design the interior, owner James Brown tapped James Plumb, the three-year-old firm founded by James Russell and Hannah Plumb. The couple met long ago, while studying sculpture at art school, and now say they focus on the “overlooked and discarded, taking timeworn antiques and cast-offs and re-imagining them.” The 860-square-foot Hostem is James Plumb’s first foray into commercial design.

Colors are muted from floor to ceiling-the former constructed from Victorian pine planks, varying in width and washes, and the latter draped with burlap panels. Pendant fixtures are simply long black cables, each fitted with a reproduction of a 1930′s squirrel-cage light bulb. Oatmeal-coloured linen curtains hang at the windows and in the dressing room. A reclamation yard in down-market Essex yielded the dressing room’s walnut doors, but a more august provenance comes with the room’s makeshift table, a vintage steamer trunk by Louis Vuitton.

In a nod to the sacredness of fashion, the cash-wrap desk incorporates the back of a church pew.

Upcycling – trend or here to stay?

The idea behind upcycling is not new; the concept has in fact been around since 1994. Even though it’s been around for some time, its prominence in the interiors industry has only grown over the last few years.

But what exactly is upcycling? For those not in the know, it’s the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value. Or in layman’s terms, it’s taking something that you would otherwise throw out and finding a way to make it into something else. And industries from fashion through to food packaging have fully embraced the concept, and now many interior designers are following suit.

Young British designer Zoe Murphy, has used the concept of upcycling throughout her career, regularly creating furniture and textiles that make the best of what already exists.

Zoe recently created a furniture range for Osborne & Little, which combined Osborne & Little’s spring colour palette with Murphy’s signature style of furniture design creating a retro chic, yet vibrant range.

David Chipperfield to Receive Royal Gold Medal for Architecture

Sir David Chipperfield will be joining the ranks of Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Oscar Niemeyer as a recipient of the prestigious Royal Gold Medal for Architecture. Approved personally by Her Majesty the Queen, the award is presented annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects to recognize a lifetime’s work or contribution to the advancement of architecture.

Chipperfield, known for such works as New York’s Bryant Park Hotel and numerous products for companies including Alessi and B&B Italia, is no stranger to honors. A mere two years ago, he received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, and last year his collaboration with Julian Harrap on the WWII-damaged Neues Museum in Berlin was shortlisted for RIBA’s Stirling Prize.

Sicis – Legend

Photographer Milton Greene spent much of 1955 capturing a Hollywood heartbreaker on 35-millimeter film. Today, the masters at Sicis use coloured glass mosaic tile to render seven images from Greene’s now-famous series. The limited-edition Marilyn Monroe collection includes provocative poses in mink, saucy shots à la Seven Year Itch, and this confident close-up, Legend. Standard panels measure 67 by 78 inches alone or 81 by 92 inches in a wooden frame. There are also miniatures and, if you dare, 3-D

Molo Offers “Heartfelt” Product for Japan Relief

After announcing Molo’s latest fashionably bright idea—the Hobo Lantern, a heat-resistant sack of translucent Tyvek, toting an energy efficient LED source with a rechargeable battery, perfect for tourists wandering down badly lit, unfamiliar streets—the company’s lead designer turned up the wattage. Molo is in the process of producing a limited edition of 50 special luminarias, hand-painted with the Japanese sun disc. Entitled the Heartfelt Lantern, proceeds of this $150 (£92.00) version will be donated to Architecture for Humanity’s relief efforts for the recent disasters in Japan.

Because of the small number, the special edition will only be available to lucky visitors of Molo’s booth at the Temporary Museum for New Design, an event presented by the Superstudio Group during this year’s Milan Design Week. Very interested parties may contact the studio to check on availability after April 17 when the design community heads to spring events in New York and Los Angeles. The Hobo Lantern can be ordered for $100 (£61.00) at

A Perfect Ambassador…

Dame Vivienne Westwood, who is an Ambassador for the Society of British Interior Design, has been nominated to receive another accolade in recognition of her work.

