Field Trip: Skandium – Brompton Road, London

In London, I went to the most fabulous store. If you ever need to buy me a gift, go there and buy anything. Honestly – just close your eyes and grab something and I guarantee I will love it and probably write a blog post about how wonderful you are. There was inspiration in every nook and cranny at Skandium, mecca of modern design. I also learned that midcentury favorites are not the same around the world (see below). There’s no way I can show you everything, but here are some that caught my attention:

Trays – I am a huge fan of trays. On an upholstered ottoman, they make a great place for remote controls and coffee cups. On shelves or side tables, trinkets and framed pictures and candles seem more thoughtfully arranged if they’re on a tray. A tray is perfect to hold napkins and salt and pepper on your kitchen table. They are great for holding mail or just on their own. Of course you can also use them for serving too.



These colorful modular trays can be arranged in any number of ways:


There were also great stools and side tables:


The top of the tray table at the front of the above photo can be flipped over to turn it into a stool. How cool is that?


Amazing lighting:


The Ribbon Pendants by Tom Raffield above are true show stoppers!



And other fun and beautiful decor:







And fabric and table linens too! Mostly by Marimekko – I love, love , love their fun colors and prints.



And of course there were chairs. You know how I love chairs! Which is your favorite? The grey sheepskin one is on my wish list. My husband loved this colorway of the Eames rocking chair:



Here’s a close up of the cozy graphite sheepskin on this Swedish Lamino Easy Chair:


The curves of this GJ chair are impossibly wonderful:


Here’s the newest design by Tadao Ando – the Dream Chair:


I almost missed it because it was in the corner of the window display and I didn’t see it until we had already left the store!




The thing that surprised me the most was this:


(Sorry it’s not the best photo – there was a lot of stuff around the chair!) I saw this chair and immediately it looked different to me than my Eames Lounge Chair. (See mine here.) My daughter sat it in and declared that it was smaller than ours. I learned that this chair and several other Herman Miller items are manufactured by the Swiss company Vitra for the European market, not made in the US and imported to Europe as I had assumed. According to my research, there are indeed differences between the Herman Miller and Vitra versions in finish, materials and manufacturing methods (and also price). This Eames Hang-It-All is another example. This cool green colorway is not available in the US:


And neither is this red/wood one:


All the more reason to go back to London!


Breaking News

As you may have read here, my husband has a hard time surprising me – I always manage to find out. But last night he did it! And the kids were in on it, too, making it that much more impressive that he pulled it off.

My early Christmas gift:


An Eames Elephant! I have really wanted one of these – under the guise of it being for the kids – but who are we kidding? Originally designed of molded plywood (like the chairs shown here)  in 1945 by Charles and Ray Eames, it never went into production because it was too complex to fabricate. Now they are made of polypropylene in fabulous colors. And the box it comes in is almost as cool as the elephant itself! Trying to decide where in the house it should go – it looks fantastic everywhere! I’ll let you know where it ends up.

For the Love of Chairs

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I love chairs. A lot. In college, I had a poster from the Vitra Design Museum that depicted every chair in their collection. I used to stare at it for hours. As a child, I hadn’t known the Thonet and Breuer chairs we sat on at home were classics. That poster changed everything. I was a student of architectural history, but all I really wanted to learn about was all those chairs. The poster somehow disappeared after college, but the obsession with chairs remained.

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Thankfully, I have a husband who understands – he remembers the poster. I don’t want to collect art or stamps or shoes. I want chairs. In 2006, Herman Miller released the 50th Anniversary edition of the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. This was my moment – I was sure of it. We ordered one, and ever since I have been working to make the rest of our home as amazing as that chair. To provide an environment that does justice to how beautiful it is. Join me here at Alexandra Design Finds as I share the endless project known as my house. You’ll find this blog is about a lot more than chairs – we’ll also check out some other wonderful homes, visit stores, markets, craftsmen and collectors and find some wonderful things – for my home and yours.

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Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman: