Designers, Featured Posts

Mies van der Rohe & his Barcelona Pavilion

27th March 2018

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Along with Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is widely regarded as the as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture. With his “less is more” approach to design, Mies was a pioneering architect during the 1920’s and 30’s, creating structures that possess extreme clarity and simplicity.

Mies’ design principles were seen as the gold standard for many generations of modern architecture. In fact, if you run his name through Google search today you’ll see countless articles in which architects and designers mention Mies as a design influence.

The Barcelona Chair

The Knoll Barcelona chair needs little in the way of introduction. A 20th century design classic, the chair is commonly seen in Hollywood movies, the nicest hotel lobbies and most beautiful interior projects but do you know the story behind the chair?

The chair was created for the German National Pavilion (now named the Barcelona Pavilion), designed by Mies for the 1929 ‘Exposicion Internacional de Barcelona’. With cushions made from 148 separate pieces of leather and a chromed stainless steel frame that is hand buffed to a mirror finish, the Barcelona chair is fit for a king. In fact, Mies designed the Barcelona chair specifically to provide a comfortable resting place for King Alfonso XIII of the Spanish Royal Family during his visit to the exhibition.

NB: If imitation really is the ultimate form of flattery then the Barcelona Chair has to be at the top of the flattery stakes with the various copies which have been produced over the years. Naturally Utility only sells the original, produced by Knoll Studio, and to reinforce this the signature of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is stamped into the base of the chair with each chair having an individual production number of identification and authenticity.

Image Source : Knoll International

The Barcelona Pavilion

Built from glass, steel and different kinds of marble, the Mies van der Rohe designed Pavilion was conceived to accommodate the Exposicion Internacional de Barcelona’s official reception presided over by King Alfonso XIII of Spain along with the German authorities.

Following the closure of the exhibition in 1930, the pavilion was disassembled and remained so until 1983 when it was reconstructed on its original location. By this time the pavilion had become a key point of reference not only in Mies van der Rohe’s own career but also 20th century architecture in general.

The Fundació Mies van der Rohe who now manage the pavilion periodically invite leading artists and architects to temporarily alter the pavilion with installations. A somewhat controversial practise, these “interventions as they’re referred to have kept the pavilion as a node of debate on architectural ideas and practices

The Barcelona Pavilion is open to visitors with entrance fees starting at 2.60€ for students and 5€ for members of the general public.

Photography by Lindsay Koffler via Visual House

Virtual Tour of Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion

Unable to visit the Barcelona Pavilion in person? Not to worry. Thanks to architectural visualisation studio CL3VER, you can now access the Pavilion through the powers of virtual-reality.

The guided tour begins at the foot of the pavilion’s steps and gives users 360-degree views of every aspect of Mies van der Rohe’s creation, from the green marble and glazing to the ground-to-ceiling glass walls.

View the virtual tour here.

Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavillion Tour
Source : Cl3VER & Funadacio Mies van der Rohe Barcelona

Time for more? The Story Behind Verner Panton’s S Chair | A Look Inside the Aalto Residence | Arne Jacobsen’s Most Iconic Designs

Events, Liverpool

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

21st March 2018

Upcoming Art Exhibitions in Liverpool

2018 is a special year for Liverpool – ten years since Capital of Culture and the city is still moving from strength to strength. Now that Spring has officially broken, we’re feeling inspired to get out and about in our city.

Here’s our pick of some of the many art exhibitions that are gracing our city this Spring.

Slaves of Fashion: New Works by The Singh Twins at The Walker Gallery

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Slaves of Fashion showcases almost 20 new artworks by the internationally renowned artists The Singh Twins. Although the twins are mostly known for their intricate hand-painted work in the tradition of Indian miniatures, the exhibition contains 11 digital artworks displayed on light-boxes, 9 paper artworks, as well as over 40 objects from the collections of National Museums Liverpool that inspired the exhibition.

William Brown Street, Liverpool
Free entry, until 20 May 2018

Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in British Art at The Walker Gallery

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Recognisable for its colour, surface design and geometric pattern, British art in the 1960s changed the face of modern art across the world. This exhibition features more than twenty artists and their works from the Arts Council Collection such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Anthony Caro and Bridget Riley, and covers sculpture, painting and mixed media.

