London is packed with inspirational art and interior design exhibitions at this time of year. You really have to put on your jogging shoes to keep up with them all but there are a few I really don’t like to miss and The House and Garden Festival (incorporating The Art & Antiques Fair) is one of them. This year’s show didn’t disappoint. It was full of bright summery colour and design – much of the best was from a few ‘stylish hunter gatherers’ who make it their business to bring international style to our shores. Here’s my choice of Best in Show:
1. Sansho Living – Japan
Sourced by Sansho Living from Japan are these beautiful handmade home accessories with a strong Arts & Crafts ethos. I learnt that Indigo has natural mosquito properties and that the way fabric is finely woven in Japan is perfect for their very hot summers. I loved the broken ceramic bowl mended with the Japanese art of Kintsugi – broken ceramics aren’t discarded but mended with gold creating an extra decorative virtue.
2. East London Parasol Company – India and Indonesia
You may remember reading Boho Style earlier in the year on the blog. Lucy Ferguson designs and imports beautiful garden parasols from India and Indonesia for her business The East London Parasol Company. Lucy is one of the new intrepid stylish ‘hunter gatherers’ who spends much of her year working with artisans abroad developing new products.
3. The Interior Spy – South Africa
It is just coincidence that Miranda Vedral, behind The Interior Spy blog and sister of Jonathan Snow (whose South African garden wowed RHS Chelsea Flower show this year), also found design gold in South Africa. Miranda has cleverly spotted a gap in the basket market with these new handmade basket designs which she is importing from South Africa.
4. Kalinko – Burma
Kalinko’s striking Burmese handmade designs include this Naga rectangular cushion, £70 as well as a new handpainted garden umbrella, trunks, side tables, storage, throws and some fashion items. Sophie is from London but moved to Burma in 2015 and works with craftsmen from all over the country. Sophie says, “These artisans have been isolated from global markets for 60 years by military dictatorship and we’re working to give them the recognition they need and deserve.”
5. Bombay Sprout – India
Vibrant, colourful ruggage and cushions designed in India by Norfolk-based interior designers Bombay Sprout. The rug with flower was designed in collaboration with Annie Shrive (as mentioned on my previous blog on the current Arts & Crafts trend).
6. Cheskie – India, Mexico and the rest of the world!
Throws to wear – for your home and more importantly to upholster a chair! Loved this idea from Cheskie. You don’t have to go the whole boho style hog in a decorating scheme – (although that can be desirable too) but just a little, such as a chair or a few cushions looks fantastic mixed in with neutrals and more classic prints.
7. Inka Fabric – Peru
Sourced by London-based Inka Fabric from Peru are woollen cushions, rugs, bags and Alpaca blankets using natural dyes from local flora and fauna.There is something so homely and restful about the weave and colours.
And in other news from the House & Garden Festival …
New Kit Kemp ranges
Ever supportive of British craft and design, there is some exciting news for anyone wanting to have a bit of the Kit Kemp boutique hotel look in their homes. Kit Kemp Collections has just launched a furniture range as well as adding a new tea set design in her Sailor’s Farewell fabric design in collaboration with Wedgwood to add to the existing collection. Remind yourself of the fantastic design at The Ham Yard Hotel on my blog.
Mixing old with new
This was part of the set of a stylish take on a contemporary Country House look by interior designer and paint supplier Edward Bulmer. It shows how to blend old with new whilst adding a bit of punchy colour and pattern. Ruggage supplied by Bombay Sprout.
Gallery wall – Russian style
Just love a gallery wall and particularly one composed entirely of Russian oil paintings. Available from picture dealer John Barkes. This was in the Art & Antiques section of the Festival.
Sir Plus is the story of how fashion sustainability became a commercial success story. In 2011 Sir Plus was a stall on the Portobello Road in London selling luxury limited edition boxer shorts made from leftover shirt fabrics. It now has a permanent home at 306 Portobello Road and is also online selling a wide range of quality men’s clothing. Find Sir Plus (with their punny name) and all their lovely Nehru collars either online or on the corner of Goldborne Road and Portobello Road.
Some personal favourites of turquoise and Whitby jet jewellery from Sue Brown Ltd in the Art & Antiques section at the Festival.
British fine art
Kensington Palace by Bernard Dunstan (1920 – 2017) RA available from Michael Parkin Fine Art.
Antique display case
Antique display cases are perfect for stylists, magpies and those born with curator blood. Pretty inlaid mahogany wood case with satinwood bands, on casters. C1870 from Richard Midwinter Antiques in Shropshire.
This impressive set of 10 framed lithographs from a painting by Raoul Dufy (painted between 1936 – 1937 to celebrate the history of electricity between in Paris) is a stunning way to create decorative drama to a room with a big image. Seen on the Dinan & Chighine stand at the Art & Antiques Fair.
18th Century Indo Portuguese box in North Yorkshire
Early 18th Century Indo Portuguese box lined in cedar and made from tortoishell (which thankfully of course would never happen now) and bone. Available from R N Myers Antiques (who had some exceptional mirrors and furniture too) based near Skipton in Yorkshire.
If you haven’t seen it already, you might like to read a previous blog post Styling with Antiques.
Thank you for making it to the bottom and I promise this was a heavily edited version! I hope you were as inspired as I was. There were lots of lovely things to see and buy. P.S. Have you visited my online shop recently where there is also a small but perfectly edited selection of vintage and antique items?!
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