“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris
We've all spent more time at home this year than ever before. There are things in our houses we've come to find that are neither beautiful nor useful. Updates are needed.
But it doesn't take a new piece of furniture to refresh a room. Neither is it necessary to repaint or undertake time-consuming decorating projects. With the right purchase and placement, small home decorations and accessories can make you smile and bring joy to a room once again — or create a more inspiring environment from which to live and work.
Of course, form doesn't need to come at the expense of function either; some of the objects we highlight below are both beautiful and useful. And while clothing often takes centre stage in conversations around supporting local businesses and shopping responsibly, they're all from independent brands with good intentions and practices to match.
Read on to discover the brands and rejuvenate your home.
When purchasing from Feldspar, one quickly realises that every element in the life cycle of its products has been considered at length. Take its production techniques. Rather than quick and easy options, the brand uses pottery methods — mould making, slip-casting and industrial bone china production — that are listed in the UK as critically endangered crafts. This not only leads to unique and handcrafted objects that will last a lifetime but preserves dying arts and adds to the story of each product.
The ethos extends to Feldspar's 100% recyclable or reusable packaging where they use boxes handmade in England and plastic-free bubblewrap. Handmade in Devon, the cobalt vase with handles has “sketch-like appeal” and all of Feldspar's charm.
Don't be fooled, Kristina Dam's Marble Circles aren't a puzzle to be solved, just a beautiful black marble sculpture typical of the studio's take on Nordic minimalism. Founder Kristina Dam graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation in Copenhagen and her appreciation for architecture shines through in everything the studio produces.
Mostly using locally sourced materials, most oft the products from the Kristina Dam Studio are made in Europe. Kristina Dam aims to create products that withstand the test of time both aesthetically and structurally. The Marble Circles, two rings eternally connected, are the perfect symbol of forever.
Laura Itkonen works at the intersection of art and design to create bold pieces with a surprising mixture of materials, textures, shapes and colours. Itkonen describes her Sculptural Series as “art with function”. The lidded vessels mostly have a matte surface and are made with food-safe glazing on the inside while the decoration on top is handmade.
The artist makes most of the porcelain she uses herself and sources the majority of her materials in Finland.
Berlin-based design studio Studio Hausen is best known for its modular shelving system called LINK. With LINK, function is at harmony with form. It’s minimal. It’s utilitarian. But it’s also a unique design feature in any home.
What all shelving needs though is to fulfil its life’s purpose, which means it needs objects to carry and display. For this, Studio Hausen created The Elements Collection – a range of bookends and glass vases by designer Milena Kling. No shelf is complete without books and the SOLID terrazzo bookends are a beautiful way to show off your favourite reads.
Romina Gris' designs are intriguing and eye-catching experiments in form, colour and texture inspired by postmodern architecture and architects such as Michael Graves and Aldo Rossi. Her Skyline collections are made up of unique individual designs that come together to form cityscapes at once minimal and playful. As light reflects and shadows form on block colors, the collections look somewhat like three-dimensional illustrations or stop motion sets that may come to life at any moment.
The Blue Velvet Box BL11.2 is handmade in Barcelona and part of the Skyline Blue Velvet collection, named for its color and texture (velvet isn't actually used). This is one of five pieces in the collection which includes vases and boxes in different shapes.
Words: Aaron Howes