Lessons from the West Elm LOCAL launch in London

Last month Scarlet Opus were invited to West Elm‘s ‘Meet the Makers’ event at their Tottenham Court Rd store in London. They planned to throw their doors open and present their ever so lovely furniture, textiles and tableware to the Press, as well as allowing local Designers to demonstrate their skills and discuss their work. Continue reading

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How Window Displays become Story Tellers: London

Lisa Le PeurianHi! I’m Lisa and I’m Guest Blogging for Scarlet Opus. I moved to London in January, where I’ve been inspired by the culture, fashion, design, and fast pace of life, but most of all by the shopping! A trip down Oxford Street is now a daily (very expensive) route to work for me… so come along and have a look at the shopping temptations I face… Continue reading

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Hot Spot: Melbourne


Today we are proud, nay, thrilled to welcome Simon Scott as a Guest Blogger.

At only 28, Simon Scott has designed numerous coveted residential and commercial projects across Australia.  Based in Melbourne and Sydney, his work has drawn the interest of creative catalysts and internationally-known Designers, with his work featuring in magazines and newspapers in Australia, the UK and America.  Join Simon as he takes us on a tour of the hottest and most stylish places to eat, drink, shop and be seen in Melbourne:

snap shot of melbourne 3


Melbourne is a fashionable and vibrant international city, and is the hub of the arts, gourmet food, culture and design in Australia. Melbourne has been built on cultural diversity and immigration from all over the world, where an open approach has allowed the culture and talents of these people to be shared with others.  This is a city where you see and feel a distinct European influence, with international flavour and charm, and is also the destination you will find the best coffee outside of Italy.

space furniture storeSpace Furniture 629 Church St, Richmond

This 4-level superstore is Melbourne’s home to many of the world’s leading furniture designers, including B&B Italia, Moooi, Maxalto, Zanotta, Kartell, Vitra, Foscarini. With a prime street position and towering 4 storey high windows displaying designer furniture, it draws attention from every angle. Step inside, and you are surrounded by great design, and design consultants with broad experience in furniture and interior design.  

babyBABY 631-633 Church St, Richmond

Next door to Space, is the new Melbourne hot spot for trendy Italian with great coffee – BABY. Designed by the Melbourne design studio Projects of Imagination, the atmosphere in the evening is electric and alive, with Melbourne style in every corner.  BABY is a great place to meet with friends, or for dinner on the go, as it also has a bustling New York-style diner bar. The designers of the restaurant have influenced all levels, creating the interior design, the iconic logo in red neon and the restaurant’s insignia, as well as streaming Italian language lessons over the speakers in the bathrooms.

tarlo & grahamTarlo & Graham 60 Chapel Street, Windsor

Tarlo & Graham is an eclectic design experience featuring vintage furniture mixed with vibrant artwork, and one off pieces chosen by owners William Tarlo and Phillip Graham. With exotic elements, the shop will captivate and stimulate your imagination. Closer to the city of Melbourne, is the new Tarlo & Graham store in the up-and-coming Gertrude St, Fitzroy, where you are surrounded by great cafes and the art culture of nearby Brunswick Street and the transforming Smith Street, with interesting new concept stores are opening every month.  

David'sDavid’s 4 Cecil Place, Prahran

David’s has been a much loved Melbourne restaurant specialising in the cuisine of rural Shanghai. Recently redesigned by leading Melbourne design studio Hecker Guthrie, the directors Paul Hecker and Hamish Guthrie have beautifully created the atmosphere and passion of old Shanghai in its design. The relaxed and open, yet intimate setting features old timbers, tropical plants, and chairs made from recycled boat timbers. It is a beautiful space to meet for lunch or dinner, and the Asian cuisine is some of the best you’ll find in Australia.  

rooftop barRooftop Bar Level 7/103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

On Level 7 of ‘The Aylesbury’ awaits a cosy New York-style rooftop bar with beautiful views of Melbourne. Step out of the lift and towards the cocktail bar, with a spirit and wine list as well as food selections from the acclaimed restaurant downstairs, available to order at the bar. This is a great place to visit for those after-dinner late night drinks.

eau de vieEau De Vie 1 Malthouse Lane, Melbourne

This is one of Melbourne’s ‘hidden’ bars with no signage. To discover Eau De Vie, walk over to Malthouse Lane, just off Little Collins Street and walk down the discreet lane. On your right you’ll discover people walking in and out of a single door. Walk inside, and you’ll find a bustling underground style bar, with dark walls, Chesterfield style lounges, and attentive drinks service. There is also a kitchen attached to the bar, with food available.     

