Mag Square

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

nice & neutral

I am loving the neutralness of these interiors; they feel warm despite a minimalistic approach to furnishings. The first two interiors are shoot by photographer Pia Ulin and the bottom two by photographer James Merrell. Follow the links to see more of their work.

Monday, May 30, 2011

etsy makers we love

Etsy is a wonderful source for handmade, vintage and quirky finds but there is no doubt that these days you need to look a little harder to find the truly fabulous and intuitively creative makers, photographers, artists et al.  So we have put together a list, carefully curated, of what we consider to be the best on etsy.  Check back as we will continually be adding to this list to narrow the field and make your etsy shopping experience more efficient!  

Simply click on the images below to go directly to each makers etsy shop.

Michele MauleLa BohemeLola's Room

Elle MossTimo HandmadeInaluxe

Art LabSparrow SalvageCatherine Campbell

Friday, May 27, 2011

knit one purl one

There is something AWESOME about a design project that exceeds size and proportion norms. This is one such project, look at the size of those knitting needles, they are re purposed broomsticks with a sharpened end!

This is the work of Dutch textile designer Christien Meindertsma, who undertook a project for The Nature Conservency.  The brief ... to make a floor rug with  the wool from an organic flock of Panama sheep,  in Lava lake Ranch, Idaho.  Each piece of the rug is a different knitting stitch and the yarn comes entirely from the back of one individual sheep.  I really want to wrap myself up in that.

Watch an interview with Christien Meindertsma here and for images of her other projects see the website at

Thursday, May 26, 2011

coming up roses

Nothing little a shot of colour mid way through a decidedly bleak and cold Melbourne week.  After being surrounded by pink for many years at Mag Square then switching to the neutral tones of camel, beige, brown and more beige, I thought a bit of pink was in order.  

1. we love a ballet flat, especially one covered in rose petals, this and 6. the Le Pliage tote are part of Longchamps Darshan collection, very french with a Hindu twist  2. show style & impeccable manners next time you send a thank you note, see kate spade 3. date night ring also from Kate Spade 4. for colour inspiration you must watch this 5. the give me an answer headband by Alannah Hill

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

on line magazine love : small

Small Magazine is a quarterly publication dedicated to the whole idea of small - small people, small scale production, cute things for the small etc etc.  Now in production of the 18th issue, the editors of Small were onto something really BIG when they launched the online magazine back in  early 2007.  Did they know how many would follow in their little footsteps?

images from the current issue, no. 17

The philosophy at small however has remained true to its little beginnings; a strong focus on independant fashion styled with delightful whimsy, adorable small handmade objects and toys from around the world and illustrations by incredibly talented and sometimes yet to be discovered artists.

A few quick questions with Olivia, one of Small's editors.

You were certainly one of the pioneers in the blogosphere of online magazines, what do you think about the explosion of online publishing in the magazine format?
We think it is great that small scale and independent businesses and creative practitioners have many more places to find exposure. When we first conceived of Small, kids businesses that could not afford major advertising could not get editorial exposures in the larger print magazines. As the larger magazines could not afford to be editorially independent they often used the same contributors for each issue and featured the same big brand items. Working online means our turn-around time is fast, we can be editorially independent and we can reach a far wider audience than we could in print.

Would you reveal a couple of your trade secrets eg. favourite blogs and websites?
Christine and I are magpies and collect inspiration and ideas from everywhere. Our blog, Smaller came about as a way of tracking all the ideas we had for the magazine between issues.

We do have lots of favorite websites as our inspirations are diverse! Some we keep going back to are Minor Details  for kids furniture and spatial inspiration, Simply Lovely  Sweet Fine Day  Kick Can and Conkers  and Handmade Charlotte for general inspiration, Pikaland for illustration, Design for Mankind and the Design Files for design inspiration and of course Etsy for new creative work. We love looking at other peoples work and ideas but we both have a particular aesthetic and idea about Small which we stay true to.

How do you manage running a magazine and being a mum?
I don't think I would have started the magazine if I was not a mum. My background was in design and teaching, but as I moved overseas and had three kids very close together I went quite quickly from having a busy professional and creative life to spending a lot more time at home and quite often on my own. The magazine became a way for me to keep being actively creative and also to be in touch with interesting people when I was quite house bound.

Christine and I lived in different cities (New York and Dallas) and now in different countries (Australia and America) so it has always been a way for us to work on projects together. Now I my kids are older and I have a job and study I try to be more present and scheduled with what I am doing rather than constantly multi-tasking, but when the children where younger and would nap during the day, the magazine was a project I could pick up at any moment for as long as I had available.

