THE BOOK OF PALMS

To say I found this book inspiring would be an understatement. I absolutely LOVE it. My husband bought it for me for christmas, although I think he also loved it so much that he couldn’t wait and gave it to me the week before. The Book of Palms by Taschen has now been published in a mini edition and we have been lucky enough to get a few copies for the shop. Where should I start? This is a very unique art book as well as a book of information to learn about trees from paradise. There are 240 beautiful illustrations of tropical palms and antique reproduction drawings that are stunning. All the images would look amazing as framed prints for the wall.

The Author H. Walter Lack is the Director at the Botanic Garden and Botanic Museum Berlin-Dahlem and Professor at the Free University of Berlin. A leading expert in the history of botany. The illustrations of the palm family included in the book depict microscopic plant anatomy, geographical maps and graphs depicting growth etc.The book was based on Martius’ expeditions through Brazil and Peru. From 1817 to 1820, he traveled over 2,250 km, (1,400 miles), through the Amazon basin to investigate natural history and native tribes with zoologist Johann Baptist von Spix. The result was this amazing catalog of all known genera of the palm family.

Am I starting to sound a bit nerdy yet? I do love my botanicals! Those of you who follow me on my other social media accounts will already know of my passion, (obsession?), for palms and this book is where it all began. It has been the inspiration for much of my photography and print making over the last year. The Palm for me truly depicts paradise and who wouldn’t want to be reminded of that everyday.

The Book of Palms by Taschen (mini edition) and our monochrome palm prints are available in the SOOuK shop.

CABIN IN THE WOODS

It’s a good day when a giant box of Taschen books arrive at the studio! The one I have been most excited about reading is Cabins. I became aware of this book last November when I was researching the christmas gift guide and have been desperate to get hold of it ever since… and now I have it in my hand! It’s a beautiful big hard back book with a really cool contemporary illustration on the cover by Marie-Laure Cruschi. There are lots of her striking illustrations throughout the book and really it’s worth buying just to see those.

This new Taschen title is full of creative cabin architecture and mind-blowing photography from all corners of the planet. It includes some of the most incredible, innovative buildings I have ever seen and explores architecture’s creative thinking, the ideas of a refuge appealing to the modern busy lives that we lead. For me being isolated for a while and alone with the elements really appeals. The rustic raw materials of the structures mirroring the surrounding nature would be the perfect sanctuary.

The book discusses and array of briefs, clients and their situations. One that really caught my eye was the Franke- Marzipan Bunkhouse originally built as a presentation booth for the Cottage Life Trade Show now a permanent cabin on Drag Lake, Hailburton. It has a flat square roof which is cantilevered over the structure with large deck doors. The interior is just stunning, finished with the walls covered in Douglas fir. The plan is square sitting on four concrete piers with terraces on two sides that look out over a beautiful woodland.

Other amazing structures to look out for is firstly the container guest house – I absolutely love this one, built from an old shipping container and painted deep marine blue is set with in an oasis of tropical planting, including a cacti roof garden… what’s not to love! At the other end of the spectrum the Four Cornered Villa in Finland is pictured with a bright white snowy out look reflecting the all white interior. It would be so peaceful and calm with its minimal skandi decor. The four cornered design was inspired by the island situation of the house, the architects sought out 4 different views towards the lakes and forrest. Its just an incredible building. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A Life in the woods would be a very nice life indeed.

 

Cabins by Taschen is available from soo-uk.com/cabins

15 GREAT THINGS – DESIGNER Q&A

I thought for this week’s post I would include a little designers Q and A feature I had in the Scotland on Sunday yesterday. Thank you very much to the Editor Lynne and her team. I was really honoured (if not a tiny bit embarrassed) to been included.

1 How did you end up doing what you do?

I have worked as a commercial photographer since finishing studying photography 15 years ago, working for many UK based interior magazines, shooting interiors, architecture and styling, so it was a natural progression to add to my existing career. SOOuK was born from a love for all things interior. I am very passionate about supporting British design and do this as much as possible in the shop.

2 Who or what inspires you?

I am so lucky that my studio is surrounded by beautiful fields; I have this vast ever-changing sky and landscape to look at and feel inspired everyday. I couldn’t imagine my life without that view now. It keeps me focused. I also like to keep lists, scrapbooks and photographs of inspiring typography, signage and nature.

