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: Manchester: Northern Quarter

Today we’re pleased to welcome guest blogger Chris Balme – who better to show us around Manchester.  He’s lived in and around the city for 17 years and has never shied away from trying its more unusual and adventurous offerings:   

chrisOne of the World’s more eclectic cities, Manchester proudly boasts flagship luxury stores, such as Selfridges, whilst adopting the unofficial slogan: ‘It’s grim up North’. Like many Northern cities in the UK, Manchester has enjoyed a renaissance in terms of architecture as urban bubbles and splashes are being erected in the form of modern studios and apartments to sit alongside beautifully restored and imposing archaic buildings of the past 500 years.  This incredible juxtaposition is exemplified perfectly by England’s trendiest area outside of Camden Town: The Northern Quarter.

Manchester (5)

NQ (as it is lovingly referred to by devotees) is built around a myriad of locally run bars, cafes, restaurants and shops dedicated to slightly off-kilter products, services and a desire to ‘do things the right way.’ Adjective-laden menus adorn the tables and walls of the properties promising culinary combinations only previously thought of by Gordon Ramsey returning to his fully-stocked studio at 2am after a lager-fuelled awards ceremony!

Almost Famous & Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn

js1600_almost_famousThese 2 sister restaurants in the Northern Quarter both popped up with limited fanfare in the last year but have gone on to build up a fervent and dedicated fanbase and have quickly become ‘must-visit’ locations for people visiting Manchester. With queues stretching out the doors and winding up the streets from about 6.30 every evening, there is a certain sense of exclusivity surround the burgers at Almost Famous and the burritos at Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn.

The former has recently closed its doors for an undisclosed period of time following a kitchen fire and the chefs have since been selling their burger wares from a small wagon across the centre of the city. Baring in mind that people will wait an hour during a cold February night in Manchester for an Almost Famous burger, the re-opening night will be pandemonium.

I am Pho


Located underground in Manchester’s China Town (underneath one of the city’s most infamous strip clubs!) Vietnamese restaurant I am Pho has unfortunately often been overlooked. This changed somewhat earlier this year when a voucher scheme brought the restaurant to the attention of the city’s hundreds of thousands of young profession dwelling residents. Intrigued by the unique flavours on offer by the good Vietnamese folks, Mancunians approached en masse to try specialities such as the eponymous Pho and Bun Hue.

The interior may be slightly stark but the warm reception and light, delicious food soon makes you forget that you are sat under bright lights and a popular strip joint.


js1600_nawaab_montageIn a city that boasts a stretch of road known as ‘Curry Mile’ it may be surprising to find this amazing Indian restaurant located a few miles away. The instantly impressive Nawaab is based in the Manchester suburb of Levenshulme and packs a Bollywood-esque punch of grandeur and tangible excitement as soon as you walk through the front door. The large entrance is adorned with images of Bollywood movie stars and the ultimate symbol of extravagance – an illuminated indoor fountain. An internal balcony wraps the 1st floor of the foyer and only a central staircase is needed to replicate the majesties of Scarface’s humble home (pre-bloodshed).

Serving as both a traditional restaurant and a wedding venue; Nawaab offers a mystifyingly large selection of different starters, mains, sides, drinks and deserts. The open-style kitchen allows you to witness the large quantities of different curries being produced by the vast team of chefs and the buffet option allows you to try a little (or a lot) of everything!

Special thanks to Chris for today’s post. 

Thanks also to HungryHoss and Lauren at HungryTravelStyle for additional images used in our montages (created by our new Intern – Catherine).

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Visiting Vegas – A Designer’s Perspective

lucyHi, I’m Lucy, currently studying Graphic Design at the University of Huddersfield.

After hearing about all the exciting seminars Scarlet Opus presents each year over in Las Vegas, I was lucky enough to experience the vibrant and colourful city for myself on a recent trip.

So, where to start…

Las Vegas – a city full of atmosphere, colour, dazzling lights and sparkling surroundings is the self-proclaimed ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’.  But what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay there – not for a design enthusiast anyway.  I came back with great inspiration taken from the fabulous surroundings!

vegas mood board b

It wasn’t just the gambling, couture shopping or super-sized dining which kept me in awe of the city – it was also the Las Vegas landscape! 4.5 miles of dramatic architecture and distinctive sky-rises make it a breath-taking sight against the desert plains!

vegas landscape a

Some of the world’s most desirable hotels can be found situated on the Las Vegas Strip, all uniquely designed to upstage the next!  My favourite would have to be the Bellagio where you will find the famous signature fountains and the beautiful landscaped Botanical Gardens.  The interior of the hotel reflected 1930s glamour, with bold geometric flourishes found on walls and ceilings, a rich colour choice of creams and golds, as well as Art Deco inspired signage to really make you feel as though you’re part of a 1930s film set!

ballagio 1 a

bellagio 2 aOne of my favourite features of the Bellagio, was the “Fiori di Como” an 18-foot glass sculpture by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.  The chandelier is made up of 2,000 hand blown glass blossoms.  The clusters of blue, reds and greens really create a fresh and stylized feature for the main entrance of the Bellagio and leads on to the Botanical Gardens.  As my visit was in Springtime the gardens theme was Dutch inspired and painted with tulips and daffodils.  The glass conservatory created a refreshing sense of space and relaxation in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the casinos:

botanical garden and glass ceiling aFor a more modern and stylish visit to Vegas, I found that the Cosmopolitan hotel oozes sophistication and glamour.  With sparkling chandeliers on entrance and around the cocktail bar, and modern-glam décor – the hotel is definitely a gem to the Vegas Strip.  I found great inspiration from this hotels interior design.  The mix between urban and sophistication appealed to me.  Here are a few of my favourite finds:

cosmoThere seems to be something to catch the eye everywhere in Vegas.  I loved the window decoration of the club Aria – montages of old graphic style posters, and the 50ft Butterflies hanging from the ceilings to really create a dramatic space!


Special thanks to our Guest Blogger Lucy Kilcoyne for taking us on a tour of her favourite design features in Las Vegas hotels, and for sharing her photos.

The Scarlet Opus team will be back in Vegas next January, when once again we’ll be curating the Trends Hub, leading Trend Tours on Designer Day and presenting Trend Seminars at SURFACES 2014 (held in Mandalay Bay Convention Center 27th – 30th Jan).  We’ll post more news on our schedule of events for this exhibition soon.

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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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