AVENEUEAvenue Bookstore 127 Dundas Place, Albert Park

This is my favourite bookstore in Melbourne, in one of my favourite streets. The front window open bookshelf display will draw you into a peaceful oasis of literature. Upstairs is a dedicated architecture, art and photography section with the finest selection of design books in Melbourne. Step onto a timber ladder to reach books that are stacked to roof height, and enjoy turning pages on the Eames chair, located in front of a large window overlooking Albert Park.

crown metropol melbourneCrown Metropol Melbourne 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

Crown Metropol Melbourne is a trendy hotel, located in the heart of the Crown Casino and entertainment complex in Southbank. Featuring modern rooms and suites with spectacular views of Melbourne’s skyline, you are footsteps from some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and shopping boutiques. After relaxing in the rooftop indoor pool, you may choose to dine at one of Melbourne’s finest restaurants located in the Crown complex, such as Nobu Matsuhisa’s ‘Nobu’, Neil Perry’s ‘Rockpool’ or the French restaurant ‘Bistro Guillaume’. 

simon scottOur thanks to Simon Scott for writing such a great post and giving us a wonderful insight into Melbourne’s hot spots.

You can learn more about Simon and his stunning design work on his website here.

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The Truth About Internships

js1024_ZakDuring my 2nd year at Uni some students that were on placements gave a talk on how they felt their placement was going. They all experienced different areas of expertise – some were doing fashion, interiors, marketing and buying etc… But they all had one thing in common – they all commented on the fact their placement year gave them a better understanding and focus on what to create in their final year.

Being a student myself who is currently on placement with Scarlet Opus, it made me think about and evaluate my time working for a company compared to Uni life.  So I decided to interview other design students who are also on placements and ask them to reflect on their time as Interns:

Gemma textThe 1st student I interviewed was Gemma Tovey who is currently a student on the ‘Surface Design for Fashion & Interiors’ course at the University of Huddersfield.  She is over half way through her placement year. She has done lots of different placements so far covering both the Interiors and Fashion sectors, and ranging from a weeks placement to 3 months.  This has included placements with Muraspec, Scarlet Opus, Ege Carpets, Me & Thee, Topshop, and her current placement at Marks & Spencer:

ZI: How are you finding your placement year?

GT: Overall I am finding my placement year very interesting and inspiring.  So far I have gained a really positive experience seeing the range of career paths/opportunities, which are available within the industry. I also feel it has been a good experience working in a different environment from University, meeting and working with other like-minded designers.

ZI: Is it what you expected?

GT: Having never previously worked in the Fashion or Interiors industry before my placement year I was quite unsure about what to expect. However having now being on a few different work placements I have found various aspects to be as expected but there were also areas within the companies I did not expect. For example I have worked with both large and small-scale design teams, working to different time scales and seasons using different design methods to suit their target customer:



ZI: Would you recommend other students to pursue a placement or go straight to final year?

GT: I would definitely recommend a placement year to other students although it can be quite difficult at times, a work placement really gives you a higher, more realistic understanding of the industry and what is expected of you once you graduate.  Whilst more personally, I feel it has also helped make me more prepared for my final year developing both my design and personal confidence. It is also a great opportunity to gain some feedback and advice from the people in the industry and develop some contacts.

ZI: What advice would you give to companies who offer Internships?

GT: I would say it is really important to make real use of placement students so they can have the opportunity to learn and develop new skills.  From my own experience I have found that practically taking part in set briefs has helped make me more focused, interested and eager to get involved. I would also encourage companies to be open, welcoming and willing to answer questions.



Kimberley text

The 2nd student is Kimberley Harrington, who is a 23 year old 3rd year student on the ‘BSc (Hons) Textile Design for Fashion & Interiors’ degree course. In September 2012 she started to work with an automotive interior design company called Sage Automotive based in Bury, north Manchester:

ZI: What skills have you learnt and how will they help in your final year?

KH: So far, half way through, I feel like my eyes have really opened to how this area of the textile world works.  I have an ever improving understanding of the automotive fabric production process and general critical timing … due to our fabrics and finishing being carried out in different areas of Europe, this can really play havoc with getting samples to design meetings on time, and makes having our own Uni assignments in on time look like a piece of cake.

ZI: What were the incentives for going for a placement year?

