Hello everyone! I'm very pleased to be doing my second guest post on the Decorque blog!
Today, I thought I would talk more about my design process and inspiration. As I mentioned in my last post, taking photographs from nature is the first step of my design process and I am always on the look out for intriguing or unusual natural elements. Once I've got some promising photographs, I work by interpreting them as flat, stylized black and white drawings. This helps me figure out which areas of a form to emphasize and which to leave out to create a simplified, abstract rendering. While I may have an idea of colour before I start, I usually work out repeat structures and colourways at a later stage once I've scanned my final drawings and cleaned them up in photoshop.
My final designs often end up being quite a departure from the original form that inspired them, and a lot of my designs resemble a variety of different things. People love to guess where the inspiration for some of my designs comes from - sometimes they are right and other times I am amazed at what they come up with!
The Element Original rug and wallpaper collections were the first collections I designed. I had only just started developing the brand and design look and feel at that time and thus did not want to limit myself to a particular category, but rather took inspiration from a wide range of natural sources. The result is an eclectic mix of designs inspired by coral reefs, tropical rainforests, woodland, deserts and more. Below are a few of my favourite designs from the Element Original collection, coupled with the original source that inspired them:
I love the vivid colour and variety of shapes found in flowers, but wanted to explore a different take on the often overdone floral print design genre. Rather than being overly frilly and feminine, the Floral Explosion rug collection consists of close-up, abstracted floral images which accentuate the underlying shape and structure of the flowers I was working from. For this collection I also extended my predominantly cool blue and green colour palette to incorporate warm, vivid hues of pink, yellow and orange.
After the bright hues and complex structures of the floral explosion collection, I wanted to stretch my design muscles in a different direction. With the rock and mineral-inspired Geology wallpaper collection, I sought to combine simple, geometric forms such as squares and rectangles in novel ways, as well as using more subdued versions of my signature blue hues and introducing new, more sophisticated colours such as silver and burnt orange into the mix!
Finally, I thought I would give you a sneak preview of the current collection I am working on. I have not yet determined a release date for the next set of designs or even which products they will be featured on - I am working on this collection slowly in and amongst promotional activities and just letting it take shape at its own pace. Since I have started Element Interiors, my design work has been characterized by flat colour and precise line work, so with this collection I am aiming for a more fluid, gestural, painterly quality. The theme of the collection is 'wings' - whether it be insect wings or feather patterns from birds. Below are two designs in progress inspired by a butterfly wing and dragonfly wing.
Post written by Belma Kapetanovic of Element Interiors.
Making a comeback into our living space is the screen. Today, that rather stuffy image is replaced by a more glamourous look. I have just chosen a selection from what is a surprisingly extensive range of decorative screens.
The screen is such a versatile piece of furniture whether you prefer the classic ornamental, Chinoise, photographic, fabric, glass, Morroccan or Trompe L'oeil the choice is amazing! It also lends itself to the D.I.Y enthusiast. We can easily personalise a screen with our own decoration.
Initially screens were used in monasteries and churches to section off private areas for prayer, and of course in the Far East they have evolved from the sliding paper dividing walls and doors. We have also used screens the traditional way, as room dividers, to separate a living and dining area, or areas of a bathroom or a private dressing area in a bedroom. They are portable and adjustable, and can hide storage or unsightly areas, or break up large flat areas of colour and space and create visual interest on a wall or a corner of a room.
At work they can separate open plan spaces secluding areas for a meeting, or have a practical use as pin-boards to display ideas and products. Even our high street windows incorporate them as a decorative back drop to their seasonal displays. Or may be, like the circular glass screen, it needs no purpose other than just to be a colourful piece of art.
My research has inspired me to create a Decorque screen, so many ideas, but finally I have chosen The Butterfly Tree below taken from our art print range. It has the english rose but with the cork tree and butterflies fading into the distance, it is a mystical play on the oriental!
Moodboard 1 - Santorini room divider screen, Coromandel, Cake screen, Trompe l'oeil screen, Mediterrianian Antiqued Metal fireplace screen, Gold / Black deer scene, Elle Chinoise screen, Black/cream screen (unknown link), Window display screen, Diamante flowers screen, T l bookcase, B/W feather screen, Morroccan geo, Ornamental.
Moodboard 2 - Ostrich feather, Screen behind the bed, Birds of a feather Prey Boutique bath, Shoji Black four panel screen, Oriental bathroom divider, Fabric screen, Glass circle, Red Black bathroom divider, Butterfly buff, Reeds and grasses, Buzziescreen modernise an office, Office inboard screen.
Moodboard 3 - Decorque's Own copyright.
We are very pleased to bring you an informative and insightful article by new friends of ours, Wood and Beyond. They asked if they could write a feature on a guide to hard wood flooring, and we felt that as we are so pro our materials here at Decorque, and the main media we use is Cork that comes from trees, that it would not only be a great read for us but also you folk out there, full of interesting and useful facts.