William Brown Street, Liverpool
Free entry, until 3 June 2018

Snapshot to WeChat: A Migration of Identity at Open Eye Gallery

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Three billion images are shared on social media across the world each day, and this ‘everyday photography’ is explored in Snapshot to WeChat. This sharing of photographs has a profound impact on how we understand our culture and the cultures of others. Focussing on photographs taken by ordinary people in China, this exhibition considers how the act of documenting day-to-day life shapes our identity.

19 Mann Island, Liverpool
Free entry, 6 April – 17 June 2018

States of Play: Roleplay Reality at FACT Liverpool

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Exploring the world of Internet gaming, States of Play: Roleplay Reality considers how roleplay (found in a lot of video games) reflects and shapes personal realities. With new technologies in augmented and virtual reality expanding the realms of gaming, can video game reality move beyond real-world power structures? Featuring both artworks and well known industry games, this exhibition explores how the roles we play expose our personal truths, and what the consequences of that might be.

88 Wood Street, Liverpool
Free entry, 22 March – 17 June 2018

And Yet It Moves: A Showcase of Sculpture in Motion at The Royal Standard

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Featuring works by recent UK BA graduates Beata Wrobel, Callum Johnston, Charlie Cook and Molly Mae Whawell, And Yet It Moves explores non-static sculptural works through dissecting the potential of sculpture in a mobile form. Pieces will deteriorate through time, be manoeuvred by the audience, and be activated and brought to life. Alongside the exhibition runs a performance workshop for families and an open discussion evening hosted by the exhibiting artists.

Northern Lights, Cains Brewery Village, Liverpool
Free entry, 31 March – 13 May 2018

Euphonia by Emma Smith, Bluecoat

The Best Art Exhibitions in Liverpool This Spring

Bluecoat’s gallery is transformed in Euphonia, a ground-breaking new sound installation, by British artist Emma Smith, based on the music of social communication. Illustrating how we unconsciously make music through interlocking rhythms, pitch and tone when we engage in friendly interactions – such as chitchat with friends, Smith will draw from sounds created by the many people who visit Bluecoat on a daily basis. Inside the Gallery, visitors are invited to interact with a specially designed music score. The exhibition is suitable for all ages and each week there will be an Autism-friendly hour.

School Lane, Liverpool
Free entry, 27 April – 24 June


Time for more?

The Best Bars in Liverpool | Plan Your January Culture Trip |Utility Follows: Charlotte Sintrat

Header Image Credit – Liverpool Underlined

Featured Posts, Utility Follows

Utility Follows | Charlotte Sintrat – Le Petit Fika

14th March 2018

Le Petit Fika

As we scroll through the Charlotte’s Instagram feed we find it very difficult to pick out an item that we wouldn’t like in our own home. Whilst not strictly minimalist the Le Petit Fika blogger does seem to carefully consider each object that she adds to her home, with every addition serving its own visual and/or functional purpose. As part of our Utility Follows series we caught up with the French-born filmmaker to find out a little more about where her design inspiration stems from and whether it extends further than just her home interior.

Read the full interview below.

Charlotte Sintrat Home Details | Image Source

What inspired you to start blogging?

“As a filmmaker I have always been a very visual person with a strong sense of what I find aesthetically pleasing. I’m also very much a nester and with a busy job in production that often means long hours or travelling a lot, it’s important for me that the places in which I eat, sleep and spend precious downtime are calming and with minimal clutter. 

Several years ago I visited Scandinavia for the first time and discovered that their way of life and design sensibilities were very much in line with mine, so I started Le Petit Fika to share my journey of discovering brands and places that I feel an affinity with. I’m more of a photographer than a writer, so the blog was the perfect place for me to be able to combine my loves of photography and design.”

How would you describe Le Petit Fika?

“It’s still a relatively young blog but I would say that it’s a place where I share some of the brands, products and places that inspire me. Being originally from France, Le Petit Fika is a fusion of my heritage and love for the Nordic way of life from the design, coffee breaks (known in Sweden as “Fika”, hence the name!), food and travel.

Behind it is the belief that instead of following current trends, we should do what feels natural to us and create spaces that are a reflection of our personalities. I’m also inspired by what others find inspiration in and what their stories are (that’s the storyteller in me!), so you’ll find a section on the blog called ‘In Conversation‘ which is a selection of interviews with designers and makers that I admire. I want to push to do more of those in 2018, because this dialogue with others is what I love the most about the way I work with people and brands. “

Charlotte Sintrat Home Details | Image Source

How would you describe your personal style, in your home?

