Four years ago this month, the architect, designer and academic, Professor Michael Graves died aged 80.
In Britain, he’s probably most famous for his iconic bird whistle kettle, made by Alessi with his signature mid blue handle and maroon red bird flying out of the spout. Designed in 1985, this has consistently been one of Alessi’s best selling products for thirty years,. He had become Professor of Architecture at Princeton university in 1962 and held that post until 2001 and last year was honoured when the Michael Graves School of Architecture was established at Kean University in New Jersey. Continue reading →
A couple of months ago we all shared in the celebration of Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday. She became a national treasure during the war. Her heart felt songs brought hope and joy to the military at home and abroad as well as civilians in Britain pondering the fate of their loved ones on stationed overseas.
She retained her enormous popularity with records, on radio and in concerts and eventually fronted her own television shows, airing initially in 1969. By that time, she was a true matriarchal English icon, loved, respected and admired.
In her programmes, she sang alongside or sat upon a high bar stool. This was also an international icon of modern furniture design, created by Harry Bertoia in 1952 and still manufactured today by Knoll International. Continue reading →
Once in a blue moon, a really good piece of furniture design hits you in the face. It’s even more rarely that you come across a truly great piece of design. The “CH22” lounge chair designed by Hans Wegner is one of these “greats.”
Back in 1950, when the chair was originally designed, Hans Wegner was already established as both a renowned furniture designer and a master cabinet maker and craftsman in wood. He had started to work with Arne Jacobsen in 1938, designing furniture for the City Hall in Aarhus and during the 1940s, he also worked with many other leading Danish architects and manufacturers. He set out to create a Continue reading →
In life, things are often not quite what they seem. Take, for example, the breakfast cereal “Grape Nuts.” It contains no grapes and no nuts but this still somehow manages not to confuse us. The same goes for Cream Crackers – they contain no cream and, incidentally, you don’t have to be crackers to buy them. Easter Eggs (and you can check this out if you still have one around the house) contain no egg. They are, of course, egg shaped but nobody calls them “chocolate egg shapes.” “Light” food products are no brighter than their full fat rivals and “Frosties” aren’t even cold let alone frozen. Similarly and most annoyingly, the “easy open” flaps on boxes of porridge are anything but easy to open. Continue reading →
We all know that moving house is a terribly stressful experience. The anxiety is partly caused by stepping into the unknown: a new neighbourhood with new neighbours and a home full of new pieces of equipment, each with its own idiosyncrasies, just like the people amongst whom you’ve chosen to live.
But before all that, you have to find the right property that you want to buy. This means scouring estate agents’ windows, receiving endless property details that don’t match the specification that you so laboriously went through, checking out web sites that show properties that look perfect but, sadly, have either just been sold or are far too expensive! Continue reading →