Sunday, 7 November 2010

Quadro, New Quadro...

At Icon Interiors, we are often asked by clients to balance classical designs with contemporary interiors. A perfect solution to this dilemma is to adapt traditional cabinet making techniques to a modular format, and accessorise with luxury finishes.

This Quadro system by Annibale Colombo is hand made in their Milan workshop, and yet each 'square' forms a modular arrangement which can be adapted to suit any space. The designs can be in cherry wood, with additional touches such as leather, macassar ebony or lalique motifs to ensure that each piece is truly bespoke.

Established over 200 years ago, Annibale Colombo was founded in Brianza during the period when the nobility from the nearby Milan, in love with the refined tastes of XVIII century France, commissioned reproductions of the furniture made by the great cabinet-makers in the recent bygone years. Thus giving great impetus to the already existing, though not yet refined, local traditions. We can now access these skills for modern commissions on behalf of our clients.

Marchetti in Milan

When employing an interior designer, clients should always have access to a much broader range of design resources, both in the UK and worldwide. At Icon Interiors, we are always looking to expand our offerings to clients, and go on frequent sourcing trips to Europe.

During our recent trip to Milan, we discovered these beautiful crystal lighting designs by Marchetti. The traditional crystals are now being used in contemporary ways with iconic shapes and futuristic designs.

On the left, the Brillo floor lamps are statement pieces and can also be suspended in groups of three to form a wonderful centrepiece in an entrance hall. On the right, the Diamante pendant light is a dramatic focal point when suspended over a dining table or in a linear display in a large hallway.

The futuristic Planet pendant light is constructed with flat slivers of glass to form a spherical shape, and lifts this classic interior with its contemporary design.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Mussi in Milan...

At Icon Interiors, we are always searching for interesting products which are not easily available in the UK. As interior designers, we know our clients employ us to find distinctive products for their homes as well as ensuring these items have an authentic design ethic.

During a recent sourcing trip to Milan, we visited the factory of Mussi furniture, and met the designers as well as the production team.

Based on the principles of Bauhaus, the Mussi design ethic is an exquisite balance of form and function. The combination of technology and fine craftsmanship, tradition and innovation, new materials and luxurious finishes are all elements of the process involved in creating signature Mussi pieces. For further details of sofas and upholstered furniture, see

Friday, 8 October 2010

Satin and Stilettos...

At Icon Interiors, we are always trying to find quirky elements for our design schemes, and this elegant four poster bed in ink satin is certainly one of a kind. Aiveen Daly - see the website - is a bespoke furniture maker and upholsterer, specialising in glamorous pieces echoing 1920's and 30's style.

Using a combination of silver studs and pearls, simple geometric patterns are used on headboards and chairs. The Stiletto is a signature chair, adorned with satin gathered in a 'love knot' to mimic a fabulous evening gown.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

A Jewel at Decorex 2010

Decorex is the premier interior design exhibition of the year, and one of the jewels of this year's show was Rocio Moreno's beautiful fabrics. These woven indian silks use traditional techniques as the weavers continue to work the complex technique of brocade by hand, in the same way as they were produced in the XV and XVI centuries in Venice and other eastern countries.

This type of silk cloth is loomed with a double-warp and a specially treated silk, creating its extraordinary beauty and lustrous satin finish. Today they continue weaving silks and tapestries for temples and palaces, like those of the Dalai Lama and the Nepalese royal family.

The brocade fabrics have strong indian influences and symbolism, and yet the collection also contains vibrant abstract prints, reminiscent of Rothko paintings. The fabrics can be used as traditional soft furnishings, wall hangings, artwork and for haute couture. The traditional figurative fabrics and the contemporary blocks of colour will work in both modern and traditional interiors.

The vibrancy of the colour range is a welcome change from the safe neutral designs which have become ubiquitous in UK design.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Italian Design for Children...

At Icon Interiors, we are often asked to design children's rooms, and clients are becoming tired of the products available on the high street or mail order. The usual themes of princesses and cars tend to be a passing phase, and can't evolve with the child as he or she grows. Our challenge is to provide beautifully made furniture which has a strong design aesthetic, and which will last for many years as multi-use pieces.

The furniture designer Il Loft - - produce an elegantly designed children's collection, using an artist's colour palette, ranging from muted shades to primary colours. This round bed, called Felix Baby Letto can be adapted over time as the children grow and their needs change. The Flower Baby Letto has delightful petal shapes with footstools in a range of sweetie colours.

The range also includes wardrobes and bookcases, and accessories such as rugs, occasional chairs and desks. Each piece is adorned with vibrant geometric shapes to add detail, and the website is arranged to help you choose a whole scheme.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Amethyst Crystal

At Icon Interiors, we are often asked by clients to specify lighting which is glamorous, yet contemporary, and with the option to add bespoke elements such as coloured crystal to work with the rest of the interior design scheme. These beautiful murano glass chandeliers from Italy tick all the boxes, and we are currently specifying two of this chandeliers for a dining room, and aim to team it with silver silk wallpaper, and amethyst silk curtains.
In modern interiors, the ubiquitous use of down lighters often means that decorative lights are forgotten, and yet the judicious use of statement pieces can give a design key focal points, and define areas for different uses.

