Friday, October 31, 2008

Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Awards night in Melbourne

Edra's Massimo Morozzi, centre, flanked by the gorgeous Humberto and Fernando Campana.

I was lucky enough to snaffle an invite to the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Awards 2008 in Melbourne on Wednesday evening... (actually, I was the "and partner" on Gordon's invitation... but that was good enough for me!). The awards had already been announced in Sydney last week, but I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to attend the Melbourne leg of the tour!

Highlights of the evening:

- Special guests Massimo Morozzi from Italian design giant Edra, and the Campana Brothers!
Wow! Talk about design royalty! Massimo was utterly charming. He described Australian design using the word 'techo-craft', discussing the idea that limitations in manufacturing opportunities in Australia have encouraged local designers to perfect the art of hand-crafting much of their work. The Campana brothers were equally charming, but are men of few words!

- Meeting man-of-the-moment - Trent Jansen
. I must try not to gush but he is truly so lovely, modest and totally unaffected by all the attention he's currently receiving! I was expecting him to be inundated with design groupies, but the event was surprisingly relaxed and it appears I was the only groupie he had to worry about :) He was on whirlwind stopover enroute to Tokyo.... I am certain we're looking at the next major Australian design superstar here - watch this space! (*Don't worry an interview is in the works...!)

Trent Jansen shakes Massimo Morozzi's hand when he's announced as joint winner of the 2008 Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award. (sorry, bit blurry).

- Bombay Sapphire mix'n'match cocktails flowing all evening... the Bombay Blush featuring pink grapefruit and lime was a hit! Also, a little girly I know, but couldn't go past the lychee and passionfruit pulp... mmmm.

- and the fantastic venue - Comme, just off Collins st in the CBD. Must go back for dinner one evening... beautiful, sophisticated atmosphere, perfect attentive yet relaxed service, and canapes to die for. This is the life!

John Hoogendoorn accepts his award for his stunning Aurora Lamp.

*ps if you can't wait for my Trent Jansen interview do read this great one on the Living Edge blog... which unfortunately asks 90% of the same questions I have already sent to Trent myself. Hmmm actually, these new Living Edge blog interviews seem to replicate many of my standard interview questions... (particularly the inspiring "designer/artists/creative people" question that I often ask). Oh well, live and let live :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sub-Studio Blog

Loyal Loot log bowls, via newly discovered design blog Sub Studio.

Sub Studio is a small design practise in NYC... their portfolio and combined experience is more than impressive - partners Anna Corpron and Sean Auyeung both have bachelor degrees in architecture, however their fields of expertise span graphic design, industrial design, jewellery design, illustration and photography to name a few.

Whilst their own design output is impressive and extraordinarily varied... Sub-Studio's most exciting project (if you ask me) is their excellent design blog, which has been in existence much longer than this little site, but somehow has only just been brought to my attention. (Thanks Toohey!)

A concise daily fix of design news and products from around the globe, pulled together by 2 very savvy writer/designers... bookmark immediately.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Habitus - Launch Issue

An article about much loved Sydney-based, Japanese-born fashion designer Akira Isogawa featured this stunning photo of Akira's own personal stash of traditional kimono fabrics.

As I often mention, the development of this little blog since I first started in January this year has brought with it so many fantastic and unexpected opportunities... I have had the good fortune to meet some incredibly talented Australian designers and creative people through the site - something I never anticipated but am so grateful for.

Another unexpected outcome has been the opportunity to contribute written work to various publications in the real world! One of the first publishing companies to commission a piece of writing from me was the very prolific Sydney-based InDesign Group - responsible for a variety of publications such as Design Quarterly, InDesign and of course the fantastic Saturday In Design event... So needless to say I am very happy to introduce to you InDesign's latest publishing venture, Habitus magazine. The Habitus launch issue is out now, and I feel super-special because In Design actually sent me a complimentary issue... (these things don't happen very often but I'm putting the word out, just out in case anyone else wants to send me complimentary magazines...! ha ha!).

Anyway, I appear to be rambling but the point is, all self-interest aside(!), Habitus is a fantastic and truly unique offering in an admittedly over saturated magazine market, and you should seriously consider going out to buy a copy of issue 1 before the second issue hits the shelves.

Shots from the seriously drool-worthy home of Landscape designer Daniel Baffsky and Fashion Designer Sarah-Janes Clarke (is the 'Sass' in Sass and Bide). See the nice layout/typography? (top image)

What's good about it?