“My style is definitely inspired by Scandinavian minimalism and French chic, as well as functionality. It’s quite clean, with a soft, restrained colour palette and natural tones. I love having a bright space with earthy tones, accent blacks, wood notes and the occasional greenery from plants. Being from the south of France, I am used to having natural colours in my home, no carpets and big, airy spaces, so this is something that has also inspired my own tastes combined with Nordic design.

I try not to have too many bright colours in my home; they can contribute to a feeling of things being cluttered and I find it difficult to relax.”

Does your interior style extend to other areas of your life? 

“My love of interiors extends to all other aspects of my life. You’ll never find me wearing much colour as I wear black, navy or grey and white on a daily basis. I also catch myself wearing stripes a lot because I can’t seem to escape the French heritage! My interior style is definitely an extension of my personal style. I spend a lot of my free time in France, going back to my roots and enjoying the slow and relaxed Mediterranean way of life. I also love to travel to Scandinavia to immerse myself in the culture and design – I’m always after my next cinnamon bun and great cup of coffee.

Charlotte Sintrat Home Details | Image Source

If you could have just one product from Utility, what would it be?

“The black Muuto Around Coffee Table in large. It’s been on my wish list for a while.”

Are there any Instagram accounts that you love and think we should be following?

“There are so many inspiring accounts and people out there, but to name a few of the ones I love:

@thesefourwallsblog – @selina.lauck – @septemberedit – @hegeinfrance – @aboutthishaus

@i_love_you_wedding – @designhunter_uk – @swantjeundfrieda


Finally, we’d like to do some reading over lunch – which of your recent blog articles should we start with?

“If you are passionate about British design and lighting then you might like my interview with Simon Terry, brand and innovation director at Anglepoise, one of my all time favourite brands.”

Charlotte Sintrat Home Details | Image Source Le Petit Fika

You can find Charlotte on Instagram here and on her blog here.

Time for more? Utility Follows Ingrid Opstad Utility Follows Hannah Trickett | Utility Follows Allan Torp

Photography Credit: Charlotte Sintrat

Featured Posts, Utility Follows

Utility Follows | Ingrid Opstad

6th March 2018

That Scandinavian Feeling

As part of our Utility Follows series we met Ingrid, the voice and driving force behind interiors & lifestyle blog That Scandinavian Feeling. Although Ingrid has completed a Masters Degree (Graphic Design) in Leeds, lived in London and currently resides in Milan, it is her Norwegian roots that seem to be the dominant inspiration behind her interior style. We were keen to catch up and see how she got into blogging and whether her Scandi inspired interior style extended to other parts of her life.

Read the full interview below.

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Image Source : Ingrid Opstad via That Scandinavian Feeling

What inspired you to start blogging?

“I started the blog while living and working in London as a graphic designer, encouraged by my boyfriend who built the blog for me. It was intended to be a place for me to be creative and share interesting design I discovered along the way. I guess in the beginning I was not thinking so much about where I wanted it to go, I just wanted to create something for myself.

After moving from London to Milano two years ago I started focusing a lot on my heritage, and wanted it to become an outlet where I could share about all things Scandinavian. As I am a Norwegian living abroad and trying to find a Scandinavian feeling from my surroundings, I changed the name of the blog to That Scandinavian Feeling.”

How would you describe That Scandinavian Feeling?

“I want That Scandinavian Feeling to represent the feeling of coziness and calm with a Nordic minimalistic yet playful style. It is a place where I share my knowledge and love for Scandinavia: touching upon everything from interiors, design, lifestyle, travel to Hygge.”

Image Source : Ingrid Opstad via That Scandinavian Feeling

How would you describe your personal style, in your home?

“I try to create a bright, minimal and cozy home, I guess you can say hygge is the right word to describe it. I have been focusing on adding personal touches in my home to make it more homely, little details like photos and Scandinavian design reminding me of where I am from and memories shared with loved ones. I enjoy creating my own little Scandinavian nest here in Italy, when I am in my apartment it makes me feel like I am back home in Norway but when I step outside I am yet again in Italy.”

Does your interior style extend to other areas of your life? (Your wardrobe, the places you visit etc??

“My love for Scandinavian style and interior is a big part of my life, in all aspects. I always try to discover cafes, shops and places with a certain Scandinavian feeling. For me, a café with a cozy environment and Scandinavian interior is the perfect hangout, so I try to hunt down these places in my daily life as well as on my travels. Recently I discovered a new place in Milano called the Hygge Café, it makes me miss home a bit less when discovering places like that.