Using large, decorative pieces in stairwells works particularly well, and these dramatic suspended crystal installations are key talking points, and evoke a sense of expectation for more beautiful things to come.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Contemporary Colonial...

For a current Icon Interiors' project, we are specifying these beautiful colonial style chandeliers, which are formed by successive tiers of ceramic 'ostrich eggs'. This kind of style works beautifully in an orangery or large conservatory, surrounded by ivory linen sofas and driftwood tables.

The 'antler horns' are actually made of resin, and mimic the horns of the kudu and other species of the gazelle family. These products are sourced from Bobby Breen in Cape Town, and his website shows many other examples of this african style.

The style is very much classic colonial, yet the simplicity of the design brings this look up to date, echoing styles of african and asian boutique hotels. We often team this look with woven grass papers on the walls, natural silk scatter cushions, and contemporary artwork. Mohair blankets are another export of South Africa, and work well draped over the linen sofas.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Natural Willow...

These beautiful curved willow structures created by Judith Needham - - work really well as focal points in a garden, and can be adapted as playhouses for children. Willow is a material which is annually renewable and which will gradually degrade over about 5 years, and as a renewable source of material, it is eco-friendly.

The Dreaming Spires Willow Playhouse is designed to meet the child's need for imaginative play whilst being an attractive feature in the garden in its own right. The curvy lines and arched windows give the house a fairy tale quality. The twin spires and forked flags swinging gently in the breeze put one in mind of a knight's encampment. Its ambiguous form transforms effortlessly from cottage to castle, wigwam to igloo.

At the end of its life, rather than needing to go into landfill, it can simply be recycled in your own garden. You could use the willow as kindling if you have a fire; you could put it in the compost bin or you could shred it and use it as garden mulch.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

It's all in the detail...

Continuing our theme of Bespoke Kitchens, we had such a great response from our previous article, and our clients and contacts asked for more details of our beautiful kitchen cabinetry. Our recent installation in Amersham has a tailor made larder, with walnut veneer shelves, bread and snack compartments. Our client runs a busy household, with two active, sports-mad boys, and the brief for the kitchen was practical but elegant.

This tall double larder opens out to allow all food stocks to be visible, and baking goods, spices and cereals are neatly arranged. This means everything is organised and accessible. The special compartments for bread and snacks are hand carved, and of course the drawers can be initialled with any name or quote.
We also like to add curves to our kitchens, which work particularly well on large islands, and this helps to soften the whole look, giving a hand made feel to the design.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

French Gray, Old White and Agas...

This beautiful kitchen in Buckinghamshire has just been completed by our team. The client brief originally stipulated an uber-contemporary kitchen, but after a sourcing trip in London, and lots of discussion about the architecture of the house, we completely changed the brief to accommodate a classic/contemporary kitchen style. The client particularly liked the Aga-style of cooking, and we planned the kitchen around this feature. For the summer months, the Aga can be switched off, and a standard integrated oven is used.

The flooring is engineered oak, the worktops are ivory quartz, and the paint colours are Farrow & Ball French Gray and Old White. The walls are decorated with Farrow & Ball Clunch.

We also incorporated a wine rack and media cabient for the dining area, and paid particular attention to lighting. This side of the room now has a wonderful warm glow, and is perfect for family suppers or smart dinner parties.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

From Wallpaper to Abu Dhabi...

In the interior design industry, we meet a multitude of suppliers, ranging from bespoke cabinet makers to fabric and wallpaper designers. This is part of our efforts to build a network of unique sources, to offer our clients a bespoke interior design service. We pride ourselves, where possible, in sourcing directly from the artist or supplier to gain the best deal possible for our clients.

However, nothing quite prepared us for meeting Kevin Dean, who is an artist and designer with a varied portfolio, ranging from fabric and wallpaper design to mosaics, ceramics and book illustrations.

Working with Fantini Mosaici of Milan, Kevin has created a unique floral design for the marble floor of the 18,000 sq m Sahan or courtyard in The Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi. He also designed other large floors and archways within the mosque in collaboration with the international architects Spatium, Milan.

In May 2008 Kevin showed his first collection of wallpapers at The International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York. The English Roses collection of wallpapers is traditional/classic but the scale of the designs, the colours and materials used give the collection a very contemporary look. Kevin's designs can also be found at Liberty's in London.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Contemporary Chinoiserie...

The Chinoiserie style was at its height from 1750 to 1765, and was inspired by art and design from China, Japan and other Asian countries. In the 18th century porcelain, silk and lacquerware imported from China and Japan were extremely fashionable. This led many British designers and craftsmen to imitate Asian designs and to create their own fanciful versions of the East.

