Decor + Design – The Highlights

It’s our last day in Melbourne at the Decor + Design show and if you’ve been following us on twitter then you’ll have seen the photos of our sell out seminar. It’s been a great trip but before we leave Australia I wanted to leave you with my pick of the best products in the best area of the show, and for me that was VIVID:

VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design) is Australia’s longest running design competition for new and emerging designers.  This year at Decor + Design it showcased the work of over 80 innovative lighting & furniture designers (including students from the excellent Central Institute of Technology in Western Australia)  competing for a prize pool of $10,000.  In no particular order here are my favourites:

1. CLING LAMP by Megan Devenish-Krauth

Student at the Central Institute of Technology, WA –

Inspired by origami this beautifully executed wall light, made from the Australian tree species Spotted Gum, can be installed in groups but looked equally striking as a single wall light feature.  It genuinely did appear to be clinging to the wall, having paused for a moment before it continued to creep further towards the ceiling:

1 cling2. HEKSY PENDANT LIGHT by Daniel Giffin

These aluminium alloy lights had a stripped-back elegance that appealed to me.  They were designed to be hung in clusters and would most certainly make a stylish statement if hung en masse:

2 heksy3. CRACKED LOG PENDANT LIGHT by Duncan Meerding

Because a chunk of my trend seminar was dedicated to biophilia, our relationship with nature and natural materials, I was naturally drawn to these lights made from reclaimed timber.  They emitted a pleasing warm glow through the cracks of the logs and, although I resisted, I had an almost irresistable urge to touch the bark and physically connect with these simple but stunning lights.  Also check out Duncan’s STUMP cracked log table/stool design available in his shop:

3 cracked4. UNDERGROWTH PENDANT LIGHT by Jackson Turner

Student at RMIT –

This was a really stunning light on quite a large scale – I loved the contrast between the smooth gentle curve of the blackened aluminium dome and the carefully criss-crossed reclaimed Eucalyptus branches which were tucked underneath.  This light would look so good over a dining table:

4 UNDERGROWTH5. DIAGRID PENDANT LIGHT by Rowan Page, Marinos Drake & Ilya Fridman of Studio Batch

This talented trio were the winners of the Beacon Lighting Award (prize money of $5000). The ‘on demand’ design was 3D printed in nylon and then hand-dyed. The lights are created through computerised code which generates a unique form each time it’s printed. Their printed lights will be available to purchase via their online store soon … but in the meantime why not buy yourself a piece of their very affordable and unique 3D printed jewellery (I’m LOVING the ‘Diamond Cage Ring‘).

5 diagrid6. THE TREEHOUSE by Ali Sattarpanah

Student at the Central Institute of Technology, VIC –

I LOVED this free standing piece!  It presented a bonsai plant, lighting and a small storage shelf on bamboo legs.  It takes inspiration from childhood treehouses – personal, secretive spaces. I liked that it combined a whimsical concept with an honest construction:

6 treehouse7. REYKJAVIK CABINET by Amy Perejuan-Capone

Student at the Central Institute of Technology, WA

Made from American Rock Maple, MDF, copper, brass and steel, this compact cabinet inspired by the capital of Iceland was full of character and getting lots of attention at the show.  Amy describes it as a place to “tuck away or display all your special little keepsakes.”  Perfect.

7 cabinet7. LUSTRE COFFEE TABLE by Alexandra Tyquin

Student at Swinburne University, VIC –

This laser cut and manually folded coffee table in American oak, steel and sapphire glass successfully showcased the beautiful grain of the timber on a faceted platform of futuristic gloss white steel:

8 lustreCongratulations to all of the finalists and winners of VIVID 2014.

I’m closing this post with my 5 takeaway memories of Melbourne:

  1. Cool city vibe – edgy, vibrant, accepting & welcoming.
  2. Queues around the block at H&M!
  3. The best/most unusual hotel room service delivery ever = hi-vis jackets, bottle of wine & taxi fare (thanks Annette!)
  4. Animal print.  Leopard.  Lots of.  No but really, what’s with all the leopard print ladies?
  5. The enthusiastic audience at our sell out seminar at Decor + Design.