KH: I had reservations when starting my placement about what I would be spending my 11 months doing exactly.  In the interview I was asked did I understand that the role involved a lot of chopping and filing of fabrics for the many different customers. However at the back of my mind was, was I really choosing the right words as there were many other placements available that seemed at the time to be more exciting; but a bonus was that this was a paid placement in Manchester – an area I was familiar with. What I did understand was automotive design involved travel and this was a huge appeal. I also come from a sales background and enjoy working with people. So ‘automotive’ seemed a good choice for a placement experience as it involves many global customers and companies.

ZI: Has the placement met your expectations?

KH: When I accepted the offer I was still a little anxious but can safely say I have never looked back! In my first week I was introduced to a new embellishment development project which, little did I know at the time, was to become my own main project! This alone, in my 2nd week, took me to Brussels to attend a meeting at Toyota Engineering headquarters. Since then I have also worked on the recoloring of current production fabrics, designing new embossing plates, attending design brief meetings with customers, trend research (including trips to MooD & Heimtextil trend shows), and benchmarking, alongside the usual studio work of designing, re-creating and archive work.




Faye text

The final student I’ve interviewed is Faye Ruth Seale who is studying ‘Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors’ at the University of Huddersfield, and she went straight into her final year studies without doing a placement in industry:

ZI: As a future designer what do you feel is going to be the next big thing in terms of themes, patterns and colours for the Interiors market?

FS: I think integrating patterns and repeats are the future, referring to the economy to try and make the designs more interesting and have more depth to them, and using pastel colours to lighten up the mood but still using neutral colours.

Have a look at our Getting Nude blog for inspiration on using pastel and neutral colours.

ZI: Do you feel by going straight into your final year studies it has given you a disadvantage compared to the students who went on placements?

FS: Yes it has.  The main reason I came to this University was because of the placement year, and I turned down another University and course because of it.  If I was given a placement I feel I would have learnt a lot more and gained so much more experience rather than jumping straight into my final year.

ZI: What was the reason for going straight into final year and were you ready?

FS: The reason I went straight into my final year was because I could only get a 2 week placement and even then I couldn’t do it as I could not afford the rent as it was in London.  I do not feel like I was ready to go straight into my final year as I feel I still have so much to learn before I go into industry.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the students who have taken the time to contribute to today’s blog post. I hope this has helped many of you who are either thinking of looking for internships with companies or for businesses who are considering hiring student interns – just think how you would be responsible for helping future designers develop their understanding within business!

zakandvIt really has been a brilliant experience for me. I came in with no experience and skills of working in industry but over the 5 months so far I have gained confidence in my approach to work. I have always been a grafter but the company have now made me feel confident as they set the task and they leave me to create and offer advice when I most need it. They have boosted my self-esteem and belief in my designs. They see me as part of the team and value my opinions.

Some students may experience positive outcomes whereas others may not but all experience it valuable, not every business has the same method of teaching and their approach will be different. I can thankfully say my experience has been very promising and I don’t have any regrets doing my placement!


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Pick of the Best Interiors Stores in Shanghai

After the panel discussion I took part in during CDW in the Summer I was approached by Sofie van der Velden, a design student seeking help gaining an internship in Shanghai.  Sofie eventually won herself an excellent internship and we agreed that whilst in Shanghai she would write a Guest Blog for us, giving her pick of the best interiors stores in the city.

Born in The Netherlands, but studying International Branding & Marketing Management at Teko Business + Design University in Denmark when I met her last summer, Sofie was just 19 when she boldy set off for Shanghai in August.  Prior to starting her internship in September she wisely took Chinese language classes at Donghua University and also immersed herself in the Chinese culture, which at first she found “a bit surreal but fascinating”.

Since arriving in Shanghai, Sofie has been visiting Interiors stores, gradually photographing them, conducting interviews with the owners, writing about her impressions and sending me her roving reports.  Today we are thrilled to share her wonderful report with you in full:

CLICK THIS LINK to enjoy Sofie’s full report from Shanghai (it will open-up in a separate window which you can enlarge to full screen size to view all the info & photos in detail).

HUGE thanks to Sofie van der Velden for putting together such a terrific report for us.  Great work Shanghai Sofie!!!

Be sure to check back next Monday when Zak (our rather excellent Intern) will be taking a look at several amazing photographers and then drawing inspiration from their work to create unusual colour palettes and looks for Interiors which are sure to inspire you!  Get ready for some Winter Floral Fabulousness!

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