So here we are, we shall hand over to the lovely team at Wood and Beyond who bring you, 'A Visual Guide to Hardwood Flooring'.
If you decide to fit hardwood flooring during home renovation or new build project you will come across various industry terms and buzzwords. In this guide to hardwood flooring and with the aid of visual examples, we aim to simplify your options. Suitability of hardwood flooring in your project revolves around practical constrains such as in which area or areas the floor will be fitted and visual preferences such as the finish and grade of the wood.
Practical Constrains – Type of Hardwood
There are two types of hardwood flooring that suit residential properties. One type is referred to as solid hardwood, while an alternative is referred to as engineered hardwood. When fitted, the two types of hardwood look identical. The difference between the two is apparent under the hood.
Solid Hardwood Floor – The descriptive name ‘solid’ originates from the structure of the floorboard as it is made from one hundred percent wood. Other than a thin coating of finish on top of the floorboard (which we will get to in a moment) no other material is present besides wood. Of the two types, solid is by far the strongest, which equals a lengthy service life. It is therefore in most cases the preferred choice. However, natural wood and therefore solid hardwood isn’t suitable in humid areas such as the bathroom or kitchen or as a flooring solution on top of under floor heating.
Engineered Hardwood Floor – This alternative was introduced to meet consumer demand that wish to benefit from hardwood flooring across the entire property. An engineered hardwood board is made from a top layer called the ‘wear layer’ of solid wood and up to four layers of artificial material such as Plywood and MDF below it. When fitted, only the top solid layer is visible to the eye, which is the reason why both types look precisely the same once fitted.
Consumers who wish to fit hardwood in high humidity areas such as the kitchen, basement and bathroom areas can achieve this by fitting an engineered hardwood solution. However, service life will not equal that of solid hardwood.
Visual Preferences – Grade of Wood
Both solid and engineered types contain natural hardwood to a different degree. Hardwood contains visual marks such as Sapwood, Knots and variation in colour. The more refine grades will include less Sapwood, less Knots and display a more uniform look meaning less colour variation between the planks. Naturally, the lower grades will present the opposite features. Grade is merely an indication of visual marks it does not equal ‘quality’ by any means. There are four common grades that are used in the construction of solid and engineered hardwood floors.
Prime Grade – Prime is the ultimate in high hardwood flooring grade. Because the wood is cut close to the centre of the log, its look contains just the odd Sapwood, Knot and the various planks will match in terms of colour.
Select Grade – Depending on the brand, some select grade hardwoods can look almost identical to prime grade in that they also originate close to the centre of the log. You will come across Knots in sizes of around 20mm and up to 10% Sapwood. The various planks will likely differ in colour and shade but very slightly.
Natural Grade – Natural grade is a popular choice due to the lower costs of the floorboards. Knots of up to 30mm in size should be expected and plenty of Sapwood. The planks will feature an ununiformed look in terms of colour variations between the boards.
Rustic Grade – The last grade on the grading ladder is rustic or country style grade. Hardwoods of the rustic grade will feature Knots of up to 35mm in size, Sapwood and colour variation between the boards will be extensive.
Visual Preferences – Finish of Wood
Hardwood floorboards are covered in a thin layer that serves two purposes. It provides basic protection in an effort to reduce damage and helps achieve a desired look such as glossy or matt finish. It is often a question of taste and personal preference. The most common options are variants of oil and lacquered base materials.
Oil Finish – Oil is the successor of the Wax finish, which is hardly in use nowadays. In terms of look, Oil often has a low glare look which helps hide imperfections in the boards. It is very easy to maintain and durable as the Oil sinks into the wood.
Lacquered Finish – Lacquered is more obvious on the floorboard because it remains on the surface (unlike Oil) and has a glossy reflection. It means that in areas where water may present a problem, lacquered is the perfect choice as it makes the hardwood almost waterproof.
If you intend to fit hardwood flooring now or in the future use the above stages to evaluate your options. Leave us a comment if you have any questions.
We are very pleased this Easter weekend to present another insightful and detailed post from our Head Designer, Lesley Stevens. This post focuses on one of Decorque's favourite and signature subjects that appear in many designs across all our ranges, the beautiful and magical Hummingbird.
The Hummingbird may be among the smallest birds but they certainly don't go unnoticed. Their name comes from the humming sound made from the beat of their wings, which can be 20 - 30 to the second and up to a hundred when performing a mating display. To keep up this extreme level of energy they seek out flowers whose nectar has a high sugar content. Extraordinarily they are also one of the few birds that can fly backwards.
A majority of the Hummingbird live in Central and South America. Trinidad & Tobago is known as "The land of the Hummingbird" and can be seen on their coat of arms, one cent coin, as well as the National Airline. Watching these fascinating birds myself in the Caribbean, I have never been able to capture them on camera. But the two wildlife photos below really show their enchanting beauty.
