Join our complimentary garden design day! Wednesday 14th June

Inchbald Seoul

Inchbald launches a new garden design school in Korea – Inchbald Seoul

Inchbald was founded to provide professional education for aspiring interior designers. With a great personal interest in gardens and landscaping, founder Jacqueline Duncan extended the programmes to include the study of Garden Design and our graduates have gone on to spectacular careers.

Inchbald has always attracted an international student body, which in itself offers greater diversity to those studying here, and in 1992 Inchbald was approached with a view to establishing a link with a school in Jeddah in order to start an Interior Design department. The Future Centre (Jeddah) is now a well established success.

Inchbald is now collaborating with Master of Arts in Garden Design graduate Young Ok Kim to start a Garden Design School in Seoul, a challenge which is most exciting and which we are sure will prove to be just as popular and successful as the Jeddah establishment.

Inchbald Seoul is launching its first course, a six month Diploma, on 12th May 2017.

For further information please see below:-

Tel:  + 82-2-722-1121
Email:   inchbaldseoul@naver.com
Website:   Inchbaldseoul.com
Blog:   blog.naver.com/inchbaldseoul

Easter Activity: Gardening With The Children

Easter is great time to get out into the garden but remember it isn’t just the adults who can help, involve the children!

Create a composter…

As the buds are bursting with new foliage start to clear the old leaves, which have covered the ground from winter.  If you have room start a leaf composter, this is a good way to return the goodness back to the soil and the kids can learn too.

Check out this one on Eco Friendly Kids

The main event – Easter Egg Hunt…

The Easter egg hunt is a clever way of getting all the family outdoors in spring.  Remember hide them well, think about giving them clues to their whereabouts.  Use plants as clues for example the egg is in amongst the daffodils or hanging from the rustling bamboo, this helps to nurture an early appreciation of nature embedding a natural respect for the environment.

Getting your hands dirty…

Children love digging – a quick trip to the local garden centre to stock up on some early summer blooms will allow the kids to interact with the garden.  A trick is to buy small and watch them grow.  This will encourage the children to nurture.  Get them to measure the plants once planted and keep a record of their growth.  Give them their own plot they will learn the hard way that plants need care in order to flourish and it also gives them a sense of ownership.

Children love digging in the garden

Look out for dead growth, as plants awake from their winter slumber it is easy to spot those areas which need pruning away.  Remember to edit rather than prune, you want to retain a more natural look rather than conform to a ball shape.  The current trend, seen in the upcoming Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show gardens, is for a more informal approach to gardening so relax and enjoy Easter.

Book Review: Alvar Aalto Architect

Alan Hughes reviews Alvar Aalto Architect by John Stewart

A retrospective commentary on an architect’s work is not such an unusual idea but in the hands of John Stewart this consideration of Finland’s greatest architect/designer turns into so much more.

Mr. Stewart, at the launch of the book spoke emotionally yet with some humour about how his determination to write a biography of the man, as well as the architect, tempered his forty years of hero worship of Aalto.  However, what he has crafted is a wonderful exploration of Aalto’s creative persona, his struggle to be successful and his battle with ego and perfectionism, adding a special dimension to the story which is partnered by a comprehensive consideration of his design output.

Illustrations are equally revealing with images of Aalto’s work accompanied by drawings and personal photographs, some published for the first time.  The context of the work is very well researched and presented giving a clear sense of how Aalto fits into his time and Stewart is full of anecdotal and intimate moments from the family and private life of one of Finland’s most recognised sons.  In the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence this publication is very much in context.

Published by Merrell, London

The Manipulation Of Space With Colour

Alan Hughes discusses Tinie Tempah, colour psychology and how an interior designer can manipulate space with colour.

The concept that music can stimulate certain areas of the brain has prompted research by a team at Reading University to explore this theory.   English rapper and songwriter Tinie Tempah volunteered to undergo brain scans whilst listening to music and conclusions indicate that we are all fired by the impact of sound.  Certain areas of the brain ‘light up’, as we listen and the investigation is set to determine why these specific areas respond. This could be a clue as to which areas house our emotional responses and may begin to explain if particular areas of the brain are tuned to specific reactions?

The study attempts to quantify and measure personal reaction in a scientific manner, even though the effect may be no more dramatic than a ‘goose bump’.  

Tempah himself relates the analysis to his own compositions more immediately, stating that he needs the music to capture a feeling.   The scientists at Reading University however, aim to identify the level of activity in stem, cortex and cerebellum and the results of this exercise will impact on our perceptions across a wider field.

