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Celebrating 150 years of Mackintosh

Monday, 18 June 2018 16:05:37 Europe/London

Let’s face it – any chair cool enough to be caressed by Madonna in one of her videos must be one happening little number.

But the steamy seat in question actually ‘happened’ quite a while ago. In fact, this month marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of its creator, Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Yet his dead stylish designs continue to make their mark in the modern world – they’ve put in appearances everywhere from Dr Who and American Psycho to Blade Runner and Babylon 5.

And of course, those of you who are really keeping up with the times will have spotted his pieces on the ultimate trendsetting medium…ye olde faithful Pink Apple website.

Cassina, one of our favourite brands, are the licensed manufacturers of none other than the Hill House Chair, the Willow Chair and the Berlino Dining Table.

Take the Hill House – topping this 141cm stunner would be a tall order. Using Mackintosh’s signature style, its black stained ashwood ladder back and frame see it sitting head and shoulders above the rest.

Cassina Hill House Chair

Its plump seat is finished in a dark green or pale pink fabric and, even without his trademark rose motif, it carries off every inch the Mackintosh look.

As one upfront Cassina guru once said of the Hill House: “It combines figurative and symbolic ideals with a linear geometry, no doubt inspired by the abstract graphics of Japanese design.”

But it’s not all straight talking with Mackintosh – he threw in a bit of a curveball with the Willow Chair. Again, the frame is of a distinctive stained black ashwood, while its seat cushion offers a silky sanctuary in beige or green. But this time, the lattice detail synonymous with this Glaswegian designer, makes a sweeping statement in the form of a curved back, rather than sticking rigidly to the more clinical angles of the Hill House.

Cassina Willow Chair

And if the Hill House takes aesthetics to new heights, then Cassina’s Berlino Dining Table also stretches a point. By lifting the top of this extendable table in natural cherrywood, this classic ‘grows’ from 145cm to 205cm and 265cm.

As another Mackintosh admirer observes: “Sometimes the most simplistic things can conceal a complexity of expressions. What may seem on the surface to be straightforward has an undercurrent of emotions designed to reach out and spread its wings in the most evocative, provocative fashion.”

…Which may go some way towards explaining how our very own Material Girl was prepared to bend over backwards to Express herself and her admiration for Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who 150 years on, remains very much in vogue.

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Our pick of Lounge Chairs

Monday, 4 June 2018 10:37:33 Europe/London

I recall, quite clearly, my time in the Womb. Cosseted and comforted by its all-enveloping warmth, it took practically a C-section to coax me out of this Knoll classic.

Born of a request from Florence Knoll for something she could 'really curl up in', the Womb Chair was the brainchild of Eero Saarinen.

Using production techniques and materials still in their infancy, the Finnish designer spawned this iconic piece in 1946. Its softly sloping sides, smothered in the finest of fabrics, are complemented by seat and backrest cushions in matching or contrasting colours. Polished chrome legs support the reassuringly reinforced structure.

And, as if it wasn't already soothing enough, the Womb, available in two sizes, also comes in the less-expensive Relax edition (large only), with the option of black legs.

Knoll Womb Chair

Much later in 2014 came the birth of the new Era Lounge Chair by Simon Legald for Normann Copenhagen, in high or low versions. Legald wanted this fabric-covered fantasy to be inviting to all ages, explaining: "It has to satisfy not only the functional aspects, but also the psychological and aesthetic needs."

So he offered up those taller or shorter designs and also a choice of legs - wooden 'for warmth' and steel for a sleeker look.

Normann Copenhagen Era Chair

Sure enough, whichever legs you choose to run with and - highs and lows aside - the Era does as intended, evoke nostalgia while cutting a contemporary feel at the same time.

Similarly, Hay's About a Lounge Chair by Hee Welling is not just all about the base, or the body. Or even the upholstery, come to think of it.

Hay About A Lounge Chair

It's about blending in or standing out, according to how the individual decides to customise it. So, the option of swivel base or rounded wooden legs in everything from soaped to stained oak, sits alongside a selection of fabrics, with the possibility of leather thrown in for good measure.

Another big softie offering endless possibilities is the Repos Lounge Chair, jointly developed by world-acclaimed brand (and Pink Apple favourite) Vitra with designer Antonio Citterio.

