Miss V to Miss P – August

From: victoria@scarletopus.com

To: shelley@scarletopus.com

Sent: 19.08.11 at 16:00

Subject: Coloring Books, Kitchens & Staircases

Greetings Miss P!  I’ve been really enjoying my job since we returned from the Summer Shutdown in July.  It feels like a hugely positive and productive period.  I’m in buoyant mood!  Let me tell you why:

Firstly I’ve been getting a lot of satisfaction from writing my features for The National newspaper as it’s given me the opportunity to research new areas and highlight the work of some fantastic Designers such as Alex Randall and Sebastian Errazuriz (whose completely brilliant Tree Table is pictured below).  I hadn’t expected that writing the newspaper column would be significantly different to any of the other features we write for magazines, but the freedom given to us (by the fabulous woman that is Selina Denman!) to write on any topic we choose, has allowed the exercise to be one of personal & professional development for me.  I never thought I’d know so much about Taxidermy…but I do now and I’m glad of it!  I know you’re not…but we’ll come onto that later.

Tree Table by Sebastain Errazuriz

A few weeks ago the Dream Weaver cadged me an invitation to the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester called ‘Lighting The Future’.

The tiny exhibition was sponsored by TB&A and dwelle -who create fantastic sustainable micro-buildings…my fave is their Beach dwelle.ing (pictured left).

Although the exhibition was small it was packed with lighting innovations.  Some were familiar (like the brilliant Plumen bulbs you love so much) and some I hadn’t seen before such as the Norlight Bubble.  I think you’re going to like this a lot Miss P!  It’s a luminaire that uses colour changing LEDs so you can control the spectrums of colour to suit your décor or mood.  And it was mesmerising!!!  I took some pics so you could see a few of the fabulous glowing colours.  The slow transition from one colour to another was very soothing.  I think it would be a stunning feature over a bar!  Check out the fab purple halo glow created when it gets to the pink colour:

NorLight Bubble: a circle of light

They are available as suspended pendants (up to 3m diameter) like the ones I saw, or can be inset into a ceiling recess or suspended one-above-another in decreasing sizes to create a chandelier…oh Yes they can!  The guys from SN Lighting were on hand to explain the technology to me (which is American) and revealed that Milan-based Norlight are currently working on a version which will allow the 4 sections that make up the ring to change colour independently…so the colours can gradually change in a cyclic motion around the light.  Nice.

Oh, I also got chatting to Nick from TB&A who is advising on the street and office space lighting of The Shard.  The core lighting will be LED but most interestingly he said that great things are expected of the 5-Star Shangri-La hotel lobby on the ground floor of the building.  We also discussed the new banking concept for Natwest which introduces a softer, friendlier more homey feel.  You can check it out here.

Once we’d seen all there was to see of the lighting, the Senior Curator (John Beckerson – the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable of men) kindly invited us to take a look at the Electricity Gallery downstairs.


That is when I came across this fab photo of You washing your dishes whilst setting your hair in curls! Lol!

Actually down in the dimly lit Electricity Gallery we found some fantastic little period roomsets.  Obviously I made a beeline for the 1950′s area which presented a Living Room and Kitchen.  I only had my Blackberry with me to take photos and as I say, it was a bit dark, but I managed to snap a few fuzzy shots for you to see (below).  It was interesting to read how few homes in the UK during the 1950′s actually had the electrical items we now take for granted.  To start off with 88% of UK households had electricity in 1955 but only 58% of houses had power sockets (average of 3 per household!) and only 45% of households had a vacuum cleaner and 10% had a hairdryer.  But get this, by 1957 only 4% of households had a TV (and our Dream Weavers household was in the other 96%).


Check out the funky design on the sofa and the ’Homemaker’ plates (top right) which were made by Ridgeway and retailed by Woolworths.  I’ve been bidding for similar pieces on Ebay recently but with no luck as yet :(

L O V I N G  the kitchen cabinets!

Visiting this 1950′s exhibition made me think how trapped women were in their homes prior to having electricity and the invention of electrical appliances for the domestic market.  Just think, if your days were filled with washing clothes by hand, preparing fireplaces, scrubbing floors, making meals and caring for children with no help from any electrical appliances you wouldn’t have much time left for anything else.  In fact there wouldn’t be any time left for you full stop.  But with the simple introduction of washing machines etc… a task that had taken all day in the 1940′s suddenly took no time at all and gave women in the West more free time.  Initially that meant more time to think and consider themselves and what they wanted.  That’s when we got out of the kitchen, got educations and climbed up Maslow’s triangle to Self-Actualization!  So…Hooray for electrical appliances!

I think the Museum of Science & Industry will be facing 20% cuts next year so I hope they will be able to get alternative financial support.

