I recently had a chat with Ioanna Paraskeva from the newly opened design shop in Cologne, CONTAIN Gallery, and thought I’d share our conversation with you since my goal is to spotlight more unique, independent and small galleries and stores out there. If you don’t know Ionnna, she is the wife of Markus Gogolin who is the founder of online design portal, DESIGNSPOTTER, also based in Germany. (Yes, they clearly have a thing for uppercase!) She has worked with him for three years thus far and was responsible for communications and marketing and co-organized three large shows at the International Furniture Fair imm cologne. Wow! These two live and breathe design!
Holly: Hello Ioanna and congrats on your new store. Quick first question to get us started today… how did you decide on the name?
Ioanna: I like the association of containing/comprehension/accommodation; at the same time a container protects precious goods and transports them from one place to another. That’s what I liked most: The idea that I wanted to form a physical location to show international pieces of design and transport their message and meta-ideas to the people around.
Holly: Okay, I get it. It’s part shop, part gallery. How do you define it?
Ioanna: A forum for young and modern design – this is CONTAIN Gallery’s mission statement. Alternating topical exhibitions, presenting international up-and-coming artists and their exclusive prototypes, progressive design concepts and limited editions. Carefully selected pieces will also be available in the Gallery Shop.
Holly: What gave you the idea to open a shop?
Ioanna: A step back is a step forward – Digitally dealing with design on a day-to-day basis led me to desire to give design talents and their products an opportunity to become permanently touchable and come alive in sophisticated surroundings. I took a conscious leap from a breathless digital world right into the decelerated, clear spaces in Cologne’s Aachener Str 29.
Holly: What goals do you have there (shows, workshops, etc.)?
Ioanna: My ultimate ambition is to discover young international design talents and newcomers who have big creative potential. I want to give them advance and claim them simultaneously. My main work as a curator is to cultivate contacts, to communicate in a target-orientated way and to multiply media attendance for the designers I represent. Also, I plan to participate in some exciting international art/design shows – but first of all I have to establish my location here in Cologne.
Holly: How do you plan to market your shop so that word gets around?
Ioanna: As I have a lot of experience in public relations and marketing and furthermore collected a huge amount of designer and press contacts within my work for DESIGNSPOTTER, I already started the PR tsunami :-)
Holly: Who are some of the designers that you currently feature?
Ioanna: Frank Plant (USA/Spain), Bram Geenen (The Netherlands), Zeitgeist Toys for KPM (Germany), Platform/Iker (UK/Poland), Design Apparat (Belgium), Stephan Roller (Germany) and Per Emanuelsson/Bastian Bischoff (Sweden). You can view them all here and read their profiles.
Holly: Why did you select these designers, what spoke to you about their work?
Ioanna: The current exhibition’s theme is „Utopie jetzt! or in English, utopia now!“ and is reflected in the creations of young international designers. Utopia is an idea of an allegedly refined society – contradicted by a cross-section of modern urban lifestyle and it occasionally collides with a constantly growing examination of one’s sensitivities and responsibilities. The scope of exhibited products reaches from Barcelona to Bulgaria, from vehement weapons to enlightened surveillance. What these products have in common are the juxtapositioning of realities. Manga figurines in golden and platinum hand-painted porcelain clothes; a super-sized Kalashnikov in admonishing red; a floor lamp with surveillance cameras as shiners. All these and lots of other exciting designs formulate an international interpretation of meaning, value and use. Objects and their meta-concepts float free, sometimes provocatively, sometimes ironically. In any case they animate the viewer to give some thought to own ideas on how to improve the world we live in.
Holly: Are you accepting new product submissions or do you prefer to approach artists and designers personally?
Ioanna: I am very open minded so anyone can feel free to contact me!
So nice to meet with you today Ioanna and to see your space – thank you for sharing it with us here on decor8!
(images: contain gallery)
I mentioned recently that Anthropologie in London will soon open its doors, today in fact, as the first Anthro in Europe. I decided that since so many of you showed interest wondering what it will look like and such, I asked one of my friends if she’d play roving reporter and share her impressions from the store. Susannah Conway, from the lovely blog Ink on my fingers, attended a press event there a few days ago and has pulled together a quick review for all of us who haven’t yet been to the new store. Would you like to see a peek? Susannah tells us about her visit below….
Hi everyone, Susannah here. I recently had the pleasure of visiting the new Anthropologie store on London’s Regent Street and, in all honesty, I’m still swooning. The 10,000 square foot store lies over three floors, each filled with so much eye candy you could happily spend a whole afternoon sampling every morsel. I’d been to the Anthropologie store in Seattle back in 2006 so I had an idea of what to expect, but their first European store still managed to surprise and delight.
The store has a full-time team of ‘visual artists’ who look after the windows and in-store merchandising, and judging by what I saw yesterday, those talented souls must truly love their jobs. While each floor has its main focus – textiles, home accessories, apparel – it’s all mixed together so artfully you can easily envision everything in your own home. It was vintage-inspired bohemian chic at its best – a look I adore – so I danced around the store with my camera(s)…
Even if you don’t plan on spending a penny, the store is a must-visit for anyone yearning for some visual stimulation; there were so many colours and textures to take in, with old sofas and dressers displaying floral china and jewel-coloured glassware, patchwork wool cardigans and embroidered peasant dresses, and, of course, the bedcovers, blankets and a huge rail of the most adorable aprons (seriously!).
