Carpets Reloaded

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Carpet Reloaded uses new cutting-edge techniques to rework and reinterpret Oriental carpets from the first and second halves of the twentieth century. With this collection Golran combines its know-how and experience accrued over the years with creativity and experimentation, anticipating a tendency and channelling it into a new trend. The past, with its materials and traditional weaving techniques, is projected into the present via decolorizing processes and successive monochromatic dyeing stages that give the carpets a new identity. The unique, original results are entirely handmade precious pieces, which are similar in terms of working technique and mood, but all different from each other.

The Decolorized carpets are classic, traditionally hand-knotted carpets that undergo a decolorizing process and are successively dyed with monochromatic vegetable dyes. As each type of yarn and weft react differently to the decolorizing and dyeing process, shading and changing effects are created in a wide array of colours, from the brightest, deepest tones to the palest, most natural ones.


Patchwork carpets, which are also unique pieces, are all handmade by cutting and artfully sewing together vintage carpets that are subsequently dyed with monochromatic vegetable dyes, allowing an array of colours ranging from bright shades to pale, natural ones.

The patchwork technique allows the creation of carpets of the desired size assembled to achieve the desired final visual effect. Indeed, in patchwork the overall composition is pieced together from details, thus enhancing the charm of the decorations and textures of Oriental carpets.
All the sewing is done by hand and using precious yarns according to the ancient art of embroidery.

Architectural Salvage and Design

Grey enamel factory lights. Solid pine storage boxes previously used to transport museum specimens. Ideal as a storage box or kid's toy box. Solid short utilitarian benches made from steel and timber. Rotating enamelled steel dentists cabinet, probably made by girator - multiple drawers and doors all around. Makes a very solid stylish piece of functional furniture.

Retrouvius, an architectural salvage and design business was founded by partners Adam Hills and Maria Speake. They both studied architecture before starting the business in Glasgow and eventually moving to London. With a motto of “bridging the gap between destruction and construction”, they seek to incorporate some quantity of salvaged material. This is not always easy to spot as it is usually blended with a contemporary feel.

Plywood stackable chairs. Oak and cast iron optometry table with adjustable height base and fold out compartments.

Retrouvius moved into 1016 Harrow Road in 2008. The derelict building, formerly a cleaning company, was in a poor state of repair complete with leaky roof and mouldy carpets and flooring.

Retrouvius shop in Harrow Road

They gutted the entire site and sought to maximise the potential to re-use the building completely reassembled with pretty much every element salvaged material. Mahogany and copper light windows salvaged from an institutional building demolished for London’s Cross Rail link form the new frontage.

Large collector's chest of thin drawers removed from a museum. 78 drawers spanning three columns. Various microscopes from a museum lab with their own individual storage boxes.

In the past few years Retrouvius has been involved with a broad range of domestic and commercial design projects.

Small ex-museum mahogany cabinets. Tubular frame PEL chairs with red upholstery. Small glass funnel lights with red flex. Opaque glass pendant with aluminium stem. Very long Italian table. Made in two sections that bolt together this table is over 6.5 metres long. Gold coated ex-radiator grills.

While some have been very architectural, others are purely bespoke interior design projects, covering buildings constructed as early as the 15th century to other modern structures. Most of their projects have also involved a degree of collaboration with other architects or designers.

Hand woven pure wool vintage welsh blankets.
Carved marble bowl light shade with three hanging chains.

Their architectural salvage stock largely depends on what can be found after demolition. They also stock a range of modernist furniture, as well as mad and quirky pieces.

Geographers poles painted red, black and white. These have been used successfully as hand rails to accompany stair casing.

Often they take things that no-one else wants, while sometimes they acquire very desirable pieces. These are then transformed into their own unique style adding their own touches.

Pairs of wooden knobs removed from museum drawers.

Vintage Furniture in Islington

Islington is home to numerous vintage shops and stalls. I love to stroll down Camden Passage at the weekend and search through the little shops and antique dealers for a unique piece or a bargain. However Camden Passage is not the only place you can find vintage furniture in Islington. Walking along Essex Road past the Criterion Auction House you come to a more contemporary furniture shop.

Fandango has been based in Islington for the last 15 years, sourcing 20th century retro furniture and working with interiors designers.

The shop is a triangular shape and the small space is crammed with furniture, lights and mirrors. I wait outside on a blue bench made of metal piping. As I wait to take a peek inside I am joined by others waiting to take a browse around, I’m glad it’s a nice and sunny.

After some people come out of the shop I finally get to speak to the owner, John, who tells me how he got into the furniture business. John started collecting pieces for his own house, going to car boot sales and flea markets. While travelling in continental Europe he discovered his love for vintage 20th century design.

Since 2009 Fandango has also been representing the East London Art Collective Chish & Fips and their Neon Works.

So when you are next in Islington it may be worth treading off the beaten track onto Essex Road to have a look at what you can find.

Chandeliers from the Cape Peninsula

While visiting South Africa I came across some beautiful art and design projects, I was particularly struck by the chandeliers created by Riaan Chambers.

He produces unique, innovative and beautiful chandeliers fashioned from recycled glass, crystals, shells, horn and any object that takes his fancy.

The style ranges from Romantic to the ultra chic and I am amazed by the sheer volume of his work.

The variety is also enormous. Some incorporate vibrant colours lit up in the form of a long dangling glass chandelier, while others are more elegant and minimalist with a simple white finish.

There are also numerous smaller mobile pieces that incorporate shells and other organic materials.

Others are a combination, but the different shapes and sizes allows his work to fit into very different surroundings according to the particular style.

He predominantly uses recycled materials such as glass taken from old windscreens.

These magnificent pieces have a strong effect on their surroundings, setting the mood for a space. Their impact can often be somewhat overwhelming.

The colours and the materials combined with the size makes his work very impressive.

His chandeliers are displayed in commercial buildings, restaurants, hotels, as well as in residential properties.

Chaumont sur Loire Garden Festival

With summer gradually approaching and luscious green landscapes thriving with blossoming flowers and trees, many are heading to the annual garden festival in the stunning French Loire valley.

The festival is held in the grounds of the magnificent Château de Chaumont sur Loire. The extensive grounds host a wide range of creative and innovative gardening and design ideas with new creations appearing every year.

The colourful structures and plants are a great source of inspiration for both keep gardeners and those with urban lifestyles who may have limited outside space.

The exhibits range from large structures fitting for communal gardens and public spaces, to vegetable patches or simple quirky backyards.

The styles vary from modern contemporary or traditional to just plain strange.

Some pieces appear more like works of art than gardens.

The use of sustainable materials and watering systems is particularly impressive as landscape architects become more sophisticated and resourceful with their designs. Below is a garden named sculptillonnage, it is made up of sculptures that show gardeners the spaces for biodiversity while being elegant and beautiful in shape. These sculptures are also used as an animal shelters, providing food and drink and being compatible for the creatures that inhabit the garden.

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