First up from Milan, a “Cabinet of Curiosity’. This piece of furniture comes from the design house that is Stellar Works, and we first found this brand while visiting the Milan ‘Salone del Mobile’ design fair about 6 years ago, in the always inspiring Via Tortona design district. Amazingly, the person who looked after this brand in the UK lived only 5 minutes from us – demonstrating that travel not only broadens the mind but also introduces neighbours from back where you started!
What I love most about the ‘CoC’ is the concept: a free-standing piece of furniture where you can display a whole host of the trinkets and treasures that are most personal to you. I also love that it is made using quality materials and with a slightly ‘Industrial’ edge – it enables the personal to get decorative and that the craftsmanship not be too ‘showy’. It also allows you to walk all the way around it or put it next to the wall and, as it’s set on wheels, it’s easy to move if the people in your most special photos, fancy a change of scenery!
Having spent years of my life travelling around China sourcing products, and sometimes struggling to find quality over economies of scale, the Stellar Works range of well-crafted designs harks back to an era when traditional methods, simple stylings and quality of raw materials and craftsmanship were the hallmarks of the Chinese makers whose work endures to this day – the mark, in fact, of furniture that is truly ‘timeless’.
Next up, and loosely from Copenhagen (but more immediately from my freezer), comes the silicone Hay Ice cube trays, which I am sure Hayley will have picked too. Simply the best ice cube tray in the world. How do I know this? Because whenever we give them as a gift to our friends, we tell them that they are “the best ice cube trays in the world, use them and you will find out why”, and a couple of days later we get a call from those friends to say, “Wow, those ice cube trays are the best we have ever used”, and I get to say: “I told you so!”
‘The saucepan’ is my next pick and I’m giving this one to Venice, as it’s where I saw it ‘in person’ for the first time. During research for another cool product, the ‘C5’ from Marrone & Mesubim we noticed that in all of their photography they used what became known as ‘that yellow saucepan’ – whose is it? where is it from? So myself and Erica, our Better Life Designer went on a mission to find out who makes the saucepan and a few months of IG sleuthing, a bit of product testing, and some lovely food later we found KN Industries and the beautiful products they make – a fantastic addition to 'Collected'.
Then finally, one of the greatest finds ever, a chair (lamzac) that can be carried on your back in a little rucksack and uses only fresh air to inflate it for sitting on, it’s that easy. Perfect for the beach, picnics, festivals or just general wombling – if you search the web hard enough there is probably a video of me running like the wind at Notting Hill Carnival blowing one up!!