A trend and fashion leader through her collections and designs, Dame Vivienne Westwood has led change in culture and government for decades by relentlessly challenging convention. A key component in leading this change is Vivienne’s commitment to promoting ethical manufacture and quality products that last. In the summer of 2010, she officially lent her personal support to the Society of British Interior design, and the Society is proud to count her as an active member and ambassador.

With a fashion collection twice a year as well as a range of accessories, Dame Vivienne also currently designs wallpaper for SBID industry professional members Cole & Sons. In the past she has created a collection for Brintons, a leading UK manufacturer of carpets, and continues to champion wool as a natural, sustainable and fashionable fabric choice for both fashion and interiors.

Shigeru Ban Designing Temporary Shelters for Japan

Shigeru Ban; Benoit Tessier/Reuters

From The New York Times: The Japanese architect Shigeru Banis known for his acts of modesty. For one thing, he likes to build with paper, a material that is surprisingly strong when rolled into logs. For another, while directing offices on three continents that turn out museums, factories and houses, he also routinely builds shelters for victims of natural and manmade disasters.

Mr. Ban has been doing this work internationally since 1995, when he designed emergency housing with beer-crate foundations and paper-tube walls for survivors of the earthquake in Kobe, Japan. In 1999, he made prototype tents with paper poles for a refugee camp in post-genocide Rwanda. The paper-frame schoolhouse he built in Chengdu, China, after the 2008 earthquake that ravaged Sichuan Province typifies the architect’s gift for combining poetry and utility.

Reached at his Paris office by phone after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Mr. Ban discussed his plans for assisting those now homeless in Japan.

Animal magic with a twist

Despite Kat Slater’s best efforts to ruin it for everyone, fashion went wild for leopard prints last season. From shoes to shrugs, it really was an urban jungle out there – and this year’s interiors looks set to be just as full of animal magic. However, before you go all out on B&Q’s leopard print wallpaper (yes, really), this season, there’s a twist. It’s animal print, sure, but smart decorators are doing it with serious splashes of colour thrown in.

Using pattern is always a way to make an interior look that much more exciting and dynamic, and bright colours instantly create a feeling of homeliness, in the exact way that the stark, white minimalist spaces of the last decade didn’t. It’s no surprise Julien MacDonald is on board this sparkly, showy trend, with his cushion and bed linen range for Debenhams (above and below – Star by Julien MacDonald) Bed linen is a good way to nod to a trend – you change it so often that it’s perfect for the nervous adopter – and House of Fraser’s Shyla bed linen collection gives new meaning to the phrase “animal in the bedroom.”

Bringing the inside….Outside!

With the clocks going forward this weekend summer is fast approaching! One way to beat our very unpredictable weather is by bringing the outside….inside!

The fashion for outdoor kitchens continues to gather pace, and Interior Designers are getting more requests from clients who want to be able to entertain outside, even though the weather is not always reliable!

Outdoor kitchens, equipped with the state of art cooking ranges and preparation areas, are commonplace in sunnier climates, and can be a reality in this country with a little bit of careful planning. An awning over the outdoor kitchen area will protect it from the elements, but for the more adventurous customer it is possible to create something a bit more imaginative. For example, a stretched ceiling fabric or sail cloth in huge drapes will create a “Moroccan” feel and turn the outside space into something magical especially with the right lighting!

Realistically though, the British weather will often be the greatest hurdle to outdoor living! Therefore I would consider creating a multi-use space that can be utilised whatever the weather. The main concern is to make it quick and easy to transform the space- when the sun comes out the great outdoors needs to be just moments away.

A successful way to achieve this is to effectively remove a wall to create as large an opening as possible, and install a set of glass doors that will fold completely away, creating an interrupted view and pathway to your outside space. Use the same floor finish inside and outside, to create a seamless transition.