Pop-Up Bar, Brussels

Last week we were in Brussels presenting trends to the lovely Sappi team, and on our last night in the city they treated us to a celebratory glass of champagne at a pop-up bar on Place Stephanie … what better way to end a successful business trip!

1476442_10152022221361066_721036575_nThe ‘Toast For A Cause’ Moet Chandon bar in aid of the ‘Make A Wish Foundation’ was only there from 5-7th December and we were lucky enough to see it on the opening day whilst it was all pristine.  The theme was ‘alpine lodge chic’ – wall mounted stag trophy heads; fur upholstered stools; hide rugs; stacked-up logs either side of a fireplace; oversized bare lightbulbs; wooden bench seats; golden champagne goblets; gold & black Moet Chandon Christmas baubles; and a long table full of glass domes!


Although there was a power cut that stopped the DJ in his tracks, and torrential rain and gales made us fear the entire marquee was going to be lifted up and blown across Europe, are spirits were not dampened and we all enjoyed our pre-dinner drink before heading to Rouge Tomate.  Thank you to everyone at Sappi for a very enjoyable trip.


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Portland, Maine Photo Journal

Last week Phil & I headed out to Boston and onto Portland, Maine to present the latest Scarlet Opus trend forecast to our client team at SAPPI.  We loaded 3 months worth of work by the team onto a memory stick, packed a capsule wardrobe into a python print suitcase and made our way to Heathrow airport. This time we thankfully had a really good flight out to Boston with Virgin Atlantic:


With a couple of days to spare before our meetings we took time out for sightseeing as well as to prepare for the trend presentation.  And where is the best place to prepare for a presentation?  Poolside of course!!!

pic2Sunday = shopping.  We went to the Commercial Street waterfront area as well as Downtown to take in the sights and sounds of Portland’s shopping district.  Check out the photo of the waterfront fence covered in padlocks put there by couples who are locked in love!  They started appearing on the fence next to Portland Lobster Company last Valentine’s Day and have been added to ever since (you can learn more about LoveLocks here – it might inspire you to start something similar in your area): pic3From Commerical Street we walked up Exchange Street and found several great shops: STA (Second Time Around) clothing & accessories store led to a fabulous gold knit jumper & jewelled thumb ring purchase; At 97 Exchange Street we saw a wonderful window display at the botanical perfumery 2 Note and were delighted to discover their signature fragrance is called OPUS I; We saw fantastic Crosley Cruiser Briefcase Turntables in Urban Outfitters on Middle Street and vowed to buy one next time we’re in America  (you can see Crosley’s full range of turntables here); We enjoyed wine, cheese & charcuterie platters whilst I read through my notes at a little French place called The Merry Table on Wharf Street:

pic4The last time we were in Portland the Regency Hotel & Spa on Milk Street was undergoing major renovation work.  Built in 1895 as an armory for Maine’s National Guard, it became a hotel in 1987 and the recent refurbishment was completed in time to mark the hotel’s 25th anniversary.  We went along to take a look and Phil really liked the Outdoor Retreat area where the full Armory Lounge and Twenty Milk St. restaurant menus are served outdoors – “To the rear and sides this building is nothing remarkable – a large red brick warehouse shape with the only point of interest being what appears to be apartments with balconies at the very top; these are of course the luxury hotel rooms. However, the front façade of the building is spectacular; it faces inland and therefore also a lovely, hidden surprise, whilst you travel up from the waterfront either side of the building. A lush garden grows up the face of the building, and either side of the entrance canopy growing wild, are two small gardens with large rocks in each. A wide, cobbled driveway sweeps across the front of the building where two, or three of the hotels own chauffeur driven cars are parked – they resemble CIA blacked out limos! Beyond the driveway is another very pleasant garden area scattered with tables, chairs and parasols where you can sit and enjoy drinks & meals, leaving you looking rather chic as you gaze upon, or politely ignore, the passers-by!”


