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Joy of Design: an exhibition by Barbara Chandler

September 14, 2013


An exhibition of 68 design portraits and reportage by Barbara Chandler. 
The Gallery, designjunction, 19-22 September, The Old Post Office Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1BA;

By Kristy Gray

Some of Britain's most celebrated designers will find themselves - and not their creations - in the spotlight at this year's London Design Festival as expert design writer and photographer Barbara Chandler launches an exhibition of design portraits.

Photography show Joy of Design (19-22 September) will be one of the many installations at designjunction, one of the four key shows of the nine-day festival. The 68-portrait collection includes photographs (posed and unposed) of British and international designers and industry personalities, with accompanying reportage, featuring Sir Paul Smith, Sir Terence Conran, Alessandro Mendini, Thomas Heatherwick, Ross Lovegrove, Ron Arad and Sir Kenneth Grange.

Many of the designers have been captured by Barbara over the past 10 years or more, and are pictured on the move, picking up awards, in heated discussions, showing off their work at shows or doing presentations.

One of Barbara's favourite images shows Thomas Heatherwick with Elizabeth Tomalin, the grandmother who inspired his work, shortly after he was awarded the London Design Medal in 2010

“My show celebrates the huge energy, enthusiasm, commitment and creativity of our best designers, not only from the UK but also internationally,“ says Barbara.

Huge focal points within the exhibition will be 5ft-high images of octogenarians Sir Terence Conran and Alessandro Mendini, and a 5ft-wide image of Sir John Sorrell. Other international designers featured include Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders and Gaetano Pesce.

The photographs, a mix of colour and black-and-white, show designers passionately involved, happy and engaged in their work, expressing their personalities, not posed in a studio but usually in some way "on the job."

Barbara says: “I often had only a few moments with a designer usually in very poor lighting conditions, and the challenge was to make the very most of every opportunity, whether at a festival, design event, trade show, or during a presentation. As it happens, many pictures are very natural with smiles or spontaneous expressions of delight."

Philippe Starck
"Philippe Starck had helicoptered in to pick up a lunchtime Designer of the Year Award 2009 at Lords cricket ground. He arrived with the coffee, made a charismatic speech, fooled around, scooped up his trophy, and left. I was in pursuit. A little mystified, he courteously posed outside. Starck is “the most famous designer ever”, and certainly the one that everyone seems to know. His projects/products/clients are legion, but it’s the triffid-like lemon squeezer, transparent Louis chair and gun lights that stick in my mind," says Barbara.

(Above left) Sir Paul Smith and (right) Sir Terence Conran
Says Barbara: "Sir Paul Smith took digital photographs of summer flowers to turn into a flamboyant curtain for the “British Design Embassy” in Milan during April 2009. He gave a talk to the international press, and posed for this photograph, which I sent to him later. I received a touching hand-written postcard in reply." (Right) A huge focal point at the exhibition will be a 5ft-high photograph of Sir Terence Conran


1 Ross Lovegrove%2c London 2012 (1)
Ross Lovegrove, London 2012. Welsh-born London designer who shapes ground-breaking technology into flowing forms, such as this Solar Tree street lighting (
Barbara says: "This was on show at Clerkewell design week in 2012. Ross is always friendly and approachable and we have met several times at weekends, obsessively trawling design events. He is ferociously into technology, and his eye for a curve is unequalled - "call me Captain Organic," he says..."


19 Snowden Flood%2c London 2012
Snowden Flood, London 2012. Artist-designer dispatches these charming tree glasses, plus ceramics and more, from a studio by the river (
"I was asked by Dieneke Ferguson of Hidden Art to photograph a London designer for a photography exhibition called Vision for London at Europe House. The picture needed to reflect a London design enterprise in any way the photographer thought fit. I knew Snowden did exquisite work adjacent to a stunning view. We were thrilled that the photograph was one selected from many for exhibition, and I believe it will also be shown at City Hall in due course," says Barbara


