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Celebrating British Design


I recently visited the the Victoria and Albert Museum which celebrates British design and creativity from 1948 to the present day with a series of major exhibitions and displays. British design has made wonderful contributions to the world from the practical and austere to the quirky and flamboyant. No matter what there is always something distinctly British. My favourite recent examples are the Dyson air multiplier (a future iconic design?) and the vacuums.

The FreedMan Chair,  Winner of Design Innovation Award

The FreedMan Chair, Winner of Design Innovation Award

There is something nice about being owning a well designed item that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing to look at. It is also some times about buying items built to last. Occasionally these more iconic designs become the collectibles and antiques of the future. The sex pistol designs for the album God Save the Queen capture the spirit of the age that captures attention beyond the punk movement and the music.

The concord was a fantastic design with the sleek streamlined exterior.

Tom Dixon is a British design and manufacturing company of lighting and furniture that came up with the Jack light. A fun design that adds a warm glow to modern interiors.  It was awarded Millenium Mark status in 1997 by the British government and is now part of permanent exhibitions in the V&A and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA.


Anglepoise Lamp - £150 in the V&A gift shopI think you would be hard pressed not to find a great example of British Design in any home. The impact of British Design is global in ever aspect  fashion. One of my favourites is how the  Bowler hat has been transformed into a lighting fixture. I would have these in my home if I had the space and decor to fit. My style is relaxed glamour mixed in with bohemian and eclectic items. I look to people like Abigail Ahern and Nicholas Haslam for inspiration.  I love how they both mix the old and the new.

My love of design extends from my small collection of Paragon/Star China/Shelly tea trios to an Anglepoise Lamp.  I am glad to see the route master bus back and the end of those dreadful “bendy buses” that clogged up the roads.

Of course you cannot talk about British design without referencing the symbolism in the Union Jack, the impact of “Royal events” and the Olympics coming to Britain again.

In 1948 London hosted the first Olympic Games after the Second World War. The ‘Austerity Games’ (as they became known) took place at a time of economic crisis in a city devastated by bombing, but they provided a platform for reconciliation and reconstruction. In 2012 Britain welcomes the Olympics once more, and while the spirit remains, the context in which they are taking place has entirely changed.

his summer the high street has responded with Union Jack fashions. My favourite is the dress by Traffic People in chiffon silk. I almost wish they had not been so enthusiastic. In home interiors a few companies started using the print for furniture and wallpaper. It was quite fun and desirable. But like Daniel Westbrooke, and her all out assault on Burberry, she almost single handedly gave the brand their darkest days turning it from desirable to “chav” destroying it over night. It took years for the brand to recover and the pattern she so enthusiastically embraced is still to be avoided all costs.  The overkill on the  print on home interior products is now having the opposite effect. This will happen with all the fashion as well.

Exhibition details


Fleur wood book cover

The Vintage Cool of Peacock Chairs

I had to do it. I needed a chair for my desk for my jewellery making and it had to be the peacock chair to give my office the Boho-Vibe.

In the US  these go for $2,000 for the quality version. There is a real cheap basic version that are more commonly found in back-alley Odds & Sods shops in Florida. In the UK these have yet to become trendy again.

There are stylists that are on the look out for these and snap them up in an instant So if you do spot a good one be quick! If anything these could really go up in value as they are rarer in the UK. And for good reason. Wicker is not known for tolerating UK weather well.

Boho Style


vintage peacock chair

The Glamorous Life

Huey P. Newton, Black Panther

Huey P. Newton, Black Panther






























The Way We Live Now

Terrance Conran turns 80 and to celebrate his transformation of the British way of life. The exhibition shows his design approach and inspirations from post-war austerity to the present day. His design legacy his huge and this is a fantastic exhibition.

Terrance Conran: The Way We Live Now

16 November 2011 – 04 March

Design Museum


Talks and Drawing: Sunday 19 February, 1.30pm
Free with museum entry, no need to book.
This one hour gallery tour will be delivered with a creative twist. Be guided through the exhibition with the opportunity to compile your own sketchbook of drawings responding to the objects in the show. An experienced tour guide will describe the work in the exhibition and a drawing tutor will be at hand to support you through your observational or fantastical sketches. Sketchbooks and materials will be provided.