Monthly Archive: August 2015

8 Modern Wristwatches We Love

Simple wristwatch inspired by professional drafting

Inspired by the instruments used by professionals who produce technical drawings for engineers and architects—draftsmen—Japanese Design Studio Nendo designed the Draftsman watch series to celebrate this special craft. The Draftsman 01 Scale Watch’s face is based on the increments of a calibrated ruler and the hour indicators are printed directly to the sapphire glass lens, offering a distinctive yet subtle departure from traditional watches. 

5 Striking Examples of Corrugated Steel Architecture

modern fire resistant green boulder cor-ten steel native grasses

A natural disaster cleared a property in the Colorado mountains, giving an architect and her family a blank slate on which to build their green dream home. The fire-resistant structure is clad in corrugated Cor-Ten steel that has been left to rust for easy maintenance. Instead of fussy landscaping, the family spread seed for native grasses and wildflowers that they let fill in naturally.

Photo by David Lauer.

The RSA Student Design Awards 2015 call for entries

Katherine Houston

The RSA Student Design Awards (The SDAs) are now open to entries for the 2015-2016 awards.

The prestigious awards challenge young creative minds – designers, artists, craftsmen – with project briefs based on real issues to drive innovation.

Steeped in heritage, the awards initiated in 1924 and feature winners including Sir Jonathon Ive, chief design officer at Apple (RDI); Richard Clarke, global vice president of design at Nike and Paul Priestman, founder of ‘PriestmanGoode’.

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2014-15 RSA Student Design Award winning projects: Christopher Rothera’s ‘Sustainable Filtration Kit’, a water purification solution utilising local resources. The kit is a 5 litre, robust container with a two-lid system that produces high quality carbon from scrap wood which is then used to filter contaminated water.

This year sees 12 briefs covering a variety of topics in society, the environment and in business. These range from designing greener ways to bathe and wash, to promoting waste as a valuable source to eliminate the surplus. Sponsors include Airbnb, Philips, Unilever, Fazer, GlaxoSmithKline, RBS, Waitrose, Springetts and PriestmanGoode.

Global Director of the RSA Student Design Awards, Sevra Davis, says:

‘Every year the briefs evolve to reflect contemporary challenges and issues. This year we have 12 briefs that tackle a variety of day to day problems, from how to rebrand waste in developed societies and how to make bathing more sustainable, to how to create business environments that foster innovative and creative thinking.’

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2014-15 winning projects: Lisa Hornsey’s ‘Squiggle’, a gender neutral playhouse made from chalkboard that allows children to bring their imagination to life and transform the toy by drawing on it. Squiggle is ecologically produced, designed for a longer product life, and the packaging is made from 100% recycled and biodegradable elements.

Last year’s winning projects include a unisex playhouse, a filtration kit that produces high quality carbon from scrap wood to purify contaminated water (see above), and a unique redesign of the London’s Underground map to aid disabled users.

Winners compete for a range of prizes such as bursaries from sponsors, work placements and mentoring to develop younger designer’s careers. Additionally this year, entrants can receive over £35,000 in cash prizes and paid internships at Philips, Waitrose, GlaxoSmithKline and PriestmanGoode.

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2014-15 winning projects: Lisa Hornsey’s ‘Squiggle’

The awards are recognised across the globe, last year seeing entrants from Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Finland, Taiwan, Turkey and Libya. This year to help expand the awards, the RSA are introducing global partners outside the UK such as AIGA in the US.

Davis says:

‘We want to show that good design is fundamental to creating positive social and environmental change on a global scale. The aim of the RSA Student Design Awards is to help challenge society, the design industry, governments and business to think more openly about what design can do.’

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2014-15 winning projects: Rebecca Grover’s ‘London Accessible’, a service that provides live accessibility information, enabling users to plan their journeys on the go. The service integrates with existing mainstream station information and journey planning apps.

Today the 12 briefs are launched alongside pre-registration.

For more information visit the SDA website.

Read more:

New UK HQ for Warner Music from Woods Bagot

Brent Sherwood: I’d be mad if I wasn’t designing cities on the moon

Sweating walls concept: The future of air conditioning?

