Landing alberto martinez
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Hove & Brighton Artist Open Houses


This is the last weekend (this year) for this year for the Artist Open Houses in Hove and Brighton. I resisted the urge to buy anything this except for some very nice freshly backed cupcakes! Always a treat to visit the homes of artists and enjoy the side competition of who has the best cupcakes.  Generally this an affordable and fun way to buy art. The

 At the Claremont there were examples by artist Alison Swan.  The plate with a star fish was my favourite as well as her ceramic shoes. Alberto Martinez is one of my favourite artists and has been regularly showing at the Collectors Selection for the last 4 years. His Cuban style of surrealist paintings keeps getting more accomplished and expensive. I was there on the second day of the Open House and missed out on getting the “Peeping Frogs” painting. All 3 paintings sold out within hours. Such is the demand for this artist. Next year I must get there sooner!


Landing alberto martinez

Landing, 2010 by Alberto Martinez







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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