State Your Independence

July-4th copy

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Papa Was A…

Gifts for your old man no matter who he wants to be! 

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With Father’s Day arriving this Sunday we have an opportunity to celebrate our parents of all shapes and sizes and indulge any and all interests they may have. From daddies cool and globetrotters to tech heads and aspiring gastronomes The Conran Shop has a gift idea for anyone. Head to one of our two London stores this weekend for fabulous Fathers’ Day gift ideas and inspiration!

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Posted in Accessories, Gifts

Amalfi Meanderings: The Conran Shop arrives in Positano

Positano window Channel the laid-back glamour, the sprezzatura if you will, of films, such as The Talented Mr. Ripley, set along the Amalfi Coast for high summer.

This final phase of Conran Italia is informed by the contrasting, vivid hues of Positano’s buildings, the turquoise sea surrounding the vertiginous town and the vibrant flora of the region including its famous lemons.

From Michael van der Ham’s cheeky 40s style shades to Massimo Lunardon’s colourful glassware and Lorenzo Martone’s boldly stylish bicycles.

This irrepressible Italian town has long served as inspiration for writers and artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones and John Steinbeck who wrote aptly in 1953: “Positano bites deep.”

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The Bright Stuff: Embrace Colour for a Picnic Perfect Look

It has been 40 years since Australian director Peter Weir released his often referenced classic, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and, swinging from that chilling mystery to this week’s launch of Glyndebourne’s annual opera festival with its opulent, very British feasts, picnics are on the forefront of our consciousness this bank holiday weekend.

Of course extravagances are no necessity and a casual gathering in the countryside, at the beach or on Hampstead Heath is just as perfect a place for an excursion and we have made a selection of vibrant wares to give the outdoor repast a much needed boost of contemporary colour.

From versatile items such as Kira’s lightweight and boldly clashing cotton picnic blankets and Carioca Collection’s neoprene holdall to Lorenzo Martone’s eye-catching bicycles complete with basket, there are vivid hues aplenty guaranteed to brighten even the cloudiest of days.

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1. Whiskey Flask by F. Hammann, £115; 2. St. Germain Women’s Bike by Lorenzo Martone, £1,100; 3. Chilli Oil by Bread Tree, £6; 4. Neoprene Holdall by Carioca Collection, £225; 5. Striped Cotton Blanket by Kira, £150; 6. Red Pepper Dip by aix&terra, £7.20; 7. Beach Bat Set by Frescobal Carioca, £150; 8. Bistro Chair by Fermob, £57.

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Posted in Accessories, Furniture, Uncategorized

Fresh Garden Inspiration for Spring

The imminent opening of Chelsea’s annual Flower Show (19 – 23 May 2015) and London’s Garden Museum showcase of the work of the late, much-lauded landscape architect Russell Page has landed the green-fingered firmly back in the spotlight.

The Conran Shop’s garden-focused edit has something for everyone this spring: from those who relish the challenge of horticulture to those who would rather take the more passive route of aesthetic inspiration from botanical life.

While the reissue of the mysterious Green Florilegium bulges with exquisite illustrations and would make a bold feature on any coffee table, future design classics such as Céline Lhuillier’s Gouvey Tractor Stool and Paola Navone’s Gingerbread Clay Watering Can lend a contemporary yet practical touch to any outdoor space.

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1. Bronze Finish Outdoor Wall Light by Peter Bowles, £255; 2. Découpage Butterfly Tray by John Derian, £85; 3. The Green Florilegium Book by Prestel, £90; 4. Barrel Hanging Chair by The Conran Shop, £395; 5. Leaf Embroidered Cushion by The Conran Shop, £99; 6. Handmade Beaded Animal by Monkeybiz, £95; 7. Embroidered Aloe Vera Brooch by Macon & Lesquoy, £35; 8. Nickel Plant Mister by The Conran Shop, £17.50.

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Stealing Beauty: Conran Italia turns to Tuscany

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Bernardo Bertolucci’s coming of age story set among the Tuscan hills serves as inspiration for the informal allure of Italian alfresco dining this summer.

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Vibrant hand-painted tableware and whimsical Murano glass designs jostle for attention atop a trestle table strewn with flowers, while raffia-clad decanters prove the perfect vessels for the region’s wines.

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The bohemian sanctuary of sculptor Matthew Spender and painter Maro Gorky’s hilltop villa provided a backdrop for the visually lush film and its rustic charms trickle down to inform the evolution of Conran Italia.

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Evoke Tuscan villa charm via Michael Sodeau’s rattan lighting collection, linens in earthy tones, bold hand embroidery, terracotta touches and raw-finished furniture.

Looking for more inspiration? Explore ‘Simply Italian’ our culinary ode to the courtyard kitchens of Tuscany, shop ‘Galleria’ our carefully curated edit of Italian-inspired gifts and decorative accessories or revisit ‘Conran Italia’ where our journey and celebration of all things Italian began.

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Set and Match: A conversation with award-winning theatrical designer Bunny Christie

Bunny Christie National Theatre

Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in theatre design Bunny Christie has created sets for establishments such as the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court and the National Theatre, with which she has collaborated extensively.

In 2013 Christie’s simplistic reimagining of the world that Mark Haddon painted in his best-selling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time earned her the latest of her three Olivier Awards for Best Set Design.

We spoke to the UK’s queen of production design ahead of our competition to win tickets to the National Theatre’s hit production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at London’s Guilgud Theatre.

How did you become interested in set design?
At Central Saint Martins, there was a very lively and vibrant theatre design course so I decided that working in the theatre department looked much more fun than the rather solitary life in the fine art department. I was right!

What was your big breakthrough?
In terms of scale it was designing Baby Doll at Birmingham Rep, which transferred to the National Theatre and then went onto the West End. It was great to get to work on really big stage and design, a panoramic picture with massive pieces of set flying and trucking, and very exciting to have the chance to really stretch my design muscles and imagination.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Describe the process from initial design ideas to turning them into a stage reality?
It’s very important to let your imagination fly and not worry too much about all the practical restraints – of which there are many – too early.  It’s about finding a visual world for the piece, trying to convey an atmosphere.  It’s about very sensory things – smell, memory, light, heat, texture and sound. It’s a dreamscape for the story to live in and be told.

Those ideas have to work within the restraints of the particular theatre. We have to work within a budget and technical restrictions and scale. It’s always a compromise between imagination and reality but of course great ideas can come from working within restrictions.

How important is lighting in bringing your creative vision to life?
It’s vital. I imagine my designs lit as I am designing. I worked at The Globe where there is no lighting as it is outdoors and I found it incredibly difficult. It constantly felt as though something was missing to make the scene work visually.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

What advice would you give a young set designer?
It’s important to be able to enjoy, not only the solitary work when you are actually designing and creating a world and working for very long hours inside your imagination in a very concentrated way, but also working in a team. A large part of the job is collaborating with other people and being able to convey what you want and being sensitive to the actors and director and the rest of the creative team but being able to keep the integrity of your design intact.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has been very special but I think that managing to have a family and home life and keep working creatively is a pretty big achievement.

 

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