Review – Hepworth in Yorkshire

Blueprint

The Hepworth Wakefield
Until 6 September
Review by Rebecca Swirsky

Every artist has a beginning, and, in an exhibition running until September, The Hepworth Wakefield is sharing the story of Barbara Hepworth, born in 1903. A room of curated juvenilia including photographs, scrapbooks and early works, as well as the earliest known portrait of Hepworth, painted by Dame Ethel Walker RA for her 18th birthday, offers glimpses into the early life of the sculptor.

Hepworth as a baby, with her parents and grandmothers, 1903. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate
Hepworth as a baby, with her parents and grandmothers, 1903. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate

While Hepworth’s works in the exhibition aren’t included in her catalogue raisonné, they attest to her early gifts in understanding form and scale. Portraits of Mary Fennell and George Parker, executed in pencil, also attest to the role of circumstance. In an era when women weren’t expected to have careers, Hepworth’s progressive father not only encouraged his daughter’s gifts but also procured for her these commissions, which were essential in developing her artistic identity. The focus on Hepworth’s drawings also illustrates how her scholarships were secured, first at the Leeds College of Art, then the Royal College of Art.

(l-r) Edna Ginesi, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth in Paris, 1920. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate
(l-r) Edna Ginesi, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth in Paris, 1920. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate

Only after Hepworth’s admittance to the RCA, and having made a bust, could she enrol on a sculpture course.

Born in Wakefield as the eldest child of middle-class parents, Hepworth’s father Herbert Hepworth was a civil engineer who would later become County Surveyor, possibly accounting for Hepworth’s technical accuracy when submitting drawings for sculptures made in the foundry.

While driving in her father’s car (an early model), Hepworth was often lifted up to see over hedgerows, observing the sculptural forms of the landscape and the road’s division of the hills. Like Hepworth’s contemporary, Moore, this integral connection with landscape was to continue, shaping her outlook.

Nine black-and-white images of Yorkshire line one wall of the exhibition, their locations selected by Hepworth and published in a book, Drawings from a Sculptor’s Landscape (1965). These carefully commissioned images, taken by Magnum photographer Lee Sheldrake, convey a sense of the landscape seeping into Hepworth’s bones, re-emerging in her muscular, later forms.

Hepworth at the Royal College of Art workshop, studying on a Yorkshire Senior Country Art Scholarship. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate
Hepworth at the Royal College of Art workshop, studying on a Yorkshire Senior Country Art Scholarship. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate

More personal photographs on display reveal a treasure trove of Hepworths, showing her in various guises. Victorian-dressed adults, including her father, cluster around a two-month-old Hepworth in one photograph, while a pert young ‘Hiawatha Hepworth’ reclining on fur skins in another reminds one of Lewis Carroll’s portraits of girls. An older, more assured Hepworth is seen travelling on her West Riding scholarship in Italy, where she would meet her husband, the artist John Skeeping, and in Paris she poses carefree and confident, with Henry Moore and Edna Ginesi. A final, surprising image taken at a King’s Road studio presents a glamorous, made-up Hepworth, her heavy brows, luminous skin and formidable hair-parting offering a resemblance to Frida Kahlo.

Hepworth’s portrait by Walker anchors the room. Commissioned by Hepworth’s father and shown publicly for the first time in 90 years following its auction, acquisition and recent donation, the painting presents Hepworth looking down, her slender, girlish limbs painted cream with blue undertones, appearing graceful and pliant. It’s an image at odds with the later, more familiar images of the fiercely independent sculptor.

Hepworth in Siena, from the tower of the Palazzo Communale, 1925. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate
Hepworth in Siena, from the tower of the Palazzo Communale, 1925. Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate

Contact with Walker was made through the Hepworths’ regular summers spent in Robin Hood’s Bay, where a community of artists lived part-time and exhibited in the New English Arts Club. The painter, described by Augustus John as one of England’s ‘foremost artists’, counted Vanessa Bell among her sitters. Meeting the strong-natured, critically acclaimed Walker would have represented a step in Hepworth’s development, linking her to the possibilities of the future.

Another strong component of the exhibition is an early plaster relief of Hepworth’s cousins Jill and Peggy (1918), made with plaster used for broken bones, obtained from Hepworth’s GP uncle. Hepworth’s depiction of her cousin’s chubby young cheeks shows an honesty for angles and dimensions. Oddly, the plaster’s origins isn’t mentioned in the wall text, but was shared with me by the curator, Eleanor Clayton. Indeed, for a show about an artist’s early life, Hepworth in Yorkshire is surprisingly stripped of supporting information.