1) Beautiful paperstock. A variety of papers are used throughout, however the majority of pages are a stunning matt stock, velvety-soft to touch, and seriously beautiful to look at.

2) Superb design, photography and layout. Again, classic in style, unfussy... just clever, classy typography, a limited colour-palette and simple, effective layout.

3) Top-notch content - a focus on Australian and New Zealand architecture and design, with an emphasis also on architectural news and content from neighbouring regions, notably South and South-East Asia. In his editor's letter, Paul McGillick explains Habitus' goal to 'bring together dwellings of architectural interest with the people who live in them and their way of life'. Hmm... not sure if he's entirely correct in supposing that this is a truly 'unique' approach, however it is certainly true that Habitus is a juicy publication, jam-packed with carefully researched content by some excellent writers. It's wordier than your average mainstream design mag offering, though also more than accessible to the non-architects among us (and that would be me).

4) currently, the ad vs. original content quotient is remarkably good... Although I'm assuming with its inevitable surge in popularity, the advertisers will follow!

Anyway, check out my favourite pages and then go have a flick for yourself! You won't be disappointed!

The striking NZ home of Auckland architect Richard George

An insanely lavish home on Sydney's Northern Beaches, designed by Sydney architect Reg Lark. (4 bedrooms - each with ensuite, 2 studies, pool with water views, 3-car garage... you get the idea).

The same Sydney home - have you ever seen a more incredible garage? I mean... it's a garage.

Habitus Magazine
At Borders and other good bookshops / magazine retailers

RRP $12.95

Melbourne designer Chris Connell's chair collection

Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery winners announced!

Quick news update - Trent Jansen's 'Kissing Pendants' have won the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award, in conjunction with Ilias Fotopoulos' 'On Close Inspection' tactile wallpapers!

So well deserved on both counts!

More info and other winners listed here.

Ohhh.... I'm impatiently waiting for those Kissing Pendants to go into production.... international manufacturers, are you listening?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

House of Orange - new furniture

House of Orange latest furniture range - Back to Basics

Very short post today I'm afraid... it's nearly 1.00am and I am exhausted from a 16 hour day at work! Aggh!

Do you remember I posted about the lovely House of Orange in Armadale a while ago...? They specialise in Dutch home accessories and design pieces... and as you know I'm a sucker for Dutch design of any kind! Anyway, Ursula from H-of-O recent emailed me to let me know about their brand new summer 08-09 Indoor/Outdoor furniture range, called Back to Basics. The pieces are Dutch designed, but handcrafted to order here in Australia (by someone Dutch, apparently!). They're made from local recycled timbers in a beautiful limewash finish.

The range includes 8 seater to 20 seater tables, cubed seating, lounges and even children's settings.

The chunky simplicity of these robust timber pieces would work so well in any number of spaces, from eclectic interiors to modern minimalist homes... and of course, would be especially happy outdoors. How about that gorgeous outdoor dining table, perhaps with a collection of rustic pot-plants in the centre, and maybe a cluster of chunky candles in various heights?... oh my mind wanders into styling-land...

I must pay Ursula and Hans a visit again soon! those red clogs that seem to have crept into these shots! details details. :)

House of Orange
2 Kings Way

*PS any other 'Blogger' bloggers having trouble with uploading images at the moment? All my shots are auto-formatting to a smaller size that normal... meaning I then have to edit the HTML to re-size them! I am getting so frustrated! Would appreciate any feedback about this from fellow Blogspot buddies...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Marcela Restrepo

My Leica - illustration by Marcela Restrepo

Another illustrator for you today... this time I'd like to share with you the beautiful work of Marcela Restrepo, a Colombian Illustrator currently living in Sydney. Some of her work features buildings and landmarks that might be recognisable to Sydneysiders... I love the Surry Hills piece (below) - makes me wish I had had the foresight (and the funds!) to commission something to accompany my Surry Hills Shopping Guide!

Surry Hills

King st Autos

Marcela's playful drawings are so engaging and almost naive in style... I love her fine black lines and roughly rendered blocks of colour. Reminds me of children's colouring books. Also, I'm always a sucker for hand-drawn food... don't ask me why! I love it. Marcela's gorgeous illustration for Nylon Guys magazine NY (below) reminded me a little of Maira Kalman's food paintings, which I've written about before.

Illustration for Nylon Guys Magazine, NY

the same illustration as it appeared in the page layout...

Comida Criolla - Marcela says "I did this drawing being homesick. It is my home city's most traditional dish, the Bandeja Paisa. Of course it tastes better with a Colombiana". This one's currently available for sale in her online shop.

