Friday, 21 December 2012

Best wishes from ILFutures

Well, as we are still here, unless the Mayan Calendar is just running a bit late,  Interiors & Lifestyle Futures wishes a happy Christmas/holiday to all our companies.

And, if you are reading this before 24 December, you've still time to go buy some last minute presents from West Midlands designers at the Birmingham Made Me stores in the Mailbox and Centrepiece jewellers in the Symphony Hall.

The Interiors & Lifestyle Futures office reopens on Thursday 3 January. Hope to see some of you at Interiors UK Show at the NEC.

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013.

I know, I know, it's not going to be like this

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sara Page Design signs major licensing deal

Congratulations to Sara Page Design. The company has just signed its first Licencing Agreement – with Coleshill Plastics, in Coventry.

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures is particularly delighted on Sara’s behalf as this was an action identified in the Visioning workshop she attended back in May 2012.

Sara designs distinctive tableware in textiles and ceramics. Her licensing deal means that a huge array of her trays, chopping boards and mugs will be produced. The 'Wild Wine' and 'Hedgerow'  ranges will be launched at next year’s Spring Fair (3-7 February 2013).

Part of Sara Page Design's 'Wild Wine'  range

But, you don’t have to wait until then to buy some of Sara’s lovely products. They are available at one of the Birmingham Made stores at the Mailbox. So, if you are looking for an ideal gift for Christmas make sure you drop in.

And, don’t forget there are other Interiors & Lifestyle Futures companies at the Mailbox too (Angela Burman, Anilocos, Bean2Bed, Coco’s Closet, Cofi Coo, Hannah Fewtrell-Bolton, Made By Ermine, Penelope Jordan, Tahmina Latif and Thorneywork Studio.

From Sara Page's 'Hedgerow' range

You can find out more about Sara here

Checkout the Birmingham Made Me stores Facebook page and for the Mailbox go here

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Lesley Whelan's Rainbow of Colour

Interiors & Lifestyle Futures member Lesley Whelan, a visual artist from Coventry, has produced a major piece of art for the new Marie Curie Hospice in the West Midlands.

The memories and stories of patients and staff are its inspiration. Painted on 16 panels, a Rainbow of Colour, captures the four seasons in flowers, plants and images from the natural world. It is the centrepiece of the reception area in the new hospice in Solihull.

Part of Lesley Whelan's Rainbow of Colour at the Marie Curie hospice, Solihull

“Every plant or flower that is represented is there for a reason,” says Lesley. “They remind patients and staff of people, places or significant occasions in their lives.

“One woman told me about the forget-me-nots she’d place in her hair as a child. Another spoke about picking bluebells in the woods when she was young and the wild flowers she used to see like cowslips and daisies.

“A gentleman also spoke about the poppies that grow on the drive of the hospice. He drew connections between their presence and how they thrive on battlefields where no other flowers will grow. Another woman said how the maple leaf would remind her of her brother in Canada.”

As well as collecting stories, Lesley encouraged patients, visitors and staff to draw plants and flowers that were meaningful to them. The pictures were then traced and projected on to soft boards, before being etched and painted.

Lesley collaborated with patients and staff, their memories & stories inspiring her work

Elizabeth Cottier, hospice manager, says, “It is a fantastic and beautiful work and it reflects patients’ and our staff’s ideas and experiences, which makes this work not only Lesley’s but also one that truly belongs to and is part of the hospice.”

For Lesley, the project has changed the way she works. She’s now planning to experiment with multiple panels and is keen to work more with elderly people, helping them to express their thoughts and feelings through making art.

Rainbow of Colour, captures the four seasons in flowers, plants and images
For more details about Lesley's works, contact her on 07762 139438 or

Thanks to Lesley for the press release. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Visit to Sir Paul Smith's design HQ, London 29 November

Rachel Richardson-Jones who set up a textile design business through the Interiors & Lifestyle Futures Venture programme, reports on her meeting with fashion designer Sir Paul Smith.

Sir Paul Smith’s HQ at 20 Keane Street is a very impressive building not far from the heart of Covent Garden. I visited him with a group of MA students from Birmingham City University. We were all surprised and delighted when he came to meet us himself in the reception area.

Paul Smith London headquarters

His office on the fourth floor is jam packed with toys, books, objects and paintings, which act as inspiration for his collections. 180 people work in the building and he produces a staggering 26 collections per year. He has a hand in all the collections overseeing his design assistants.

Rachel Richardson Jones (wearing one of her own designs) and Sir Paul Smith

Paul suggested we visit art galleries to get ideas for our work, saying that: “outfits are like a picture in a frame” He also told us not to copy fashion trends because the work already exists, but to try to be inspired, and give it a newness “train your mind to think, and look and see”

The most exciting area for me was the print design studio, where his team of surface designers, produce designs for digital, screen and rotary printing. He told me that his digital printing is produced in Italy by a factory in Como. I also found out that, the fabrics need to be ready eight months before the garments are made and there are four to five strike-offs before each batch of fabric is finally approved for printing.

Paul showed us one of his collections that used several different fabrics within each garment. One shirt in particular, had five different fabrics within the construction. He also gave us tour of one of his five showrooms within the building, which are full of his merchandise and accessories. Astonishingly, he even rode a bicycle around the showroom!

I very much enjoyed my visit as it gave me a valuable insight into the mind and character of a member of fashion’s royalty. I even managed to get a photo with him while I was wearing one of my own button shirts!

Toys, books, objects and paintings inspiring design at Paul Smith