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mydeco goes under Ella Doran’s umbrella (Ella Ella) 12 March, 2010

Posted by mydecoblog in design boutique blog.
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If there’s one thing Ella Doran is, it’s creative. Her eye for detail and colour bring the generic mug, coaster and tray to life with vibrant photography and eye-catching subject matter. So no doubt you’ll know (and love – how can you not?) her kitchenware even if you don’t know Ella. But there’s far more to it than flowers and sweets – as I found out when I popped along to her Cheshire Street shop.
Ella Doran Magnolia mug and tea

What was once mostly studio with a shop window attached, is now a colourful  boutique with green leaved umbrellas, knitted children’s chairs, Sweetie Love mugs and a whole lot more. She’s had to expand – demand for Doran’s trademark photographic designs has soared over the past few years and she sells with John Lewis as well as being part of our exclusive design boutique.

So, just how did she carve such a ‘boumercial’ niche for herself? (that’s boutique/commercial btw. See what I did?) She said: ‘There’s a lot of beautiful illustrative designs out there, and we are offering something different with my bold vibrant photographic eye and passion for colour and detail.

‘Photography is becoming more and more widely used; with the advent of the digital camera everyone can essentially take a great photo, but I shoot specifically and work on the image in post production creating repeats from often quite small aspects of the photograph.’

Ella Doran Geo wallpaper and tray and Sunlight through Leaves  blind and placemats

Her lovely assistant, Ruth, showed me some examples. Take her Geo collection, above left. The original shoot focussed on just a small section of the geometric design, yet the post-photo work repeated the image seamlessly to create it’s eye-fuzzing effect – you’d never know!

This brings me, nearly as seamlessly, to Ella’s brand new (quote) ‘never before seen’ Geo Play silk scarf. Ruth showed me a sample and it’s so new, in fact, that the hemlines still needed to be sewn.

Ella Doran Churchill Sweetie Love mug and Pinky umbrella

Image credit: Ella Doran @ design boutique

Ella’s latest success has been her umbrellas – made by the manufacturers that keep the Queen’s silvery head dry: ‘They invented the see-through umbrella for the Queen, so she could stay dry and see people,’ explains Ruth.

‘The Pinky umbrella, aka Meadow umbrella, is a take on this design with a floral edge. We sold out with the four trial designs and our manufacturer had to order extra to meet the demand.’

Ella Doran's Artists brushes mug and tray

My favourite design, Artist’s Tools, above.

Watch out for more new products on the Ella-horizon: a new stripey collection for men, new designs for Churchill China plus aprons, tea towels and oven gloves in her Sweetie Love pattern. A brilliant way to brighten up your cooking – afterall, who wants generic white oven gloves with those tell-tale scorch marks of black sausages and tears…?

What do you think of Ella Doran? Rate her with a comment below >


Friday’s News: Gentlemen prefer Prada, Elten pops-up in Brompton and the unhappiest Christmas tree 4 December, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the mydeco office – yesterday we put up our decorations (complete with a very elegant singing Santa) and this morning we’ve been enjoying the soothing tones of Wizzard. Despite all this festive excitement, we still made sure we had time to scour the web for today’s best design stories which are listed below for your literary pleasure.

mydeco’s pick of the top three stories:

1.Cool Hunting: Gentlemen of Bacongo

Image credit: Cool Hunting

Dandy fashion may be making a comeback in the U.K., but for a group known as Le Sapeurs, dressing-up to the nines is a way of life. Don’t let the French name fool you: these gentlemen are not strutting down the temperate streets of Paris, but a much more unlikely style capital – a small shanty town in the Congo. In his new book, photographer Daniele Tamagni examines this contradictory world of designer clothing and abject poverty.

2. London Design Guide: Thorsten van Elten pop-up shop

Image credit: London Design Guide

It would seem that retailers everywhere are capitalising on the thrill of novelty, as pop-up shops continue to thrive worldwide. London’s latest transient offering comes from Thorsten van Elten, whose pop-up store will be open until 13 December in the Brompton Design District. Despite bearing a distinctly unoriginal name (‘Thorsten’s 12 days of Christmas’), the store does offer some innovative gifts. This plant cup by Gitta Gschwendtner is my favourite.

3. The Telegraph: Britain’s worst Christmas tree

Image credit: The Telegraph

Being forced to wear clothes that are two sizes too big because ‘you’ll grow into them’ is often one of childhood’s most traumatic memories. It is understandable, therefore that the residents of Sacriston, County Durham were slightly incensed when the council fed them this very line in response to complaints about the town Christmas tree. At just 4ft, the fern is dwarfed by the 15ft frame provided to decorate it, but councillors are insisting that one day ‘the tree will be as strong as the community.’ If global warming doesn’t kill it first, that is.

