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  • Z-Ball: Playful Furniture

    z-ballBelgian designer James Van Vossel has just won a prize at Interieur 08 for his Z-Ball: innovative seating for kids in a learning environment. It reminds us of the old space hopper from a few years back. Those of us who are starting to experience "senior moments" will remember it with a wry smile!

    Z-Ball is an inflatable ball with 3 handles. The position of the handles stimulates a better position of the 5-attitudes of the back.

    z-ballWe're struggling to find out much more about this item and James's website, whilst very funky, does not easily let you see the product, so if anyone knows more about this cool bit of kid's seating or even where it might be purchased, please let us know!

  • Sushi to sit on!

    Sushi stoolAnyone who likes tasteful design should take a closer look at these three delicious rolls, Tekka, Kappa and Sake. These exceptional stools are covered with faux leather and are available in various colours and are the brainchild of Düsseldorf designer Achim Beermann.

    After his architecture studies at the TH Aachen and several years of freelance work in different architecture and design firms, he started his own business and since 2005 Beermann has been developing inspirational furniture and home accessories.

    Clearly they won't be to everyone's taste but they are certainly statement pieces.

    Sushi stoolsFurther details about Achim and all of his designs can be found at his website at

  • ilio - A Delight from Turkey!

    ilio ice dropWe stumbled across this interesting design company today. Istanbul-based Demirden Design is a company with over 15 years of experience in the design industry. It has received numerous awards, including two Red Dots and the Design Management Award.

    Since the company was established in 1994, its creative team has been involved with exhibition, event, product, graphic and multimedia design.

    Demirden’s multidisciplinary approach and internal synergy has resulted in its successful past and promising future.

    And from this pedigree background the ilio brand was born.

    ilio takes its inspiration from the natural world to create a fresh new look for everyday functional objects. Every item in their tableware and furniture collections is imbued with a unique artistic identity designed to appeal to those who appreciate a contemporary sensibility. A sensibility that is beautiful and functional, daring and playful.

    ilio sprout and twigWe have completely fallen for "twig & sprout" a simple, yet incredibly elegant, table and chair (or is it a stool?) combo.

    Like the calm and elegance of sedge grass around a pond, this stool (we decided it was a stool!) and table combination brings comfort and ease to everyday life. Made of natural beechwood, its simple appearance belies its advanced craftsmanship and design that allows it to be its own lever when carried.

    ilio ice dropAnd what about the icedrop candle holder for the ultimate in cool?

    Like an icicle suspended from a tree or melted wax at a table’s edge, icedrop is literally frozen liquid in motion. Its function as a candleholder is obvious from its very appearance.

  • Sabine Pound

    Book BagWe love all things Ecsotype! Regular readers will recall that we recently featured Christian Pound. Reader interest in that article has been enormous so we thought that wife Sabine deserved a mention too!

    On track to a career in art curatorship, French born Sabine changed course in 2004 to join husband Christian running the newly founded Ecso Group.

    The move to creating objects has proven to be the right one for Sabine, who cherishes the thought that good ideas materialised into form can be shared and offered for years to come.

    Her approach consists of striving to constantly outdo herself. Novelty is the filter through which she runs all new designs, and the justification for their existence.

    We gave credit to Christian for the Presse bag but the truth is that they design as a team so here's something "from" Sabine, to balance the books!

    Speaking of books....'Book' is a small leather bag with proportions that are roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

    A central satchel is nestled in a harness and two handles provide different carrying options (over the shoulder or across the body).

    Book Bag BlackThe bag is available in four different colours with all components being individually configurable, leaving room for hundreds of colour combinations. Bottom line is that you can create a bag to suit your style, suit your mood and be almost totally individual (what are the odds?).

    Dig deep into your pockets, however, as this is not a bargain basement bag but, then again, whoever said that the best things in life are free hadn't encountered the designs of the dynamic duo that are Christian and Sabine Pound!

  • Xavier Lust

    Xavier LustWe spotted an interesting designer today.

    Born in 1969, he studied interior design at Saint-Luc Institute before opening his own Studio in Brussels. In 2000 Lust started to design for MDF Italia, an ongoing relationship which was the start of his collaboration with leading international producers such as Driade, De Padova, Baleri Italia and Extremis.

    His work is clearly identifiable through the visible tension he gives to his objects, and the curves inspired by his innovative (de)formation process of metallic surfaces. He has received dozens of awards including Compasso d'Oro and his work has appeared in over 50 exhibitions. He is a regular feature in international design publications.

    " A wonderful aspect of Xavier's work is the illusion of lightness and motion," writes the Russian critic Olga Bozhko. "In his designs he manages to express what seems impossible. Its seems as though his works are not created; they are born."

    BaobabLust says "I work towards a design ideal in which created forms have an eternal justness, to the point where they seem self-evident. My creative process starts from an intimate understanding of the way that a material behaves. My starting point is often one of structure rather than aesthetics, but the result is a natural beauty dictated by the atomic structure of materials: a harmonious vocabulary of curves and lines that have an intuitive human appeal".

    We love his Baobab Coat Hanger: A winning piece of furniture, nearly a sculpture of modern art which recalls the Tropical tree of Baobab.

  • Sylvain Willenz: More than mussels and frites!

    petrolBorn in Brussels in 1978, Belgian designer Sylvain Willenz studied Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London from 2001 to 2003 and in 2004 Sylvain opened his own studio, based in Brussels.

