This week we have been lucky enough to bag Naomi Smart, Shopping Director for British Vogue, to do This & Tat. Not only is she sorting out what we will all wear for the next year, but she is also setting up sell-out interiors pop up shops featuring a selection of midcentury to 90s pieces, whilst also juggling a newborn. It's frustrating meeting someone who is simultaneously nailing fashion, interiors and being a mother, but as she has agreed to write for Tat, I am ok with it.
Knowing that lockdown winter walks are set to continue for the foreseeable I’ve been looking for a new coat. First pit-stop was Kassl Editions, if you haven’t heard of this coat brand then look them up, I already have a long beige mac from them and love the fit so much I wanted to add to my collection (they also have handy deep pockets for on-the-go snacks too). However, I got massively distracted on its Instagram by Kassl and Wandler agent Bart Ramakers latest design venture Rira Objects. Born out of lockdown one, and founded in Amsterdam with Vogue Netherlands contributing editor Gijsje Ribbens, the duo has created “a new destination for extremely cheering contemporary home objects”. Sorry Burt but now my coat money is going to have be put towards one of your latest home drops instead. A Sabine Marcelis mirror! A Muller Van Severne x /Kassl Editions seat! And those resin bowls by Vincent de Rijk are perfection. I want them in every colour, all around the house. Thank you for the pick-me-up.
Hay Sowden toaster
It’s not easy finding practical yet attractive pieces, so that’s why Hay’s toaster is a pure delight in butter yellow or off white and is sure to be a design classic.
Ok, how do I say this, I have a thing for furniture with big balls. Feet, table bases, arms, anything that has a lovely clean spherical detail and I’m sold. So when I saw the YOKO bed by Australian designer Sarah Ellison, obsessed doesn’t even cut it. Unfortunately, it’s out of reach for me right now financially and geographically, but it does serve as exceptional bed inspiration for our new loft conversion bedroom. Fast forward to me trying to persuade my boyfriend to whip up a homage met with howls of laughter.
I’ve been toying with a coloured bath suite for ages and I think I’m finally going to take the plunge (sorry) after seeing Salvesen Graham’s recent project with a blue bath and marble surround. Even though it’s pretty clear I like colour it’s rarely piled on top of each other, rather set amongst a white backdrop so I’m thinking a white bathroom with a pale blue tub shouldn't be too intimidating. I try and source vintage or used items wherever I can so why stop at your bathroom suite? Broken Bog is a coloured suite emporium in Hampshire, they have row upon rows of sourced sanitary ware! As soon as things open up I’m taking a road trip as I’ve had it bookmarked since my tile go-to Sarah Watson included it in her Balineum newsletter a few years ago.
Based in Belgium, Gerlin Heestermans’ Tourist Modernist Instagram and website documents her tours of modernist dwellings there and beyond, and reads similarly to my weekend photo rolls on my phone. There is nothing I like more than snooping around someone’s interesting house cemented still in a particular time period, be it Charleston in Sussex, Eileen Gray’s House in the South of France or Eltham Palace in South London. It’s always on my to-do list no matter what city I’m in.
I’m always on the hunt for a lucite armchair but unfortunately, I don’t live in 1980s Hollywood and hunting them down in the UK is laborious and very expensive. So in the meantime, I’m getting Plia dining chairs from one of my favourite new design dealers on the block - Jenna Fletcher at Oswalde Shop.
I don’t even drink coffee but luckily my boyfriend does so I could buy this classic cafetiere from Alessi for me/him/us to enjoy every morning.
Looking back I think the first piece of homeware “design” I was conscious of or drawn to was when I used to pass the Alessi shop when I was about 8 years old. Not surprising now I know that Memphis designers were working their magic for the brand from the late 80s.
Coloured ball doorknobs
One of my most serendipitous discoveries was a doorknob shop in China Town in New York. Not knowing what I was running into apart from a shelter away from a hail storm, I found the most perfect lucite and resin doorknobs after rummaging for what seemed like an eternity. I’ve found an alternative here, a quick, inexpensive way to uplift and update tired kitchen cupboards.
Bar the Hermes beauty launch and Byredo’s collaboration with Isamaya Ffrench, the most beautiful product design for a beauty brand has to go to French perfumier Ormaie’s bottles. They’ll be sitting on my bathroom shelf forever.
Finding an upholster that works with design dealers such as The Peanut Vendor and Max Keys means they will know their Corbusiers from their Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s. And that’s just the in-the-know address book contact I like, especially when founder Olga Mackenzie’s studio is round the corner from me in East London. I’ll be dropping an armchair and Bute Boucle to her asap.
New York has some seriously good interior shop offerings proving the bricks and mortar shop is not dead! Far from it, cult interiors shops are very much alive, albeit currently operating online until their physical doors can swing wide open once more. Lichen ran by Ed Be and Jared Blake offers timeless sourced designer furniture as well as serving as a platform for new talent and collaborations, and I can’t wait to be able to physically visit and see that wavy screen in person whenever that may be!
When I first walked into Alex Tieghi-Walker’s rented house in South London nearly a decade ago, it was very clear he had a very distinct eye for the handcrafted no doubt bouncing George Nakashima and Luis Baragan references in his sleep. He was also painting his window frames in arsenic while the rest of us twenty-somethings were still trying to tie our shoelaces together. So when he launched Tiwa Select from his home in Berkeley California in lockdown last year, the visual modern folk aesthetic of his design and makers gallery couldn’t be more authentic to his style and it’s so beautiful for me to see, albeit it through Instagram right now. His spotlighting of modern craft pieces from quilters, ceramists, and textiles and furniture makers often through the prism of his Californian home (now LA) looks so joyous I long to join him. Favourite pieces so far are the Hinata wood stools made for Tiwa by @oneflewup and @vince.skelly and sculpted vessels by Simone Bodmer Turner
When it comes to design dealers, London based Jermaine Gallacher is the one for me. Operating his showroom out of an old cork factory linked with a wine shop, Lant Street Wines, which also serves as his weekend bar. His eye for the post-modern and unique is only amplified by the way he encourages you to shop it - drinking a bottle of wine and why not buy the chair you’re sat on too? Unfortunately, our plan for another sourced design sale got postponed last year due to Covid, but we’re plotting something else soon. But in the meantime keep an eye out for his next gallery exhibitions, his curation of new designers will be the next big thing no doubt.
The lampshade shape that I return to without fail is the coolie cone shape, a signature silhouette of the 80s they top all my lamps in my house. I’m saving up for a real masterpiece of this kind of style made in crinkled cream Japanese paper by Ingo Maurer. A constant inspiration account - Kim Coolmon’s Instagram of 80s/90s decor references had one featured recently which made me fall in love with it all over again. But in the meantime, this will do nicely from Pooky.
I love this Barcelona based brand’s statement rings and funky styling which has manifested itself now in a selection of fab metal tables with mix and match resin discs so you can customise until your heart’s content.
My old housemate is a design and culture journalist who I knew dabbled in ceramics in his spare time, but this quiet talent is about to blow up I’m sure. Pots with a brutalist take on ancient amphora. The series was inspired by his trip to Pompeii around this time last year, weeks before the virus volcano went off.
I’ve just discovered London based EJR Barnes this week and his work is executed beautifully. I have a hoarding mentality when it comes to candlesticks, and his Ikebana candlestick in polished steel is next on my list.
Huge thank you to Naomi, that was one hell of a round-up! Keep up to date with her next pop up by following her - @naomismartuk