Any advice for mothers starting out on their own?
I think it is important to be realistic about what you need to get out of any venture you are running from home or just starting up.Commercial viability has never been our first concern, (both Christine and I have other work) and for us it is more important we are creatively fulfilled by putting it together. Because of this we have managed to avoid a lot of the disappointments and compromises required to make creative projects sustainable.

in each issue, small magazine reveals lots of new & inspiring finds in 
the "something" and "play" pages

Being in a partnership has been a really important aspect for me. We have both pushed each other to extend ourselves but can also cover for each other if one of us needs to step back for a while due to our other commitments.

What does the future hold for small?
We are moving to six issues a year from the next issue and will probably start doing specialty publications, maybe a photo book and a cook book to start with. We have some other plans in the works but its a bit early to know when they will be out at this stage.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

colour that pops

I challenge you to find a prettier picture! Is this not THE most divine image you've laid eyes on? (well today anyway).  It is the interior of boutique p√Ętisserie Theurel & Thomas, not in Paris but in Mexico.  Theurel & Thomas  specialize in French macaroons.  They engaged branding strategists Anagrama who looked after all the details from typography to the interior fit out.

The brief according to Anagrama ... " for this project it was very important to create an imposing brand that would emphasize the unique value, elegance and detail of this delicate dessert. White was our primary tool for design. As a result of this the attention was fully oriented to the colorful macarons. We placed two lines in our design in cyan and magenta, as a relation with a modern French flag to inject a vanguard vision to the identity. We selected Didot (created by Firmin and Pierre Didot), a French typography that would present the brand with sophistication ".

More beautiful images here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

the anthropologie edit

Regular readers will know of my fondness for Anthropologie.  Here are my current favourites.  The myth of adarna rug is a nod to my avian obsession.  The calandria armchair references our love for Scandinavian design (well the frame anyway) while the upholstery by artist Ashley Longshore is a lovely abstract contrast. 

The orimono cushion features appliqued petals of Japanese fabrics.  The dress is simple and pretty but perhaps others felt the same way because it is no longer available!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is mid century Scandi your style?

Modern Times is a Scandi inspired shopping experience with an expiry date.  If you are fond of the sleek designs of Arne Vodder and H J Wegner et al then waste no time in visiting this St Kilda based pop up in the next 3 weeks.

Under the careful eye of designer and retro style enthusiast Amy Voterakis, 25 or so original pieces from the 1950's and 60's have been hand selected and put on a ship from Denmark to Melbourne.  

Accompanying these modern beauties is a handful of local designers whose work is also influenced by this iconic time in furniture design (including a couple of Magnolia Square retailers Printspace and Designed in Brunswick - yay!).  Click here and do some online browsing before you get there, the images are excellent.

Modern Times
Danish Furniture Pop Up Shop
12-14 Belford St, St Kilda
21st May - 12th June (open 7 days per week)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

to market to market

image by Katie Preece

Sydney readers you must pop along to the Murobond studio for some hands on creativity from May 24 - 28.  Check out Jason Grants welcome to my wonderland paint collection for Murobond and seek DIY inspiration from Paper Couture's Jo Neville.  For full details simply click here but in a nutshell ...

May 24 - 28
11am - 4pm daily
81 Dickson Ave, Artarmon

Monday, May 16, 2011

finding inspiration

Creative cues and inspiration are found in many different places.  Sometimes its not even inspiration that you seek, just pretty pictures.  Old vogue covers really do it for me, particularly the 1950's.  The Vanessa Paradis cover bottom right (photogrpahed by Mert & Marcus for French Vogue in November 2008) could just as well be 1958.

For more frivolity see myvintagevogues photostream at flickr.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

bird watching

I have recently enjoyed a spot of bird watching. My new pastime doesn't require a set of binoculars and I don't leave the house.  Instead, I have been admiring online, the incredibly skillful work of soft sculpture artist and bird enthusiast, Abigail Brown. I am fascinated by the very precise likeness of these hand stitched birds to the feathered variety on which they have been modelled!

Viewed on mass (see here), her menagerie of exotic and garden variety birds is reminiscent of the Victorian past time of collecting and displaying natural curiosities in cabinets and under glass bell jars.  Such bird collections obviously required extensive field trips and a perilous end for the bird!

I am very pleased to say that these delightful little birds are carefully hand constructed from salvaged fabrics and threads by Abigail Brown, a London based textiles graduate who stitches each bird as a one off.  Her work has been featured in magazines such as vogue and elle decoration and her birds are sold in Liberty in London and Bensimon in Paris.  She also has an etsy and big cartel shop but caution, they are an investment piece.

website |
blog |

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

must read blog : this is glamorous

{Sophisticated, glamorous & impossibly pretty with a focus on high end fashion, food too pretty to eat, flowers and stylish living.  This blog is more image orientated than full of words which makes it the perfect & quick daily fix of lovliness.  Expect to see lots of tulle, french apartments, chanel shoes and dappled lighting.  It ticks all my boxes!}

blog name | this is glamorous
author | Rosaline Lohr
location | UK
credentials | made the top 50 design blog list published by London Times

Friday, May 6, 2011

in the spotlight: designed in brunswick

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk at the CWC's regular meeting at RMIT.  I had a great time and met Neil Hargreaves & Aisling Gallagher of Designed in Brunswick (dib).  I was thrilled to have Neil and Aisling at our most recent event and am most appreciative of Neil's generosity with his time and camera!  His styled shots of mag square products will appear on the blog soon...

