Monday, 23 September 2013

Sit Less Play More - BoConcept charity auction for Kids Company LDF 2013

I was delighted to be asked to redesign BoConcept’s iconic Imola chair for their charity auction for the benefit of Kids Company at the London Design Festival 2013. When I received the Imola Chair and realized how sumptuous the grey wool felt to touch I instantly knew that I would not reupholster it. But while I wanted to retain the sophistication of the original chair, I also wanted to bring a playfulness to it that would resonate with BoConcept’s theme ‘Sit Less, Play More’.

My studio was, at the time, filled with samples for my new collection ‘Pop Art goes Design’ that I have just launched this month. I spontaneously took the neon piping that I used on one of my cushions and wound it around the Imola’s legs. The contrast of the bright orange and the dark grey was striking – so this was my starting point.

Another thing that surprised me about the Imola was its size. It invites you to climb on it and make yourself comfortable rather than just sit on it. This led me to the idea to make cushions for it that would encourage its owner to play. I used my new screen printed textile design ‘Pop Art Circles’ that is black and white and had screens created of the four letters that make up the word P L A Y.  

The letters are inspired by the graphic representation of words or letterpress type fonts in artworks by the great Joe Tilson and Peter Blake and we hand printed them in different colours on top of the cotton canvas ‘Pop Art Circles’ design. 

The back of the cushions are grey felt, like the Imola chair, and each cushion has a different shape – round, square, oblong and triangle – to match the shape of its letter.  

The auction was held on Thursday the 19th of September - below you can see my chair and a few of the other designers who helped raise £8000 for the charity.

Nina Campbell was inspired by The Owl and the Pussycat and made the chair into a boat on the sea....

Andrew Archer made his chair into a wonderful swinging chair - perfect for outdoor use on a verandah or garden. I was very impressed by the boldness of it.

On the night, Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh spoke about her charity - I was so moved by what she said on the night that I want to share some of it with you.

Kids Company helps thousands of vulnerable children in London and now Bristol too. Many of those children are sleeping on the floor or even don’t have a home at all. Many of them have experienced such bad abuse that they build a relationship with the charity’s building and furniture before they even start to open up to the staff. For that reason Camila puts a lot of thought into the textiles and the physical, tactile qualities of the centre (and I can relate to that from my work for the Royal London pediatric wards). Kids Company accompanies many children from childhood to their first employment but receives almost no public funding, so the generosity of private people is vital for them.

Although we raised £8000 on the night, I had hoped we could have raised more, and so I wanted to link my blog to how YOU can support her, by donating whatever you can to her charity here.
Have a good week everyone, and love to you all.

Best wishes 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Ella Doran stand at Maison September 2013

Here are a few pictures of my exhibition at trade show Maison et Objet in Paris - last week.

Vintage Bicycle rug produced by WovenGround - I have designed 2 rugs for this season to complement my Bikes of Hackney range of products 

Bikes of Hackney Collection
Camera: After Lichtenstein. 2013 Ella Doran.

'Camera Lenses' coasters available at the end of September in our online shop!

Screen printed 'Cameras Stack' cushion 100% cotton 45x45cm

The walk way past our stand @ Maison

The 'Portables' and 'Sevens' collections had a wonderful setting on the Ary Trays stand - the tables and stools will be available to order from our online shop by the beginning of October.

As always it was good to meet new and familiar faces - thank you to everyone who visited us!

Very best,

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The London Design Festival 2013 - Part I - The Moleskine-Sketch-Relay at the V&A 14th - 22nd September

Moleskine and the London Design Festival have invited over 70 London-based designers to participate in the Moleskine Sketch Relay 2013 (exhibited at the V&A Museum from 14th - 22nd September) that is part of the Moleskine Detour Project. I am proud to be one of them and in this post I want to give you a taster of my contribution and the inspiration behind it, which I hope will entice you to come along to the exhibition to see it all.

Online luxury gift retailer Amara explains the idea behind the Moleskine Sketch Relay so nicely at (including a lovely youTube video of a previous contribution by fashion illustrator Jason Brooks)that I won't go into detail here

Just this much: This year the title of the London Design Festival's campaign is 'Design is Here, There and Everywhere' and we, the designers, have been asked to create illustrations around three questions that relate to the campaign.

I have approached the brief using pencil, collage, photographs and prints, inspired by the twentieth century's Pop art movement, which I was researching at the time, as I was also working on my new collection 'Pop Art goes Design' that is launching this week at trade show Maison et Objet in Paris.

The first question was

"...what objects, items, systems, and details could you not live without in your private space or in the public domain?" 

My response to it:

I have left a few pages out, including my response to the second question,"what you feel needs improving within your personal or professional life ...", so you will have to visit to see the rest ;-)

... in response to the third question

"what would you like to design that you haven't had the opportunity to design before?"

