Monday, 24 September 2012

Alabasta designs for Avenida Home at Tent London 2012

The official launch of the Avenida range of tabletop accessories has happened in the last few days at Tent London and it seems to have gone very well. Tent is part of London Design Festival, an exciting city-wide series of Design events and launches and it takes place in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London's East End. Last year my Alabasta trays were there as part of the Åry Trays stand (see this post) and this year their UK agent Isabel Saiz was there launching her own collection of mats, coasters and glass platters with her new separate venture Avenida Home. I was there on the first day and there was a very good response so I will be posting any developments from the show as soon I hear about it.

Here a few quick shots of the stand - lots of eye catching colours and patterns set off against a dark and moody background:

Isabel Saiz (on the left) on her way to chat to some friendly Dutch journalists on the first morning
The Alabasta and Michael Angove corner at the Avenida Home stand at Tent London
Avenida Home's Alabasta presentation at Tent 2012

All the Avenida products are available to buy online from Avenida Home.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Alabasta Blue Fish tray in Woman and Home magazine, August 2012

Press often escapes me and here is one that nearly got away - the Alabasta Blue Fish 43x33cm tray is tucked into a coastal themed interiors shopping page in last month's Woman and Home magazine. This time it's being promoted by Coastal Home who also got another of my trays in the press - see this previous post. They've got the Blue Fish trays in three sizes as well as the 11cm mini tray coaster in stock.

click the image for a more legible view

Alabasta Blue Fish trays

Thanks, Woman and Home magazine and Coastal Home!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

New Alabasta tray designs: introducing Folk Stripe Woven and Love Birds

Alabasta Folk Stripe Woven tray collection made and distributed by Ary Trays in Sweden

Åry Trays have just launched on their website three new designs in the best selling Folk Stripe range of Alabasta birch ply trays called Folk Stripe Woven - they are now available for retailers to order for their Autumn stock so should be in the shops soon. I've designed these to complement the concentric circles of the original Folk Stripe trays but the design is taken in a slightly different direction. These ones feature interwoven multicoloured ribbons of pattern on a subtly patterned background which creates a kind of modern tartan effect. I think that the pale celadon green and teal backgrounds go really well with the vibrant colours of the stripes and work just as well for winter or summer use:

27x20cm tray
43x33cm tray
49cm tray

Also, the Love Birds design recently launched on the Avenida placemats is now available as a tray in three sizes. It depicts a pair of beady eyed exotic birds with flamboyant tails and is a mix of indigo and black on a subtle cream background. I think it would make an original wedding present, especially in the big 49cm round size:

49cm tray
43x33cm tray
27x20cm tray

As with all the other Åry trays they are hand made from steam pressed birch wood with a robust melamine coating and are dishwasher proof (though I'd like to see you get the generous 49cm one in!) If you are a retailer interested in stocking these brand new designs please contact Isabel Saiz at Avenida Isabel Ltd. As soon as I know where these are being sold I will post the details on this blog.

Friday, 7 September 2012

DomesticMATTERS exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts, London

Although the Alabasta home wares collection is a new venture for me, as a textile designer-maker I've been hand making embroidered scarves and blankets for many years under my 'Asta Barrington' own label. They've sold all over the world from Japan to the USA in prestigious shops such as Barneys New York, Takashimaya and Designers Guild. I make them from start to finish here in Bath, and that involves laboriously stitching cashmere, wool and silk fabric then hand dyeing them so the different textures take on subtle variations. Here's my current website, though it's going to go through a long overdue redesign soon.

I established Alabasta because I wanted to create a more accessible and broad range of home wares with patterns on them that I would never have been able to achieve with my existing textile techniques. The intricate swirling linear and animal forms I design have taken a few years to come together and this change of direction has been a breath of fresh air for me creatively.

The two strands of my work appear unrelated on the surface but they demonstrate that a designer need not be restricted to a single medium. They have the same influences and values: a passion for colour, use of the highest quality materials and a desire for innovation, but are executed in different ways.

