Fabrics and Finishes

Trend - Cork

Cork isn't new, far from it in fact. Cork has a distinctly retro reputation. Growing up, I remember a wall of cork tiles in our bathroom, along with a yellow floral carpet, a brown corner sofa and one of those domed pendant lights that you could raise and lower on a spiral cord - very retro. But cork has had something of a revival of late and with good reason.

As a material it has an extensive list of benefits; it’s lightweight, moisture resistant, a thermal and acoustic insulator, it’s naturally fire retardant and anti-allergenic but most importantly, it’s sustainable. When cork is harvested it is stripped from the trunk of the tree. The tree does not need to be cut down and the bark then grows back. Also, when the bark is removed the tree actually absorbs more Carbon Dioxide. Given the critical nature of our environmental situation, anything with green credentials is a winner in our opinion.

Another big benefit of cork is the price with wall tiles starting from around £18 per sqm and flooring from around £30 per sqm. It’s also very easy to fit yourself so there is the potential to save on installation costs. A wall clad entirely with pin cork looks great, is really functional and very easy to do yourself if you like a project. Wall cork comes in panels or on the roll and can be easily cut to size with a craft knife. Some panels even come with a self-adhesive backing. Accessories are always another easy, low cost way to introduce materials and there are lots of gorgeous cork products popping up on the high street. Ikea has just introduced a cork veneer to its Pax wardrobe range.

Image by Petra Bindel from Coco Lapine Design

Image by Petra Bindel from Coco Lapine Design

Choice isn't limited either. There is a huge range of cork flooring and wall cladding out there with different grain sizes, textures, colours and even cork that looks like metal and stone. We recently discovered the Organic Blocks collection by Muratto featuring three dimensional wall tiles created using new technology to mould very fine granulated cork into sculptural forms. The end product is super slick and looks equally stunning in both its natural colour or one of the fabulous colours in the range.

Swiss architects Dost recently used cork to stunning effect in its interior for the Heart Treatment Clinic in Zurich. The result is clean and fresh but has warmth and character and proves that cork can now officially consider itself contemporary.

Interior of the Heart Treatment Clinic in Zurich by Dost Architects.

Interior of the Heart Treatment Clinic in Zurich by Dost Architects.

Hexagon cork wall tiles from the Organic Blocks collection by Murrato.

Hexagon cork wall tiles from the Organic Blocks collection by Murrato.

Stone effect cork flooring by Wicanders

Stone effect cork flooring by Wicanders

White Bark cork flooring by wallsandfloors.co.uk

White Bark cork flooring by wallsandfloors.co.uk

Kirkenes cork veneer sliding wardrobe doors by Ikea

Kirkenes cork veneer sliding wardrobe doors by Ikea

Saxborga jars with cork lids and tray by Ikea £12.

Saxborga jars with cork lids and tray by Ikea £12.

Material Pendant Light in neutral cork by New Works £122.66

Material Pendant Light in neutral cork by New Works £122.66

Trend - Marbling

Marble as a trend has been around for a while now but recently we've noticed a move on from this. Hand marbling seems to be having a moment. Hand marbling is the technique of applying ink to a liquid and transferring it to a material resulting in kaleidoscopic and quite mesmerising patterns.

Susi Bellamy's collection of fabric and wallpaper is a fabulous example of this and includes a range of cushions and lampshades allowing you to experiment with the trend in your home without making a big commitment. Clarke & Clarke have just launched a new marbling inspired design with their Pavone fabric. The Upperlands Collection by Earthed by William Clark is actually inspired by the force of water but their Torrent fabric has the same inky aesthetic and lends a contemporary twist to traditional Irish linen. A bold take on the look is Muraspec's Lava wallcovering with an oversized foil print or for something more subtle look at Designers Guild's Lustro range.

This trend works for a variety of applications be it a striking statement wall, a quirky feature chair or just a quick colourful refresh with some new scatter cushions. If you're feeling really creative why not visit artfulparent.com and maybe even have a go yourself!

