Valentine’s Day Lovin’

Image Credit: Jackie on Flickr 

After reading about the giant beating heart, ‘BIG ♥ NYC’, in New York City’s Times Square, we couldn’t let the big V pass by without a mention but wanted to bring you something more than what great gifts you can buy your loved ones (as an aside, if you are looking for something special, here are some ideas that are still fabulous).  So, we asked some of our favourite industry people what they’re loving right now … here’s what they had to say:

Barbara Chandler | Best-selling Photographer and design journalist for the London Evening Standard

“This is a bit cheeky (and self-promoting) but the products I am loving right now are the ones I am developing myself based on the 180 images in my recently published book of London photographs, titled Love London (Batsford, £9.99).

I had the idea that I would like to see photographs on different media – textiles, say, and bone china.  I found two wonderful business partners, DigetexHome of Manchester (high-quality digital printers with a wonderful design studio) and The New English of Stoke-on-Trent (bone china designers and makers).

[You can read more about The New English in our Trendspotting column for The National here.]

Liverpool Street to the Gherkin, Bone China plate – £39.95

What started as the idea for possibly some tea towels and a plate has grown into a fully fledged range, including huge wallpaper murals, and I am so excited, because we are working on getting this range into a major store by Easter.  I just cannot reveal right now which store it is, as we have promised not to tell until we have the designs finalised.  And would you believe it, we also had an approach from another central London store, which we had to turn down because of the first offer.  At Interiors UK, Ercol came on board, and we showed their iconic studio couch with Love London photos.

I am trying to do something a bit different from the flood of graphic merchandise coming onto the market for the Jubilee and the Olympics.  Many of my images go back 15 or 20 years.  My products are a way of making photographs available to larger numbers of people in a way they had not thought of before.  A cushion, say, is a medium for the photograph – though people seem to very much want to put them on their chairs!!  The murals fill a whole wall in a way photographs have not done before.

Wallpaper mural showing detail of the drinking fountain outside St Paul’s Cathedral – from £99

After over 30 years of writing about products, it is beyond thrilling to have my own range.  After spending a similar time taking photographs, usually with little end view, and mostly out on the street often in difficult circumstances, it is also beyond thrilling to have my work recognised in this way.  The book is called Love London, and that’s the name we have given the merchandise – well, apparently I am a brand now!  Thank you London for making all this possible for me personally – no wonder I love you!”

Follow Barbara on Twitter @sunnyholt

Beau McClellan | Artist and Designer

“My favorite pieces  right now are of the Japanese clothing Designer, Rie Hosokai - she makes the most beautiful fashion designs using old techniques and she makes them all from balloons!  Teaching us all that we can still develop a market for luxury products from very inexpensive materials and we don’t always have to look to the future to source new materials or work new techniques to create cutting edge designs but, we do need to search deep within to find the right inspiration.”

Follow Beau on Twitter @BeauMcClellan

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Pratyush Sarup | Freelance Journalist and regular contributor to The National and Harpers Bazaar Interiors

“I guess I will go with the London based lighting Designer, Alex Booker of Lights Of London.  I like how he elevates the humble drum lampshade to something bespoke with handwoven fabrics and individually hand screen printed illustrations and designs.  The beauty is in the brilliance of something so simple.”

To contact Pratyush email pratyush.sarup@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @PratInTheCity

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Bright pink lampshade with screen printed gold geometric print – £94

Rebecca Thompson | Dulux Colour & Design Manager

“My favourite product at the moment is something I recently bought, the Hare Clock in red from Lush Designs.  Red is my favourite colour right now after the Dulux trend team revealed Red – Fire Cracker 4 as the colour for interiors for Spring/Summer 2012.”

Follow Rebecca on Twitter @BecThomp1

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Hare Clock – £45

Selina Denman | Editor at The National

“I’m loving the Illusion armchair by Emirati Designer, Khalid Shafar.  The piece is made out of stained ash wood and polyester rope — and its simplicity really appeals.  PLUS, it’s always great to see homegrown talent creating truly striking design.”

Follow Khalid on Twitter @KhalidShafar

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Leanne Prain | Writer, Yarn Bombing Blogger, Graphic Designer, and Guerilla Knitter!

“I’m currently in love with a necklace that I purchased from Heather Kraft at the One of a Kind Craft fair here in Vancouver.  Heather, who is based in Seattle, cuts and binds pieces of old china dishes into whimsical, mid-century modernist designs.  The necklace is beautiful, comfortable to wear, and I adore the fact that my jewelry has been re-purposed out of existing material.”

Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeannePrain

Lauren O’Farrell | Graffiti Yarnstormer & Writer

“At the moment I am a bit in love with my cross stitched iPhone case from Firebox.  I used it to create a cross stitch version of my favourite Invader graffiti.”

If you think you have what it takes to be a “five star sneaky stitcher” you can join the Graffiti Yarnstorming Bootcamp in April.

Check out Lauren’s free Valentine’s pattern here, a knitted Smitten Softspot Heart!

Follow Lauren on Twitter @deadlyknitshade

Sabine Warlich | Interior Designer, Stylist, and Icon Baby Blogger

“At the moment I’m in love with the ‘Meteor’ table from Chista.  The coffee table is made out of Bronze and I’m fascinated by the sculptural, organic feel.  The design gives me ‘1000 & one’ ideas and I love it.”

Follow Sabine on Twitter @iconbaby

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Phil Pond | Scarlet Opus Dreamweaver

“My favorite product right now is my Bread maker which just happens to be made by Kenwood and purchased at Lakeland.  It’s not a fantastic looking piece of kitchen equipment, nor is it colourful; in fact much more could be achieved with both of these aspects I think – come on Kenwood!  However, on a daily basis, I can share with Victoria freshly baked bread, the recipe of which ‘I have made up’ which is a really nice thing to do.

Having been making bread for a few months now, I discover that it’s easy to add flavours and ingredients that personalise the bread to me.  This means that when I share the bread with people (OK I have to force myself to sometimes!) we all know exactly what is in it, and that thought was put into what they are eating by me, with the express purpose of making it pleasurable.

At the moment my favourite is very strong, white Canadian flour, fresh basil and rosemary, walnuts broken into small pieces, pumpkin seeds, a little sesame oil, and some fresh red chilli.  Lovely jubbly!”

Follow the Dreamweaver on Twitter @Phil_Pond

Victoria Redshaw | Scarlet Opus Queen

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“Right now I’m in love with Heather Gillespie’s ‘Break the Pattern’ collection of glass.  This particular piece is featured in our Spring/Summer 2013 trend, Orient.”

Follow Heather on Twitter @hgglass

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For more details on our Spring/Summer 2013 trend report, The Opus, contact designteam@scarletopus.com plus our trend boards can be purchased individually or as a complete package, with prices starting from £125.

Personally, right now I just can’t get enough of anything Lee Broom has had a hand in designing!  I must must have his F A B U L O U S (you knew I would Victoria!) Salon Dining chair in Pewter with gunmetal studs for my bedroom.

We wish Lee the best of luck with his first solo exhibition in Milan this April, ‘Public House’.

Follow Lee on Twitter @leebroom

What are you loving right now?  Join the discussion by leaving a comment at the top of this posting or tweet us your favourite products @scarletopus

If you haven’t seen New York’s beating heart installation by Danish architecture firm, BIG, here it is:

The 10-foot high interactive sculpture glows brighter and beats faster when couples touch the heart and hold hands or kiss.  In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the installation will remain on view until the end of the month: ”More people = More love”

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