There’s no doubt the celestial is having a moment right now – from the moon to the stars to the zodiac. When we spotted the new range from Hum London, we asked founders Hermione and Ellie Gee what inspired them. “I’ve always been very into astrology and we’ve both often found ourselves drawn to artworks depicting celestial illustrations,” says Hermione. “There’s something magical about it and we wanted to create a lampshade that would embody this feeling. When developing our designs, we draw lots of inspiration from art, such as Jean Cocteau and more recently Jeff Koons’s Apollo exhibition on the Greek island of Hydra. The magnificent gold sun sculpture that blows in the wind and greets visitors is incredible.”
The brand’s latest collection evolved when designing a unique gift. “We were designing a lampshade inspired by the cosmos and featured a pin-prick detail to create tiny stars that twinkle when the lamp is on,” explains Ellie. “We then found ourselves creating a special gift for our young nephew earlier this year, and this led us to adapt our celestial lampshade, painting it to reflect Lenny’s star sign, with his corresponding constellation. That’s how our zodiac lampshades were born.”
If you were hooked on the second season of The White Lotus like us, you won’t have failed to notice the incredible ceramic decorative head vases used in several of the sets. The vintage Mediterranean vibe crept on our radar last year with the launch of Bettina Ceramica from Natalie Sytner, a homeware brand celebrating both artisan-made ceramics and Sytner’s own Italian heritage. At the end of the year, inspired by her family’s collection of linens, she introduced traditional tablecloths featuring the archival Italian needlework ‘punto tagliato’ – where portions of the linen are cut away and then reinforced with intricate embroidery – the ‘Fiore’ dinner plate with hand-painted floral edging, and then came the ‘Barocco’. Traditionally made in silver, it has been reimagined in contemporary ceramic with bold yellow stripes.
Issy Granger, known for her pretty glass candlesticks, introduced her first range of pure white ceramics at the end of last year, inspired by historical scenes from the Med: “The Ancient Greeks and Romans shared their myths and legends by painting scenes from their stories upon ceramics. Inspired by this tradition and both my love of the antiquity and modern craft, our latest collection was born.” With interiors tastemaker Lucy Williams also displaying a small Mediterranean-inspired wall hanging in her bathroom, it’s clear that designers and curators have sunnier climes on the brain this year.
Making a design feature of a staircase, even where space is tight, has become a priority among many architects and homeowners. Sam McNally, co-founder and director at Echlin, explains: “Over time, staircases have shrunk back into simple designs that were just about getting from one level to another. Partly driven by working in London where space is a premium, and partly driven by a passion for design, we want to turn the staircase back into a statement. We often arrive at a helical design as it feels more organic than a spiral. That said, a lot of our plan forms are rectilinear to make efficient use of the space.”
A statement staircase can add a striking visual impact and serve as a functional focal point in a room. Alex Macaulay, founder and managing director at Kinland, elaborates: “In a ground-floor space, a statement staircase can establish a sense of flow and movement, and can also draw the eye upwards, creating a sense of spatial hierarchy. This example staircase in the Coach House, which is bound by vertical wooden slats and made from timber, has a particularly calming feel due to the healing qualities of timber. The soft shade of plaster pink is ‘Serene’ from Bauwerk’s limewash paint collection.”
Regular readers will know how much we love marble and travertine, but a new range of natural materials has also caught our eye. Semi-precious stones such as onyx, mother of pearl and agate are emerging as a popular choice for splashbacks in kitchens and bathrooms, adding a new level of luxe to various finishes. Cullifords is offering these unique semi-precious stones as easily manageable panels, allowing homeowners and designers to make one-of-a-kind statements within interiors. From the shimmering iridescence of mother of pearl – ideal for tranquil bathroom environments – to vibrant and intense lapis lazuli and rich jewel-toned malachite, there’s something to suit every space in this collection.
For something that emulates marble but still taps into the trend, consider onyx. “The most attractive thing about onyx is that it is very personal – the slabs vary so much because of the way it forms, making it very appealing for those who want something unique. From worktops to bar fronts and feature walls, the distinct colourful detailing and exquisite veining provides a distinctive look, adding instant wow factor to any scheme,” explains Gerald Culliford.