Small-scale manufacturers, craftsmen and women, artists and designers transform the Giving halls into designer platforms that offer a thrilling mix of products. Here are all the ingredients for everyday delight: striking statement jewellery, fine leather goods, gift items from the heart and funky gadgets with a “Wow” effect.
Eye-catching items with a twinkle in the eye
Just give it a little twist, and an ordinary item becomes something special. There were lots of these eye-catching designs at Ambiente. With a penchant for neon, this year’s interior stylists seemed to love fluorescent lamps such as the emoji and cactus creations from Locomocean, while office accessories by Lund London made of shimmering plexiglass would instantly give any living room or office a new look.
Sometimes classic designs had an added element of surprise, like the lucky oriental ‘beckoning’ cat by Donkey – in matt tones for a designer look. The colonial-style chimpanzee candleholder by Rice replaces traditional brass with bright modern colours and is an asset to any table.
Many designers have also taken an unusual approach to their use of materials. Formes Berlin make thin wooden postcards which slot together to form three-dimensional models of birds and other figures. Frohstoff from Hamburg use screen-print motifs such as bees on slip covers to transform ordinary bottles into pretty vases. The bags by 360° are made from old sails and have earned something of a cult status, and Lene Lundberg creates witty pendants and earrings from plexiglass and titanium.
Jewellery trends, from filigree to statement accessory
Slouchy bracelets are this summer’s must-have and were definitely a big hit at Ambiente. The look is achieved by combining lots of different styles, such as the colourful leather bracelets tanned with rhubarb by Saami Crafts, and decorated in a traditional ancient Scandinavian way using fine tin threads and beads. LeJu’s fabric bracelets made us stop and stare: they’re designed in London and woven in Colombia using sustainable, traditional methods. Jewellery designer Pernille Corydon showcased filigree palm and leaf motifs, alongside a globe pendant with on-trend enamel details. Timi offered us a sweet storytelling concept in jewellery form: complete with message, these fine chains make the perfect gift. Another major jewellery trend are sparkling statement accessories such as bright pendants, patches for bags and colourful beads that really offer an eye-catching bang for your buck.
Alpacas are our new favourite animals
Peru is totally on-trend. First there was ceviche, then quinoa and pisco sour: now the alpacas are coming. Move over, unicorns! Alpacas and their funny, funky hair have teamed up with their llama friends to populate increasing numbers of lifestyle accessories, from paper plates to coffee cups, spreading their picture-perfect South American style. And in case anyone asks: yes, alpacas belong to the same family as camels.
Metallic and hologram effects for (time) travel
Shiny, shimmering surfaces add more than a touch of glamour to handbags, shopping bags and notebooks. The simpler the shape, the more stratospheric the accessories look, such as these diaries and travel notebooks by Louise Carmen, closed with a simple elastic band. We also loved the sleek-shaped bags by Shine Hamburg and Nicole Pietag – who also makes bags with a distressed metal effect. Frankfurt label Nuuna produces notebooks like tiny works of art, experimenting with holographic light effects. It’s high time to shake up that boring Monday meeting!
Sticky tape for a brighter future
Washi tape pioneers mt were established some 10 years ago, and really celebrated their anniversary in style at their stand. This patterned sticky tape now brightens up scrapbooks and mood boards in creative spaces the world over. Washi tape is still in the ascendant and may well be the simplest way of prettifying art, interiors and furniture. It’s a technique that has also inspired Remember, who produce weatherproof tapes for bicycles in a wide variety of patterns – it’s time to pimp your bike!