Image Source : Ingrid Opstad via That Scandinavian Feeling

If you could have just one product from Utility, what would it be?

“That is a difficult question, there are so many beautiful pieces! If I had to choose one, it would have to be the String Pocket shelf, a timeless classic in my mind and something that has been on my wish-list for quite a long time now. Its minimal look and versatility makes for the perfect place to display all your favourite design items.”

Are there any Instagram accounts that you love and think we should be following?

“I am a big Instagram fan, and love discovering new accounts and get inspired. Because of that I created the hashtag #thatscandinavianfeeling where I encourage people to share how they find That Scandinavian Feeling in their life. Each month I share a selection of these on the blog, and if you head to the gallery page you can see all of the featured accounts so far.

Here are a few accounts I am currently loving:

  • @latazzinablu – Italian blogger with the perfect Nordic style home
  • @thesefourwallsblog – Minimal perfection from a lovely wannabe Scandinavian (Editors Note: we also caught up with Abi as part of this Utility Follows series. Read that interview here)
  • @hamhennes – Norwegian couple with a passion for coffee & hidden gems
  • @fredrikrisvik – If I was a guy, I would take fashion inspiration from this Norwegian!” (Editors Note : The name may be familiar – he’s the guy behind ‘On My Eames‘)

Image Source : via That Scandinavian Feeling

Finally, we’d like to do some reading over lunch – which of your recent blog articles should we start with?

– “I would start by checking out the post I did about Finding Hygge, a film documenting the journey to discover the real meaning of hygge coming this year.

– If you need more calmness in your life read my latest blogpost with a few of my tips for keeping a peaceful and calm environment in your home.

– If you are after a gift for a Scandinavian design lover, you should have a look at my recent gift guide post full of timeless pieces.”

Image Source : Ingrid Opstad via That Scandinavian Feeling

You can find Ingrid on Instagram here and on her blog here.

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Time for more? Utility Follows Dan Hull Utility Follows Hannah Trickett | Utility Follows Allan Torp

Photography Credit: Ingrid Opstad


Mother’s Day Gift Guide

23rd February 2018

Mother’s Day is on 11th March

Although they’re our everyday heroes all year round, Mother’s Day is the only day of the year that we can collectively celebrate just how good our mums are. Here at Utility, we know it’s really hard to shop for those who swear that they don’t want anything. This Mother’s Day Gift Guide will help you choose something that she’ll cherish.

For The Glam Mum

1. Dansk Smykkekunst ‘Vivienne’ Long Chain Necklace in Gold : £39

2. Dansk Smykkekunst ‘Tabitha’ Mini Circle Earrings in Rose Gold : £18

3. Tales From The Earth ‘Tree of Life’ Necklace : £29

4. Dansk Smykkekunst ‘Mix & Match’ Bracelet : £30

5. Skagen Sea Glass Drop Earrings : £40

6. Edblad Island Bracelet in Steel : £38

For The Mum With The Sweet Tooth

1. Stateside Treat Emporium – Pecan Pie Dark Chocolate : £4.50

2. Acme Liquorice Lab – Raspberry & White Chocolate Black Liquorice Bonbons : £10

3. Sugar Sin – Fizzy Prosecco Gummies : £3

4. Acme Liquorice Lab – Natural Liquorice : £10

5. Creighton’s Chocolaterie – Bourbon Biscuit : £4

6. Creighton’s Chocolaterie – Salted Caramel : £4

For The Mum Who’s A Homebird

1. Hay Crinkle Throw in Silver : £85

2. Spira Esmerelda Cushion : £25

3. Katie Loxton ‘Marvellous Mum’ Scented Candle : £16.99

4. Paddywax Mandarin & Lavender Eco Diffuser : £28.50

5. Normann Copenhagen NormNorm & Norma : £21 & £18

6. Umbra Grid Art Photo Display : £30

For The Mum That Deserves a Pamper

1. Meraki White Konjac Sponge : £5

2. L:A Bruket Rosemary & Lavender Hand & Body Wash : £21.50

3. Hay Tann Toothbrush in Rose : £4

4. L:A Bruket Bergamot & Patchouli Hand Cream : £9

5. Bath House Gin & Tonic Lip Balm : £5

6. Bath House Rosé Prosecco Soap Bar : £5

Check out our recent Blogs below…

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Time For More?

The Story Behind The Verner Panton S Chair | Arne Jacobsen’s Most Iconic Designs | Utility Follows: Abi Dare –