Garden Trends: Bringing the indoors outdoors

Back in March I was asked for an interview by a journalist putting together a feature on domestic gardens for the Sainsbury’s Bank/Guardian co-hub.  They wanted a glimpse of possible changes 10 years into the future, specifically how the way we use our gardens in the UK might change.  I’d like to share that interview and our predictions with you here.  If you are a UK Home Builder; Interior Designer; Garden Landscaper; Outdoor Product Retailer, Manufacturer or Designer the following insights are essential reading.
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ABOVE: Grid modular outdoor teak furniture from Gloster

Q1. As we shift increasingly towards thinking of our gardens as an ‘extra room’, are there shifts in the way we might think about them as a space – more or less decorative, for instance?

Victoria: Over the next decade we forecast a strong shift towards using our gardens in the UK much more as multi-functional outdoor rooms.  The trend for bringing the outside inside is well established, but for the future we advocate the concept of bringing the inside outside!

What will this mean?  Well firstly it will mean really comfortable, quality furniture and accessories, more usually associated with living room and dining area styles, being incorporated into outdoor room schemes.  And overall the look becomes more decorative, from lighting and outdoor rugs to stylish outdoor storage pieces akin to sideboards, it has a less temporary feel about it and a much more considered decorative style … the same level of decorative consideration we would give to our living rooms or bedrooms.  Of course adaptable covered areas that allow us to stay outside when the inevitable UK rain comes will also need to be incorporated into designs (climate change in the UK could simply mean hotter, wetter weather).  It’s about creating a sense of home in our gardens no matter where we live or how small the outdoor space is.

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ABOVE: 1. Stylish Frame chaise longue from Paola Lenti with a braided rope fixed cover, deep seat pad & cushions.  2. Outdoor Blue Hydrangeas Pillow by London-based Etsy seller Amanda Jane Dalby.  Amanda’s stunning photos are printed onto weather-resistant & fade-resistant polyester poplin fabric, which is then individually cut & sewn by hand to make the final double-sided cushions.  They are such a clever and simple way to add extra floral colour to an outdoor seating area (I have her White Hydrangea Pillows on my terrace!).  3. Alison Iroko Outdoor Furniture from Minotti’s new 2015 collection.  The squared-off, architectural lines and bold use of exotic Iroko Heartwood make this a quality outdoor furniture statement.

Victoria: We will also need to incorporate fast, effective heating solutions that enable us to relax, cook, eat, entertain and work in our gardens during any season, even when the weather is cooler.  Plus we predict a move away from ‘drag it out/store it away again’ barbeques and instead an investment in modular outdoor kitchen solutions, which allow the preparation of food to take place outdoors, as well as the actually cooking.

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ABOVE: 1. The WWOO Outdoor Kitchen, created by designer Piet-Jan van den Kommer, is a virtually maintenance-free prep’ & cook area made up of personalised components, which are set along a modular wall, and can include a Big Green Egg, stainless steel sink, integrated steel fireplace, South African braai, rugged wood storage crates and olive-wood cutting boards. 2.This stunning outdoor kitchen was built by Australian-based company Brick and Stone Construction (contracted by Harrison Landscaping for a project in Mosman, on Sydney’s North Shore).  The kitchen includes a wood fired pizza oven, BBQ grill and sink. The splashback & bench top are hand cut & polished Bluestone, and the doors are made of Cedar.  3. This cleverly concealed outdoor kitchen was created for a home in Brighton (the one in Melbourne!) by Interior & Landscape Designer MR.MITCHELL.  The reclaimed Australian hardwood adds visual warmth and softens this otherwise minimalist, grey outdoor area.  4. This super stylish prep’ & cook area includes a Belgium-made traditional wood-burning open fireplace by metalfire.

Q2. What about using gardens as playspace, especially for children: do you think that is going to change (and if so, will that affect the look or feel, or indeed the equipment we keep in them)?

Victoria: Creating garden spaces that allow free, unstructured play for children is an increasingly important focus for many parents, as is enabling fun opportunities to exercise.  Purpose built, recreation park quality outdoor play features, from climbing walls to mini skatepark ramps, will provide children with secure spaces at home to play, practice skills and exercise.  This could lead to an increased demand for all-weather safety flooring, better outdoor lighting solutions and even products as simple as outdoor drinks dispensers.

