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 

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