Designer of the Month: Charles & Ray Eames

Charles & Ray Eames are amongst the most influential and innovative designers in architecture and design. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Charles Eames grew up in America’s industrial heartland. Eames worked with a number of engineers and manufacturers and had a great interest in mechanics and how things worked. He studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and opened his own office together with Charles M. Gray in 1930.

In 1935 he founded another architectural firm with Robert T. Walsh. After receiving a fellowship in 1938 from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, he moved to Michigan and assumed a teaching position in the design department the following year. In 1940 he won first prize (alongside fellow designer Eero Saarinen) for their joint entry into the ‘Organic Design in Home Furnishings’ competition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.

During this time he met artist and painter Ray Kaiser whilst working at Cranbrook Academy of Art, whom he married in 1941. Ray Eames, née Bernice Alexandra Kaiser, was born in Sacramento, California in 1912. She attended School in Millbrook, New York, and continued her studies in painting under Hans Hofmann through 1937. During this year she exhibited her work in the first exhibition of the American Abstract Artists group at the Riverside Museum in New York.

The inseparable duo designed some of the most iconic furniture of the twentieth century. Charles and Ray were fascinated by the elegant and organic shapes of moulded plywood, so much so that they installed a workshop in the spare room of their rented home in LA. Their first order for 5,000 moulded plywood leg splints from the US Navy allowed them to expand.

They went on to design and produce sculpture, chairs, screens, tables and toys in plywood, including the legendary Eames Elephant now mass-produced by Vitra in a more cost-efficient and child-friendly moulded plastic. It wasn’t long before Herman Miller, the US furniture group, were persuaded to put many Eames plywood pieces into production by Head of Design, George Nelson.

Charles & Ray then began experimenting with plastic and aluminium during the mid 1950′s. In 1956 the pair designed the Eames Lounge Chair, which to this day, is their most iconic design. In 1957, they began to collaborate with their European partner, Vitra, who still produce many of their classic pieces including the elegant aluminium group office chairs.

The couple continued to work together in Southern California for forty years, resulting in exhibitions, films, photographs and numerous furniture designs. They also built their own innovative home in the Pacific Palisades, which continues to be a Mecca for architects and designers from all over the world. With their design principle to ‘make things better’, it’s easy to see why Charles and Ray Eames’s furniture designs continue to remain stylish, functional and coveted today.

Charles & Ray Eames’s furniture designs are now manufactured by Vitra and are supplied worldwide for large scale projects and individuals homes.

New Showroom In Progress…

String Shelving System

Pink Apple are having a showroom makeover!

We have assembled the first three new products that are now proudly on display in our Castle Ashby showroom. The new String Shelving is a modular system that offers an endless combination of configurations. Available in birch, walnut, oak, white, black or grey shelving and cabinets and white, black or grey side panels. A beautiful display unit for all our favourite books, magazines, lights and accessories!

Punt Maeda Dining Table

The Punt Maeda dining table in oak is a stunning new feature in the showroom and looks fantastic with an array of different chairs round it. The thin profile top is set off by the chunky, round legs. Beautiful!

Punt Sussex Sideboard

And finally, the Sussex sideboard in walnut finish is the perfect addition to any home (or showroom!). The cabinet consists of three doors, which once opened reveal two shelves and a set of three drawers. Sussex is modular also, so you buy each individual section (door unit or drawers) and finish it off with matching top and side panels and pop it on a plinth! Perfect!

We’re just awaiting the arrival of our new modular corner sofa from Cassina…watch this space for more updates…

Jongeriuslab Design Studio

Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has become known for the special way she fuses industry and craft, high and low tech, tradition and the contemporary.

After graduating from Eindhoven Design Academy in 1993 she started her own design company, JongeriusLab, through which she produces her own projects and projects for clients such as Maharam (New York), KLM, Vitra, and even IKEA.

Her work has been shown at museums and galleries such as the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York), MoMA (New York), the Design Museum (London) & Galerie KREO (Paris).