Contemporary Applied Arts in central London has been one of the main outlets for my embroidered Asta Barrington products for many years and they always stock a good range of my cashmere and silk scarves. They have a constant programme of interesting exhibitions that showcase the work of their 300 designer maker members and this year I was asked to participate in the DomesticMATTERS exhibition curated by Brian Kennedy and Peter Ting, which is summarised here:
"The basic tenets of Modernism emphasized function and utility; abstract beauty, and sculptural form; honesty in materials and honesty in design; the use of modern materials and technology as well as an emphasis on the use of natural materials, beliefs and ideals that sit comfortably with contemporary craft. DomesticMATTERS explores this common ground and will create the imagined home of a collector of mid century modern furniture and contemporary craft over the gallery and board room spaces at CAA.
 CAA members, working in the furniture area, have designed production pieces for Benchmark, SCP and Heals and it is this body of work that we would like to draw from for this exhibition. By focusing on some of this production work as well as work from a wider range of materials, ceramics, glass, metal, textiles and wood within the exhibition further connections would be made between the concerns and values within modernist design and those of the contemporary designer maker. Placing contemporary craft/design within the broader context of modernist design and focusing on the issues of small and mid scale production for the domestic space during the London Design Festival would open up a timely opportunity to debate these issues." Brian Kennedy 2012
I have the entire Alabasta Folk Stripe collection of Åry trays (including the so-brand-new-I-haven't-had-a-chance-to-mention-them-yet Folk Stripe Woven trays), some Folk Stripe mats from Avenida and one of my hand made wool blankets in a bright cherry red in the show. They hang and sit in happy juxtaposition with products from over 30 other CAA members including some top quality ceramics from the likes of Chris Keenan and Derek Wilson plus some mid century furniture courtesy of the Rocket Gallery:

DomesticMATTERS at CAA, showing my Texture Stripe Target Fringe wool throw in the foreground and Folk Stripe trays on the wall.
Shelves by Tomado from the 1950s with Chris Keenan and Derek Wilson ceramics. Spot the brand new 49cm Folk Stripe Woven tray
Folk Stripe red 38cm tray with Tomado shelves and Derek Wilson ceramics
Andre Cordemeijer desk from 1959 with the new Alabasta Folk Stripe Woven 27x20cm tray and Derek Wilson cup and saucer
Alabasta for Avenida Home Folk Stripe placemats with Lubna Chowdhary storage jars and Jane Cox ceramics
upstairs at the DomesticMatters exhibition at the CAA, London
The new Alabasta Folk Stripe Woven 43x33cm tray cleverly displayed downstairs in the slide viewing area in the CAA Reading Room

The exhibition opened today and is on until Friday 20th October at 2 Percy Street, London W1T 1DD.

Read more about it on the FT How to Spend It website here

Corinne Julius' coverage in the Evening Standard's Homes and Property supplement:

Evening Standard, 12th September 2012

Coverage for this exhibition as part of London Design Festival can also be found in Homes and Antiques magazine's September 2012 issue:

click the image to read at a legible size

Saturday, 1 September 2012

New! Blue Fish placemat and coaster

For a sophisticated colour palette in the kitchen you can't beat the perennial classic of blue and white. After lots of careful design tweaks, the Blue Fish placemat and coaster are now available to order. There is a 28cm round mat with three happy fish swimming in a sea of ultramarine blue waves - when you put your plate on top all you'll see is the subtly patterned border so it's quite good for mixing with blue and white china. There's also a cute 10cm coaster that shows one of the fish jauntily coming up for air. They are in a clearer brighter blue than the Blue Fish trays - it's more ultramarine than navy and goes rather well with the bone china ceramics that we are working on. They aren't quite ready to show yet but I'll show them here first, so keep a look out!

All mats and coasters are available to order from Avenida Home.

Alabasta Blue Fish 28cm placemat and 10cm coaster, available from Avenida Home