The store mixes British and European designers with their own in-house designs so you’ll find new discoveries among the Anthro staples of scented candles and quirky ceramics. I loved the use of whimsy throughout the store: an octopus rug on the wall, a huge papier mache narwhal hanging from the ceiling and the truly amazing living wall, a 200 square metre wall made entirely from living plants, all watered with rainwater collected from the roof.
I think it’s safe to say that London shoppers will welcome Anthropologie with open arms; I’m already planning my return visit. - Susannah Conway.
Anthropologie, 158 Regent Street, London W1
Thank you Susannah for giving us a peek at the store! Readers, you can see more impressions over on her blog right here. :) Also my other English blog friend Bowie, who also attended this press night (from the Print & Pattern blog) took tons of photos – you can see them on her blog. Now no one has to feel left out because they’re not in London! :)
(images: susannah conway)
Would you like to take a trip with me to Brooklyn, New York today to visit the newly opened Brook Farm General Store? I was so pleased when one of the owners, Christopher Winterbourne, wrote in recently and I learned about his shop which he owns with partner Philippa Content and you’ll see why soon enough but in addition to what you see here, they have an online shop so don’t miss it.
I love to feature store tours on decor8. So many inspiring little nooks exist out there, places where ones heart and soul is deposited each day – where there is so much care being given to product selection and display — and sometimes these charming destinations are unknown outside of the neighborhood, state or even country in which they sit. My goal in having a blog with a worldwide readership is to spotlight these creative little shops with their talented owners, with hopes that you’ll not only be inspired enough to visit them online, but that if you are traveling or have friends who are, that you’ll suggest these stores or visit them in person. Let’s look around a bit at the Brook Farm General Store today, shall we?
Welcome to the Brook Farm General Store in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn just under the Williamsburg Bridge. This shop is lovingly curated by Christopher and Philippa who have such an amazing eye for organic beauty, mixing old with new, and finding products that are tactile and appeal to the senses in some way – whether the smooth porcelain of a vase or the fragrance of a bar of handmade soap, there is something to delight all who visit. Before opening this past summer, Philippa managed a small chain of boutiques in the West Village and Christopher was working in television and film production. When I asked them why they opened the shop they told me, “We realized that we were having a hard time finding the simple, classic, well-designed items that we had grown up with. So, we decided to open a modern version of the old general stores of New York. We chose everything in the store very carefully, and we only sell items that we would want to have in our own home.” Again, another story of something amazing being born out of lack — if something is lacking, you step up and fill the void!
Vintage rolling pins, tea, soap, brushes, duralex glassware, soft towels, vintage quilts, linen blankets, hamman towels, construction blocks, necklaces and more… like the lovely Lampes Gras architects’ lamps. Christopher and Philippa prove that functional does not need to be boring. Displayed in a mostly white space, the natural brushes and wooden handles really stand out adding warmth to the shop, as does the big black cast ironware on the walls. In addition to their current offerings, they are designing a line of bed and table linens under the label Tourne. They eventually plan on expanding to other housewares as well.
Brook Farm General Store, 75 South 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 Tues-Sat 11-8 and Sunday 12-7.
(images: brook farm general store)
Happy Friday to you! I hope you’re ready for the weekend, I sure am! But first, I have a shop tour to share from Sweden. And… well I hope to do a lot more of these again in the future so if you have a lovely shop that you’d like to show off, and you want thousands of eyes to see it outside of your local neighborhood, please contact me (holly at decor8blog dot com) with a few preview photos so I can see your shop! Don’t be shy, it’s a great way to share your passion and a good way to market yourself at no charge — something small businesses really need to do in order to stay afloat. You can’t sit behind the cash register thinking some magazine editor will find you, in this day and age you have to get online and share your store with blogs. I’ve had many magazine editors connect with those I’ve featured on this site — and those are the people you want to get in front of and this is often impossible so please, take this opportunity to share your shop! Really! AND if you are an indie designer, scroll to the bottom of this post…
I cannot share all shops that are submitted but I can tell you this: I’m looking for stores that are unique, interesting, creative and one that you can imagine seeing on this blog — fitting within the aesthetic and mood here. I think the shop I’m about to show you is a great example of what I’m looking for — small, local, unique, with strong attention to detail when it comes to visual merchandising and overall layout. I also love the way these were photographed in natural sunlight vs. harsh overhead lighting or worse, with flash photography. I hope my submission guidelines don’t come across as too snobby, but I’m very dedicated to sharing beauty on this site and great decorating ideas that inspire so I have to maintain a few house rules. But, I’m very open to sharing and connecting people so if you are too and want to show us your retail shop, please have it photographed or do-it-yourself and send them to me so I can schedule you in. If I receive enough submissions, I’ll turn this back into a regular weekly “event” here on Fridays and revive Shop Talk along with it – a column I once ran where we talked about small business related topics. I think it’s more important than ever to share the small retail establishments that give so much to a community because we want them to thrive and stick around. Here in my city, more and more small stores are opening and I’m so happy to see this growth. Go indie!