Hepworth, centre, with fellow students at the RCA . Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate
Hepworth, centre, with fellow students at the RCA . Photo Credit: Courtesy Bowness, Hepworth Estate

Understanding the biographical narrative is crucial for a rewarding visit, and without adequate texts, this small yet valuable room may appear like an addendum to other, larger Hepworth exhibitions on show. The Hepworth Wakefield is also presenting A Greater Freedom, offering an examination of the sculptor’s final years, and Plasters: Casts and Copies 1965-75, addressing the work of Hepworth and her contemporaries, while Tate Britain’s major summer retrospective opens in June, the central show in what is undoubtedly the season of Hepworth.

Nonetheless, Hepworth in Yorkshire is a thoughtfully curated exhibition. It will soon be refreshed to allow more of a focus on Hepworth’s time at Wakefield’s Girls School, including a drawing made of the gym mistress. And it reminds us that no matter how international in outlook it becomes, an artist’s success must begin somewhere.

A Greater Freedom: Hepworth 1965-75 (until April 2016) and Plasters: Casts and Copies (until 8 May 2016) are on view at The Hepworth Wakefield

The fine art of playing – Artists on Play

Blueprint

Words Rebecca Swirsky

Amid the glitz of London’s Frieze Art Fair, a four-year-old studies an oversized dice scored with black holes, from which children are intermittently appearing. ‘Normally you’d roll a dice,’ he tells his mother. ‘How am I going to roll this?’ Nearby, a toddler is tugging on a toy octopus’s tentacles, the creature’s hazel glass eyes uncannily human, while two six-year-olds are rocking a giant mushroom with realistic funghi veins and patination. I’m in Gartenkinder (2014), a children’s playspace designed by Carsten Höller, the Belgian conceptual artist whose major show – Decision – has just opened at the Hayward in London. Gartenkinder’s title is translated literally as ‘garden for children’ and this installation for the Gagosian Gallery’s stand attracts a steady stream of well-dressed children and accompanying adults, some of whom are clearly hoping to play themselves.

Fast forward five months and I’m lying down, staring through a square of Plexiglass built into an Escheresque soft-play space named The Idol (2015), in London’s economically deprived borough of Barking. Straddling contemporary art sculpture and functional space, The Idol is the jewel in the crown of the £14m Abbey Sport Centre and is predicted, in its first 10 years, to engage more than 700,000 local young children and families.

The Idol, an art sculpture and playspace by artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd in Barking, 2015. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff
The Idol, an art sculpture and playspace by artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd in Barking, 2015. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff

Designed by Turner Prize-nominated artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, acclaimed for her anarchic, playful group performances, the soft-play space has departed from generic primary colours, instead reworked with black-and-white, sci-fi overtones, taking its title from the mythology of an effigy discovered in Dagenham believed to date from around 2250 BC. Raisa, a 10-year-old girl, tells me: ‘The see-through bit makes you feel like you’re going to fall. But the slide is the best, it gives you an adrenalin rush.’ I ask her about the design. ‘Some of the pictures up the wall are cool, but a bit scary and odd,’ she replies.

Commissioned by Create, The Idol is part of the £14m Abbey Sports Centre. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff
Commissioned by Create, The Idol is part of the £14m Abbey Sports Centre. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff

Franky, seven, agrees. ‘I like the slide when it goes bumpy because it makes me feel weird.’ He adds: ‘I like feeling weird.’ Chetwynd was commissioned by the charity Create, whose interest lies in infiltrating artists and designers into social projects in different ways. ‘It had to be functional, stimulating and interesting to adults, but also cut the mustard as a critically acclaimed artwork and contemporary sculpture,’ Chetwynd tells me. I ask what would she like the children to feel as they use it. ‘I’d like them to feel pride that it’s in their area, like civic pride.’

The Idol takes its name from an 2250 BC effigy discovered in Dagenham. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff
The Idol takes its name from an 2250 BC effigy discovered in Dagenham. Photo Credit: Emil Charlaff

‘The presence of play in art emerges periodically,’ says Ralph Rugoff, director at London’s Hayward Gallery, where Höller has a survey show this summer. ‘It goes in cycles, and this definitely seems like a moment.’ In 2009, the art commissioner Artangel hosted the one-day conference called There’s an Artist in the Playground that examined play’s connection to adult concerns, which included, in the words of the marketing material: ‘responsibility, risk, fun, recovery, politics, inclusion, conflict, environment, belonging, being’.