The Dutch designer, Hella Jongerius, was born in De Meern near Utrecht in 1963. After studying industrial design, Jongerius joined the famous Dutch ‘Droog’ design group of designers before later founding her own firm in 2000. Through her firm, jongeriusLab, she produces a unique wealth of textiles, crockery and furniture. Jongerius’ designs combine new technological achievements with the uniqueness of handmade objects.

“I’m trying to make products that can be loved and that people want to own their whole lives to then pass them on to the family.”

The Vitra colours and surfaces by Hella Jongerius are crucial when it comes to the effect of a product. They influence first impressions and have a lasting effect in terms of the product’s emotional aura. Selecting colours, surfaces and textures is often considered less of a challenge than the actual design or construction but in fact colour plays a large part on the success and effect of the product.

Jongerius has successfully addressed the significance of colour and surfaces in contemporary design throughout her collections of accessories and furnishings. Hella Jongerius’s many years of research has made her an expert in this area and will serve her well in her role as Art Director for Colours and Surfaces for the Vitra collection. She has demonstrated on numerous occasions how the use of colour and colour combinations on specific materials can lead to spectacular results. Knowing the effect that colour has and the cultural meanings of colours is a foundation that is just as important to her as being familiar with production techniques and materials.

The aim of this joint project between Vitra and Jongerius is to create a Vitra colour and material scheme of their own. The scheme will then be used to emphasise or refresh several classic products from their portfolio. Along with other designers who also contribute to the Vitra collection, the new colours and materials that are being created will result in a whole new colour library.

These new finishes were shown this year at the annual Milan design fair, where classic pieces from Charles & Ray Eames, Jean Prouvé and George Nelson, all showcased elements of the new colour theory. Selected in reference to the historical versions of the designs and to the colour concepts of the designers at that time, the new colours give the products a fresher, contemporary look.

“The Vitra Colour and Surface Library allows freedom and stimulates the imagination – not by showing that everything is possible but by working towards a clear concept of possibilities.”

Clerkenwell Design Week 2013

21st – 23rd May, Clerkenwell, London, EC1.

Clerkenwell Design Week has firmly established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival and is held in the heart of the UK’s design industry in London.

CDW has become one of the most acclaimed trade events on the international design calendar, last year winning Best Festival and Best Cultural Event at the UK Event Awards 2012. Every year, over a three day period, CDW hosts an array of the world’s most notable design, architecture and creative names, in addition to an exciting programme of workshops, presentations, product launches and debates.

Here’s a few images from the various shows, exhibitions and talks that took place at this years CDW…

Farmiloe Building

House of Detention

Vitra Talk: Erwan Bouroullec

Brand Focus: Normann Copenhagen

Normann Copenhagen is described as a way of living and they love to challenge the conventional design rules. They tend to use traditional materials alongside untraditional, such as coat hooks made from Icelandic stones, vases made from silicon and lights made from wood.

Normann Copenhagen  was the brainchild of Jan Andersen and Poul Madsen, who teamed up to create the Normann Copenhagen brand in 1999 with a vision to make a difference in the design industry.

Their first product launched was the lamp Norm 69 in 2002. Within five years, more than 38 products followed, as well as collaborations with established design names and new talents from around the world. In 2009, furniture was introduced to Normann Copenhagen’s already successful portfolio.

Today Normann Copenhagen continues to introduce exciting and bold design products, with colour choices inspired by trends found in the fashion world. The catalogue is now full of beautifully designed accessories and stunning furniture & soft furnishings.

Brand Focus: Punt.


Punt, formerly Punt Mobles, is a Spanish design company with a strong portfolio of furniture and accessories.

Punt’s sleek designs create a very homely yet stylish feel. Each design has stunning attention to detail making it stand out from the rest. Beginning back in 1980, Punt has gone from strength to strength with their designs which are created for both home and contract use, each with an identity of their own.

Literatura Light

Literatura Light.

A double shelf system on wheels designed to solve one specific problem; lack of space! The new ‘Light’ version has all the same characteristics as the Literatura Classic but with smaller sectioned partitions. Available in a wide range of wood and colour finishes, Literatura Light makes a great space saving option for storing all your favourite books and treasured items.



