Focus on… Tom Dixon’s Pressed Glass Light

•20/07/2010 • Leave a Comment

…STOP PRESS… This is the first in my series of ‘focus on’ pieces – picking out particular items which have caught my eye to focus on and talk about in more detail. Stay tuned for more…  

You would be forgiven for mistaking pictures of Tom Dixon’s bottle green pressed glass lights for an extravagant (and large!) piece of jewellery. But this piece is in fact part of the next iteration of his Utility project where he focuses not only on individuality but also robust, ‘honest’ design and functionality.  

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Dixon's Pressed Glass pendant light

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Image via Mocoloco  

Tom Dixon says: “I have always been inspired by the no nonsense approach of industrial artifacts and military engineering, science and mathematics, alongside materials and processes for manufacture. So this season, nothing has changed! Our theme of Utility talks of usefulness and longevity, which feels appropriate right now.”  

The visibly well crafted construction is clear – the pendants are satisfyingly heavy and the manufacturing indents nod to the industrial roots this collection has stemmed from.  

Dixon is hailed as an ambassador for British design and his statement of intent ‘Extraordinary objects for everyday use’ is certainly being fulfilled with this great design.



House Maarten

•13/07/2010 • Leave a Comment

This post isn’t about the small birds who make clay nests in the eaves of buildings – it’s about a different sort of clay architect. Maarten Baas, the Dutch designer has done wonderful and unusual things with clay – his Dali-esque collection ‘Clay Furniture’ elegantly distorts brightly coloured cabinets and chairs giving them almost arachnid legs. 

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Baas's Clay Chairs


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Baas's Elegant Distortions


My favourite of his collections is the intriguing ‘Smoke’ series (where does he get these strange but great ideas?). These pieces are each literally burned with a blow torch and then salvaged by layers of translucent epoxy resin coating. He has applied this to a range of furniture – from baroque pieces to design classics. The effect is different on every piece – the charring forms an unpredictable but intricate surface. 

This collection was born out of Baas’s interest in how furniture ages through wear and damage. He found that worn pieces became more interesting to him and so the experimenting began. Scratching, throwing and soaking furniture didn’t have quite the right effect – but burning gave it that personalisation and uniqueness he was after. 

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Smoking Chair


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Burnt Baroque


His other collections are equally intriguing – ‘Sculpt’, ‘Hey Chair, be a Bookshelf’ and ‘The Haphazard Harmony’ are definitely worth checking out:


Working the Utilitarian look in the Home

•20/06/2010 • Leave a Comment

In the fashion world, catwalk shows and the high street are full of sober utilitarian hues and styles. We’re most definitely out of winter now and firmly into spring but the bright colour of summer is still yet to materialise. Interior design isn’t quite in the same place, but the utility look is one which translates well to the home. 

The very nature of utilitarianism is that pieces are designed for use rather than beauty, but there is plenty of simple beauty in these useful pieces. 


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Graham and Green's Industrial Lamp

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St Paul Trestle Table - as featured in July's Elle Decoration

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Classic DSW Eames Chairs



Benjamin Hubert – EDIDA International Young Designer of the year 2010 – has a utilitarian style. His simple designs use un-pretentious materials which complement the bold shapes he creates.  

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Hubert's Pebble


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Heavy Lights - Benjamin Hubert

If you like these, check out his Heavy Wall Lights and the ultimate utility magazine racks ‘Fold’ on his website (

It’s so difficult to narrow down all the great utility designs out there, but the last pieces I want to give some attention to are from Blodwen ( – a company set up in Cardigan Bay selling ‘modern traditional’ items made from local Welsh materials.

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Blodwen Ceramics

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Blodwen Bottom ;o)


Are we going to talk about the big white elephant in the room?

•16/05/2010 • Leave a Comment

Walking  into the Hoxton Hotel this week to meet some friends for drinks, I was greeted and totally distracted by a new addition to the bar – Nathan McKenna’s white elephant.

Interior ideas elephant

Elephant Parade Comes to Hoxton

Now, you may just think this is a querky, arty, off-the-wall statement typical of the Hoxton area, but in fact this beautiful beast is part of the Elephant parade taking over London ( . The parade is raising money for endangered Asian elephants and placing 250 of these decorative gems across London.

All this got me thinking about statement pieces. Here are some of my favourites of the moment:

Interior design statement pieces

FLOS Zeppelin designed by Marcel Wanders

Design ideas Fired Earth baths

Statement Baths from Fired Earth

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Cool Britannia

•15/05/2010 • Leave a Comment
St George’s Day is over for this year but if you still have a patriotic disposition, why not show it off with some bold cushions? I’ve spotted some great ones this week and some of the best are from Jan Constantine (
Cushion inspiration

Jan Constantine's brit cushions

Jan Contantine's cool brit cushions

A Cupboard Full of Cool

Her funky, fun designs add a bit of spice. But if you want a more understated nod to Brit Cool, check out these Charlene Mullen ( ones. You’ll feel like you’re hugging a piece of art on your sofa.

Cushion ideas

Eye Eye

Cushion inspiration

Bridge Over Cushioned Waters

Cushion ideas


Lastly, if you prefer your surroundings to have a little more British querkiness, look to Barbara Coupe ( for these brilliant tongue-in- ‘chic’ designs

Cushion ideas

Home Grown

Brit Cushion Ideas

Vintage Jack

Brit Cushion ideas

The Ultimate Patriotic Cushion

Cushion Inspiration

London Cool


Hello world!

•10/05/2010 • Leave a Comment

Welcome to Interior Alchemist!
This blog has been set up to give you musings on interior design and a source of ideas, ideas, ideas.
Clearly it is fairly embryonic now but stay tuned to find interior inspiration from many sources including the world of fashion, days gone by and hotspots around the world.