The enduring popularity of the water featureFrom the old and bucolic to the sleek and modern, it seems that these days, no garden is complete without a water feature.
Garden water features have been around for decades but really grew in popularity with the advent of gardening shows such as 'Ground Force' in the late nineties.
Taking old and disused gardens before turning them into idyllic urban paradises, gardening programs such as these illustrated the way in which the lay man could renovate a garden with relative ease, often topping it off with a water feature.
Now, of course, they are hugely popular, with DIY stores and websites dedicating whole areas to display water features that could fit in with any garden.
The more traditional-looking water features often take their inspiration from early sculptures, with designs featuring children at play or large, font-like basins. These are typically made of ceramic, bronze or other such material to keep in touch with the more traditional design of the piece as a whole. These types of water feature would usually work well as a centrepiece of a sprawling lawn garden or as a break in the flower beds.
Modern water features, on the other hand, are usually more metallic in design and made to be used as a statement piece. They are often of geometric shapes and have water gushing all down them as opposed to the small trickle usually found in their traditional counterparts.
These more modern designs would fit well in a garden with paving or decking, as a design piece to finish the whole thing off. Usually twinned with solar lights to illuminate the water feature after dusk, these water features can give a garden a much more avant-garde feel, using all available mod cons to achieve the desired result.
It has now been well over a decade since water features first came to real prominence but their popularity has endured, long outliving the shows which gave them their fame in the first place.
Today's Spotlight is with Yoskay Yamamoto, who recently had a couple of his design items featured in The London Evening Standard and Living Etc magazine. Here Yoskay talks abit about how flowers inspire and influence his work.
"I have been using flowers in my work for a of couple years. Last year I did a series of portraits called 'four season';"
"To me flowers carry the essence of growth, but also have such a fragile state. The cycle of growth, blossom, and decay echo the circular nature of life that I'm fascinated about"
My Cup of Tea
"My pillow is produced by the company, this is limited edition. They originally approached me to design a Tea Cup and Saucer set and they were really happy with the design so they requested me to design a pillow case"
This enigmatic porcelain coffee cup and saucer by the young designer Xu54 based in Shanghai, is stunning in its simplistic form. The cup seemingly floats just skimming the saucer below, the set look frozen in a beautiful state of equilibrium. The design is made all the more realised with the strict mathematical diagram which complements the form completely.
When it is design is explained as a representative for the trajectory of love, the partnership becomes more apparent and the set is given a warm feeling. This clever addition of the simple clean graphic lightens up the sets soft but cold minimal facade. The discreet but rather originally styled handles are aeronautical in appeal though as with all of “Zero Gravity’s” features, not is all as it seem, the design is actually inspired by angel wings.
With each little insight more become clear and Zero Gravity finds a new life as soft romantic design that somehow incorporates its sleek contemporary allure with ease.
The design is very strong, holding many elements in a very controlled harmony that allows each one to flourish. It effortlessly manages elements of geek cool, contemporary trend and it’s also rather fun and refreshing. How it manages to hold a strong contemporary design aesthetic whilst performing a balancing act of different characters is something I always love in design. I love its bold form and magical qualities, the transformation of such a simple functional item to something with such a large character for me makes it a wonderful piece of modern design (even if you can’t use it titled, well at least till your half way down your drink).
Anni Kääriä and Sanna Väänänen continue and renew the tradition
When we think about Finnish design, the first things that come in our mind are durability, functionality, innovative forms and essential colours of the objects. And of course the exemplary master pieces of Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala and Kaj Franck. Today world famous Finnish design is something even more. There are numerous young Finnish designers continuing the tradition, renewing it maintaining the original concept and quality. A fine example of them are Anni Kääriä and Sanna Väänänen, the couple behind the design studio Muovo established in 2009.
Muovo studio is specialized in textile and surface design. The aim of the two young designers Kääriä and Väänänen is to put in a good mood the people using their products. Central aspects in their design are colourful patterns, ecological production and cheer shapes. Muovo's collection goes from dressing accessories to home textiles, not forgetting even pets; one of the most innovative products of Muovo is an inflatable dog bed made of machine washable sturdy cotton. Besides its own collection Muovo designs customised business gifts and promotional products.
Nottage Design: Pool Tables and Games Room Equipment
Australian designer Craig Nottage and business partner Edgar Polanco are the founders and creators of one of the slickest pool table and games room companies in the world, Nottage Design. The innovative designs of Nottage and his invention of the glass top pool table combine to make some of the most attractive pool tables that serve as not only as a functional games table but as a pretty amazing bit a modern design.
The combination of open mechanisms and high contemporary framing design establish the table straight away as a design feature. This is without mentioning the most striking feature of the table a 15mm thick, transparent, toughenedglass top. Plus if you’re feeling really flash the tables come with an ambient light as well.
Although this sounds at first like an extremely bad idea the creators have tested the product and designed it to replace the slate of a standard table. The glass actually lets balls travel the same speed as an average clothed table and also allows for putting spin on the ball. The company boast that this quality remains the same for the life of the table.
The table would fit into any bachelor pad or into any modern games room and with the cool styling it would be perfect for a modern bar as well.
This the G-1 and is the company’s flagship table.
A Prototype by Studio 1:1
This is a florescent light...