 A stunning new sideboard and cabinet collection with pull-less doors and drawers and absorption closing system. Finished in the highest quality natural oak or walnut veneer with a beautiful top finish in Gold or Pale Rose. Perfect for hallways, lounges and bedrooms to add a touch of glamour and sophistication to the interior.



With its thin profile table top and robust turned legs, the new Maeda table is sure to be a future classic for Punt. Maeda’s simple design and silhouette makes the table a great feature in the dining room. It’s appearance is light, yet robust, the weight of the top balanced out by the sturdy leg detail.



Classic design from Punt which has proved to be popular over the years. Stunning collection of sideboards, dressers and cabinets that can be used for a variety of applications around the home, or even the office. Natural wood veneers and lacquered colours allow for a great number of compositions.

Brand Focus: Vitra at Citizen M Hotel, London

Budding Dutch hotel group CitizenM has recently brought its brand of ‘affordable luxury’ to London, placing itself in the prime position of Bankside, close to Tate Modern and situated across the road from Wallpaper* (magazine) HQ. CitizenM Bankside is the fourth hotel from the group, which also has boltholes in Amsterdam and Glasgow, with more planned in New York and Paris.

Catering for a whole new generation of technophile travellers, the hotel is set up with self service, touch screen check in terminals and self service CanteenM, the antidote to overpriced mini bars.

Filled with eclectic furniture, lighting, accessories and books, CitizenM is highly kitted out with products from the well known manufacturer, Vitra. The hotel’s striking open plan lobby is styled to look like the living room of a well travelled person and Vitra’s presence is evident upon stepping through the front doors.

The rooms at CitizenM Bankside are compact cubicles of cool, featuring wall-to-wall windows, super king-size beds, space-age rain showers, furniture from design powerhouse Vitra, Skype-based phones, global plug sockets and complimentary Wi-Fi and films. A bespoke touch screen tablet within the room controls everything from the TV, blinds and room temperature to the ambient mood lighting and themed wake up alarms!

Built around a serene atrium, the hotel boasts tall birch trees that reach up through hanging lanterns, offering a green haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A dramatic spiral staircase in the lobby leads up to the first floor, where the meeting rooms are situated. Avoiding the corporate look, the seven rooms used by businesses and their clients feature wooden bookshelves, dramatic lighting fixtures and even 3D focus walls. The furniture used throughout includes the classic Aluminium Group chairs, Eames plastic chairs and even the Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman.

CitizenM also has a newfound focus on contemporary art. Eagle eyed art enthusiasts will recognise works by Hans op de Beek, Gavin Turk and Mario Testino.

With rates starting from just £99, CitizenM has set a new standard for techno-forward budget luxury.

Overview: Milan 2013

After a busy two days in Milan taking in all the new designs, products, lighting, accessories, colours, trends…(you get the picture)…here’s an overview of the best bits we saw at this years Salone de Internazionale Mobile.












































NEW Hang It All by Vitra!!!

As always the Vitra stand at the Milan fair was AMAZING…it kinda puts some of the others to shame!

And we totally fell in love with the new Hang It All colours, a collaboration between Vita and Hella Jongerious using shades from the new Vitra Colour Collection.

Choose from shades of white and grey, green and pinky-red…or why not take one of each?!

Available soon…promise!

Milan Design Week 2013

Bags are packed, flights booked, cameras at the ready…we’re off to Milan Design Week!

Also known as Milan Furniture Fair, Salone del Mobile, Milano Salone or just plain Salone. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s HUGE.

Spread across the whole city, there are hundreds of events and exhibitions on all week as well as the trade fair over in Rho, on the outskirts of the city. This year is Euroluce’s turn again – showcasing the latest designs in lighting.

We will be cramming as much as possible into our short 36 hours in the city, visting existing manufacturers to view their new releases and to scope out new designers and companys for our ever expanding portfolio. Oh, and of course eating and drinking as much Italian food and coffee as our stomachs can handle!

Watch this space (as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages) for all the latest designs and products from Milan…