3 What is your starting point for any new project?

All projects are different and I don’t have a set path that I follow. Each project is approached differently, I am never short of new ideas and the start of a project is always an exciting time followed by doubt then excitement then doubt again!

4 What designers/makers do you admire?

So many… Hans Wegner, HAY, Julius Shulman, Claire Gaudion, Tori Murphy, Joanna Ham to name a few.. I have just returned from Top Drawer and Home London, the amount of amazingly talented designers out there is incredible.

5 Were you involved in craft from an early age?

Yes absolutely. I bought my first darkroom at 13 with some money my grandfather left me when he died. I cannot imagine a life without photography.

6 What makes a home?

The people in it! We were lucky enough to be able to build our home, and the icing on the cake is all of the memories we are making living in the house of our dreams. I am delighted to be bringing my children up here (and of course a HAY dining table helps!)

7 Is there any object you desire?

‘Cabin In The Woods’ by Taschen or if I was really lucky CH07 chair by Wagner (in black please!).

8 What is your idea of a great escape?

I have a desire to visit a timber house on Skye, preferably one by Rural Designs. I dream of the open views and seascapes. Although I love city adventures too. I spent some time in Copenhagen last year and I absolutely loved it. I cannot find fault with that city. The people are so friendly, the food is amazing and there is incredible design everywhere you look.

9 Do you prefer to camp under the stars or hotel comforts?

Stars from the hotel balcony? I tried camping with my boys last year… Lets just say it’s not for me, we were home before breakfast the next day.

10 Big screen movie or TV drama?

This is a hard one. Big screen movie, as there is nothing like being completely absorbed by a brilliant film. I love anything by Wes Anderson – The Life Aquatic and The Grand Budapest Hotel are two of my favourite films. I am also a big fan of watching a box set from start to finish.

11 What book would you recommend to a friend?

My husband bought me the most beautiful book for Christmas called “The Book Of Palms” from Taschen. It’s a magnificent work on all varieties of palm trees, full of paintings and beautiful cross-section illustrations. I absolutely treasure it.

12 Best music to work to?

I have 6 Music on in the studio everyday; it’s great company when I am in there on my own. I am also having a moment with Fame by David Bowie after seeing his V and A documentary last year. The last music I downloaded was Stay Gold from First Aid Kit – it’s just lovely.

13 What are your top tips for 24 hours in Edinburgh?

I don’t spend much time in the city these days, so it’s really exciting when I do venture in. I am obsessed with the palm trees so the Victorian palm houses in the Botanic Gardens would be a must, and after that a wander up to the restaurant Roman Nose in Eyre Place, I have only been a few times but I love the atmosphere, vintage decor, lovely food and friendly service. It would be a perfect day.

14 What are you working on at the moment?

Along with some existing photography projects I have been designing a new range of botanical Giclee Art Prints for the shop. It’s a project I have been working on for a while and am really excited about.

15 What makes you laugh

My dad’s terrible jokes. I used to feel sorry for him… sadly now I must be turning into him.

ROCK THE SHACK

It was my Birthday yesterday, a baltic Scottish February day. HB and I took the day off to wonder round the glass palm houses at The Royal Botanical Garden’s and dream of sunnier climates…they were closed due to ridiculously high winds. So instead we popped up to the National Portrait Gallery to have a look at the BP Portrait awards. There were some wonderful paintings included in this years selection and if you are in Edinburgh I would highly recommend a visit. Some of the works are phenomenal.

I spent a very lazy afternoon (with cake) looking through a book that HB bought me for my Birthday called “Rock the Shack”  it’s about the architecture of cabins, cocoons and hide-outs (edited by Sven Ehmann and Sofia Borges and printed by Gestalten) This book is heaven. I am not sure if it is actually healthy to get this excited about buildings?!

The book features gorgeous photography of an amazing collection of secluded cabins and stunning wood clad interiors to die for. Rock the Shack takes you to the places you can only dream about. The book opens with a statistic that ‘for the first time in the history of humankind, more people live in cities than in the country’  Yet more and more and more of us are desperate for a more peaceful existence, an escape from the manic pace of modern life. The idea of being out of reach and getting back to basics. Well this all sounds absolutely wonderful… as long as there is wifi. Get the book it really is fantastic. Thanks HB you know me well.