Last week I was at another good exhibition this time down in London.  I booked to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts at the beginning of the Summer and ever since I’d been looking forward to finally seeing Jeff Koon’s ‘Coloring Book’.  Shelley it was joyous!  The colours were magnificent and the mirrored surface reflected the surrounding building, which created a strange ‘see through’ illusion!  It was strange how it had such an impressive presence when viewed straight-on but practically disappeared when viewed from the side:

I enjoyed Gallery VI best which was stacked-out with architectural imaginings.  You’d have loved it.  The main themes that kept coming up were Tree House concepts, Lace-like structures, Biomorphic forms and Gaudi-esque buildings.  It was also exciting to see so many models created via 3D printing!

Whilst in London I also checked-out the newly renovated Renaissance Hotel at St. Pancras.  The Gothic Revival masterpiece by Sir George Gilbert Scott is just breathtaking.  The colours, columns, carvings, hand-stencilled wallpapers, tiled floors, arches….everything returned to their former glory.  It is a hugely romantic building on a grand scale.  The exterior and interior are equally amazing and I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed by a staircase in my life:

We must pop-in when we’re in London together next month for the Design Festival!

Now the time has come to ask you how you got on with the challenge I set you last month (cruelly but brilliantly) to seek out all manner of Taxidermy lighting….reveal all Miss P if you please!?


From: shelley@scarletopus.com

To: victoria@scarletopus.com

Sent: 23.08.11 at 12:47

Subject: RE: Coloring Books, Kitchens & Staircases

Queenie!  It’s fabulous to hear you’re feeling so upbeat, I have to say I loved hearing about your Power Hour; I find the tricks and tools we satellite workers employ to motivate ourselves fascinating.  I’ve found my new iMac to be a hugely useful tool in fact: I can’t WAIT to get to my desk each morning!

I’m also really glad to hear how much you’ve been enjoying writing for The National (same here) and, despite my very real fear of dead animals, I truly did enjoy your taxidermy piece – super interesting.  Which brings me onto last months challenge; now, we both know what you did was a terrible and cruel thing BUT, I have triumphed …

Working clockwise from top left:

“Origami’s Hunter” by Verónica Posada of Chilean Design house, Si Studio, is a series of super contemporary origami wall sconces/lamps; “Pigeon Pendants” by your favourite, Alex Randall; ”The Rattus Norvegicus Rex Chandelier” (what is it with Designers and rats?!) from Ohio-based Non Fiction Design Collective was created by making a 3D scan from a taxidermy piece which was then 3D printed and cast in porcelain!; Alex Randall’s “Squirrel Wall Light”, “Duck Desk Lamp”, and “Rat Swarm Lamp”; (inset and close-up below) Ingo Maurer’s exquisite “Johnny B.Butterfly” design was presented during Euroluce Milan earlier this year.  This is my favourite piece, I love its simple and romantic beauty, as well as the delicacy and detail of the butterflies and dragonflies (dragonflies are the only insect I find truly captivating before you say anything about my butterfly scare in the car!); Sebastian Errazuriz’s ”Duck Lamp” from his Death Series and another crazy duck-inspired piece that I found online!; and finally a piece I think you’ll really like, EOS Mexico’s ”Birds On Wire” lamp.

I’m quite jealous of all your recent excursions (I miss that about living in London) – in particular that you got to see the Jeff Koons sculpture.  The Electricity Gallery sounds like it was really interesting, but forget about Maslow and his triangle – I was seriously shocked to read that only 10% of households had a hairdryer; women were so fabulous during the 50′s I find it impossible to believe they achieved that level of hair perfection without the daily use of some kind of styling appliance!!

How are you feeling post our meeting last week?  I found the visualisation board a really useful tool, once again Design*Sponge’s Biz Ladies section came up trumps when they posted Andrea Baxter’s column on how to use visualisations to grow your business.  Personally I was pleasantly surprised to see we each had so many common goals for the business.  I’m super excited to start the process of developing the blog further, I’m sure our readers are really going to benefit from what we’ve got in store.

I’m also feeling enthused by our developing role at the Festival of Interior Design that APID are launching this year, securing government support is a wonderful achievement and I’m quietly confident that this is going to be the year that Dubai seriously launches itself into the global Design industry.

Are you ready to start preps for your infamous Trend Tour at INDEX this year?  Malini has been in touch this week and we should have the exhibitors list soon so we can start attacking that – I’m really proud of what you’ve achieved with the Tours, they’ve been such a hit and I think so much of that is to do with your unique style and the way you engage with your audiences so that they really get the connection with the trends … well done you.

Another, HUGE, pat on the back for coming up with the Gentleman’s Club theme for the 2012 Trend Hub at SURFACES, looking forward to seeing Steve’s initial drawings.

That’s it from me today … must get my head back down to complete the A/W 12/13 Trend Boards, but before I go I want to share my Virtual Reality model shot with you – she’s a good’un.

I got her from Swedish Contemporary Jewellery Designer, Hanna Nielsen.  This piece is called SoundWear and the image is just perfect on the Board; looking forward to seeing the complete season come together!

Speak soon.  X

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