With all that said… here is a special shop in Malmö, Lutterlagkage, that I’ve been dying to share with you, owned by Stine Holm Weirsoe originally from Denmark. She JUST opened, so these photos were just submitted to me by Stine this morning. Hot off the press! With the photos, I’ve asked her a few questions so please join us today as Stine and I have a chat about her new storefront. Please click on these images to see the details.
Good morning Stine! Tell us, what do you sell in your new shop? I mainly sell children’s clothing and accessories. The shop is centered on my own designs sold under the name “lutterlagkage.dk” I have added some of my favourite brands in children’s wear like Swedish “DUNS” and Danish “Milibe”. I focus on sustainability and great design with character. What I really want with the shop is to create a place that is brimming with colour, joy and creativity. A place where you can let your hair down and have fun. That is why I also sell interior details such as handmade vintage fabric cushions, vintage wallpaper silhouettes and handmade porcelain jewellery, all products to help spark the lutterlagkage lifestyle.
What are some of your favorite things about this space? One of the favourite things is that I have a big window which is great for displays and for being in touch with the world! Being at home with only the website to showcase my things has been fine but I missed the part where you put your things on display and enjoy them and feel proud because they work as well as you had imagined. I also love the white floors, the fact that I have three rooms – one for the retail space, one for offices space and storage and then a workshop in the back. And I love to be out there, in the real world!
Did you DIY anything we’re seeing here as far as the design of the space goes — and if so, what? I basically DIYed everything with the help of friends and family. I painted, put up the wallpaper tree, a design from Holland that I carry in the shop, put up shelves and wallpaper, mounted the lamps, assembled numerous IKEA items…
I noticed the clothes rack is floating from the ceiling, so that’s something you also did yourself? Yes! My friend Katrine came up with the idea of a rack hanging from the ceiling. It proved to be so much harder than we thought ;) But I think it looks great.
Okay, I am dying to know… what does Lutterlagkage mean? Lutterlagkage is a Danish manner of speaking used to express that all is well, that you are happy with something and that you think that everything is crème de la crème! The English equivalent is “peaches and cream”. In Danish we often use the term in its negative form, saying that this or that is NOT “lutterlagkage” and that is said very often about life. But I insist! Life IS lutterlagkage! There is another catch to the phrase; lagkage is the traditional birthday cake, the notorious three-layer-cake. What could be better suited for bright, bold and colourful design than that?
And lastly, what inspired your overall design? My design is very much inspired by my clothing design. I wanted surroundings that communicated the basic values I have built my brand upon; fun, retro eclectic style with a clear inspiration from childhood memories (yes, those were from back in the early seventies :)) and an obtainable DIY-edge. I also wanted my shop to ooze of that Danish design aesthetics well known abroad. That is why I went for classic Verner Panton FlowerPot pendants (reproductions from the 60s) and classic vintage desk lamps, known in Denmark as “architects lamps”. I also wanted the design to reflect my focus on recycling, up-cycling and sustainability so I made sure to use what I had and what was there as a starting point (the counter and the hand was left by former tenants), I had the lamps and the display table and some of the shelves. That is always my starting point because I like that warm welcoming ambiance that comes with beat-up furniture and miss-matched item – if it’s done cleverly and stylishly. I wanted my shop to have that lived-in ambiance that makes you go “ahhhh” and makes you want to stay and visit again
Stine you’ve done a beautiful job with your shop – thank you for sharing it with us today on decor8!
Shop address: Online and Hyregatan 7, 21121 Malmö, Sverige.
Indie Designers: Stine is offering a few spots for other indie designers with similar design aesthetics and feel to sell in the shop on commission. Contact Stine for more information: stine AT lutterlagkage.dk
(images: Stine Holm Weirsoe)
I just adore this little creative space in London (Islington) called The Make Lounge — isn’t it just darling? You can sign up for craft workshops at their studios and meet other groovy crafters like yourself. Then in August, they’ll be adding a retail space that will stock fabrics, books and mags, notions, handmade goods, sew kits, patterns, and more. I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of shop meets learning space. It’s community building and I like that aspect best — you can get to know those in your city and have fun doing it.
I see this as a growing trend in America and parts of Europe, Australia and beyond and hope these types of places just continue to grow especially since more and more women are getting back in touch with using their hands to make things. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, these are all invaluable skills to have and once learned, there is no stopping you from making original one-of-a-kind things that not only are functional but also look beautiful and build your self confidence. Plus, there is a great need for us to get back in touch with our local community. Most of us don’t even know our neighbors and that’s a bit sad. Retail/Craft spaces like The Make Lounge is a great place to make new friends and to give yourself a little “you” time away from work and home responsibilities, too. Three cheers for that!
The Make Lounge is located at 49-51 Barnsbury Street, London N1 1TP.
Have you ever taken classes at a similar setup in your local city? What was your experience like?
(images: the make lounge)