An emphasis on discovery and learning associated with environmental awareness and food origin also drives a trend for dedicating space to mini allotments for children within the garden.  And therefore practical problem solving associated with this, like having outdoor hand washing facilities available for children to use, will also begin to be addressed.  

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ABOVE: 1. An amazing home skate circuit in the garden that still looks great because it incorporates planting.  2. A home rock climbing wall out on the patio by Elevated Climbing Walls 3. Vegetables, salad & herbs grown in small, raised, colourful boxed beds/patches that are manageable for children to maintain and inexpensive to make.  4. A brilliantly simple, inexpensive but effective vertical garden solution for small children.

Q3. Will we have, overall, just less room in gardens?

Victoria: Population boom projections and mass migration to cities mean that smaller homes, and therefore smaller gardens, are very likely in the future for many places around the world.  Often in the UK we make the mistake of thinking about an outdoor area as a flat space, and that limits its potential.  We will need to be smarter about how we use the space in our gardens by creating multi-levels, buying multi-functional furniture or furniture that also incorporates storage space, as well as utilising wall space in creative ways, for example using wall space to create vertical gardens to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit or fold down desks that create a work desk outdoors in the sunshine!

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Designer Insights with Laura Greenwood

I was recently asked to do an interview for Terry’s Fabrics sharing my thoughts on interior trend styles for this season. I have included a colour palette, surface texture and pattern style that I personally love for 2015. I was honored to take part and share my design inspirations, take a look at the interview below…
Courtesy of: Terrys Fabrics
1) Colour Palette by Studio Toogood
2) Kikapu Vases by Otago
3) Origins Wool Rug by Plantation Rug Company
4) Kenza Duvet Set by Essenza
5) Colour Provenance by Laura Daza
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Craft Industrialism; Stories behind Products

Craft Industrialism is a new initiative that aims to bridge the gap between the craft maker and the public allowing us to understand and appreciate the process of craft practice. The event showcases a carefully curated exhibition presenting a selection of makers work, each project has a detailed narrative which illustrates the complexity and precision of the ideas from initial concepts, design and development, and finally to the chosen production method. This project also aims to demonstrate the importance of promoting and supporting our local creative businesses.

preview night

I went along to the preview evening of the event, there was a real buzz in the atmosphere, everyone seemed excited to learn and understand more about the meticulous presentation of each project. For me, it was interesting to visually see the full thought process of the maker, from project notes, to concept ideas and sketches. It was fascinating to see the tools that are used by the makers, this allows us to comprehend the intricate hand craft techniques and the amount of time and work that goes into the creation of the project.

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Since the contemporary craft movement we romanticise more of the handmade because we desire quality, not quantity. With the ‘handmade ethos’ becoming a key driver of consumer aspirations it becomes even more important for us to show a deeper understanding and appreciation of the design elements involved. From the sourcing of materials to the craft techniques through to the maker process, we have moved into a world where we value craft once again,  where we want individuality and unique quality, and are happy paying more money for one-off products. In today’s society we want to own less items and look towards owning products we feel mean something or have a story to tell.

Here is a look at some of my favourite designer-makers that are showcasing their work at this event, each maker will present their work over the next few days and discuss the theory or concept behind their designs. Tickets for these talks are available to buy and the exhibition is open to the public until Wednesday 25th March.

Ruth Pullan Textiles and Leather Work

Ruth’s studio is centered around exploring ways of manipulating leather into different forms and shapes. She utilises classic moulding techniques and shaping more often seen on a cutting table than in the workshop in order to bring together a new collection of work that challenges leather-working techniques with a modern twist.

Ruth Pullan

Laura Daza

Colour Factory is a visual and tactile investigation into the colour and dye world, using natural materials to question the relationship between nature and humans. The design is driven by the traditions of colour; celebrating ancient rituals or alchemic techniques and exploring ways for extracting natural pigments. Colours in nature are infinite, only a few thousand have been described and many others to be discovered.

Laura Daza

Convivial Project

Generative Scarves is a project that enables you to generate your own pattern for a scarf. For this project a procedural algorithm commonly used to digitally generate patterns of the natural world was sampled in a bespoke application. The Generative Scarves app, with its set of modifiable parameters enables the user to customise colours and patterns and create a unique print for a personalised scarf.