Here, hidden synchronised mechanism lets the lucky user move from an upright posture to a reclined angle for resting. The backrest is lockable in any position and what's more, can be manually adjusted to the user's weight.

Vitra Grand Repos

And whether to take it standing up or lying down isn't the only consideration to bear in mind...there's the Grand Repos, as well as the original version. Also created in 2011, it invites you to repose in even grander luxury, with extra support for the neck in the form of a high-winged headrest.

The final of Pink Apple's pick of the best seats sure to have you flying when it comes to comfort is Gubi's Beetle Lounge ChairDesigned by GamFratesi in 2013, the Beetle can already be found (in a very good way) in living rooms all over the world.

Generously proportioned and available in several fabrics (with leather piping, if that floats your boat), it was inspired by the insect itself, right down to its shape and shell and rigid outside with soft inside.

With lounge chair lovers everywhere swarming for this perfect four-legged specimen, the Beetle looks comfortably set to continue sending its competitors scuttling. 

Beetle Lounge Chair

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Vitra Outdoor Dining Chairs

Monday, 21 May 2018 12:29:13 Europe/London

If Vitra's Vegetal Chair were food, it would top my five-a-day list. Nothing shouts ‘organic’ quite so tastefully as this outdoor seat which first cropped up in 2008.

The seed was sown when its designers set out to create something echoing natural vegetation. Branch-like ribs intertwine to produce a shell reminiscent of plantlife, supported by legs which appear to sprout from the ground. Made of polymide plastic, it’s 100% recyclable and smacks of healthy living.

Vitra Vegetal Chair

But much as I've always been a great one for eating my greens, it's the sweet stuff which truly tickles my tastebuds. Luckily, Vitra’s Vegetal has that base covered too – it comes not only in earthy hues like Cactus, Brick and Mauve Grey, but also in Chocolate or Cream.

And that’s Vitra all over, versatile in every respect. That goes too for all the other outdoor chairs this world-renowned brand has to offer – it’s a veritable variety show.

So sit back and enjoy this spectacle of Vitra summertime specials (many stackable), proudly presented by Pink Apple… Colour-wise, it's probably Jasper Morrison's All Plastic Chair which really does it for me.

Its shades soar joyfully from Buttercup to Ivy and are available in a two-tone palette, pairing darker frames with the rest of the structure in a lighter, brighter hue.

Vitra All Plastic Chairs

This unpretentious classic takes me back to the sweet little seats which adorned my dolls’ house way back when. A high-performance polypropylene product however, it withstands so much more than teddy and toy tea parties.

Resistant to sunlight and water, it’s up for the most outrageous of outdoor bashes. It may be plastic, but this chair has certainly got some mettle…

…As, you might say, has the all-aluminium Landi chair, a stalwart by anyone’s standards. Developed for the 1939 Swiss National Exhibition, it boasts more holes than a slab of Swiss cheese (91, to be precise). These cut-outs painstakingly punched, largely by hand, lend an airy quality as fresh as the alps themselves.

But while it tips the scales at just a couple of kilos, the Landi is no lightweight. Deceptively sturdy, it flexes like a set of muscles and proves to be a most practical perch which really packs a punch.

Vitra Landi Chair

So that's how the Landi lies, but let's not forget the Belleville, another perfect pew for outdoor use which takes on a different slant altogether. Its 'hind' legs, angled to the ground, offer a new meaning to the concept of being laid-back.

The Belleville takes its name from the bustling Parisienne quarter in which it was dreamt up. But this cool polypropylene furniture seems to take a back seat, as if watching in wry amusement from a stressed-out street cafe vantage point.

The Tom Vac meanwhile in my eyes, lends itself to languishing on a sea front. Scoop-shaped (I’m thinking ice creams again), its corrugated shell ladles the sitter, looking like a wave cradling a surfer. But if we’re talking of flexible friends suitable for the great outdoors, nothing offers quite such stiff competition as the sturdy but supple Panton Chair.

Vitra Tom Vac

This iconic cantilever was the first to be manufactured from a single piece of plastic and sits comfortably as one of the most instantly recognizable designs ever. An unassuming one-bit wonder.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make life go around in such a relaxing way. And certainly in Vitra’s summertime, the living is easy.