I have also collated a moodboard showing how they are incorporated into both fashion and home interior items. I love the beautiful Hummingbird Silk Kaftan by Samantha Farrugia which when opened out to its full span reveals the bird in flight. Alexander McQueen's hummingbird prints are probably the best known, and whether on shirts, t-shirts, dresses or handbags, they look great.
Hummingbirds in the home I think introduce an exotic touch to quite ordinary prints and accessories. The Hummingbird does not have a long life span, may only live two years. We love and admire nature we don't often see into our lives, and what better way to keep them alive than in the decoration around us. The black cushion below really captures the Hummingbird's magical moments in flight.
Moodboard 2 - The Black Background - Skater Dress Hummingbird Print, Alexander McQueen hummingbird shirt, Alexander McQueen hummingbird T-shirt, Alexander McQueen hummingbird, Hummingbird and flowers - iPhone cover, Alexander McQueen hummingbird & geometric print caddy dress, Cotton Scarf by Jill Sander, Hummingbird Silk Kaftan Dress, Finesse silver hummingbird brooch, Mary Frances Sweet Nectar Hummingbird Clutch Bag, Flower & hummingbird Shoes by hippyofdoom
Moodboard 3 - Silk Wall Hanging Alexander McQueen, Fuchsias & Hummingbird Art glass, Stained Glass, Mug- Hummingbird with attitude, Grove Gardens-Osbourne & Little Paper, Cole & Son Hummimgbird wallpaper, Wall decal blossom & hummingbird, Hummingbird Cushion Alexander McQueen, Natural World Plate- Hummingbird, Monochrome Lampshade, Paperweight, Flitting through the vines shower curtain.
It's a trend that has been around for a while, and according to Trend Hunter it is making it's way back into all areas of Interior design and peoples' homes, as furniture designers in particular transform psychedelic patterns and kaleidoscopic designs onto 'sofas, lamps and even bathtubs!'
Not only do we see this trend appear in Interior decor, but we have also seen it makes it's way into the fashion world too over the last few years. According to Trend Land Psychedelic prints, which have wildly carved a name and reputation for themselves in the fashion industry, seem as though they are here to stay.
So with that in mind, and also to brighten up the end of March, we thought we'd bring you some bright, inspirational images that tap into this well established and bold trend.
We would definitely introduce the bold lamps or cushions into our living space, but not sure if we could live with that psychedelic feature wallpaper, could you?
We are very pleased to welcome and introduce another hugely talented guest blogger! So without further ado...
My name is Belma Kapetanovic and I am a graphic and interior textiles designer living and working in London. Thanks very much to Decorque for inviting me to guest blog for them!
A bit about me: I grew up in Toronto, Canada, where I completed my degree in graphic design. I have always been drawn to working with colour and pattern, and in 2009 I moved to London in search of a larger design scene and to do MA in textiles at the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Needless to say, I never looked back! Since finishing my MA in I have been developing my own interior products under the brand label 'Element Interiors.' I design and sell made-to-order rugs and wallpaper, as well as home accessories such as cushions. The designs are colourful, abstract, graphic and based on discovering the hidden beauty in the natural world around us.
I love spending time in the great outdoors, and I always carry a camera to capture unique or unusual things I notice. I never know when something is going to inspire me! Often a photo that I've had on the back burner for months or even years suddenly becomes the inspiration for a new theme or design.
My 'Element Original' rug and wallpaper collections consist primarily of work that I created during my MA, and incorporate a wide range of inspirations including forests (trees are a never-ending source of beautiful pattern motifs), oceans and coral reefs. Recently I've been designing smaller collections around more specific themes such as exotic flowers (the Floral Explosion rug collection) or rocks and minerals (the Geology wallpaper collection).
An idea for a future theme that's floating around in my head right now is an insect inspired collection - drawing inspiration from the beautiful, varied patterns on butterfly and dragonfly wings. I've also got a lot of fascinating photographs of mushrooms (such interesting and varied forms!), but I haven't quite worked out how to work them into successful prints for products just yet. To see more of the things that inspire me have a look at my Pinterest.
I still practice as a graphic designer in addition to designing and promoting my interior products collection. Having skills from both fields comes in really handy when creating my website and print marketing materials, as well as planning out my marketing campaigns.
The great thing about my rugs and wallpaper is that since they are made to order, I am able to create custom colourways of any of the designs to suit a particular room or decor scheme. I am also happy to discuss commissions for custom designs in my signature bold, graphic style - do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something in mind!
1: Kaleidoscope Rug - Forest; 2: Tree Stump Wallpaper; 3: Sediment and Barnacles Cushions; 4: Sediment Rug - Earth; 5: Pond Life Wallpaper - Spring Green; 6: Palm Frond Rug - Rust; 7: Shard Wallpaper - Ocean; 8: Dew Drops Cushion