Thanks for coming everyone!

seminar finalOur special thanks to the Decor + Design show team who looked after us so well and put on an excellent show; The Langham hotel in Melbourne; Natalie; Alex&Elle for the fab graffiti wall art; Lisa Green from Australian House & Garden; Harry the Greek!

What do you think of this post?
Fabulous (0) Inspiring (0) Useful (0) Interesting (0)

The Best of The Best Millennial Designers 2014

Last month I visited the Huddersfield University Textile Degree Show preview night; I still find it hard to believe that I was in the same position last year and now, one year on, I’ve returned to check out the new designers as part of the Scarlet Opus team!

There is always a diverse range of Surface Design, Textile Design and Textile Craft work on display that shows a variety of material manipulation, colour and pattern design.

The atmosphere was amazing as usual, all the students had worked extremely hard to display their work and create a fantastic space for the viewers to walk round. I want to congratulate all the students on receiving their results and I hope we see a lot more of these amazing designers in the future (some are exhibiting at New Designers).

Here are some of my faves…

Chloe Fisher

Such an interesting and delicate use of materials. I love the unusual shapes created, the intensity of colour and the detailed patterns.

js1600_Chloe_FisherDaniel Matthews

Beautiful innovative illusional digitally printed fabrics inspired by the art of paper weaving and London architecture. I would also like to congratulate Daniel on his success in the SDC International Design Competition.

js1600_Daniel_MatthewsHeidi Beesley

Woven fabric designed around the photography of everyday moments. I love the sophisticated colour palette and simplicity of the presentation.

js1600_Heidi_BeesleyNichola Duce

Love the concept, it’s unique and wonderfully presented. The intricate embroidery adds detail and originality to the product.

js1600_Nichola_DuceAmy Leigh Green

The Eclectic Vibes collection reflects a relaxed, hippie, bohemian style (How very on trend). With inspiration gathered from gypsy cultures which for centuries have fashioned themselves based on floral elements, folkloric patterns and jewellery.

Fantastic use of colour and bold patterns!


Fatima Hussain

I love the minimalistic architectural influence created within the structured weave. Simple but very effective.


Amy Price

Amazing presentation of printed fashion fabrics with beautiful photography.


Adriana Tavares

‘If you can draw it, you can tuft it’ is a collaborative community lead project. This project promotes the educational benefits of crafts. The project challenged the perception of rugs and revolutionised them by pushing the boundaries of shape, colour and aesthetic.

js1600_adriana_tavaresKimberley Harrington

This collection takes inspiration from the growing variations of street art throughout the colourful city of Berlin. A very bold use of bright colours, it’s exciting, energetic and the ‘organised chaos’ presentation makes it unique and inspirational.


Melissa Oswald

Surface design at its best, the colour and material combination create inspiring designs!



js1600_scarlet opus edit

Intense use of colour, disorderly pattern and precise themes define this year’s final shows.

What do you think of this post?
Fabulous (3) Inspiring (2) Useful (1) Interesting (1)

Trend Seminar at Decor + Design 2014

If you’re one of our avid Australian blog readers or Twitter followers then we’ve got some exciting news for you!  We know attending one of our Trend Seminars would normally involve a lot of travelling for you, and that’s why we’re so thrilled to be able to announce that we’re coming to YOU … well, as far as Melbourne anyway.


As part of the fantastic line-up of international speakers at Decor + Design 2014 our Lead Futurist, Victoria Redshaw, will be presenting a seminar entitled ‘Design & Colour Trends for Interiors 2015 & Beyond’ at 12 o’clock on Thursday 10th July.  During her 50 minute presentation she’ll explore the key design trends for Interiors for 2015 (and beyond) including a brief look at how we forecast design trends at Scarlet Opus.  Victoria will explain the factors driving each trend’s emergence and then discuss in detail their translation into the key colours, patterns, materials, shapes, and styles for interiors & interior products.  And then there’ll be the chance to ask Victoria questions.

