Monday, 20 June 2011
Turn me on!
'They're my knickers from Agent Provocateur and yes, the image is life size,' says Isabel Stanley of her latest lampshade design, 'Though I did rumple them up a bit!' The playful collaboration between the textile designer and Wendy Chapple, a printmaker on the Graphic Design course at Central Saint Martin's, is intended as a witty comment, an antidote to the serious side of interior design. Stanley likes to spend her summer months working on new ideas and last year took a short screen-printing course - which led to the Turn Me On lamp. Always looking for ways to liven up the home, this latest work is inspired by, 'The thought of flinging your clothes off in a fit of passion, like in a 1950s movie where there's always a pair of pants on the lampshade.' So does the 44-year-old mother-of-two live a raunchy Agent Provocateur lifestyle? 'Oh no, I wish. But I love lacy underwear and I wear it all the time, it makes me feel a bit wey hey!'
The lampshade business came about when Stanley started playing around with a roll of decorative ribbon brought back from a trip to South America, ' I made this thing and it was knocking around my house for ages,' she says, ' Then some friends came over, we had a drunken night in and they saw the lampshade and said you've got to do it!' A cheeky letter sent to the Conran Shop was well-received, followed by a mad scramble to find one of the few remaining manufacturers in the UK. Accessories are hand-crafted at the designer's south London studio and finished at a factory-cum-barn in the middle of the Kent countryside. And if the best-selling stripey lampshades seem familiar, Pret a Manger was decked out with them back in the late nineties - so you probably spotted one on an early morning coffee run.
Isabel Stanley's guide to a beautiful home:
1. Don't use overhead lights in the evening. Floor lamps and table lamps create a cosy atmosphere - and are more flattering for the over-forties!
2. Keep furniture simple, Scandinavian-style and add interest with textiles and accessories. Pictures, vases and nick-nackery are an easy way to add colour without overdoing it. And move things around, I'm constantly re-designing and culling items.
3. Make things. Cushions are easy to run-up, I like to re-frame old seventies illustrations - and I'm just about to cover a noticeboard with printed fabric (staple the fabric over the board) to create a busy area in the kitchen.
4. Don't buy things that match. Buy items that are individually beautiful, I find a lot of stuff at car boot sales. Get there early and look carefully, there's always something that stands out.
The Turn Me On lampshades go on sale at Not On The High Street, this week and will be available in a range of different colours soon. Any excuse for the bulk-buying of Agent Provocateur undies, eh?