A company that we met at Cersaie design fair in Bologna, Italy this year is Italian tile manufacturer, Mutina. We love their range of lightly textured tiles, usable both for walls and floors.

We're hoping to use the STAGE and TEX range (below) in our new project at Craven Hill Gardens.

Another range that we really like is the PICO (click here to see it), a dotted tile with almost a traditional waffle fabric feel to it.  We definitely want to use this in the near future!

From their website:

The best adventures, or at least the successful ones, are the result of circumstances: the end of a story is the beginning of another. So it was for Mutina, which, in 2006, embarked on a new path. Thirty years of history in the production of ceramics were swept by a wind of change that lead the company to choose a different course focusing on exclusive designs, a tailor-made production that combines technology with hand-crafted details, challenging experimentations that transcend the limits of the materials, and indispensable research for innovation to ensure a high quality product. This new course ties in with a new way of looking at the role of ceramics, which are not considered just floor or wall coverings anymore but have become an integral part of the interior design of a home: a concept shared by the designers working at Mutina and appealing to those who choose Mutina.

In all of our projects, we follow the ten principles for good design as set down by Dieter Rams: 1. Good design is innovative; 2. Good design makes a product useful; 3. Good design is aesthetic; 4. Good design makes a product understandable; 5. Good design is unobtrusive; 6. Good design is honest; 7. Good design is long lasting; 8. Good design is thorough, down to the last detail; 9. Good design is environmentally friendly; 10. Good design is as little design as possible.

We are always trying to find interesting products and interior features to recommend to our clients - details that set their homes apart from anyone else's. Something I've been looking at recently is meystyle's LED wallpaper. These bold patterns would make fantastic feature walls and one could then 'wow' their visitors byy turning on a lightshow that happens on their walls! Such as surprising and different product.

Click here to see a video of the installation process and of the finished wallpaper, or visit the meystyle website to see more.

In case you haven't yet seen the new logo that's popped up on our homepage, we are now official members of the BIID, registered as a Design Practice Member. The British Institute of Interior Design is the pre-eminent professional organisation for interior designers in the UK. In addition to rigorous entry requirements which assess training, experience and professionalism, members are required to continue their professional development throughout their career to ensure their continued expertise in design process, practice and regulatory matters. The British Institute of Interior Design is the only professional organisation for interior designers which has been granted the prestigious and rare accolade of Institute status by the Minister of State as the pre-eminent body in its field.

So it goes without saying that we're very proud of this achievement (well done to Laurence, the lead designer, for passing the interview)!

In the coming months we will both be attending CPD events in London (and probably some abroad as well). Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a common term shared by numerous professions in many countries. It is the way by which all professionals maintain and update their knowledge and skills after qualification. It is a requirement of Membership that a number of core CPDs are undertaken each year
A commitment to a CPD programme helps to ensure that members of this Institute are keeping up to date with the latest developments in a rapidly changing industry. CPD provides an opportunity to update personal and professional skills, a platform to engage with experts in the industry and a forum for the exchange ideas and best practice.
The BIID is also a great way to check that the designer you are hiring has achieved a high level of professionalism and has achieved both a respectable degree of education and experience in the industry.

When white is pure white and all encompassing, it is oh so calm and quiet. We love white in its entirety - if done correctly, there won't be a need for another colour! Shhhh...

In Milan last month we saw some great examples of wall mouldings (and we've recently used them in a project ourselves). They are an easy and cost-effective way to insert glamour and luxury to a room and they work really well in Victorian period properties in London. More properties should take advantage of the history of the building!

It makes us very displeased when people describe boring interiors or things as 'beige' because we think beige is an amazing colour with a great deal of depth and variety! So many tones and shades of this colour can all be called beige and all have a different strength, warmth and feel. When we say a room is beige, it's a compliment!