This seminar will provide crucial content if you’re a Retailer of interior products, an Interior Designer, a Manufacturer of products for interiors, a Journalist / Blogger or simply passionate about all things decor + design!

We really hope you’ll come along and join us.  To find out more and book your seat click HERE.

What do you think of this post?
Fabulous (0) Inspiring (0) Useful (0) Interesting (0)

Surface Design Show 2014 – London

On Wednesday 5th February (despite the chaos of the tube strikes!) I visited the Surface Design Show, at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. It’s the third year I’ve been to the show, and it’s always interesting to see what’s new in the world of Surface Design. Arguably, the University of Huddersfield and Somerset College’s stands were the most exciting with a range of students and graduates’ experimental work in a variety of specialisms. SCIN‘s innovative Material Library was also great; showing some of the most cutting-edge surfaces and materials for interior and architectural use. In no particular order, here are the photographs of 5 of my favourite pieces from the show:

1. Alusion

blog 1 n

Alusion create aluminium panels for interior and exterior use.The aluminium’s surface partially removed, using a patented blasting process. This creates the striking molten, cellular-like finish with a shimmering silver skin.

2. Caroline Hough

blog 2 n

Caroline is a Textile and Surface Designer from Somerset College, and I loved her experimental wood casting with concrete – the natural, raw materials looked particularly great with the contrasting gold metallic details.

3. Objects in Glass

blog 3 n

There was a definite abundance of glass at the show this year – but Objects in Glass’ work particularly caught my eye. They encase objects and materials inside glass – anything from skeleton leaves to mobile phone parts! I particularly liked the metal effects (Lustre-Glaze above) and, in contrast, the sheer woven fabrics.

4. Altfield

blog 4 n

I love Altfield’s beautifully textural textile wallcoverings – their use of everything from metal leaf, to silk fibres, to woven natural grasses are innovative, yet luxurious.

 5. Eden Anglo French

blog 5 n

This wood veneer merchant had an interesting range of decorative (both natural and engineered) veneers at the show and displayed a great use of colour.

 I’m looking forward to seeing what the Surface Design Show has to offer next year, during my final year at Huddersfield University!

What do you think of this post?
Fabulous (0) Inspiring (0) Useful (0) Interesting (0)

SURFACES, Las Vegas 2014 Show Review

vr seminarI’ve been back from the SURFACES show in Las Vegas for a week, and now I’m over the jet lag I’m ready to review the show and share my favourite finds with you.  It was our most successful involvement with the show to date – visitor numbers were fantastic, we had a big audience at our Trend Seminar (I’m the little dot at the front of the theater pictured left – photo courtesy of Christine Whittemore) and the Trends Hub was wonderfully well received.

This year’s Trends Hub had 2 linked themes – at one end we created a Library Snug with comfortable seating and the rest of the booth had a Museum mood with exhibitors samples displayed on large plinths under protective domes.  We wanted to create a space with a sense of ‘discovery’ to encourage visitors to be curious, explore the Hub and discover precious samples, secret displays and hidden information under display domes, inside plan chest drawers and tucked away on shelves in a museum-like space:

hub 1

Floor Focus magazine helped to make the Hub a reality via their sponsorship and Quick-Step generously sponsored the flooring laid throughout the Hub space … we selected the lovely rich tones of Malaysian Merbau from their Dominion Collection.  Thanks also go to Dotty Flamingo for making the laser cut ‘colour name’ necklaces that hung around the mannequins necks, and to Camira Fabrics for organising the special dye for the dresses which we used to communicate the key colours for 2014.  Adding the final touch of comfort were the book pillows kindly supplied by THRÕ.  Plus Catherine spent weeks prior to the show creating tiny installations inside glass domes commemorating events which had taken place 50 or 100 years ago – such patience!  And none of it would have been possible without Don & Frank who took on the mammoth task of building the Trends Hub from scratch, on site, in time for the show opening on January 28th:

hub 2

It’s been my privilege to lead the Trend Tour at SURFACES for the past 4 years running. Every year in advance of the show we visit the websites of all of the exhibitors and view their product ranges in order to make a selection of the most interesting, innovative, on-trend and top quality collections for inclusion.  With just 2 hours to walk our delegates around 2 huge halls we only have time to see the very best, and this year Phil shortlisted 10 stand-out exhibitors for us to visit.