The best of the rest:

Daily Mail: Google property portal threatens online housing market

Daily Mail: Vote for Witney: David Cameron’s constituency is an affordable option

The Times: Noughties Property: the ups and downs

The Times: Kenwood Place luxury flats may show te direction of the property market

The Times: Wanted: an artist with £5m and a penchant for Kensington

The Telegraph: Homebuilding & Renovating Awards 2009: The winners

The Telegraph: Tractor Ted property for sale

The Telegraph: Property market: power of the bike

Design milk: Coco mini bar

dornob: Wholly concrete home foundation

That’s all from us this week, but we’ll be back on Monday, fresh and ready for another week of daily news. (Or we might be grumpy and hungover, but either way we’ll have plenty of new design stories for you).

Monday’s News: Weathered wood, exhibiting emptiness and warming winter woollens 30 November, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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Isnt it funny how the weather seems to reflect the national mood – or maybe it’s the other way around? Anyhow  we don’t like to feel left out at mydeco, so today we’ve decided to contribute to your Monday gloom with a rather sombre selection of design news. (But then we felt bad, so we threw in a nice story about woolly gloves to cheer you up).

mydeco’s pick of the top three news stories:

1. dornob; ‘Formed wood furniture’

Image credit: dornob

Created by acclaimed designer Joseph Walsh, this collection of dining furniture is probably more enjoyable to look at than it is to eat from. An aesthetic exploration of the natural processes of erosion and formation, the wood bears an eerie resemblance to animal bone. Probably not the ideal furniture to ease family tensions over Christmas dinner.

2. Moco Loco: Ross Sawyers: Contained within

Image credit: Moco Loco

Continuing with our austere theme today, Ross Sawyer’s minimalistic photographs utilise light to suggest emotion and memory within rooms seemingly devoid of  human presence. The use of plastic sheeting adds to the ominous nuances of these images, playing with notions of creation and destruction. Follow the link for more examples of Sawyer’s work.

3. Inhabitat: Solar-powered knit at and gloves keep you warm for winter

Image credit: Inhabitat

You know you’re getting old when function begins to take precedent over fashion. This realisation struck me when I was immediately attracted to these solar-powered woolly accessories, which convert the sun’s energy into extremity-warming heat. They may not be likely to feature in Vogue anytime soon, but with temperatures predicted to drop as low as-5˚C (23˚F) today, I would be more than willing to make a minor style sacrifice in order to avoid frost-bitten fingers.

Daily Mail: Have a merry Christmas: ‘Tis the season to find the holiday home of a lifetime

Financial Times: Design: When culture meets commerce

The Guardian: Kitsch and tell: a 70s dream-pad in the Cotswolds

The Guardian: Crumbling concrete erodes house prices in Cornwall and Devon

The Times: Jamie Theakston: Leaving the past behind

The Times: Buy-to-let is back for cash-rich landlords only

The Times: Is it worth it? Carmarthenshire, £70,000

dornob: Invisible chair

dornob: DIY holiday decor idea

Design week: Boris Johnson adds Farrell and Parry to London design panel

That’s all for now folks, but make sure you come back tomorrow to see if we’ve managed to find a more jaunty selection of design stories for you.

Monday’s News: Leona goes to Hollywood, waterworld and stylish silhouettes 23 November, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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According to the Metro, the British public are the biggest boozers in Europe, with 27% of the population consuming more than the recommended weekly limit of alcohol compared to 10% in Germany, Italy, France and Spain. Cause for concern indeed, but looking out the window this morning, I am forced to ask – can you blame us? Perhaps if we had sunshine in November, or a national midday nap time (this means you Spain), we would not feel the need for a glass of wine to relieve our wearied souls at the end of the day. Still, at least there’s today’s selection of design news to stop you from hitting the bottle for a few hours…

mydeco’s pick of the top three news stories:

1. Daily Mail: Leona Lewis moves from Hackney to $1.8m Hollywood home

Image credit: Daily Mail

Hackney or Hollywood? Not an easy choice – after all, both places have their charms. Hollywood is the epicentre of the American film industry. Hackney was the filming location for Footballers’ Wives. It would appear that it’s California 1, East London 0, however as Leona Lewis’s new $1.8m property investment (pictured above) means that she will be leaving her modest Hackney flat for the bright lights of Tinseltown.

2. Inhabitat: A haunting visual prediction of our flooded future world

Image credit: Inhabitat

A prophetic image that has become a reality for many residents in Cumbria, Studio Lindfors’s new project envisions a flooded world. Focusing on recognisable urban landscapes such as New York’s Times Square, Aqualta imagines a population that has adapted to its postapocalyptic conditions. Whilst it is refreshing to be presented with a visual warning against the dangers of climate change rather than the usual facts and figures, we only need to open today’s paper to see that the reality of flooding is not quite so peaceful.

