Friday, 20 December 2013

Phew, just finished another article, this time on trends

It's well past my bed time, but thats normal when there's an article to write and the deadline was yesterday.

As New House is pretty up-to-date on all things colour and trend wise, I often get asked to write these sort of articles. To illustrate it I've also been playing about with images that show how the designs in our roller collection didn't just happen by magic (although we do use quite a bit of that), but fit into the wider 2014/15 trends. these are a few of my images :

Brights :  in 2014 slightly artificial brights are key colours. Bubblegum pink, turquoise, tangy orange and glowing yellow are all strong colours in the NH range.

Craft Colours :  Temby braid by Laura Fletcher and our hessian fabric with pewter starfish pull.

Slate tones :  Deco braid, again by Laura (with a little colour influence from Melanie Darwin if I remember rightly), and Tea & Coffee roller print by Charlotte Farmer.   

There's more I could add, but I did say it's past my bed time.....

*    By the way, the central image comes from the Heimtex 2014 Trend book. They allow the press to download and use them for publication and they will appear in my article with credits. So I guess it's ok to use them here too.   

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Go to Glasgow

I've often been to the outskirts of Glasgow, but never gone into the City Centre before - what a mistake eh?

I found Glasgow more fun, vibrant and amazing than I ever imagined. Everyone was friendly and I enjoyed every minute. I loved St. Georges Square with it's traditional fairground :

Unfortunately I was too full from breakfast to eat anything in the fantastic Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tearoom on Sauchiehall Street, but next time I will :
I ended up at the Kelvingrove Museum that's famous for it's Impressionist and Glasgow Boys collections amongst many other things.
I loved Lowry's seascape  as it is so different to his other busy matchstick-people paintings but uses the same base colours.
The Kelvingrove has great sculptures too :
My favourite was a dog made from wellington boots that didn't just capture how doggy a dog is, but did so in the style of one of those African na├»ve sculptures that influenced Picasso so much :

The Spitfire strafing visitors was pretty good too :

The girls took some great images the other week....

Experimenting with the camera on their ipad, Melanie and Charlotte took some good images for our website on their ipad the other week.

The advantage is that they could see instantly what they'd taken, while my little Panasonic has a tiny scratched screen and I never know if my pic is any good or not until it's loaded onto a bigger screen. Mind you, they take a million times better pictures than me anyway :

These are just a few images, and M & C's photo session with their ipad will fuel our website for a little while to come. Maybe it's time I got an ipad too??   

Monday, 18 November 2013

The latest CAD and a day at Morgan Cars

I was at a Majenta-run event a few days ago, who were demonstrating the latest Autodesk CAD products. When it comes to creating new designs I'll sketch on napkins, envelopes or anything that's handy so it was an eye-opener to see how easy it can be to turn my half-formed drawings into fully-dimensioned CAD drawings with the right software.

They staged their event in Malvern at the Morgan Motor Company and after we had a tour their plant.

Morgan began making cars in 1905 and while many an automotive brand has disappeared Morgan continue to thrive, and employ 180 highly skilled craftsmen today. Buying a Morgan is more akin to going to Savile Row for a suit, as you first select your base model and the craftsmen spec it up to your requirements. It's  not as pricy as you may think either.

Each car is built by hand by just one person and it's a joy to watch the craftsmen work. I chatted to Lee, who was cheerfully building a 3-wheeler for a German customer and who told me the engineers love it when their customer drops by to see their car being built.
I'd always thought Morgan's were old-fashioned and made from wood and bits of old carthorses, but how wrong I was. Wood is still used in the great tradition of automotive coach building, but the chassis is underpinned by amazing Superform aluminium hi-tech structures (also found in Astons or Ferraris).  Superform are an amazing local Worcester company that have developed new ways to shape aluminium using air pressure, and export all round the world.
Building a Morgan begins with building the aluminium chassis
The chassis then goes to the body and carpentry shop
After fitting all the panels, the cars are disassembled ready for painting. Each car receives 11 coats of paint for solid colours, and 13 for metallic
The cars are then re-assembled, and then go to the leather and fitting-out shop. Morgan is great at bringing on new apprentices, and I was impressed by how many highly-skilled cheerful young people are doing such highly skilled craftsmen jobs.
70% of Morgan's are exported, and many customers send their plates over, so they can enjoy driving them home
Buying a Morgan is more practicable than you might imagine, as underneath the wood/aluminium bodywork is a high-tech aluminium chassis and engine with an incredible power-to-weight-ratio. Morgan still race at Le Mans, and often kick the ass of many a more modern looking car.
I was also impressed by how Morgan have reinvented themselves and found a niche in todays car-buying ultra-competitive world. Not only have all the underpinnings been cleverly redesigned, but they've also had the courage to develop new counter-intuitive products.
Morgan's new 3-wheeler may be a joke with 2 out of 3 Top Gear presenters, but the 3rd bought one. I asked the engineer showing me round about this product, and he said they were looking at Morgan's history and made a design study for the Frankfurt Motor Show. Unexpectedly the orders piled in so they anticipated 3 orders a week, but are now making 12 to 15 highly specked-up individual vehicles each week.
The Morgan 3-wheeler may look crazy, but driving it must give you a grin from ear to ear
My grandfather used to fly RE8's during the First World War, and I reckon he'd be at home in one of these!


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Quick trip to Chelsea

Working in quiet rural Herefordshire is great, but it doesn't half make you appreciate the fun and excitement of London when you get to visit. Last week I was lucky to go with two old friends to the 606 Club in Lots Road, Chelsea.

Part of the 606 enjoyment is that it's so hidden. There's little outside to indicate it's even there, so you nervously ring the bell and some guy unlocks the metal gate to let you in. However downstairs, it's heaving with friendly people eating, drinking and listening to jazz, and a great Cuban Salsa band was playing their heart out

Chelsea is changing fast by the Thames, as new apartments are going up so the next day I had a good walk round the area. This is the old power station that's on the opposite side of the road to the 606, taken from the river side
I was interested in visiting the Roca Gallery which was designed by Zaha Hadid
I loved the swoopy organic shelves and long low tables made from Corian. At New House we've never used Corian, and Roca made me think I must investigate how best to use it.
The gallery is London home of the Swiss bathroom manufacturer Roca and Laufen. It must be pretty difficult to come up with new forms or shapes for the bathroom, but theirs were stunning and I liked this bath that had thicker and a thinner sides 
I couldn't resist taking a walk through Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, even though it was a Saturday and all the inspiring showrooms were closed. A show - the Celebration of Archive was on, and I was pleased to see that Edward Bulmer (who's also from Herefordshire) had a stand