The Corner Room at 110 Exchange Street was a great find (recommended by Nicholas from Sappi).  We arrived just in time for Happy Hour (4-6pm) … you can’t argue with $3 a glass Prosecco and a selection of Free antipasti:


Phil had a couple of little niggles but otherwise loved this Italian Kitchen & Bar – The Corner Room layout and décor was excellent with an industrial warehouse feel and wonderful open kitchen areas (there were three), you could even sit on stools at the serving bar watching the chef’s at work at two of them. The drink selection was very Italian – Desaronno, Limoncella and a beautiful Prosecco. The service was friendly but could have been more attentive and a little quicker – our Bruschetta order had clearly been forgotten. Happy hour was however stunning, with drinks at 1/3rd price and free food samples it quickly became busy. The menu food was very fresh, very authentic, very well presented and great value for money. If there is something to improve on the menu it is desserts; they are authentic in name only and not that well made. But, putting aside my two little criticisms, The Corner Room is one of the very best Italian restaurants I’ve been to and should be on your list of ‘places to go’ if ever you find yourself in Portland.”


On our last evening in Portland we were treated to a truly memorable dining experience (beautifully organised by Katie at SAPPI – thank you x) at Diamond’s Edge Restaurant, Diamond Cove on Great Diamond Island.  I’ll let Phil describe the trip – “Take a ferry ride from the waterfront in Portland across the bay out to Diamond Cove and you’ll see some spectacular houses on a myriad of islands in the archipelago just offshore. You might glimpse (as we did) beautiful bald eagles in the trees, a few seals and maybe, just maybe a whale! The ride to Diamond Cove on Great Diamond Island takes around 40 minutes and there is plenty to see to keep you occupied on the way. When you arrive the setting for the restaurant (try to sit at an outside table between May & September) is fantastic, you sit looking at the neighbouring island where right on the beach is an intriguing house built underground into the cliff. This restaurant is all about location, location, location – and that is enough to demand that you go at least once during your visit.” 



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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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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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Hot Spot: VINeataly, Leeds

VINeataly is the new Italian oasis down on the canal at Granary Wharf in Leeds. A new waterside living development for Leeds, Granary Wharf compromises apartments, a Double Tree by Hilton hotel with SkyLounge, Brazilian gaucho restaurant Fazenda, authentic Japanese cuisine from Wasabi Teppan-Yaki, real ale pub with live music from The Hop and Out of the Woods coffee shop. The majority of the site is situated in a tunnel complex which is known as the Dark Arches, built in 1866 above the River Aire to house the new city train station. It’s a monumental feat of engineering… and very eerie!

Dark Arches photo by Colin Metcalf

VINeataly is the newest of these establishments, an Italian wine bar with a difference that opened in February this year. It is Leeds’ first “enoteca gastronmica,’ a concept that creates an approachable, relaxed and easy going atmosphere serving superb food and quick bites and nibbles. It’s a deli slash bar slash wine shop slash restaurant and being completely new to the area, you have to try it to understand what a unique place this really is.

VINeataly is located in the end arch facing out onto the central square of Granary Wharf over looked by Bridgewater Place over the canal and river junction. Its outdoor space is fantastic, a perfect Saturday afternoon spot! Slick and stylish black canvas barriers enclose the space sheltered with large cream parasols. The glass front follows suit with the other venues under the Dark Arches.

Upon entering VINeataly, a bright red Vespa invites you in along with a warm Italian welcome from our host for the afternoon, Alex. We ordered vanilla lattes at the counter and seated ourselves on wood and steel stools at a green legged high table by the door. Downstairs at VINeataly is split into a few different areas – a wall of fine Italian wines runs along the left hand wall separated by an extended bar with seating on both sides. The seating continues along the painted concrete and bare brick wall to the right adjacent to the open kitchen.

Sanded wooden floors run horizontally across the space and make you think of re-used wine barrels and rustic Italian vineyards. Industrial chairs provide seating at the lower tables and vary between uncoated and distressed white finishes and bottle green metal light shades are centered above each table. The interior design is the work of Lifeforms interior design agency based in Kent, developing a style that is natural and earthy but with a sophisticated edge. Touches, like a large rustic clock and menus in wooden clipboards, help push this earthen feel. Little things like free Wi-Fi also added to the authentic homely feel.