This is a prototype by Studio 1:1, designed to be a feature light, it uses fiber optic cables to form loops of light, which are both elegant and simple. The design uses a basic form and cleaver use of a reflective surface to create tranquilly in an ethereal pale. This stillness contrasted against the vitality of detail produce quite an exquisite and stylish contemporary lighting unit which comes with heaps of expression and dynamics.
Cables are woven to form a nest of crossing lines, forming a basic shell. These lines create an opportunity for an exponential amount of results, sourced from their placement we are presented with stunning effects. This fixture is a beautifully malleable piece of design work which allows, with easy, the sculpture of light.
The piece holds so many lives and in all it seems to excel with its leanings towards an artifact and with a switch flick becomes a functional accent lighting piece. I hope that this is one of many design endeavors as this was executed so succinctly.
Bend To Use: Harry Thaler's Pressed Chair
Pressed Chair is aluminum which has been pressed with the shape for a chair. When bent into shape they create a stackable, sturdy but light weight chair. Taken from a single 1 m2 sheet of 2.5mm thick aluminum, the design uses minimization of materials which makes the project far more sustainable. Though not wanting to waste materials Thaler has cleverly designed a three part stool made from the scrap after the chair is cut. These pieces are easily held together with screws and fit in perfectly with the chairs.
The designs are modern, cool, and functional with the added bonus of having that green leaning without throwing it in your face. These are the kind of designs I could easily see in mass production with a year or two, they would work on both a house hold and industrial level. With the ability to be customized and production options being expansive, these chairs could come in any colour or even be made as more of a design statement perhaps by printing images onto the aluminum sheet before it is cut. The potential for this idea is huge. I feel that Harry Thaler is definitely one to watch out for.
Relumine by Misher’Traxler
Austrian designers Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler have been working collaboratively since 2009 and have a studio based in Vienna. They work in the fields of design, furniture and exhibition projects with focus on a more experimental and conceptual approach to ideas.
Relumine (2010) their latest project; originally exhibited at the Bulb Fiction show hosted at Gallery Klaus Engelhorn during Vienna Design Week, plays on the idea of changing house hold bulbs to efficient energy saving lighting options, a transition which all households are encouraged to make. So rather than creating a completely new design for a light source the designers took abandoned or disused lamps striped them back re-finished and gave them new life. The special thing about the new life was it was a shared life. The old lamps are joined by an energy saving florescent tube, creating a partnership and a striking visual result.
I find these designs really quirky and effortlessly cool; each piece has so much character. To me the couplings have a strong relationship with an almost a meditative quality, the sharing of energies completes the visual metaphore. Though I can’t fight off the sci-fi undertones, it seems like a laser fight in some strange freeze frame. I really love these designs for exactly this reason. They are fun and a bit mischievous though with an effortless contemporary design which postures the messages that the designers want to communicate.
For more info on Misher’Traxler visit their website.
1st Place For The Herman Millar Asia Pacific – Yves Béhar Design Competition
This is the winning design for the Herman Millar Asia Pacific – Yves Béhar Design Competition; “Wooden Hammock” by Adam Cornish. The hammock is crafted from a single piece of plantation grown plywood; plantation grown wood is an alternative to logging native forests and holds green leanings. The piece is designed with ergonomics in mind, specifically the human spine, the idea is that the hammock embraces the user flexing to fit them exactly.
The simple elegant design follows some of the aesthetics of its bases, in that it resembles the backbone, though to me it also seems to have similarities to a segmented exoskeleton of a beetle or a shell. The strange and enigmatic form of the piece allows it to hold a contemporary aesthetic with consent to its peaceful and comfortable functionality. Given Cornish’s steering from the use of a conventional fabric, as seen in so many hammocks, "Wooden Hammock" is new, exciting and a contemporary piece of furniture, to me it doesn’t seem such a strange idea that this functional and beautiful design could be found inside as well as out.
After completing his mentoring session with established industrial designer Yves Béhar, the prize for first place at Herman Millar Asia Pacific – Yves Béhar Design Competition, Adam Cornish will be taking part in the 2011 Milan Furniture Fair.
Lv Jianhua, He Dawei, Zhou Hanxiao, Xu Yao Designers of USB Plug Seat:Concept Design from Zhejiang University of Technology
A USB port or Universal Serial Bus port, has become one of the most frequently used ports for connection to a computer for data exchange, though it has also become a part of supplying devices with energy to keep internal batteries charged. For when a user is not using a computer for this function, their device would require a wall adaptor. So this could mean finding or buying a plug to USB adaptor, which can either be irritating or expensive. So the beauty of this highly intelligent design from Zhejiang University of Technology is that it removes that step completely making it possible to plug straight into the wall and have a device charging with ease.
For me the most exciting thing about this concept is that besides the use for charging device, which is for sure a great idea, is that the concept could be adapted to power devices whilst they were in use. This would make it possible to have USB powered technology wired straight into your home.
Just a speculation but with further development this idea could even result in the abilities to connect a computer into the system allowing you to control devices in any room or allowing devices to control your computer. This would be like a having a high tech home system without cables everywhere, which could allow a huge amount of possibilities. Though as I say it’s only speculation I am sure the idea is fraught with issues so I am going to leave it to these four geniuses’ from china to continue with their great concept and hopefully we will see these easy-to-use charging stations in interiors soon.
Lv Jianhua, He Dawei, Zhou Hanxiao and Xu Yao's design received an If concept award, for it's clever simplicity.