It comes as no surprise to the designer that sensory stimulus has an emotional consequence.   In spatial design a similar reaction can be provoked by colour and as the composition of the musician can be further inspired by music, so the Interior designer reacts to the stimulus of colour and can learn to manipulate space with visual impact.   The designer’s ability to assign colour for a purpose beyond cosmetic should be a major element in his or her perceived style and skill.

The educational centre in El Chaparral designed by Spanish architect Alejandro Munoz Miranda uses coloured glass in the communal corridors to elevate the students’ mood between classes

We are bombarded by stimuli on a number of levels and on a constant basis.   Initial impact is strong but this is reduced by repetition and, if you wish, familiarity.   Thus we experience a difference in brain activity between first impact and subsequent experience.  Nevertheless the impression penetrates more deeply into the brain than mere pleasurable response may suggest.

This information is not really new.   Many studies have shown that colour affects the heart rate, the recovery rate of patients, the behaviour of prison inmates and indeed the overall mood of the viewer.   Given this subjective reaction, the possibilities are interesting.   Once the student grasps the principles of colour and the differentials between aspects of warm and cold, advancing and recessive shades, so It becomes possible to change perceptions of form and scale with informed colour disposition.   Could anything be more empowering?

Fashions will come and go but the study of colour and its relationship to light, is one of the most important subjects in the lexicon of design education.

Read more about Tine Tempah: Mind-Blowing Music here.

 

 

Collectors & Collections

Jacqueline Duncan OBE on collectors, collecting and the Mostyn Reception at the British Museum at which the renowned clock has its annual winding.

Contemporary interior designers today show a marked disinterest in the use and beauty of antiques; I begin to wonder if the antique market will be saved by the enthusiasm of the Collector.

This was brought particularly to my attention on 23rd February 2017 when I was privileged to be invited to the annual winding of the Mostyn Tompion, now a prized feature of the British Museum’s spectacular Clock Collection.   Probably now the finest horological collection in the world, a major part of it was formed by engineer Courtenay Ilbert and acquired by the Museum in 1957 on Ilbert’s death.

“There are plenty of people who still enjoy the challenge of acquisition.”

Collectors fall into categories, but they share a single minded passion for their specific interest, whether it be diamonds from Golconda or pottery shards from Troy.   In Courtenay’s case he was intrigued enough to purchase a tray of watch parts in a jewellers’ closing down sale in order to see what he could make of them.   Within the week it is said that he had restored the muddle into three watches; at the time he was still at public school, aged about 13.   Childish fascination turned into obsession and he was to pursue his accumulation of items concerned with the measurement of time until he died in 1956.   A qualified engineer, he remained committed to the mechanics of his clocks and watches: the cosmetic grandeur of jewelled watches and wondrous clock cases was of secondary importance.

“Collectors share a single minded passion for their specific interest.”

On one occasion in 1910, buying a newspaper in a booth in Piccadilly, he saw a new watch for sale for 2/6d.   He bought it, pointing out later that he didn’t think that finance and manufacturing would ever again so coincide as to produce a very complicated product at such a very modest price.   The cheap Piccadilly watch shares space with, among many hundreds of examples, James II’s personal pocket watch, a spectacular clock by Nicholas Vallinn, clockmaker to Elizabeth I and the smallest Tompion known, devised for travelling with its own travelling case in the age of carriages.

It was always the ingenuity that held him spellbound, rather than the cosmetic or associated appeal and this is a collection that represents an international review of the measurement of time.   It is easy to say that there is less opportunity for collectors like Ilbert, but this is really not true and there are plenty of well informed people who still enjoy the challenge of acquisition.

Thomas Tompion’s famous year-going Table clock, made for William 111 in 1689, with a lavish case by Dutch architect/designer Daniel Marot – now known as the Mostyn Tompion and displayed in the British Museum

The Mostyn Tompion is a year going spring driven table clock made by Thomas Tompion, known as the Father of English Clockmaking. Created for the Coronation of William III in 1689, it remained in the King’s bedroom until his death.

Guests at the Mostyn Reception in the Museum are allowed to turn the key once to augment the annual winding ceremony, and with other (and with great caution) I did just that on February 23rd.   If the Museum holds its next reception later than February 2018, Mr Tompion’s clock will still run on beyond its stated 12 month cycle.

Not at all bad for a clock created nearly 350 years ago.

Inchbald Spring Lunch 2017

Mrs Duncan and Charles Funke
Nic Savage, Stephanie Mahon and Andrew Duff

The Spring lunch was held this year on Shrove Tuesday at the Cavalry and Guards club, a venue which is very popular with our guests.