I reflected on how I could express that I would love to collaborate with architects and designers on the whole space, beyond the everyday items that fill a space, on the 'fabric' that makes up a space ... and came up with this collage,  

wanting to suggest an empty interior that I could imagine designing and filling with colour and light, hinting vaguely at objects, personality, print and pattern that are already present and can be included or replaced. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but later realised how strongly my image was inspired by Richard Hamilton's "Interior II":

I read up on Richard's inspiration for this artwork and found that he was inspired by a still (photograph) from the film ShockproofThe still became the generator of a series of works based around the interior - as a set - a space to explore beyond the normal perspective and assumed reality of things. In his words, courtesy of the Tate,

"It was a film set, not a real room, so wall surfaces were not explicitly conjoined; and the lighting came from several different sources. Since the scale of the room had not become unreasonably enlarged, as one might expect from the use of a wide angle lens, it could be assumed that false perspective had been introduced to counteract its effect yet the foreground remained emphatically close and the recession extreme."

And if - as I hope - this post has got your creative juices flowing, I am happy to say that on Saturday the 14th at Midday, the Victoria and Albert Museum is holding a free public 'Sketchathon' where you can 'drop in and populate the pages of Moleskine notebooks with your sketches, thoughts and doodles, taking design in London as your source of inspiration'.

More on my participation in the London Design Festival to come, so watch this space.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pop Art goes Design

Welcome to my new collection 'Pop Art goes Design' - with my subject: 'The Camera'!

Below is a bit of background on what I have been working on these last few months in preparation to launching my new everyday collection @ Maison this September. 

My approach to 'Pop Art goes Design' was through the eyes of POP ART from the 60's – an era when artistic impulse and experimentation began to take hold of the art community – so I approached this collection very much with an open mind, experimentation being key, and a desire to play with paint, paper and photography and screen printing.

' Camera Portraits'

As a starting point I wanted to capture vintage analogue cameras in their raw beauty as the wonderful crafted objects that they are, aware that they are about to become extinct in our fast track digital age ... - ironically these were photographed on my (now considered old but not yet vintage) Nikon D300 with my favourite 60mm Micro Nikkor 1:2.8 D lens.

 'Camera Groupshot'

One of my main influences was Joe Tilson, with his wonderful mix of photography, news print, graphics and paint.

'Cut Out and Send' Joe Tilson 1968

The two designs below will launch in stationery products in early 2014
'Pop Art goes Design Model III '

 'Pop Art goes Design - Click Print and Paint'

Richard Hamilton was another great source of inspiration for me - there is a quality to his work which I find captivating - the space around his pieces speaks to me and holds my attention just as much as the paint and collage.

'Study for a Fashion Plate' 1969 Richard Hamilton.

Here is another design of my collection.

'Pop Art goes Design - Cut out Camera'

'Look' by Joe Tilson

I love this piece as it reminds me of how I have tended to draw and 'LOOK' at things when I was a child - close up - attention to the graphic detail of things - bold and strong. 

My childhood in the early 80's was spent busily drawing with 'Rotring technical pens' in varying thicknesses, which is in part the inspiration behind my 'Pop Art Circles' design (pictured below), along with old graphics from that era, with an echo of pop music and the camera lens in mind ... and a nod to Lichtenstein's 'Dots' after visiting the Tate this year :-)

'Pop Art Circles': cushion screen printed cotton with neon piping.
Wanting to bring the design into the 'NOW'! I instinctively added the neon accents on the cushion pictured above – neon is present in our everyday lives, both on our bikes and safety wear, and in our fashion with an emphasis on standing out. 

I then continued to play and added the classic Brownie Camera; the coloured filter lenses help form abstract circles for what became the signature design of the 'Pop art goes Design' collection (pictured below) that features on stationery and notebooks.

 'Pop Art goes Design' - Notebook cover design

Hard back Notebook and Sketch books available from mid September here!

'Pop Dots Art' close of up A5 Sketch book

Designing 'Pop Dots Art' was fun as my team & I playfully collected hole punch colours, letters and graphics in order to form an off beat pattern and spell out the words of this collection!

As I mentioned at the top, when I was designing my new collection I wanted to include playing with screen printing as this creates a special feel that is very different from the digital printing we usually do today, so all the fabrics of my collection are screen printed. 

'Camera Stack': Screen printed Tea towel 100% Linen

I hope you enjoyed this little background story about what I have been up to with my team over the last few months, and I look forward to seeing you over this next 'month of Design' both here (in London) and in Paris from the 6th- 10th September.

Bon Jour!

Ella Doran.
Special thanks go out to:
Kaja, Jess, Anne-Sophie, Debbie, Asa and Joelle, for all your support on this collection.