Facing out onto the seating is the brilliant open kitchen displaying a wonderful selection of meats, cheeses, deli paninis and pasta dishes, pizzas and Italian style nibbles – Stuzzichini. The bar forms part of the kitchen, being behind a backlit marble counter and lined with plenty of drinks choices on the bare brick wall.

After our first look around the space, we were well and truly ready to order and tuck into some authentic Italian delights!

Two paninis where ordered, a Rustico: slow roasted sucking pig with herbs & garlic, mustard and salad, and the Salame: Italian salame, smoked Caciotta cheese and mayonnaise both on the VINeataly bread. We also tried one of the Stuzzichini nibbles, the dry cured Tuscan ham with homemade focaccia bread.

Served on suitably rustic wooden boards, it was amazeballs! Like seriously good! There wasn’t a single morsel we didn’t like and when we couldn’t finish it all, it felt wrong to leave leftovers.

After lunch we checked out the produce of the Artisan Deli, located towards the back of the space selling cheese, charcuterie, squid ink pasta, sauces and truffle oil. Presented in stacked vintage food crates, the “Artisan by Diva” label has been running since 2007 as a side business to the Diva Italiana Bar & Trattoria in Pudsey, also by owner Mattia Boldetti.

‘Round the back of the kitchen a staircase leads to the upstairs space, opening out to a small second bar and a great feature wall surrounding a black Chesterfield style sofa and concealing the bathrooms. Covered in branding cut from wine pallets and crates it created a brilliant focal point to the dining space.

In contrast to downstairs, the majority of table legs up here where all white, but the industrial chairs continued. The floor was concrete but the rustic wood continued in the wall panels above the staircase. You could also get to see the great vaulted ceiling of the Dark Arches spanning the whole space. It felt much more industrial upstairs, what with the addition of the huge silver tubing of the kitchen below and the industrial styled metal light shades.

On arriving back downstairs, Alex was keen to show me what VINeataly really had to offer. The fantastic chefs had laid out a sample of their Stuzzichini including mozzarella pearls, pizza and olives. They also graciously presented a selection of VINeataly’s finest meats including dry cured ham and Porchetta.

VINeataly also sells fine wines by the bottle including its own white and red. The original and innovative addition of wine dispensers lets you try a wine before you buy a bottle and as members of The Association of Italian Wine Sommeliers, each wine is hand picked forming part of an extensive collection. The in-house sommelier is available to help you choose the right wine to suit your dishes.

VINeataly is an exceptionally unique venue, providing access to out-of-the-norm food and drink in a relaxed home-from-home setting. The ‘enoteca gastronimica’ concept currently rides the latest movements in social dining trends, with many consumers preferring a more authentic and relaxed feel to the traditionally structured ‘sit you down three course restaurant meal’. This modern dining experience offers a democratisation or rare and unusual food and wine, making it available and accessible to all. Being able to sample regional specialties is key to the success of this little slice of Italy in Leeds. VINeataly combines all this across two floors of comfortable, authentic surroundings with a warm staple Italian welcome that instantly makes you feel part of the family. Their informal approach to serving food in a traditional enoteca helps to keep the food prices sensibly low, adding to that homely feel.

After a truly enjoyable afternoon at VINeataly, I would certainly recommend this new venture to any visitor to Leeds with a love for all things Italian… Bellissimo!

Thanks to Anthony for this detailed review of the interior scheme and food & wine offered at VINeataly.  As always he’s put his photography skills to great use and produced wonderful montages for us all to enjoy.  Nice work Mr H!  This is the first in a series of Hot Spot posts by Anthony for Scarlet Opus and we look forward to his next Hot Spot review (which he’ll be photographing during London Design Festival in September).

You can keep up-to-date on VINeataly’s latest special offers and deals via their tweets: @VINeataly Or via their website: www.vineataly.com

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