3. Design Milk: Paperboy wallpaper

Image credit: Design Milk

Gone are the days when the only wallpaper options for boys were football or dinosaur themed – it would seem parents everywhere have Paperboy to thank for providing a more stylish alternative to the usual garish cartoon designs. Launched at 100% Design London in September, the collection enjoyed a positive reception from both traders and press. My favourite is this ‘hand-puppet’ pattern, not only because silhouetted prints are very on-trend for this season, but looking at all the different shapes is guaranteed to provide a child with hours of amusement – and adults with hours of quiet time.

The best of the rest:

The Telegraph: The Umbrian Dream

The Times: Christmas property sales: unseasonal good cheer

The Times: Dragon’s Den entrepreneur flies to homebuyer’s rescue

The Times: Ten tips for those hoping to buy next year

The Times: A home next to a golf course: a slice of paradise

Inhabitat: Architect unveils stunning green roofed staircase

Daily Mail: Hampshire High life: You don’t need a huge bonus to buy here – but it helps

Daily Mail: Revving up for retirement: Waiting lists to by specialist houses are at record levels

That’s all for today, hopefully our selection helped to alleviate your Monday blues, if only for a short while! Make sure you come back and see us again tomorrow for the latest and greatest design stories.

Friday’s news: Breathing furniture, poignant photography and the property market hits a new low 6 November, 2009

Posted by katiehodgkiss in Daily news.
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Friday’s child is loving and giving, and so are the team here at mydeco! There were some great design stories to choose from today, but we’ve handpicked our favourites to keep you going until you flee the office at five. Enjoy!

mydeco’s pick of the top three news stories:

1. Design Milk: Breathing Chair Made Out of Foam


Image credit: Design Milk

Who says that comfort automatically means a sacrifice in style? Well this chair doesn’t exactly do much to disprove the theory. Created bu Taiwanese designer Yu-Ying Wu, who wanted a seat that would help ease the problems she has with her knees, the square block turns into an armchair when you sit on it. Do the ergonomic benefits override the fact that it looks like a giant block of swiss cheese? You decide.

2. Cool Hunting: Kelly Gorham: The Stones Have Memories


Image credit: Cool Hunting

Berlin still bears much of the architectural scarring that resulted from WWII, and Kelly Gorham captures this perfectly in her latest photographic exhibition, The Stones Have Memories. Monday will mark the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, but many structural symbols of the society it created still exist. The resonant emotion in such architecture is allowed to speak for itself in Gorham’s photos – they really are worth a look.

3, Daily Mail: Unveiled: The luxurious £2m underground mansion designed to keep away prying eyes


Image Credit: Daily Mail

Although this underground nirvana is still only in the planning stages, several footballers are already believed to be engaging in estate warfare to get their hands on the property. Personally, I hope Wayne Rooney gets it. No offence Coleen, but I don’t want to see any tabloid pictures of Wayne in his undies.

The best of the rest:

Daily Mail: Can you dig it? If you want more space, it’s time to go underground

The Telegraph: Trevor Eve and Sharon Maughan’s Belgravia restoration

The Telegraph: Is the property market recovering?

The Telegraph: Design notebook by David Nicholls

Design Week: Wallpaper designs by Damien Hirst

Design Week: Bark Design is creating an installation in the London College of Communication’s Atrium Gallery

Dexigner: 2010 Ceramic Tiles of Italy Design Competition

Interior Design: New product: Hammered Bowls

That’s your lot for today everyone, so it’s goodbye until Monday from the daily news blog, I hope you don’t miss us too much!

Londoners through a lens 29 July, 2009

Posted by vickyharrison in Vicky's blog.
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I never manage to get to as many exhibitions as I would like to in London, there are always so many things to see and do, and time just slips by.  But this forthcoming exhibition at the Getty Images Gallery has made it onto my ‘must-see’ list.  Opening on 14th August, Londoners Through a Lens takes another look at the capital, but this time with the emphasis on its inhabitants, from the famous figures to the everyday people.

Image credit: Winter Plunge
3rd October 1935: Determined early morning swimmers prepare to dive into the waters of the lido in London’s Hyde Park, seemingly oblivious to the wintry temperatures. (Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Following on from last year’s show, London Through a Lens, the images range from 1900-1990 and celebrate the lives of a huge range of people from these wartime evacuees, (below) sheltering in an underground station right through to to a typically extrovert Elton John photographed in the 1970’s.

Image credit: On The Stairs
People asleep on the escalators of an underground station in London during an air raid. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)


Image Credit: Amazing Elton
Musician and singer Elton John performing a handstand on his piano, London 1972. (Photo by Terry O’Neill/Getty Images)