From those 10 exhibitors I’ve selected my favourite 5 to share with you today … and we start with B.I.C Carpets.  It was a real pleasure to talk the Tour delegates through the inspiring range of high-quality carpets.  This year it was actually a tough task to select carpet manufacturers of real interest for the Tour.  It seemed that very little being launched was particularly different, stylish or significantly took into consideration design trends.  So we were relieved to discover that B.I.C Carpets were exhibiting because their in-house design team develop such great products.  Some of my favourites include EOS, MEDINA, STONE and LOGS (all pictured below):


I’m always keen that we don’t have the same exhibitors on the Tour year after year – I like to keep it fresh and interesting for the delegates and I don’t want to appear to be favouring anyone.  However Louis De Poortere were on the Tour 2 years ago and I included them again this year because their products are very relevant to Autumn/Winter 2014/15 trends and they also had some new products I wanted to be sure everyone got to see.  The new designs continued to explore the Vintage aesthetic that is the Louis De Poortere house style.  Taking design inspiration from the past can often result in ostentatious, extravagant design flourishes that simply aren’t palatable to most Western consumers right now.  So the look ideally needs to be pared-down a little via the fading of colors and distressing/erasing of pattern sections.  It’s a delicate balance to get right and achieving this is what Louis De Poortere are so mindful of and successful at.

The new Fading World rug collection (including a Medallion & Kilim design) came in a sumptuous variety of “once rich yet now faded colors” whilst the Cameo Collection (including reworkings of their Multi & Fedra designs, and the new Savonnerie design) came in a range of soft, antiqued pastels accentuated by the subtle sheen of chenille:

louisNow I’d like to show you a wall product from IndusParquet who are a family business based in São Paulo, Brazil with distribution centres around the world.  They are mainly involved in the production of hardwood flooring and have an extensive range of fabulous smooth & textured exotic woods.  I admire their responsible approach to manufacturing – they have adopted a zero-waste policy meaning 100% of all wood that enters the factory is used, and their floors feature in some amazing spaces around the world including The Vatican.  But I actually included them on the Tour because I love the design possibilities of their Wall Exotics collection which could make a striking feature in a hotel guest room, or in a bar, or even in a spa.  My favourite is the Brazilian Pecan!

indusBack to flooring now and the next exhibitor I wanted to mention is Glenn Carpet.  They were 1 of only a few companies on the Tour this year involved in the design and production of carpet and/or rugs.  They produce an extensive range of high-end rugs (all made to order) and work with a wonderful selection of fibers including bamboo, silk, flax and mohair.  I particularly liked the Damaskeen, Bella Floral, Woodgrain and Cordelia designs (all pictured below left to right):

glennMy 5th and final pick of SURFACES exhibitors is Homerwood who are a very special flooring company – every plank is truly fashioned by hand from premium quality hardwood with admirable attention to detail.  A genuine respect for the raw material and celebration of its qualities takes place in their workshops & manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania and I love this level of skill and pride.Their flooring is crafted from the entire tree and beautifully preserves and reveals all of the trees natural characteristics.  Their Amish Hand-Scraped collection is the perfect example of their passion & pride – local Amish artisans in Pennsylvania hand-scrape every plank in this collection to create a hand-crafted floor.

My main reason for including them on the Tour (and in this post) relates to their Smoked Specialties.  Again this collection is very much created by hand – they use a hand smoking technique to achieve the dramatic, rich, dark effect on the wood (that you can see pictured below right).  I was fascinated to learn the technique involves gently ‘flaming’ the wood, 1 board at a time, and the heat from the open flame caramelises the natural sugars in the sapwood creating the distinctive shadowed look:


vr signature

What do you think of this post?
Fabulous (0) Inspiring (1) Useful (1) Interesting (2)