Coronavirus has deprived us of essential colour experiences, leaving us feeling as washed out as our joggers. Leading colour consultants Laura Perryman and Marianne Shillingford share some simple techniques to bring colour joy to the everyday.

Your uncertain shadow (colour), Studio Olafur Elliasson

When lockdown #1 began in March 2020, a quiet refrain could be heard amongst those untouched by covid’s first tsunamic wave: “At least it’s spring,” we whispered, “imagine if it had happened in January!”

Well, here we are. Winter 2021 and collectively we don’t so much have the winter blues as the isolation greys. Many people have been isolating for nearly a year now, often in homes without a garden, where windows look out onto asphalt, and the only trees are on tv. Even if you can get out, you’ve probably run out of places to go. …

The Rogers’ Stairs is a gently provocative piece of design by woodwright, Alex Accleton. “It was,” Alex says, “an attempt to break with convention. Our clients’ home is a Victorian granite farmhouse in St Ives that had undergone complete renovation. Ordinarily, custom in a central stairwell of modest size would call for something more obvious.” But it isn’t in Alex’s nature to accept the ordinary or the obvious. Instead, his work is informed by place, people and purpose.

In the case of the Rogers’ home, the owners’ contemporary interior style contrasted strikingly with the building’s traditional Cornish aesthetic. …

Photo by Becca Allen

A new product for a new era of design

ashortwalk are an award-winning design company on the north coast of Cornwall, led by former Dyson designer and inventor Dan Dicker. Innovators in circular design processes and materials, ashortwalk see waste as a challenge, and an opportunity to participate in the creation of a more sustainable future.

In late 2016 ashortwalk were asked to develop ideas to turn used paper coffee cups into new products. At the time, a BBC campaign led by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall revealed the dirty secret of cafe culture: the plastic lining of “paper” cups made them all but impossible to recycle. A reassuring “recyclable” logo didn’t…

‘That’ is an enemy of the Good Writer. A sneaky fellow, ‘that’ arrives in our sentences as an oh-so-flexible friend, but most of the time he’s a shapeshifting waste of space.

What type of word is ‘that’?

Words are categorised according to their function and each category is known in linguistics as a ‘part of speech’. The trouble with the word ‘that’ is: it belongs to an unusually large number of categories. ‘That’ can be an article, pronoun, conjunction, adverb or adjective. If you don’t believe me, you could match the sentences below to the correct part of speech. …

“The stamen is the focus, of nature and of life”

When Habitat invited Becca Allen to design a product for their “30 under 30” collection the brief, to create product inspired by sustainability, suited her down to the ground. Becca is a circular designer, an innovator who recognises that true sustainability can only be achieved by echoing the cyclical processes and flows of materials found in nature. Replacing our naive linear model is an individual, community and global challenge, nowhere more so than in urban environments where is is almost impossible to feed and clothe oneself without supporting the single-use-plastic…

Leaning back against the salt-sprayed window of Porthtowan’s Beach Cafe, Chris Hines MBE shares a pearl of wisdom: ‘People who design things have an incredible power to be an incredible force for good.’ Chris isn’t talking about himself, though right now I can’t think of a better case in point. This is partly because Chris is so charismatic, but mostly it is because he is an innovator, a catalyst and, though he wouldn’t necessarily define himself as such, a designer.

To describe Daniel Dicker, founder of A Short Walk product design company as an innovator would be a disservice. As we speak, Dan pulls samples of otherworldly materials from drawers, email contacts from his inbox and shares sketches of products that refuse to accept any preconceptions of material and function.

Sarah Conway

Design Writer & Brand Storyteller. Always on the lookout for stories of colour, material and design

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