Convivial Project

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Craft Industrialism really makes you question what we buy and drives a desire to understand more about the story behind a certain product. This could be the story of the trend it aspires to create or the story of it’s history.  For retailers and manufacturers this concept is a great way to market product, allow conscientious consumers to understand the process, design and development that leads to the end creation. There is a growing interest in ‘real’ products and knowing everything about where it initiated so don’t just sell the product; tell it’s story to your consumers.

For more information on how you can achieve this contact us today.

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A proposition for Designers, Manufacturers & Consumers …

Let’s take it right back to what’s essential, practical and authentic.  

Let’s find contentment, pleasure and beauty in simplicity.

Let’s explore repurposing, recycling and waste materials.

Let’s appreciate craftsmanship, honesty and plainness.

Let’s value comfort, natural materials and modesty.

Let’s begin today.

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ABOVE are my pick of beautifully made products that address our proposition at the top of this posting:

1. Worn armchair featuring untreated leather pads & goose feather back cushions by Samuel Wilkinson for Italian brand Casamania  2. FELT armchair in American Walnut veneer & gray felt upholstery by Merve Kahraman  3. Indoor Green dining table/study desk by MANOTECA made from vintage Italian exterior doors (the hinges & latch are still in place) with hand sewn pockets of recycled leather  4. Structured leather trim dress & cape by Colcci (Fall 2015 collection)  5. iPad mini sleeve handmade in vegetable tanned leather & Merino wool-felt (including a back-to-basics pencil & notepad) by Paris-based Etsy seller OSTFØLD  6. Zeus cushion (laser burnt cowhide – sourced as a natural byproduct, suedette & canvas) made by leather artisans at Art Hide

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Knit and Stitch Show 2014 Harrogate

The Knitting and Stitching Show is the largest and most highly regarded textiles and craft event in the UK, it’s packed with textile craft goodies to buy, workshops and galleries. I went along to check out some of the exhibitors this year and to see what was new in the world of embroidery…

Caren Garfen

‘She Was Cooking Something Up’.

Caren’s work consists of a full-size kitchen installation which brings together all of her research over the past three to four years on women, dieting and body image. Enter the kitchen at your peril!

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TOFT Luxury British Knitting

TOFT designs and manufactures quality alpaca and wool yarn and fashionable knitwear here in the UK from British sourced luxury fibres and is based on an alpaca farm in Toft, Warwickshire. TOFT is for the stylish ethically-minded crafter looking for a proper great British story behind their knitting and knitwear. I loved their space at the exhibition, they had fabulous product, creative workshops and many patterns to learn and get involved in!

Jo Beattie

The image below is of a machine embroidery called ‘Playground’. This work is over a metre wide and 75cm in length. It hangs away from the wall, and so you see enlarged images of the children on the plain wall behind. It will hopefully give people the idea of a type of ‘PICK & MIX’ approach where the buyer can choose up to 4 images from the ‘Playground’ to put in a frame for themselves.

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Leslie Morgan

‘How many Mountains’ is the title of this beautiful embroidered quilt – the detail of the stitch is amazing.

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Olly mason

Main inspirations include urban architecture, surface texture and Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures. Her work focuses on surfaces and the conceptual contrast between hard and soft, incorporating both textiles and concrete. These designs have been created for innovative interior surfaces.

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Hanny Newton

Her work is a combination of copper thread and glass on metal pins and industrial felt. Mining is part of the fabric of Cornwall, shaping the landscape while shaping the lives of the people. The Cornish mining story is all about people: the men, women and children who worked hard in dangerous conditions to earn a living.

The technique of layered felt padding is liberated from its conventional home underneath gold work embroidery that would be found on a coronation gown and up scaled to create sculptural rock forms. Gold and silver embroider threads are swapped for copper and tin – the lifeblood of Cornwall.

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Bridget Donoghue

Currently studying at the University of Huddersfield on the Surface Design course, Bridget specialises in embroidery and exhibited some of her work at the show. Her work is based on the visual expression of dreams, and inspired by social issues, surfaces and her drawings. The pieces she has created are based on the four stages of sleep and the movement of the brain, by using the Amaya embroider machine she creates detailed movement in stitch textures.

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