You and your partner Aisling come from creative backgrounds, is this how you met?
Yes we were both working for a cookbook publishing house, I was the food editor and photography manager and Aisling was the senior designer.

What was the impetus to start a home ware label?
It really began with Aisling’s textile studies at RMIT, we had started our own food design and photograph business and we were renovating a small factory in Brunswick where we operate from, Aisling wanted to incorporate a screen printing studio and the whole thing started from there.

What are your designs influenced or inspired by?
My interests are a bit mixed really but Aisling’s are more focused to mid 20th Century design, particularly Scandinavian. It is kind of where we ‘centralize’ our collective design work for designed in brunswick.

What are your plans for DIB?
Scarves, Coffee mugs and teacups are next on the list, then ottomans, regarding business, it would be good to get some more retail accounts going.

Advice for someone who is starting out?
Put yourself out there, social networking sites and your own website with some good search words embedded, it is so important now. I know this is about marketing and not products but if you are not out there no one can find you.

3 words to describe you?
Designed, In and Brunswick? No I think our website has it pinned down about as far as we can. ‘Textile based homewares and other stuff’

Favourite week end hangout?
Well if its mid November, then the St.Kilda town hall of course!

NIC'S Pick
I am loving the blomster cushion


Thursday, May 5, 2011

papery perfection at PAPERUNWAY

Have you got a thing for paper? Do you love it in all its forms? Crinkled, crisp, torn -  magazines, old letters, book pages, even baking paper! Aaah the endless possibilities of a pile of vintage National Geographic magazines.  Are you hearing me? Or perhaps you already know ...

The newest online magazine to hit the virtual newsstand is paperunway. We get that it is somewhat of a contradiction; a publication dedicated to paper yet published on line, how very modern and technology friendly.  The nice part is that you can buy it in its printed form also.

Paperunway is the result of two dedicated and self confessed paperholics Maree Oaten and Nikki Buckland. I met Maree in February this year when she participated in Magnolia Square's Sydney event as a new retailer with her other business, Little Branch. I was immediately attracted to her beautiful stand in all it's paper glory. 

the little branch stand at magnolia square, paddington town hall {image by Katie Preece}

Recognising another paper aficionado in Magnolia Square, Maree & Nikki kindly featured us in their launch issue. Luck would have it that our Sydney show was a homage to papery goodness and  so there was plenty of paper products & inspiration to go around including the paper queen herself Jo Neville of Paper Couture who cut, paste and folded a fabulous installation over the 3 days of the show.

paper installation created by Jo Neville of Paper Couture {image by Katie Preece}

I love that about Mag Square ... it is a meeting place for creative minds.  Paperunway also met and featured these Mag Square retailers in Issue 1 ... Paula Mills of Sweet William, Elie Azzi of La La Land, Nikki Catalano, Emmy Rose, Me and Amber and our BRILLIANT event photographer Katie Preece.

A big congratulations and thank you to Maree and Nikki for making this project happen.  Magnolia Square are big fans and look forward to supporting & contributing to paperunway.  We will put the girls In the Spotlight with an interview in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, sit down, open your laptop, ipad or other compatible technology platform and enjoy the simple pleasure of paper!!

snippets GIVEAWAY
In the meantime we have a printed copy of paperunway to give away to one paper obsessed snippets reader! Please leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win.  {A winner will be chosen randomly and announced online next Thursday 12th May}   

Update to this post 14 May - Winner is Tatiana Kontoulis

blog nice interview today with Sibella Court
direct link to the magazine

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

love for textiles

I have ikea at my door step which I am pretty happy about because I am partial to the odd DIY project.  Today, on my quick quest for some linen (i know, quick and ikea are not usually in the same sentence when describing the timing of a trip to the homeware monolith) this lovely new title caught my eye.  I didn't know that ikea sold books.  

I was particularly excited by the $19.95 price tag, even more excited when I flipped through the pages, revealing great photography and art direction.  Then happy days, I discovered that the end of each chapter a fab DIY wrap up.  I got the book and a lovely big piece of linen, so it looks like I have a project this weekend. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I made it myself!

Check out the very clever tabletop design tool at anthropologie.  Using pieces from their sublime range of dinnerware you can create your own masterpeice.  It is as easy as drag and drop.  Click here for more.