Most excitingly, Marcela has just opened an online shop, where she sells limited and open edition affordable Giclée Prints of her drawings. She is also offering a 10% opening discount with the code ‘open7’ to celebrate her new adventure! This is valid until Thursday the 30th of October at noon, Sydney-Australia time. Beautiful and very reasonably priced pieces.

Jacky Winter illustration for sale here.

Marcela is represented in Australia by the illustration Agent Jacky Winter Group (sound familiar? Jacky Winter also represent previous Design Files interviewees Pandarosa).
Marcela's clients have included American Express, Peugeot, Energizer, Bon Appetit Magazine, Australian Financial Review, Sunday Telegraph Magazine and her mother!

More Marcela here, here and here.

Tim Tam

Friday, October 24, 2008

Interview - Stewart Russell of Spacecraft

Spacecraft Studio in North Melbourne - apologies for the very rough photo-stitching!

Stewart Russell rinses a screen in his North Melbourne studio

work in progress at the studio

Linkscreenprinted versatile plywood cubes in Spacecraft's Gertrude st Store

Spacecraft's talented studio staff hard at work printing the latest range of bedlinen.

Stewart Russell wears many hats. In addition to being an extremely talented textile designer with an unrivalled international reputation, and having a CV as long as your arm, Stewart Russel is also a curator, artist, mentor, and importantly, an incredibly nice guy. When talking to him, you get the distinct feeling that you're chatting with an old friend. Despite the success and notoriety of his Melbourne-based textiles company Spacecraft, Stewart is overwhelmingly warm, friendly, and down-to-earth, and more than happy to chat about his work to anyone who shows an interest. (And that would be me!) He's thoughtful and modest in his discussions about art, design and the prolific output of his own studio... and he also has a wonderful, gentle Scottish accent which would probably have me hanging onto every word even if he was talking about greyhound racing.

I met Stewart recently at an exhibition of his very popular printed artworks on canvas. The pieces, as Melbourne readers probably know, are created using the backing cloth from Spacecraft's screenprinting studio as a starting point. Over the course of a few weeks, this backing cloth becomes saturated with print ideas and colour tests. The build up of printed ideas and patterns then form the basis for artworks on stretched canvas, which are now in great demand! I love the idea of owning an artwork that also acts as a snapshot of the studio's output in any given 8 week period! It really captures a sense of the energy and variety in the work of this unique print studio.

In addition to producing these popular artworks, Spacecraft studio is responsible for an incredibly varied output of soft furnishings, fashion, accessories and furniture. They also regularly collaborate with both local and international artists. I love the sense of fluidity that the studio maintains between its varied commitments... below Stewart mentions that it is this variety of creative projects, and collaborations with fine artists in particular, that are instrumental to the studio's ongoing success - encouraging the studio to be ever-evolving and adaptable to any new challenge.

I feel very lucky to have been invited to see the Spacecraft studio in action - it was so lovely to get a real sense of the workings of this wonderful company. It seems like such a happy, vibrant creative hub, and there's a real sense of family amongst the Spacecraft staff. A big thankyou to Stewart for his time, and to his staff for letting me run around their studio snapping at them rudely with my camera!

* must apologise for the quality of the images in this article... they look a little fuzzy to me. I've had a lot of trouble uploading images with Blogger today! Can't seem to solve this issue currently.

Tell me a little about your background – what path led you to where you are today?

Well, the three constants have been the art practice, printing onto textiles and curating contemporary art shows. But there have been other diversions and so that all adds up to a fairly winding path. Let me think, perhaps if I describe a couple of early influences rather than a lengthy chronology. Well, I think it starts with my art college, which was set up in a very radical way. We had all the traditional art college disciplines with a theory department at the core. We had access to whichever department, practical equipment and expertise we wanted to work with as long as we could convince the theory department that our approach to the brief or project was valid.

So when the parameters of the printmaking department precluded me from printing onto surfaces other than paper I simply went to the textiles department and printed there. I think that was the start of it.

Later that rudimentary understanding of textile printing, aligned with the boldness of youth and the foresight of Barbara Sansoni, saw me set up my first print studio in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka I worked amongst a fascinating group of artists, architects, film makers, photographers, designers, part a very close knit community. I was influenced by their dialogue, their ability to converse across subjects and their lack of an imposed hierarchy on art and design disciplines.