57  Barbara Hulanicki & James Dyson%2c London 2010
Barbara Hulanicki & Sir James Dyson, London 2010. Biba fashion diva gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to Sir James Dyson at the Homes & Gardens Design Awards at the V&A. (;
Barbara says: "I was one of the first girls wearing Biba in the 60s, seeking her out in her first hidden Kensington boutique and buying a set of skirt, trousers, and wickedly long jacket in pin-stripes for £13. Later, I interviewed her when she took over Derry & Toms and turned it into a Biba wonderland. Sadly I did not keep the clothes, but I still have the perfume bottles. Her style is now attracting a whole new generation, with wallpapers for Graham & Brown, and fashion collections. Sir James says I was the first person ever to write about him - he came to my garden from the RCA bearing his revolutionary Ballbarrow. He actually won three Awards on the night of the photograph - so by the time we got to Lifetime, he was a bit punch drunk, which is reflected in the picture..."

Barbara Chandler has been writing about design for more than 35 years, and as a photographer has also sold her work worldwide. Her Love London show of framed photographs sold out in Habitat in 2008. For more information on the subsequent book, Love London, visit

Photographs will be sold in aid of Out of the Dark (, with the aim to raise enough money for an industrial sander. Photographs have been handprinted by Snappy Snaps of Chiswick (


The Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace

July 12, 2013

By Kristy Gray

A one-off festival celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation is taking over the magnificent 40-acre private gardens at Buckingham Palace this weekend.

Hosted by the Royal Warrant Holders Association, the event showcases more than 200 of the companies supplying goods to the royal family. Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition to those who have supplied the households of The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales for at least five years.

On one of the most glorious afternoons of the year so far, the Queen toured the festival pavilions and spoke to exhibitors, along with the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Eugenie, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The Royal Box at the evening Coronation Gala

The evening Coronation Gala, also attended by the royal family and Kate Middleton's family, was opened by the Fanfare Trumpeters from the Household Division, and also featured international soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, and UK artists Katie Melua, Laura Wright, Katherine Jenkins and pop rock band The Feeling.

We toured the spectacular manicured gardens, where a mirrored house formed the gateway to the Homes and Gardens section of the event, with four designer room sets for visitors to tour. The KLC School of Design has created an eco-fantasy room called The Castle on the Lock, inspired by the Royal Residence of Balmoral and filled with recycled and sustainable furniture and materials.

The John Lewis room set to show a modern twist on a traditional fine dining experiece. And a special Royal Potting Shed featured products from the Highgrove Shop and Royal Warrant holders, showcasing an ingenious desk with a built-in potting area.

The festival is open to the public until Sunday, although individual tickets have now sold out. For tickets and packages from Group Travel Organisers, visit

The evening Coronation Gala


The Queen was joined by the Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie and Zara Phillips


International soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa performed at the Coronation Gala along with the Fanfare Trumpeters


The palace lawns are covered with pavilions and picnic tables during the event


(Left) A decorative gazebo; (right) Homes & Property editor Janice Morley in the palace rose garden


The Royal Potting Shed room set was put together by the Highgrove and Buckingham Palace gardening teams


(Left) The Royal Potting Shed featured products from the Highgrove Shop and the Royal Warrant Holders; (right) this perfect gardener's desk has an ingenious built-in potting area


Anna Burles ( and Studio Wick ( have designed an eco-bedroom on behalf of KLC School of Design as recent graduates. The room is filled with items from royal warrant holders


Heirlooms makes luxury bed and table linen for the royal households


John Lewis designed a room set to show a modern twist on a traditional fine dining experience

For more information on the Coronation Festival, visit


Vic Reeves and Chris Robshaw host Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2013

May 18, 2013

By Kristy Gray

Vic Reeves and Chris Robshaw presented the awards

Comedian Vic Reeves took to the stage and entertained a ballroom packed with property industry experts at this year's London Evening Standard New Homes Awards. Also on hand at the Dorchester to help Reeves present the awards was England Rugby captain, Chris Robshaw. 

The awards celebrate all sorts of new-build houses and apartments, from starter homes in the commuter belt and "green" developments, to clever conversions and the ultimate in luxury London living.