Carsten Höller’s Isomeric Slides cascades down the Hayward Gallery, part of his major summer show Decision. Photo Credit: The Artist and Luma Foundation, Arles, Photo David Levene
Carsten Höller’s Isomeric Slides cascades down the Hayward Gallery, part of his major summer show Decision. Photo Credit: The Artist and Luma Foundation, Arles, Photo David Levene

Notable British artists concerned with play include Gary Webb, whose Squeaky Clean (2012) is a permanent playground and interactive public sculpture in Greenwich’s Charlton Park, and Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller, who presented Sacrilege in 2012, a life-size, inflatable, bouncy-castle replica of Stonehenge. Artist Katarzyna Zimna published Time to Play: Action and Interaction in Contemporary Art in 2014, a book that links 20th- and 21st-century art with studies of play, games and leisure, and the theories of Kant, Gadamer and Derrida. Last year’s Glasgow International Festival saw Play Summit, a threeday event curated by artist Nils Norman and Assemble, an 18-strong collective working across the fields of art, architecture and design. The remit was to explore the state of play in Scotland and beyond, and the event was attended by Chetwynd, who cited it as inspiration for tendering for the Dagenham soft-play commission.

Snake by Carsten Höller, 2013. Photo Credit: The Artist and Air De Paris, Paris, Photo: Marc Domage
Snake by Carsten Höller, 2013. Photo Credit: The Artist and Air De Paris, Paris, Photo: Marc Domage

Enshrined under Article 31 in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the importance of play is deadly serious, although not always valued. In Britain, as funding has dropped for play provision, the science has surged ahead, showing that quality play stimulates essential brain ‘plasticity’ and is an essential pathway to cognitive, developmental and physical growth. Where play doesn’t occur, brain cells rigidify, in a process referred to as ‘synapse elimination’, with chronically play-deprived children experiencing mental problems, restrictions in brain growth and depression. The leading theorist on children’s play, Bob Hughes, goes one step further, connecting it with the survival skills of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Made From Scratch builds play spaces to children’s designs
Made From Scratch builds play spaces to children’s designs

One of the main reasons for play deprivation, and a clear casualty of modernity, is the drastic reduction of ‘roaming’ – the extent to which children’s play and travel is negotiated autonomously of adults. It has been reduced by fears of traffic, children engaging in risky activity and ‘stranger danger’. Into this vacuum, adventure playgrounds, more than any other play spaces, are the unsung heroes, compensating for children’s restriction. Completely free to access, they provide a range of activities, including opportunities for physical risk, and offer an authentic space to experiment and self-learn.

Made From Scratch has so far built eight playgrounds and one adventure playground
Made From Scratch has so far built eight playgrounds and one adventure playground

Children at Northworld Primary school take part in building thier own playground
Children at Northworld Primary school take part in building thier own playground

The first was created in Copenhagen in 1943 by landscape architect Carl Theodor Sørensen, and was known as a skrammellegepladsen, meaning ‘junk playground’. In England at the time, children were playing on bombsites, building dens and re-playing war, and inadvertently dying because of collapsing walls and unexploded devices. When the English landscape architect and philanthropist Lady Allen of Hurtwood saw the skrammellegepladsen in 1946 during a lecture tour, she realised Britain needed dedicated play spaces. The first UK junk playground (later called adventure playgrounds) opened in 1948 in Camberwell, south London, on the site of a bombed church.

Iraq’s first adventure playground, created by Made From Scratch, in the Kurdish town of Halabja
Iraq’s first adventure playground, created by Made From Scratch, in the Kurdish town of Halabja

Today, with British councils decreasing funding both for playgrounds and art initiatives, ‘utilitarian’ arts projects such as Chetwynd’s The Idol might offer a new hybrid way forward.

But can the art world and the play world integrate with integrity? ‘The problem is that artists can possibly do damage if they don’t understand about the science of play,’ says Jess Milne, who for 11 years managed Hackney Play Association’s Play Training Unit, and who is also a qualified art teacher. ‘And I mean that in the sense of creating things for art and for themselves, rather than for children to look at, and work with and see through and generally participate in.’

Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: AssembleAssemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble

Fergus P. Hughes defined play in 1982 as ‘freely chosen, personally directed, and intrinsically motivated’. Yet despite all the scientific advancements made in understanding what play does and how it affects the brain, many adults still find it hard not to take control. ‘It’s very difficult to remove the adult and the adult’s ego,’ says Milne. ‘It’s the same for everyone – parents, playworkers, artists.’

Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble
Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble

Yet art and play share the same goals, according to Gemma Mudu, co-director of social design enterprise Made From Scratch, which builds play spaces to children’s designs.

‘Artists and children are each absorbed in a line of enquiry, questioning the role of existence,’ says Mudu. ‘Both are getting to grips with the nature of being and expressing it through different ways. We see great potential for cross-fertilisation with artists aware of play sensibilities.’ Lizzy Longtale, her co-director, agrees: ‘In many ways adventure playgrounds should be seen as ongoing art installations.’

Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: AssembleAssemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble

Set up in 2011, Made From Scratch has already built eight different playgrounds and one adventure playground, with seven further builds in the pipeline. Their budgets are small – the average cost for a playground is between £30,000 and £70,000, with smaller playgrounds costing £15,000. ‘We invite kids to take inspiration from landscapes, art galleries, paintings, sculptures and immersive spaces so that they’re not just thinking about the conventional format of play structures,’ says Longtale. ‘A special project is Made from Scratch’s work on Iraq’s first adventure playground in the Kurdish town of Halabja.

‘Initially we had to deal with the community representative who dreamed of a neat, sterile, Disney fairground,’ explains Longtale. ‘Explaining loose parts theory – the need for an infinite variety of materials for children to play with, such as sand, timber, pipes, tubes and fabrics – was challenging. He kept saying, “When are you going to take all this rubbish away?”‘ The playground is in its final stages of completion before handover to the community, when it will support play for up to 80 children. Ironically, Made From Scratch had to travel to Iraq to work on an adventure playground. Longtale says: ‘There is no funding here anymore for new community adventure playgrounds, so we work on playgrounds in schools. But we always try and link the children up with local adventure playgrounds that already exist.’

Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble
Assemble’s Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock takes shape. Photo Credit: Assemble

Assemble, the co-curator of Glasgow International’s Play Summit, has created the Baltic Street Adventure Playground in Dalmarnock, an impoverished area of Glasgow. Delivered in collaboration with Create, the project has helped bag the collective a nomination for this year’s Turner Prize. Hadrian Garrard, director of Create, remains on the playground’s board of directors. ‘This wasn’t about making a pretty artwork,’ he tells me. ‘Assemble was interested in getting the right set of conditions for a community space. The Turner Prize nomination picks up on the opportunities for artists and designers to move into territory managed in the past by government authorities.’

Architect and Assemble member Amica Dall explains what attracted the group to this territory. ‘We’ve always been very aware of the limits of what you can do with design, and of how much design is asked to do that isn’t necessarily in the realm of design with a capital ‘D’. I would argue for a more expanded notion of design. For example, systems have to be designed, organisations have to be designed, arguments have to be designed. These things add up to make situations and environments that are not just physical. In many design situations, all the critical decisions have already been made by the time the architect gets involved. Doing self-initiated work is a way to be part of more stages of the process.

The Brutalist Playground, a collaboration between Assemble and artist Simon Terrill at the RIBA. Photo Credit: Photo by Tristan Fewings Getty Images For Riba
The Brutalist Playground, a collaboration between Assemble and artist Simon Terrill at the RIBA. Photo Credit: Photo by Tristan Fewings Getty Images For RIBA

‘The adventure playground is the epitome of that approach because while we are creating an environment where physical things need to happen, there has also been the human aspect, the organisational aspect, the financial aspect, the legal aspect, the political aspect. All of those ducks have to be put in line to create this environment. I think that’s common to a lot of our work: creating the conditions of possibility and being responsible.’

Assemble’s interest in play has also led it to collaborate with artist Simon Terrill on The Brutalist Playground, at London’s RIBA this summer which recreates in foam the concrete playgrounds designed for post-war housing blocks.