I think I can trace back most of the subsequent decisions, the important ones, to principals established during these two these two early experiences.

Spacecraft floor cushions in store (not current sorry - again these shots were taken for the Gertrude st Shopping Guide)

You have a long history in textiles, having worked for many years (and with some incredible people) both in the UK and overseas. Why did you decide to move to Melbourne, and what challenges did you face in setting up your business here?

Six years in south London is the glib answer. I’m sure there’s some psychological reason for keeping moving but I’ve no interest in analysing that or finding out what drives it.

That most important decision has been to collaborate technically on the production of other artist’s ideas. You find that working in the studio environment every day means subconsciously you operate within the boundaries set by the studio as it exists and the abilities and services provided by your suppliers.

So when artists come to the studio they ask for things outside the established range. For example Brook Andrew brought in some images, we were talking through how we might approach the printing and the he drops in that he wants to print them 3m x 2.5m. Well that’s a very large screen print indeed and well outside the sizes of films and screens we had suppliers for. So in solving that particular problem, we found new suppliers and gained valuable experience printing that work.

So I think the studio has been built around facing challenges.

Stewart and co. hard at work in the studio! (That's Stewart looking thoughtful with his hand on his head!)

Stewart chats...

In addition to creating your unique textiles, soft furnishings, fine art and fashion collection, your studio also often works with Australian artists, and curates exhibitions within Australia and internationally. How important is this side of your work, and how do these side projects fit in with the daily tasks of running a commercially successful print studio?

Art projects are as much a part of the daily tasks of running this studio as the design projects. However I’m at pains to keep the design work and the art projects distinctly separate. It’s a very different mind set for me, I think most of the time I’m asked to design for other people there would be an expectation that based on my experience the outcomes will be a commercial success. I think for the art projects you might be happy if the work sells, but selling certainly isn’t a yardstick by which I would judge the results.

Often in design you have to hit a very small window, and it’s really satisfying when you get it right. Unlike art there are fewer brownie points available for making something people will come around to in a couple of years.

Actually I consciously look to expand the breadth of creative projects I could work on. I think this attitude makes me hard to classify, you know, are you an artist, a curator, a designer, a printer… and I really love that, makes me feel that I must be doing something right. So perhaps that classification issue will eventually end up being the defining characteristic of my work.

finished pieces at the studio

Spacecraft quilt detail

Spacecraft seems so prolific – especially given your work is handmade and each piece is unique. How is your workshop/studio structured to keep up with demand – do you have a large team creating the products? Do you personally still play a hands-on role in the design and creation of the pieces?

Prior to Spacecraft I was director of London Printworks which was essentially a contemporary art organisation, it was heavily dependent on statutory funding, there were a lot of people to report to and the funding gathered had to be spent the way you said it would be, sometimes up to three years previously. I knew I needed to get a way from that model for Spacecraft, I knew I needed to find a more responsive structure.

I think the idea, the vision, I had in the beginning is just about what we see today, the mixture of contemporary art and design projects, and the quality of the collaborations and partners. But obviously the past eight years have seen me go down some dead ends & twists and turns to get to this point.

I suppose above all I want Spacecraft studio to continue to be adaptable, light on our feet, constantly challenging ourselves to invent new ways of doing things. So the design and printing processes aren’t fixed, anything can happen, be changed or modified, and the numbers of people working at the studio can change depending on what we’re working on.

The other critical factor is of course having the right people around you, I think we’re pretty close to perfect at the moment, I feel particularly blessed to have Bonnie Ashley co-ordinating the studio production - she is able to move seamlessly from a contemporary art mindset to a fashion or interior situation. Her flexibility is a major factor in running a studio set up in this kind of unique way. Also having Clare Hart and Geralyn Patrick organising our retail projects gives me the confidence and motivation to develop new design ideas.

Spacecraft's studio coordinator Bonnie Ashley and staff creating magic in the studio!

What's the best thing about your job?

I think the best thing about what I do is the fact that I’ve created a situation, with this studio, where I’m virtually fully hands on, my role is developing projects, creating and producing artwork pretty much everyday.

Which designers, artists or creative people are you inspired by? and Where else do you find inspiration (travel, film, books, architecture, etc)?

I think primarily daily life inspires me! I’ve always drawn inspiration from trends in popular culture, everyday culture, stuff you might easily overlook. One day, pretty early on, I remember I decided I didn’t just want to discuss this subject as an artist, I thought I’d like to get my hands dirty and get involved in, you know, producing ‘design’ for want of a better term.