Image taken from the  Susi Bellamy  Home Collection look book. 

Image taken from the Susi Bellamy Home Collection look book. 

Muraspec Update

We recently had a visit from Muraspec and we are feeling inspired! Their new digital range of wall coverings are brilliant. When budget is limited these clever designs can deliver the same look as some traditionally expensive finishes at a fraction of the cost. They can also be used where the substrate might not be suitable for the application of a natural product, due to weight for example. 

The timber and brick effects are so realistic that you could easily be fooled into thinking that you are looking at the real thing. Some of the graphic prints would be great fun in a kids bedroom or playroom and being scrubbable and hard wearing, they would be ideal for this application. For instant impact, some of the abstract designs are so gorgeous they could be made up on panels for a cost effective alternative to art canvases. The range is extensive too from beautiful ombré effects to striking geometrics and warm timbers to industrial metal tiles. Here are a few of our favourites…

 

 

Images courtesy of Muraspec.

Trend - Alabaster

From our recent visit to Decorex 2017, looking through periodicals and visiting various social media pages, we have seen that there has been a real surge of interest in using Alabaster.

I hadn't really thought of using Alabaster in any of our projects before, as I felt that it had always been used in quite traditional or kitsch applications which had put me off even considering it as beautiful. I am pleased to say my opinion has changed.

One company that has been working in Alabaster since 2005 and produced stunning, tactile pieces are Atelier Alain Ellouz. Whether it be their machine manufactured designs, such as Prague or their hand carved jewels, Galet, they have captured the beauty of the stone into works of art.

Prague pendant light by Atelier Alain Ellouz

Prague pendant light by Atelier Alain Ellouz

Another company that has embraced this natural material is Heathfield. Rather than using Alabaster for it's transparency to illuminate they have produce a range of table lamp bases that show off its depth of colour and multi layering within the stone.

Azalia table lamp by Heathfield & Co

Azalia table lamp by Heathfield & Co

CTO LIghting have also embraced this trend with some of their new additions to their range. We particular like the Lucid 200 Pendant which has a modern feel with a Deco edge.

Lucid 200 Pendant by CTO Lighting

Lucid 200 Pendant by CTO Lighting

de Le Cuona Update

We've just had a visit from de Le Cuona. It's been while since we were last updated and we were not disappointed. It was a real treat to see their fantastic new collection ranging from their signature linens and paisleys to chunky tweeds and luxurious velvets.

With so many fabulous fabrics it's hard to pick a favourite although we have fallen in love with their new velvet, Vienna - a plush non directional velvet in a gorgeous earthy palette of 8 shades. We thought the navy blue was particularly special.

There was also a stunning sheer called Mistral - a beautiful washed linen with an open weave inspired by the rippling effect caused by the wind on the sea and sand dunes.

Next was the multi-talented Serenity - not only gorgeous but clever too. This demure double-sided paisley is made using an incredibly complex weaving process to produce an all over paisley on one side and the effect of a delicate line drawing on the reverse. The wool and cotton mix is also buttery-soft to touch.

We also love a multi-tonal weave and Rogue is sure to become a new workhorse in our textile toolkit - a super-smart linen and wool tweed in a mix of heather shades.

We could go on and on, but suffice to say we are smitten with the new collection and can't wait to start using these fabrics on our next project.

Clockwise from top: Meadow in Spring, Vienna in Cha Cha, Cape in Frost by de Le Cuona.

Clockwise from top: Meadow in Spring, Vienna in Cha Cha, Cape in Frost by de Le Cuona.

Clockwise from top: Vienna in Tango, Meadow in Twig, Mistral in Drizzle, Rogue in Chameleon by de Le Cuona.

Clockwise from top: Vienna in Tango, Meadow in Twig, Mistral in Drizzle, Rogue in Chameleon by de Le Cuona.

Serenity in Snow by de Le Cuona.

Serenity in Snow by de Le Cuona.