This summer I went to a Tom Dixon Autumn/Winter 2017 preview. It’s Tom Dixon so as you can expect it was gorgeous but it was also interesting as there was a very minimal use of metallics. When I asked about this I was told “Everyone has picked up on what Tom has started; people have copper toilet brushes now. And while we love the classics, we also have to innovate with metallics and we need to give them a different edge”.
So we have to do something a bit more interesting with metallic tones and I’ve picked five amazing metallics pieces that do just that.
I love the Tom Dixon brass bowls featured above – in fact I have a set myself. The burnished, matte surface immediate gives pieces patina and I think this muted metallic look is a good starting point for selecting contemporary metallic accessories for this season.
At £145 for the set, the Tom Dixon bowls may be a bit of a stretch for humble home accessories (I got mine as a birthday gift from DR B to be fair). If you do like a bit of burnished gold on a budget, this filled votive from Sainsbury’s is a steal at £6.
Metallic accents also really work. This ceiling pendant light in black from Atkin and Thyme gives this industrial shade a luxurious edge. Just like the Dixon bowls it’s burnished copper interior avoids the bling some metallics give off rather is adds warmth and texture. At £99, it would make a stunning statement in a minimal space.
If you do need a bit of bling, the aged effect on this this metallic lustre vase from The Contemporary Home tones down the shiny and ramps up the texture. At £6 I can see three of these in a line on my based up dining room table, teamed with some twinkly tealights to create a bit of autumn/winter atmosphere at a dinner party.
I think an element of shine can still work with metallics – I love this Cult Living Mountain Print Framed Poster from Cult Furniture. These strong copper outlines juxtaposed with the marble textures, matte blacks and soft muted pinks bring out the bling without making it too brash.
OMG, this is a ridiculously easy up-cycle. It simply involves a lamp-stand, an ornate lampshade frame and a can of spray paint.
I originally did this project for Homemaker Magazine using on-trend metallic paint with a cool matte finish but I wanted something really bright and fun light for my otherwise smart, sleek study/office. I raided my spray paint stash and got this gorgeous cerise/purple shade in gloss from Valspar. Just what I wanted.
Remember to spray in a ventilated area – I do it in my garden. To get an even tone place your object on a box you can swivel around so you’re not missing bits. I hung the shade from inside the top of a deep box so I could get to all the little nooks and crannies. I’m dead please with this update, soon it will take pride of place on the new study shelves.
Last summer I went to the Pick Me Upshow at Somerset House. Every year the show features a fresh line-up of artists and designers who are considered to reflect the best of new illustration, graphic design and related disciplines. It’s a great event for picking up on trends.
Almost every item in the 2015 show was influenced by the Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture collective founded in Milan by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 that designed Postmodern furniture, fabrics, ceramics, glass and metal objects from 1981 to 1987. Since the show I can’t seem to pick up a magazine or visit an interiors site without reading a reference to this group. This style is big in 2016, so if you’re new to Memphis style take a look at my Pinterestboard to familiarise yourself with it.
I must confess that it’s taken me a little while to embrace this particular look – I was a child in the 1980s so anything from that era has to work extra hard to win my favour. However the Memphis look is fresh, playful, fun and actually very easy to incorporate into interiors and crafts projects. It also, even 30 plus years on, looks surprisingly contemporary. You can go all out with it or incorporate little elements of this style to give your home or craft creations a quirky, on-trend edge.
So starting softly, I took Ettore Sottsas’ iconic Letraset design, as seen below, as an inspiration for a quick interiors update.
It’s a wonderfully simple, effective design that works well as a standalone pattern but can look fab layered over different shades. It’s also great at different sizes.
I used this Letraset pattern as a ‘Memphis lite’ starting point to update some funky tea-light holders as a gift for my lounge. I got these little shot glasses from a charity shop and they are perfect lanterns for my tea-lights. However, left plain, I felt they were rather stark.
I used black permanent marker (the Memphis Group use a lot of black) to very loosely apply a similar pattern over the glasses. I wanted to play with the scale of the motifs to make the lanterns more varied and create interest when they were arranged together. I literally did this while I was watching telly one evening, and I’m pleased that this easy make made me think more about the Memphis Group’s work and has spurred me on to check it out further.