Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Armani lifestyle!

Beauty with functionality 

Who hasn’t dreamt with Armani clothes? Well I certainly have especially when as a child I dreamt of being a fashion designer. At a young age I was taking clothes to my seamstress and designing how I wanted them to look. As a teenager I would replicate Armani’s lines (sorry Armani but I was only a child). So I suppose that I have always been a fan of the famous Signore. 

But let me tell you how Armani has come a long way from the career path he embarked upon as a medical student to becoming a household name. 

In 1957, he abandoned medicine to pursue a merchandising job at Italy's department store (a bold move which proved to be very successful), followed by a stint with a few fashion labels. Giorgio Armani S.P.A, was founded in 1975 with partner Sergio Galeotti, launching a men's and women's ready-to-wear line. By the 1980s, Armani established his reputation as one of the world's most influential and successful fashion designers. Today the Armani brand includes several labels.

In 2000 Giorgio founded Armani/Casa, a platform for him to realise the Armani aesthetic for the interiors; both comfortable and sophisticated. The designer says "Everything that bears the Armani signature is interrelated. I want to feel an intimate environment around me where all pieces of furniture, textiles and accessories work in harmony,"

Armani/Casa relocated from Bond Street to the design centre at Chelsea Harbour where they showcase luxurious furniture, furnishings, accessories, décor and fabrics. 

That’s when on London Design Week 2011 I come upon their new showroom; if you were looking for dramatic then look no further, you can’t but be impressed with their showroom which is divided into several divisions by illuminated walls of polycarbonate almost resembling the byobu partitions used in Japanese houses. Armani are so thorough that after setting the shop up they had to take pictures of the vignettes and send them to Italy so they know that it all looks the Armani way. I have to say that even I wanted an Armani vignette in my house and they have this amazing coffee table that turns into a bar, every man’s dream or woman (me).

The furnishings are designed to fit specific zones in the home: living, dining, bedroom, study, kitchen and bath. Each season, they introduce additional lines to complement the existing ones and each piece of furniture is designed with functionality in mind.  

These are stunningly elegant fabrics that reflect an indefinable sense of glamour. One of my favourites is the TB049 - Derby. You will find this fabric in 5 beautiful colours. I was attracted mostly to the beautiful orange colour but also the unusual visual effect.

Armani /Casa will debut their 2011-12 collection which will be the third collection of home textiles produced in partnership with Rubelli Textiles at the Armani/Casa store at via Sant'Andrea 9 during the Saloni Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. 


Design and comfort, elegance and functionality are Armani/Dada motto. Since their “Bridge” kitchen was first launched in 2006 which now famous as got two new additional models. The main objective is to bring the simplicity and the elegance of true Italian style to the whole world. You will be able to see the new Kitchen systems on display at via Manzoni 37.

Armani/Roca has united their experience and talent as world leaders in their respective sectors, and I for one couldn't be happier. Two of my favourite companies are about to create an intimate and elegant bathroom area which provides a comfortable and harmonious atmosphere. Even the illuminated false ceiling can be fitted with coloured lights for Chromotherapy. They have created not only luxurious bathrooms but a deeply sensual experience. The first Armani/Roca bathroom concept will be presented during the Saloni Internazionale del Mobile in Milan at via Manzoni 37. 


So if you are going to Milan for the Saloni Internazionale del Mobile you must go and check out their new collections; if you are looking for elegance and sophistication then look no further because this is the Armani signature.

I love Armani/Casa new collection and I know that so will you!

Pictures via Armani/Casa & my own.

Friday, 25 March 2011

London Design Week 2011

New collections!

Sunday 6.00am far too early to be getting up on a rest day but hubby is going to Abu Dhabi and I being the dutiful wife am taking him to Heathrow terminal 5 which proves to be a disaster but that’s entirely another story. So after I drove to Chelsea Harbour because London Design week was starting and I was looking forward to seeing all the new collections. 

Problem…far too early as I noticed when I got there. Take note; next time arrive at mid day or after.

Anyway since nothing was open i decided that a latte and croissant was in order and i would wait for the rest of the world to wake up.While exchanging texts and phone calls with a very unhappy hubby, who's been rerouted to Dubai, the design centre slowly started to come alive.