This trend of constantly re-interpreting the chinoiserie style continues to this day, with beautiful bespoke designs being offered by Fromental. The designs range from classical scenes to ornately embellished designs in regal colours.

These intricate designs work in contemporary homes when the wallpaper itself is treated as artwork, and furniture and soft furnishings should be simple and understated. The pared down designs of cherry blossom and willow trees are iconic chinese and japanese images, which suit modern interiors.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

It's all about the motifs...

The resurgence of interest in hand crafted products and focus on the home is reflected in the emerging designs of younger textile designers. Catherine Crew's final degree show at the Winchester School of Art has an edgy, hand crafted quality, using strong motifs of domesticity. Images such as cutlery and clocks are arranged with architectural precision. The colour palette of soft blues and greys are lifted by flashes of pistachio and white.

At Icon Interiors, our clients are constantly asking us to source products which do not come from the high street, and where they can meet the artist directly to discuss their works or commission bespoke pieces. As interior designers, we are delighted to be contacted by artists and often visit gallery exhibitions and artists' studios.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Contemporary, Romantic and Vintage?

Charlotte Medin's work is a wonderful combination of contemporary, romantic, and vintage all at the same time. This is achieved by a muted colour palette of oyster, pearl and dove greys, lifted by accent colours of rose and raspberry. The pretty floral motifs are given structure, as they are combined with geometric and architectural style printed wallpapers and pleated fabics. The effect is subtle and understated, yet highly technical in nature, and Charlotte's work is certainly one to watch. Charlotte can be contacted on

At Icon Interiors, we are always looking for talented new designers, to add invididuality to our interior design schemes. This is how we add value to our clients, and continue to source new talent both in the UK and around the world.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Showcase - Kerry Milverton

This particular artist's work appealed to us at Icon Interiors, because of the unique themes within the work, and the understated colour palettes.
Kerry Milverton's designs also use existing items, and reinterpret them in a bespoke way, ie the wall hangings with the abstract designs were originally piano scrolls, and have featured in designer fashion premises.
A recent graduate from the Winchester School of Art, Kerry's themes of naturalistic motifs and earthy african colours were unique amongst the other artists, and have strong commercial value. All of Kerry's works are available for purchase, and she can be contacted via

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Profile - New Designers with Vintage Style

At Icon Interiors, we are constantly looking for new sources of inspiration, especially bespoke pieces which cannot be found on the high street. After the pared down, clutter–free styles of the 1990’s the interior style of the recent decade is evolving into increasingly layered and eclectic designs. Vintage and nostalgia are still key influences, but we seem to be seeing a divergence within these sectors. On the one hand we are seeing upholstered chairs and sofas covered with heirloom fabrics, such as tapestries, samplers and clothing, combined with hand-knitted/hand-crafted pieces to give a homespun vintage feel to them. On the other hand, we are seeing a classically English motifs such as cupcakes, teapots and roses being interpreted in a contemporary way, evoking a feeling of romantic nostalgia.

The recent graduate show at the Winchester School of Art, showcased a wealth of talented textile and print designers, with students managing to balance strong commercial awareness, but still pushing the boundaries of existing trends. The blurring of lines between interior design, fashion and fine art continues, as each discipline re-interprets established boundaries and morph into one another.

A key star of the show was Deryn Relph, with upholstery and accessories in awe inspiring combinations of magenta, fuchsia, pistachio and orange. The use of contemporary fabrics with knitted pieces, created a vintage style, that was still fresh and contemporary, yet commercially viable.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Vintage Style Glamour...

"An Aladdin's cave of gorgeousness..." is how Atelier's founder Abigail Ahern describes her Islington shop. Described as "One of the coolest places to shop in the UK" by Elle Decoration, this retail space offers a variety of interiors products, with Alice in Wonderland qualities of bright colours, over scale items, and quirky pieces.

The furniture includes ostrich console tables, contemporary chesterfields, and coffee tables in shocking pink lacquer. Teamed with luxurious textiles, and accessorised with silver reindeer heads, the look is glamourous vintage, with a whimsical twist. The artwork includes pop art style old masters, and the lighting collection includes a traditional chandelier made of wire, and a poodle floor lamp with vintage shade...a signature piece! See for more info.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Classic English Country House

Classic english country style is a combination of different layers of styles, encompassing influences from colonial history, China and India. The paisley motifs and enlarged chrysanthemums are both symbols steeped in asian history, and are used in many different ways in english country house decoration.

These images from William Yeoward epitomise the english country house style, reinterpreted in a contemporary way. Exquisite fabrics are combined with elegant hand made cabinetry and accessories to complete the scheme. Colour palettes of cool neutrals with accent colours of soft blues and aquas bring this look right up to date. For morning rooms or dining rooms, the clotted creams and yellows work beautifully in a warm, south facing room.