A green roof, also known as a living roof, is a roof of a building that is partially or entirely covered with vegetation (grasses or sedum, typically). Green roofs serve many purposes for a building, for example to absorb rainwater, to insulate the rooftop, creating habitats for wildlife and lowering urban air temperatures. In cities particularly, green roofing is also called 'urban greening' and is a very popular trend at the moment. 
A green roof can have several advantages, some of which are detailed below:
- Reducing heating (by adding mass and thermal resistance value)
- Reduce cooling (by evaporative cooling) loads on a building by 50-90%
- Reduce stormwater runoff
- Natural Habitat Creation
- Filter pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air
- Filter pollutants and heavy metals out of rain water
- Help to insulate a building for sound
- Increase the lifespan of a roof drastically
- Increase real estate value
- Reduce energy usage

The main disadvantage of green roofs is the higher initial cost of the building structer, waterproofing systems and root barriers. There is also a degree of maintenance involved although the ongoing costs of most green roofs are relatively low.

Sources: here and here

Sedum on an extension

Urban Greening

Commercial urban sedum roof

Sedum roof



Since 1879, the year when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, technology has been rapidly progressing. Now scientists believe that LED lighting is the next generation of lighting technology. LED lights work on the principle of using semiconductors to produce light energy, providing cost effective and eco-friendly lighting choice.

Light-emitting diodes have been around for years. Traditionally, they have been used as indicators on electrical devices, such as standby lights on TVs. Nowadays, even though LED Lights represent area of ongoing research and development, they have already become popular among many architects and designers.

 Do they work to save money?
It is suggested that LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours (12 years), compared with the 1,000 hours (42 days) of traditional incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps' (CFLs) 15,000 hours (2 years).
The technology is also much more energy-efficient, LED lights use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs; therefore you will see a significant reduction in your electricity bills. It has been estimated that for every 60W incandescent bulb you replace, you will save up to £17 per year with an equivalent LED light bulb.
The long lifespan and low energy use make LEDs economically attractive because even though the fittings cost more, the running and maintenance bills are lower.
What colors are available?
LED lights are available in a range of colors such as, white, blue, green, yellow, orange, amber and red.
White LED light is commonly described by its color temperature and measured in Kelvins. The warm white LED light (2700K) closely resembles incandescent light and has a slight tone of yellow or orange, which is mainly used in residential design. The natural white LED (3000K) gives a much brighter white light and is commonly used in offices, workshops and other work environments. The cool white LED light (4000K) has a hint of bluish tone to it and it is commonly used in manufacturing industries where bright light is required.

Does Lumen matter?
A lumen is a measurement of light directly relevant to human beings. The lumen scale describes the amount of light, or brightness, that the human eye perceives. An average 100-watt incandescent bulb, for example, produces about 1,600 lumens.
LEDs, which are bright enough to replace incandescent for household use, produce the same number of lumens as standard 40- or 60-watt bulbs and typically only use 9 to 12 watts. The U.S. Department of Energy advises that consumers who want to replace a 60-watt bulb should look for an LED that produces close to 800 lumens; for a 40-watt bulb, look for 450 lumens.
Cons and Pros of LED lighting for home use…
- Lasts up to 10 times longer than incandescent or fluorescent
- Generates little heat
- Does not contain any mercury or toxic material
- Uses less energy, saves money on utility bills
- Not cheap
- New products are being updated and launched rapidly; there is a chance that your new purchase will become out of trend quite quick

All in all, at Ardesia Design we are big fans of LED lights and think that they're going to be around for years to come and will eventually replace all halogen bulbs. The colours and types of LED's available today are so numerous, making the product very versatile and effective in a number of applications. With the number of new LED suppliers we found at Fuori Salone Milan this year at the Euroluce show, we are unlikely to ever have to use the same light twice!

LED Lights We Like…

Hanna Francis is a Finnish/English designer, based in Oxfordshire, who make some beautiful natural / sustainable pieces of furniture and lighting. Check out some of our favourites below...

From their Website:

Scandinavian simplicity and English charm are the qualities that make the Hanna Francis brand unique.

Our main objective is to combine traditional techniques with a contemporary and dynamic approach, specialising in furniture and interior products that exude Scandinavian and English style. Good quality, long lasting designs define us and we pride ourselves on the excellence of the goods we deliver to you.

We believe strongly and passionately in beautifully crafted items, made to last with integrity, incorporating the importance of sustainability in design.

We offer clients a signature product range and also a bespoke service that includes design and manufacture.

Check out our online shop for products by Hanna Francis!