Some of the showrooms windows were truly artistic and although maybe not to everyone’s taste but nevertheless the artistic juices were flowing and some excelled more than others. 

Zinc collection is strong, tactile and urban with playful, quirky undertones. The new Zinc collections integrate sumptuous texture and modern graphic design together with an eclectic mix of fabrics they capture the revival of chic English hedonism of the 1970s and pay homage to the great designers of the time. Those blue and greens took me back to sea in the caribbean. I am in love with the colours; they are a reminder of the sun and holidays that we all so long for.


Having had got a phone call from Anna Casa Interiors I decided to pay them a visit and see their new collection and did you know they have extendable tables in which the systems were devised by none other then Ferrari? I swear that every time Puja opened one I thought she was going to smash them but how wrong was I? It works beautifully and with the right house they will look amazing specially the one with Murano legs.

Zoffany’s new collection is truly lovely and eclectic, from 1832 maps of London wallpapers to an old duty stamp and from Victorian times to renaissance drawings they were all given a modern interpretation and the result is superb. Do go and check out their Intaglio, Frangipani and Roman stripes. 

Next it was Sahco, also one of my favourites; their fabrics are just so luxurious and sophisticated that I can't help but  get inspired by their collections. The colours, patterns and weaving techniques are truly awe-inspiring.

Lelievre is also a favourite of mine with not just their fabrics but also their furniture, quite something and I can’t resist to seeing their Kenzo collection, the colours are always so spectacular and I would say this is at the moment one of my favourite fabrics.Colour, texture and pattern what more could you ask for! Stunning.

How stunning is  this Antiqued Copper bath tub from Ann Sacks and the tiles, so amazing. If you dare to let your creative juices flow then this is the place to come. 

Probably my three favourite window displays were Jim Thompson’s with his really amazing monkeys, the elegance of Robert Allen’s window with those lovely birds and the beautiful cages plus I think I have a secret desire (to own a red sofa) and Romo’s window with such jovial, trendy and amazing bright colours from  Zinc's Miami collection that will get rid of anyone’s winter blues without a doubt. 

By two o’clock I had enough plus my car was in the car park and probably going to cost an arm and a leg (yes I know you can park in the street for free on Sunday as my friend Zuzana from Robert Allen pointed out, and yes I WAS LAZY , I got up far too early remember?!)

So since I was driving I decided to leave when they started serving wine, I only had coffee, tea and water (sniffs). Take note; next time take the train so i can have some wine. I did have some yummy nibbles though. 

And here you have it my journey to London Design week 2011, hope you enjoyed it and if you are nearby do go and take a look at some fabulous new collections.

Pictures via zinc, robert allen, lelievre, sahco and  my own.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Clever lighting.

Bathroom lighting

When buying light fixtures for the bathroom you must buy the ones that are sold for this purpose, they are more resistant to moisture. Once you know the zones for your bathroom then you can buy light fixtures according to the zones- for safety reasons they are divided into three zones.

·         Zone 0;  The interior of the bath or shower which can hold water. 

·      Zone 1;  The area directly above zone 0 limited vertically to 2.25m above the bottom of the bath or shower. Also 1.2m horizontally from the centre of a shower outlet to the height of the outlet or 2.25m whichever is the higher. 

·      Zone 2; The area beyond zones 0 and 1, 0.6m horizontally and up to 2.25m vertically. Zone 2 also included any recessed window with a sill next to the bath. 

Take a good look at your bathroom and identify where your natural light source is coming from before you decide the positioning of your light fixtures. Spotlights can be recessed into the ceiling and be splash proof plus have the appropriate IP rating. Wall lights are also available for bathrooms and they help give out a softer, diffused light creating mood lighting.  

If you want to give your bathroom a luxurious and glamorous please don’t even think about putting a chandelier over the tub. Yes you have seen it in magazine photos but believe me that was only marketing! Electricity and water do not mix. 

So if you are looking for a luxurious feel use spotlights or up lighting spots either set into the floor, or the side of a raised bath. And if you want the romantic look then just add some candles around the bath tub.  To provide bright light necessary for daily grooming tasks use a mirror with a light, some versions have a demisting element built-in too or use decorative wall fixtures placed on each side of the mirror; it provides an even shadow-free facial illumination.

For those who bring books to the bath, an adjustable accent light aiming from outside the bath is dramatic, glare-free and great to read. LED (light emitting diode) lights are becoming favoured because they are more energy efficient, last longer, and are flexible enough for use in various lighting fixtures and situations so for those middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom are safer and easier, install a low-voltage linear lighting or LED system beneath the cabinets. You might also want to consider installing an occupancy sensor to save more energy. 

Laundry room

And for the laundry room you want to make sure you have bright lights so you can see what you are doing i.e. sorting clothes, reading labels and instructions. You are now thinking why should I bother with the Laundry room? And yes you will be wrong to think that most people don’t pay attention to their laundry room. I can’t tell you the name of the person but I went to visit a friend in London and while showing me the house I noticed that the laundry room was filled with art work that had prices tags of £100,000 and above so there you have it, they obviously are worth it.

If you are worried about the environment and the increasing  energy cost then the news are good; a lighting scheme can be achieved in an energy efficient way. So even you my greenest friend can now feel good about lighting! 

And since nowadays lighting together with creativity gives you endless possibilities plus with something out there for every taste and for everyone’s budget,  go be creative and have fun.

Pictures via (,(, (, (,(, (, (, ( and (

This blog post is part of the ‘Pass It On  Bathroom series’, a collaborative blogging project. 

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lights, camera, action!

Bedroom lighting

The bedroom has become a sanctuary so when choosing the lighting for this very personal space there is many factors you must consider. This is the area of your home where you savour your time alone or with a loved one. So not only intended for sleeping, the bedroom is usually the space you get dressed, choose your outfits, curl up with a good book or simply relax.


A reading light on either side of the bed will mean you do not have to disturb your partner. If you are lucky enough to have a very large bedroom, remember the bed remains the focal point but it might be sharing its space with a television, workout equipment, a computer, or a sitting area so you must have enough light to focus on all these particular areas. 


One of my pet peeves (you will find that I have a few) is a wardrobe without lights. They need good light so you will be better able to tell the colour of your clothing but do be careful not to put a hot light bulb too near your clothes. The last thing you want is to set your clothes on fire. Lighting experts favour fluorescent lights not only because they provide lots of light, are cooler, save energy but can be concealed behind the header of the door. 

If you have a dramatic bed you could highlight this with contour lighting behind the beadhead. A striking or elaborate chandelier is also a good way to set off your bedroom scheme. 



These are some of the things you must consider and if you can answer yes to all then you are well underway to achieve a good lighting scheme for your private haven:

·         Light source near the door?
·         See well enough to get dressed?
·         Individual reading lights on each side of the bed?
·         Overhead light source?
·         Dimmer installed on the overhead light source?
·         Dark corners filled with portable lighting sources?
·         Light in the wardrobe?
·         Enough light to determine the colours of clothing in my drawers?

The bedroom is really where you have the most freedom to express yourself, so go on and be adventurous.

Now you have learned and relaxed in the bedroom do come back for my next posting; it will be about how you can achieve a spa like bathroom with clever lighting.

This blog post is part of the ‘Pass It On  Bedroom series’, a collaborative blogging project.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Lighting, a core ingredient.

Kitchen lighting

To be able to prepare and cook food safely and easily you need bright lighting so use high wattage strip lights on the undersides of wall-mounted cabinets to illuminate the worktop, but you also want to create a softer and more welcoming atmosphere so for that use low wattage track lights or recessed spotlights. Now if your kitchen features a central island or breakfast bar then install a bright light overhead as you may want to use this area to read the morning papers. 

                                                     (via Annie Stevens Design)

You can also make a decorative feature of this overhead lighting that compliments the rest of the kitchen. If you have glass cabinets consider lighting them from the inside for effect. 

Dining room lighting

A dining room should be bright enough so that you can see what you are eating but If the lights are too bright then your room will look stark and uninviting so with a dimmer switch you can create a softer lighting and achieve a welcoming atmosphere for dinner parties or even for a romantic meal- you might want to use candles to create an intimate atmosphere. A central light over the dining table will be an interesting feature while becoming a focal point. You could opt for a decorative chandelier, either contemporary or traditional or if you have a long table use a pendant light or several.  

Hope you were delighted with our kitchen and dining and do come back for the next posting I will take you on a tantalising trip through the bedroom.