All the entries were judged by a panel of independent experts with experience in property, construction and architecture. Every year the judges find many things to impress them, but this year they really did feel was the best year yet.

And the final gong presented was the coveted statue of Eros - the Grand Prix Award. All the category winners are in contention to win the "Best in Show" accolade.

This year, 3 Lime Grove Mews by St James - a gated scheme of family townhouses in Shepherds Bush - scooped the main prize. According to the judges, these west London houses really do have the “wow factor”, with top-floor winter gardens and a luxury feel, while being practical and flexible family homes.

 For our full four-page report, don't miss Homes & Property on Wednesday 22 May.

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The future of our homes: The Prince's House at Ideal Home Show 2013

March 15, 2013

By Kristy Gray

We've had a private tour of The Prince's House at the Ideal Home Show this morning. Designed by 'Future Traditional', the winners of the Prince's Foundation Young Designer Competition, this year's low-energy home includes a two-bedroom town house on one side and a 485sq ft flat above Highgrove's pop-up shop.

(Above) The exterior of the Prince's House; and the colourful interior of the town house, mixing high-street homeware with designs by local craftspeople

The Prince's House combines traditional ways of building with new technologies. Made from clay, wood and lime, the eco-home is also insulated with recycled newspaper, making it 70 per cent more energy efficient than current building regulations require. Following the show, the house will be relocated to a real development site.

The team at House Beautiful magazine have styled the interior, showcasing clever space-saving furniture with a good mix of affordable High Street homeware and locally-sourced crafted pieces. And every item in the house and flat was approved personally by Prince Charles.


(Above) The 485sq ft flat inside the Prince's House uses a clever range of space-saving furniture to create different spaces in the open-plan living area


(Above) The Highgrove pop-up shop sells goods inspired by the Prince of Wales's gardens at Highgrove House - from organic jams and snacks to garden tools and home accessories


(Above) Also in the Highgrove Shop: cushions, lampshades and throws by British designer Clarissa Hulse

Ideal Home Show: March 15-April 1, Earls Court London (

For more details on the Ideal Home Show and other London events this month, see our March events diary.

The View from The Shard: visitor galleries revealed

January 11, 2013

By Kristy Gray

Image: Reuters

The first breathtaking images taken from the viewing galleries at the top of London's tallest landmark have been released, revealing spectacular 40-mile, 360 degree views of the city from 800ft above ground.

The View from The Shard officially opens to the public on 1 February 2013. Visitors to the attraction will travel in 'kaleidoscopic' lifts using hi-tech video screens and mirrors to create the effect of soaring through iconic ceilings and roofs of London to the viewing galleries which start at the 'cloudscape' on level 68.

Image: Getty

 The triple-height main viewing gallery at Level 69 reveals the first the first glimpse of the spectacular views across the entire capital. Digital interactive telescopes can help visitors identify over 200 famous London landmarks.

The viewing gallery on the 72nd floor, the highest public level of the building, is exposed to the elements via a partially open-air, vertico-inducing viewing platform, surrounded by the giant shards of glass that form the top of this iconic building.

The remainder of the building will become a 'vertical town' with offices, restaurants, the five-star Shangri-La hotel and ten magnificent luxury apartments spanning levels 53 to 65.

Tickets for The View from The Shard public viewing galleries are booked in advance and cost £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children. The View will be open from 1 February; entrance via Joiner Street, London SE1; 9am-10pm daily. Visit

Image: Getty

Our preview of 2013's top trends

January 08, 2013

By Kristy Gray

Our first issue of 2013 comes out tomorrow and we're looking ahead at this year's biggest trends, from London's next property hotspots, to the three interiors trends set to dominate our homes during the next 12 months. Plus we've got the latest news on the best homeware sales throughout the capital in January.

Outdoors, our predictions for 2013 will see gardeners taking to the streets and cleaing up their own neighbourhoods and we look forward to the Chelsea Flower Show celebrating its centenary year in May.

The latest looks for our Spring homes are already being unveiled and we look forward to sharing them with you here soon.