The Coolest Homewares at Life Instyle 2013
Late February rolled around a little too fast for our liking, and that can mean only one thing for the purveyors of fine lifestyle and homewares … trade fair season was upon them. It is now mid-March and many are now filling out orders and packing up boxes full of goodies we all covet for our couches, tables, sideboards and mantelpieces.
Life Instyle, now a bi-annual, trade-only event in Sydney and Melbourne stands apart from its sister fairs as a destination to discover emerging trends, brands and products that are on the cooler side of style and design. The popularity of the event, held over four days is further promoted by a a brand-new style lab curated by Cool Edie's Jane Frosh and Lucy Weight using homewares, furniture and soft furnishings directly from the trade floor.
TheVine team traipsed down to Sydney's Royal Hall of Industries and Hordern Pavilion on what we now call a relentless, annual hunt for cool. In its closing hours, we scoured the stands and among other trends we discovered that bunnies have been replaced by deers as the most prolific totem beast both in form and motif. Owls? Forget about owls. Delightful colour and texture in wool, canvas and raw linen reign and it seems the digital print is unstopable. Below and featured in our gallery are our top picks coming to a gift and homewares store near you.
Why spend hours of stress in Ikea only to lose the allan key, unintentionally break the chipboard shelf “A” and end up with a living room that looks like every other student apartment when you can order in fresh, flat-packed cardboard furniture? There is something just so easy and effortlessly cool about owning a bed you can quite literally fold away when guests are over, or a dining table that packs into the back of your wardrobe. It is sustainable, durable and 100% recyclable if you hit the big-time. As Karton says, JOIN THE FOLD.
Love Rings by Anne Black
Nickel allergy sufferers unite! These porcelain rings are "handmade passion" by Danish ceramicist and designer Anne Black and are said to be more durable and stronger when stacked. Cute, subtle kisses and admissions of love are the perfect accessory if your skin wont tolerate the excess of precious metals (like our editor, who went suitably bonkers when she saw them). Anne Black's range of delightful ceramics can be purchased in Australia from Elevate Design.
You could quite possibly be drowned in cushions on this trade floor, with many brands now stocking their very own cushions and bedding but for finding a point of difference, look closely at printing and fabrication. Pony Rider's soft canvas range of throws and cushions offer a whimsical alternative, harking back to a simpler time in textiles whilst still remaining modern and fresh through design. Their homewares, wallwares, cushions and small goods can all be picked up from their online store.
Snurk Bedding & Cushions
We couldn't ignore this playful brand taking us back to our five year old selves with life-size astronaut bed spreads and larger-than-life size kittens (Ollie) and puppies (Bob). The Dutch duo behind Snurk set out to create their bedding from "horizontal happiness" and nothing makes you smile more than their prints. A special mention goes out to their Geogami range of origami prints that reach out and grab the eye. Snurk products can be purchased via their Dutch online store or very soon through Vincent & Vincent.
Sustainable Stubbies by LOBE
The up-cycle of our best-loved manufactured bottles into re-usable, refillable vases, jugs and drinking vessels takes sustainability to the table at your dinner party. What a talking point; no longer will you cringe at the empty six pack your housemate left on the coffee table overnight. Ruth Allen, who has sculpted glass for more than 20 years, uses traditional hot glass techniques on bottles that are found, recycled, transformed and even strengthened by the process into collectible treasures. You can buy all of LOBE's products from their online store.
Home & Fashion by Christian Zuzunaga
Some time ago I went bananas at the idea of pixel cushions and lusted after Zuzunaga's range only to find out I'd have to import them. His design studio aims to create unique, colourful products that encapsulate the dynamic nature of contemporary city living. Whilst the pixels have now gone soft and textural using handwoven wool blends in cushions and blankets, their recent foray into accessories has them on-trend and up against even our most favourite fashion houses (we're looking at you Missoni). Zuzunaga's products can now be purchased from select stockists in Australia and are exclusively distributed by Forest For the Trees.