Sarah Morgan and Paul Girardot
Frances Penn, David Mlinaric and Susie Rumbold, President of BIID

Guest of honour was David Mlinaric, who long ago worked for Michael and Jacqueline Inchbald before going on to be the leading authority on the restoration of important houses in both England and Ireland. David brought his daughter Frances, who has now started her own studio.

Dean Keyworth, Nina Campbell, Claire Foggett from The English Garden and Annie Stevens
Lulu Lytle from Soane, Broosk Saib and Sammy Wickins from Helen Green Design

All the guests at this event are distinguished in their own spheres; they included Annie Stevens, past President of BIID, Diana Yakeley, also a past President and newly honoured with the OBE for her contribution to the progress of the British Institute of Interior Design.

Keisha Hulsey from Staffan Tollgård and Lavinia Dargie
Joanna Wood, Susie Rumbold, Simon Playle and Mary Fox-Linton

Old friends included architect Guy Greenfield, graduates Tatiana Tarfur, Keisha Hulsey from Staffan Tollgård, Nic Savage now working in Garden Design, and Nina Campbell a long ago student, now internationally famous.

Lulu Lytle and Tatiana Tafur
Alan Hughes and Suzanne Trocmé

It was a lovely day, most suitable for a Spring lunch and everyone enjoyed the event; most particularly hostess Jacqueline Duncan.

Dean Keyworth and Nina Campbell
Guy Greenfield and Sammy Wickins

What price the beauty of antique furniture?

Jacqueline Duncan, OBE, discusses the shift in antiques from private use in homes, to museums and public spaces.

It would appear that the strong links once existing between the world of antique furniture and the design community are now almost non-existent.  It is surely regrettable that furniture produced in the 18th and 19th centuries should be increasingly ignored in terms of private use, to be viewed as exhibits in public spaces rather than enjoyed in the interiors for which they were intended.

The works of the English cabinetmakers in both centuries are not only beautifully designed but are of superb quality.

These are items that not only provide comfort and convenience but are visually a delight, effectively works of art.

Fashion swings from one extreme to another, and the popularity of furniture we called ‘antique’ has given way to the attraction of furniture made of contemporary materials with contemporary finishes, a trend that was started in the thirties and only interrupted by WW2 and the very different priorities of producer and public.

The pressures driving this change of direction are simple; today it is important that the care of an interior design is as simple and as convenient as manufacturers can possibly make it.   Classic furniture and artefacts require classic treatment; thus in a world where hot drinks are served in mugs, polished surfaces become a liability.   Washing up machines are not compatible with fine china and glass; underfloor heating is not good for valuable carpets and in addition to such considerations is the cost of good antiques and the added burden of insurance.

So what is the future for fine period furniture and indeed the professions allied to is distribution?  Is this amazing resource to be side-lined by contemporary designers?

Will such artifacts be relegated to buildings open to the public, for cursory inspection with little further interest in production or provenance?   In addition to the care involved, spiralling costs in both galleries and auction houses have certainly left private middle of the road clients disenchanted and the draconian buyers’ premium now imposed by auctioneers and passed on through the antique trade has not been helpful.

Cost is certainly a part of the thrust behind the fashion for ‘boho’ interiors.

Rooms are furnished with old provincial furniture now valued not for quality but for its aged appearance.   Strange perhaps that, whilst ignoring the appeal of quality and elegant design, clients still crave items that have an appearance of age;  damaged paintwork is applauded as having an ‘interesting patina’ and eccentric artefacts are graced with equally eccentric descriptions in auctioneers’ catalogues.

Is this odd preference a desire for familiarity, an atavistic link to our generic past, a reassurance of historic stability?   Or is it a manifestation of a fundamental difference in perception,  a move to the press button household where material values are a responsibility and the achievement of beautiful design, past or present, is side-lined in the Gadarene rush to the next appointment?

I hope not, if only in the interest of a contemporary contribution to the history of English culture.

Lessons From The Masters

Everyone seeks inspiration from iconic figures, both past and present – for creative guidance or for ways in which they have built their careers.   Henriette von Stockhausen (Inchbald Alumni) will join Giles Kime, interiors editor at Country Life, Stephen Lewis and Bunny Turner at London Design Week 2017 on Sunday 12th March in a session ‘Lessons From The Masters’ to explore what they have learned from the aesthetic heroes who have influenced their life and work.

You can attend by clicking the link here:

Lessons From The Masters

What’s My Style?

How does an interior design create their signature ‘look’ and become successful?  

