Kelly Swallow vs Banksy

Kelly Swallow, who is best knows for her colourful patchwork chairs and beautiful upholstered furniture, has taken some inspiration from one of the UK’s best loved artists…the unknown Banksy. For those of you who came across his street art you will probably recognise the image at the centre of this design. This chair’s simple soft colours, make it very versatile and perfect for a cosy stylish home.

Kelly Swallow's Banksy chair

Kelly Swallow’s Banksy chair. Photo courtesy of Kelly Swallow.

Islington has it’s fair share of Banksy treasures, decorating the walls a number of buildings on Essex road. Who would have thought that street art and upholstered furniture would be so compatible.

Around the World in 80 Chairs: Antique Wooden Chair, London

Chair at Criterion Auction House in Islington

Kush Interiors

Kush Interiors is a vintage furniture shop on Holloway Road in London, specialising in mid century modern furniture and African art. The shop is full of interesting and beautifully made pieces crammed together in the cosy small space.

The owner, George Sharman, describes himself as a design archeologist. He finds classic old objects and restores and reworks them, giving them a new lease of life.

After refurbishing them to a high standard he displays them for sale among the wide range of objects in his shop.

Going into Kush Interiors is like going into a cave of hidden treasures, while the shop looks tiny from the outside it extends much further than expected revealing a huge collection of lamps, art and furniture.

The large variety of mid century modern furniture is complemented by African art and traditional masks.

African mask Kush Interiors

George doesn’t focus on fads or fashion but rather concentrates on timeless classic pieces making his furniture perfect for those who want long lasting quality and style.

Folklore – Better Living by Design

Folklore is a beautiful new shop right up our street – literally. It may be a little difficult to find at first, wedged in between two Gill Wing stores and boasting an antique sign which reads 193 BERWIC rather than Folklore.

On my second visit I almost got lost, failing to notice it due to its inconspicuous shop front. However, after spotting the paper and crotchet lampshades in the window I was reminded why it had initially caught my eye.

They later explained that they had kept the old sign allowing it to add to the character of the shop while corresponding with their philosophy of sustainability.

The Cabinet – designed and made in collaboration with the Hendzel + Hunt studio in South London. Constructed from reclaimed birch ply. Available exclusively from Folklore.

Danielle Reid and her husband Rob opened the shop on Islington’s trendy Upper Street 1 month ago. The couple started the company, based on the belief that better living is possible through design. They curate a selection of pieces by a mix of designers, makers and craftsmen and try to source locally where possible.

Everything inside Folklore is either handmade, antique or made from recycled or found materials. Others are easily recyclable at the end of their life. All are made in an environmentally mindful way. Danielle strongly believes that ecology and ethics are integral to design and there is a theme throughout the shop which emphasises the importance of being environmentally mindful.

As recycling becomes more mainstream and becomes the norm, recycled goods and furniture are becoming more beautiful in their own right. Folklore paves the way for sustainable living and proves that recycling can be elegant by exploring diverse styles and uses of materials.

You can also like Folklore on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest.

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.

Street Art in Spring

As the first cherry blossoms are livening up the streets of London, it is a reminder that spring is almost here. After months of grey and limited sun light there are many reasons to be cheerful. Soon the trees and flowers will gain their new buds and make the world a more colourful place.

However there has been some premature colour on a number of trees in East london lately as bright knitted crochet sleeves have been wrapped around the trees standing outside Hackney town hall.

You can find street art is all over London, in places which you may not expect or notice. I cycled past this no entry sign everyday for two months before I noticed it looked a little odd.

Merging art with nature, or the few trees that remind us of nature in London, seems to be a big theme with artists integrating quirky installations with green spaces. As I was strolling around in the rain this afternoon I looked up at the miserable grey clouds responsible for my soaking wet hair and for the first time I noticed a huge block of birdhouses on a tree. The extensive structure is both striking and strange, it has been described as an estate for birds and does indeed seem to have room for quite a few species.

These quirky little details bright and obvious or hidden in dark corners make me smile when I come across them. It reminds me of the eccentric nature and creativity of this city.