I’ve always thought there was something important to be learnt from watching fashion trends emerge and fall away, analysing the factors that drive that creative process. It’s like playing football rather than watching or writing about it, being intrinsically involved in that process allows me to be part of the moment. Also there are times when I want to work in a team, making sure your own contribution supports the other elements, that feels very natural to me. So I’m more likely to be inspired by people I’m currently in direct working relationships with, Bonnie Ashley at the studio and artists I’ve been working with regularly, Kate Daw, Brook Andrew, Jon Campbell.

From fashion to conceptual art, I’ve never felt the need or the desire for a hierarchy when it comes to my own artistic output nor my creative influences. At this moment I think I’m much more likely to be influenced by lyrics from a song or the badges on a football strip than from reading cultural theory, but that changes too.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?

Based at the studio, we have almost everything on site, so not too many meetings around town. Perhaps a meeting at the store, pick up lunch for everyone at the studio from the organic bakery on Gertrude Street. Or if I’m lucky I might meet up with someone for lunch, always to work on a plan for an upcoming project.

The Spacecraft store in Gertrude st (this shot first published on my Gertrude st Shopping Guide)

Spacecraft's store counter

And the worst?

The worst thing, maybe having more project ideas than I can possibly realise. Last year I had a show called Something For Nothing where I gave away lots of these ideas that I’d been hanging on to for years.

What are you looking forward to?

New bedlinen, two weeks away, an exhibition in Osaka in April, new work with Kate Daw, opening a new spacecraft store in March, working on some large scale prints for Marco Fusinato, a hotel project in Tokyo, Scotland qualifying for the world cup...

Melbourne Questions –

What/where was the last great meal you ate in Melbourne?

Breakfast this morning, Victoria Market, lamb borek and a strong coffee, on the street, the perfect setting.

Where do you shop in Melbourne for home accessories / furnishings?

Architectural salvage places or Industria on Gertrude Street. Soft furnishings from trips to Japan.

Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?

Out of town, outdoors, perhaps planting trees in a field at the back of our house in Merricks, or hanging out with my kids on Shoreham beach.

Melbourne’s best kept secret?

Nothing comes to mind at this moment, perhaps my Scottish Presbyterian upbringing means I’m just good at keeping secrets.

Oh, the contemporary art spaces on the top floor of the NGV international, some amazing shows and I’m usually the only one there at lunch time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maral Sassouni

I received an email this week from illustrator Maral Sassouni... Maral has been illustrating for around 20 years, and has an incredible background full of international travel and adventure! Born in Philadelphia, Maral grew up in a small beach town in Southern California. She was educated at the University of California, the University of London/British Institute and the Ecole du Louvre. Her life’s path has taken her from L.A. to Philadelphia to New York, as well as to Amsterdam, an English village and a Greek island. She now lives and works in Paris.

Wow! What a fantastically varied background! Maral's many journeys have clearly left their mark on her unique illustrative style - much of her work focusses on travel and she does beautiful illustrated maps (putting mine to shame!).

Maral's clients include the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft, New York Magazine, and The New York Times amongst many others. Her work has been featured as 'editors choice' on the fantastic Illustration Mundo. She's also been featured on Little Chimp Society, and you can view her folio on Behance as well as on her own folio site.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

London East End design round up

Ryantown is Rob Ryan's new(ish) retail shop in Colombia rd in London's East End. There are times when internet coverage is simply not enough... I have to visit! - Lucy :)

More international news today from globe-trotting Australian ex-pat James Conway... here James goes in search of affordable design innovation in London’s East End. I am so jealous! What a fantastic round-up... London never looked so appealing!

Enjoy! - Lucy x

Going to London and moaning about the prices is a bit like jumping in a river and then complaining that you’re wet. Still, even when you know what awaits you, the speed with which pounds seem to evaporate here is breathtaking. The next Olympic city remains a podium fixture in the cost of living competition (gold or bronze, depending who you believe), but what’s especially dismaying is that so many of the shopping options seem to be either the same as you could get anywhere in the world, or else beyond the reach of anyone without an oil well to their name.

There are pockets of affordable innovation, but they’re under attack. You can find one of the frontlines at the edge of the City of London, the all-consuming financial powerhouse straining at the boundaries that inspire its nickname of The Square Mile, now continuing its assault on the East End.

The once vibrant Spitalfields Market, which stands a little too close to enemy territory, is a sad spectacle these days. You can still find a range of small-run design wares, but as well as losing some of its floor space to cookie cutter shops and offices to house the City’s overspill, the market seems to have lost its bohemian allure. And so there is even less room for young creative types and their potential customers to find each other.