Ralph Rugoff has commissioned many artists to create site-specific environments at the Hayward Gallery. I ask him whether it would be good for such artists to create municipal spaces in the public realm. ‘People in the design world can be a bit abstract, while artists are very attuned to the way we experience things. So there is a role,’ he concludes. ‘Although,’ he adds wryly, ‘it might work best with those who play well in teams.’

Mudu is also optimistic about the potential of artists, as long as they prioritise play. ‘It’s such a balance. If it’s about art coming into the community, the priority is the art. But if the primary focus is to have a quality play space, then the priority is the play.’ With health and safety fears rising and funding being cut, play deprivation is likely to become more endemic in the UK. Perhaps, if play was rebranded to seem to be the serious issue it is – ‘self-learning’ – those who hold the purse strings might give it greater importance. ‘Most people think play is a leisure activity,’ Mudu continues. ‘For adults it’s about extreme sensation and about getting some form of pleasure. For kids it’s a necessity.’

From Rusty Van To Cosy Home – DIY Camper

Thinking of dumping your old and rusty van? Think again; because you may turn it into a cozy home that too without visiting any specialized auto or van shops. Our DIY Camper project is just right for the ones who are finding difficulties in getting a suitable home for themselves. These days high range apartments

The post From Rusty Van To Cosy Home – DIY Camper appeared first on iCreatived.

Best of #ModernMonday: Designing Bars, Hotels, Restaurants, and More

Single Shot in Seattle.

From the humblest cafe to the biggest hotel chain, what are the universal principles of good hospitality design?

@TRMarchitect: Guest/customer comfort is paramount. They need to feel at home anywhere they are.

@RashanaZ: Understanding your customer or the guest experience. You have to know who you’re designing for!

@aileenkwun: Great hospitality design will both make you feel at home and away on an adventure.

 

Ian Mankin’s New ‘Britannia’ Fabric Collection

So you guys know how much I love a stripe, right? I know: borderline obsessed! No surprise then when I write how hard I am crushing on Ian Mankin’s new ‘Britannia’ fabric collection as the brand is known for their iconic stripe patterns. Britannia is the most extensive collection to date from the British fabric house and it launches at Decorex this September. I like the introduction of the intense, dark blue to the brand’s more pared-back wider palette. In total there are 15 new fabrics in the collection as well as 15 existing and recoloured classics. The best part? They all mix together to create an effortlessly stylish array of navy, red and neutral tones that’s perfect for creating a nautical look even in the darker autumn and winter months. Can we please discuss that incredible indigo stripe? So good. I love the idea of using Ian Mankin’s fabric to create a luxurious bed canopy like this – so indulgent and with a wonderful mix of grad-meets-modern. All of the fabrics are woven at the brand’s Lancashire cotton mill, and the signature stripes, checks and plains come in a range of weights and weaves. One of the unexpected highlights […]

The post Ian Mankin’s New ‘Britannia’ Fabric Collection appeared first on Bright.Bazaar.

Council Supports Solar Power in Coal-Centric Louisville

(AP Photo/Brian Bohannon)

The number of solar-powered homes and businesses in Louisville has grown rapidly in the last three years, at a 70 percent rate from 111 in 2012 to 189 this year. The Courier-Journal reports that though the number is still relatively small, it shows great progress since 2008, when only two solar-powered homes or businesses were reported by Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E).

And solar is also gaining support from public officials. Last week, the Louisville Metro Council passed a resolution in support of solar power, and is considering an ordinance that would help with solar energy financing.

“Over 30 states have done this, and progressive states and communities have made this work, and I think we should, too,” said one council member, who’s also pushing solar-powered street lighting.

Advocates for solar power in Louisville hope to engage younger people in what has traditionally been a big coal state.

“I think it’s kind of sexy to be able to create your own energy on your own property,” Colleen Crum, co-chair of a council committee coordinating the Solar Over Louisville campaign, told the Courier-Journal. “There is a personal pride to say you are doing the right thing.”

Despite the city’s progress, it still ranks last of the 50 biggest cities for solar’s value to customers, according to a report from North Carolina State University. The region’s history with coal-powered electricity is a major barrier to overcome for solar policy. Nonetheless, the council’s solar power resolution is a big step toward new energy policies.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the math, and getting the math to add up,” Maria Koetter, the city’s sustainability director, told the Courier-Journal. “That’s harder due to our historically cheap energy.”