For aspiring interior designers, or for that matter any designer, a signature look seems essential as a career statement and if any financial and publicity goals are to be achieved – the measure of success being a recognizable name and the business success that goes with it.

The “designer knows best” scenario often characterizes the achievement of such success, with clients being seemingly directed to accept what is fashionable or what the designer thinks they should have or indeed to accept a ‘complete look’ which can lead to a very raw end product. In such cases it can appear as if nothing has been acquired or contributed by the client at all and certainly the end result does not suggest how a home actually evolves – over time, with a slow accumulation of elements and choices.

Given that interior design is about ergonomics as well as atmosphere, function as well as decoration, there is clearly more to it than any purely stylistic fixation suggests.

So how should one go about educating a fledgling designer? Show them an approach to developing their ideas whilst asking them to examine who they are, in design terms. Why do they make the choices they do? How is his or her sensory perception different from everyone else’s? Once identified, personal taste or choice can be engaged when relevant or ignored when not, but certainly developed further.

Kelly Hoppen; synonymous with muted colours and fabrics

Assessing a client is the most interesting part of the process, trying to identify empathy between client and designer is the key. When there is a clear meeting of minds and taste then the designer’s enthusiasms can be interwoven into the brief. If the client is a world away from the designer, not unusual and not the disaster it may sound, then clear parameters in terms of style and feel can still be set up and exploited to satisfy both parties.

This approach does not mean the designer is faceless, merely that the expertise called upon is subject to nuance, governed by the clients attitude to their space, even if it is the designer who articulates what that attitude might be. The result is usually a happy client who feels they have been listened to and as a result have been given a unique response, a unique space. The signature for such a designer is in the approach that allows every client to be seen as an individual. This in turn develops the designer’s originality, as the most valuable asset is a designer’s original mind, precluding any repetition in design terms from project to project or client to client.

Designers must have an approach which allows every client to be seen as an individual thus avoiding repetition.

An educators role is to unwrap that originality, help the fledgling to see why they have such a unique view and coax that view into a robust and powerful thing that will stand up to professional assessment and standards.

Whatever the ‘style’ of a designer, even if it encouraged the client to make first contact, a client will still want to get to know the designer, to see if there is a connection and then develop from there. As the relationship deepens the initial reason for the choice of a designer might be less important than the continuing dialogue that will create a suitable and successful space.

Alan Hughes. Principal:  Inchbald School of Design.

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Gluck; A Fascinating Artist No Longer Forgotten

This week saw the opening of an exhibition at the Fine Art Society, devoted to three women artists, one of them Gluck.

I went especially to see Gluck’s paintings which I have long admired – indeed we once had one in the family and to my eternal regret it was sold.   She was an extraordinary woman, with a wondrously classical profile belied by her tiny figure – she was only 5’2” tall, dressed elegantly like a man, and when I visited her studio was living with her partner Edith Head.   Edith was no taller than Gluck, with hazel curls, and a sweetness of manner that indicated, on brief acquaintance, a softer and perhaps less demanding  personality.

Gluck; Lilies, c. 1932-6

Gluck’s landscapes were challenging and I have always thought most successful,  her still lives concise and jewel brilliant.   The large Arum Lilies was painted for a client of Syrie Maugham and framed in a design of Gluck’s own which she took the rouble to patent, perhaps an interesting comment on her attitude to her art and her possessive attitude to it.    All the Glucks in the Exhibition are in private collections, with a waiting list of buyers should any come onto the market.   Ours was not there, sold some years ago for £3,000 at Christies.   It was originally purchased at the Gluck Exhibition in the thirties by horologist Courtenay Ilbert, the  only modern art work he ever bought, and like all the other owners he was devoted to it.   When he died Gluck rang up to ask if she could have it back!

Gluck’s world was the circle of Syrie Maugham, Oliver Hill and so many other luminaries of the thirties for whom she painted and with whom she collaborated.

WW2 caused a dramatic slippage in art and fashion and her achievements, like those  of her contemporaries, seem to have been quite overlooked in the rage for French and American painters.   Further, the break-up of so many English Mansions and their collections put a treasury of popular 18th century works on the market which became closely linked to the English Style and the ubiquitous Colefax and Fowler influence.   Thus the elegant designs of the artists and designers of the inter war era sank out of fashion, but as in all matters of design, only temporarily

I was delighted to see this incredibly talented woman’s work revived and re-assessed, even though this higher profile will make her paintings even more difficult to obtain.

http://thefineartsociety.com/exhibitions/131/overview/ 

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