But the further you get away from the City the more interesting things get. Managing – just – to retain their glorious Georgian architecture, the few blocks east of the market still bear the traces of successive waves of migration, from French Huguenots in the 17th century to Irish weavers, East European Jews and more recently Bangladeshis. The 18th century building which hosts the Brick Lane Mosque has previously served as a French Protestant church, a Methodist chapel and a synagogue. The fascinating cultural layers here still attract writers and artists, though they tend to be less of the young and struggling variety, and more like Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin and Jeanette Winterson.

Brick Lane is the destination of choice for a moderately priced post-pub curry, and the street continues to host an endearingly shabby market of new and used stock of a Sunday morning. The bizarre mix of merchandise is impossible to summarise; suffice it to say that if your shopping list reads “second-hand bicycle/5-pack of cotton-rich socks/‘60s picture frames/catering-sized can of creamed corn/rusty pliers”, you’re really in luck. A few blocks away they might be nutting out byzantine billion-dollar deals, but the vigorous, earthy capitalism practised here is a lot more appealing.

The old Truman Brewery site which straddles the street is home to a constantly changing roster of creative enterprises and events (including an upcoming Eco Design Christmas Fair), as well as the regular Sunday UpMarket, which is taking over where Spitalfields left off, and the ever-popular DJ bar Café 1001.

Cheshire st - an eclectic mix of colourful shopfronts amongst the grey building facades and London puddles.

Just off Brick Lane you’ll find Cheshire Street, a small holdout of wilful individuality among the homogeneity of London’s retail scene. First stop is MAR MAR Co, whose range includes simple devices which allow you to turn old plastic bags and bottles into, respectively, garbage bins and bird feeders. Innovative, simple, cheap. A couple of doors down, the storefront of interior designers Richard Laurence oozes morbid glamour, and they’re happy to sell selected original and vintage pieces to the public.

MAR MAR Co exterior (top), Richard Laurence details (below)

More vintage gems await you at Russell Roberts, which specialises in 20th century furniture, while at Shelf they’ve captured the trend for retro printing techniques with Portuguese notebooks. You could always whip out your Faber-Castells and design your own costume for the unpainted Russian dolls also on offer. The globe-trotting continues at Labour and Wait where they scour the world for, well, scourers among other things, as well as enamel-coated pots and other utilitarian household items. Now you might be turned off by this fetishising of tools from an age when hard toil was a burdensome necessity rather than a lifestyle option, or you might just appreciate quality products built to last. In any case their store and mail order service are booming.

Shelf exterior on Cheshire st

Shelf products

If that seems a bit precious, maturity and sophistication are unlikely to trouble you at F-Art. The range here includes space-age toys, old girlie mags and original art prints whose scatological humour lives up to the store’s name. At the other end of the street, past a stall selling £5 plimsolls, you’ll find Beyond Retro, second-hand outfitters to the stars. Well, to the Mighty Boosh anyway.

The people wear $5.00 Plimsolls on Cheshire st!

Leaving Cheshire Street (and passing Les Trois Garcons restaurant and adjacent bar Lounge Lover, both style mag regulars) you come upon Unto This Last, a workshop selling its clever, clean-lined plywood furniture direct to the public, at (for London) surprisingly sane prices. Nearby Squint deals in second-hand furniture reconditioned with loud fabric scraps. The results, while impressive, don’t come cheap, but you can always have a look around for makeover inspiration.

Unto This Last furniture workshop

Colourful creations at Squint

Our last stop on this tour is Columbia Road Flower Market, a Sunday morning institution with shouty stallholders and a lively assortment of cafes and shops, including Ryantown, with its range of delicate paper cut motifs and Nelly Duff, which specialises in high-impact limited edition prints by Banksy and other contemporary artists. Even midwinter doesn’t deter the crowds from sprawling over the cobbles and nursing their hangovers with some of the best coffee in town, and if you time your visit for the early afternoon you can get a drastically discounted pot plant or bouquet.

Colombia st Flower market details

Ryantown interior (exterior shot at the top of this post)

Its nice to be nice print by Hazel Nicholls, Rob Ryan's faithful assistant! (available online here.)

...and I had to throw in this extra shot of Rob Ryan's own work which I found here - Lucy

Or you can just soak up the atmosphere, which will cost you exactly zero British pounds.

Thanks so much James!