    Sylvain's works deal with projects from lighting to product design and furniture. His work is characterized by a clear love for materials and processes and bear a no-nonsense approach to design. The work-spirit is straightforward and uncomplicated. His projects celebrate design, archetypes, and industry.

    Things like rubber, post-its, elastics, graphics, stickers, plasticine, Internet, music, toys, highways, flowers, cacti, fat books, chewing-gum, spraycans, cars, graffiti, shoes and cooking, are just a few underlying inspirations in SylvainWillenzDesignStudio's works.

    One of his many designs that caught our eye is Petrol: a rug assembled in two to three layers from machine-cut felt discs. The three different diameters of discs create the organic and random pattern of the rug, which can be produced in infinite configurations and formats. Petrol can run down a corridor, or spill from one room into another, like a moving organism.

    Sylvain Willenz can be contacted at

  • Ecsotype: Style from Down Under

    Christian Pound founded the Ecso Group in 2004. This marked a departure from the scope of his previous work (in photography and graphic design) into the creation of objects, particularly fashion accessories. Marketed under the label Ecsotype®, and taking a "from the ground up" approach, each new design stresses unconventional construction techniques. Christian believes that the foundations of design are liquid. He relishes the journey of shaping his ideas into tangible forms.

    presseSomething new to look at is the Presse, an exciting take on the traditional laptop bag but with added va va voom!

    'Presse' is a mixed leather/nylon utility bag comprising a large internal cell, multiple internal/external pockets and a leather-braced gusset. A shock-resistant divider provides increased protection for laptops and other valuables during transportation and is able to accommodate laptops up to 17".

    Not the cheapest bag you will ever buy but quite possibly the best!

  • Decarus Furniture Collection

    decarusDesigner Urs Schweizer and Master Cabinet Maker Arnold Meusburger are presenting "Decarus", a stunning new furniture collection from Austria.

    Old wood is fascinating. It tells us a personal story and this story is transposed into modern day contemporary design as every piece of wood used in this furniture range is extracted from very old, matured wood that has been used in a building for at least 150 years previously!

    The designs are minimalist, the results are outstanding. Sustainability at its best!

  • Walking in a Woolly Wonderland

    A savvy supplier of snowman sweaters, pudding pullovers and reindeer knits could have seasonal shopping stitched up for connoisseurs of kitsch festive gifts. The natty knitters at Christmas Jumper have been putting in needle overtime ready for their launch on September 9, 2008. Based in Manchester, the kooky company has a full range of classic novelty sweaters ready to fill the nation’s stockings on December 25.

    Christmas JumperSported on screen by the likes of Gyles Brandreth, champion of the comedy jumper, a patterned pullover with Santa and snowflakes has traditionally been the bad gift territory of grannies and great aunts. The company is turning the Christmas cliché on its tinselled head, transforming the much-maligned novelty knit into an ironic fashion statement.

    Its homespun garments include all the festive favourites: a tasty Christmas pudding, Freddie Frost the snowman, party Santa, plus a selection of chunky granny knits replete with reindeers and snowflakes. All jumpers are a high-quality wool/acrylic blend and come in four sizes, for fans who want to fit out the whole family.

    The irony is not lost on the BBC, which has requested two jumpers for its new sitcom ‘Not Going Out', starring Lee Mac and Tim Vine.

    Rafael Fernandez, Christmas Jumper co-founder, says: “Retro Christmas jumpers are having a style revival. Web forums were aflutter in the run up to last Christmas with seasonal shoppers searching – in vain – for novelty knits. Our range of retro sweaters is exclusive to Christmas Jumper - you won't find them on the high street or through another online store. They’re an essential addition to any festive wardrobe, whether for comedy value at the Christmas party or as genuine gifts for trend setting fashionistas.”

    The jumpers cost between £35 and £40, and can be ordered online at , for delivery within 14 days.

  • Fin Radiators are Coming to a Home near You!

    Fin radiatorCT Radiators of Brighton, East Sussex, is launching a new type of domestic radiator based around a clever ‘fin’ design not previously available for the home. The ‘Interlinking Lattice Fin Technology’ radiator (patent pending) – part heating implement, part example of stunning contemporary design - will be unveiled at the ‘100% Design’ exhibition, taking place on 18-21 September, 2008, at Earls Court, London.

    After analysing the current market designs, Shane Mizra of CT Radiators developed a new fin technology ideal for use in the home, using his proprietary interlinking lattice fin technology.

    The radiators come in seven different (as yet unnamed) designs and are aimed at architects, interior designers and private clients. Made in CT Radiators' workshop in Fishers Gate, Brighton, using advanced welding and robot technology, they can be tailored to exact space and heating requirements and can also be vertical - which was previously inefficient with fin designs. All radiators will be available in mild steel and stainless steel. They are finished with a powder coating, in any colour.

    The fin radiator is Shane’s own ‘pet’ project, on which he has been working for the past two years. Trained as a coded welder – the highest qualification in the field – Shane has combined the traditional 100 year old craft with modern 3D technology to create a contemporary product.

    Shane Mizra says: “My designs have several advantages over standard fin radiators. For starters, 15% more heat is generated than by the closet fin rival, which is a clear advantage for those who care about their carbon footprint. Furthermore, the radiators operate efficiently in the vertical position and the technology is flexible enough to allow for some fine and funky bespoke designs. Combining the best of form and function, the radiators are an ideal adornment for any modern home.”

    The cost of a basic fin design is £2,000.

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