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Knoll Schultz Outdoor Range

Wednesday, 9 May 2018 12:36:59 Europe/London

Richard Schultz had every reason to blow his own trumpet when he heralded his 1966 Collection as ‘a breath of fresh air’.

Throwing caution to the typically stuffy ornate outdoor furniture of the time, this Knoll designer took the world by storm with his range of streamlined garden furniture. And nearly 60 years on, this torrent of tables, chairs and loungers look as crisp and cool as ever.

Knoll Schultz Outdoor Range

It all began in 1962 in a Florida backyard, with a gentle flurry of ideas from Florence Knoll. Director of the legendary design group, she wafted a few notions under the nose of Schultz, urging him to come up with pieces which could withstand the corrosive breezes in the gardens of her oceanic paradise.

Knoll Schultz Outdoor Range

Taking her suggestions with a pinch of salt, he dedicated the next four years to working with all-weather aluminium materials. “There wasn’t a whole team of people to help me. Details were carefully considered. We spent so much time refining it. That’s why the furniture still looks fresh,” he later recalled.

Take the Knoll Schultz 1966 Dining Chair, for example, whose clean lines washed away the idea that garden furniture would be forever fussy.

Gone was the whole over-embellished pre-French Revolution look, making way for a more ship-shape image which was instantly at home in Mrs Knoll’s Florida beachside playground. And decades on, this classic chair still sits very nicely, thank you, on patios all over the world.

Available with or without arms, its aluminium frame is polyester powder-coated in Black or White, to withstand whatever the weather throws at it, even sunshine (remember that?). And while there’s the faintest ray of hope that things might hot up one of these summers, it’s comforting to know the mesh back will keep you cool.

Similarly, the Chaise Longue, also in Black or White, goes flat out on the comfort front. Choose from the fixed Contour version, or the Adjustable which enables its lucky occupant to be as upright or laid-back as they like. Again, the mesh sling keeps things chilled should the sun ever decide to put his hat on.

And then there’s the square or rectangular Dining Table in four sizes. With Black or White frames and topped with Dark Bronze or White Porcelain, these simple classics provide the perfect appetiser for alfresco aficionados.

Knoll Schultz Outdoor Range

The matching but smaller Coffee or End Table meanwhile, makes for a tasteful and temperate serving on the side.

But of all the Schultz 1966 Collection, it’s possibly the Petal Dining and Coffee Tables which, above all others, can still be considered as fresh as a daisy.

Bright and beautiful, they were inspired by Queen Anne’s Lace - a weed comprising a cluster of flowers, each supported by its own stem. This dainty design is made up of eight independent petals, allowing the table to expand and contract with the elements.

Delicate but durable, this table is no wallflower and remains as breathtaking as ever. As with each example in this iconic outdoor collection, weathering the storm while continuing to flourish, is a walk in the park. And for the Petal, it's a picnic.

Knoll Schultz Outdoor Range

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Hello Casamania!

Monday, 30 April 2018 12:15:20 Europe/London

Putting bums on seats took on a whole new cheeky meaning when Casamania created the Him & Her Chairs.

Casamania Him and Her chair

They really broke the mould with these designer derrieres, based on a particularly pert pair of male and female posteriors.  Providing ergonomic posture support, the perky polyethylene perches are available in a butt-load of colours.  Whether you like your glutes glossy or matt (the latter finish is also suitable for outdoor use), these are deceptively comfy and guaranteed to be the talk of the table.

But enough of bringing up the rear – Casamania, a brand we’ve recently welcomed to the Pink Apple website - are behind a far-reaching range of quirky products.

The Compass for example, puts a tasteful twist on the traditional clothes valet. This simple wooden wonder stands proud and practical in a choice of three finishes, offering a stylish step up on the social ladder to anyone needing a bit more wardrobe space.

Let's not forget either, the Meduse Side Table. Inspired by the iconic shape of the jellyfish, the steel structure makes it a firm favourite for the great outdoors, while it's just as at home as an indoor coffee table.

Casamania Meduse

And then of course, there's the Twee T. lamp. This gently glowing glory captures the ancient tradition of caged canaries in homes, once considered a beacon of good upbringing. Suspended in black or gold-plated splendour, the LED lighting fixture on its base illuminates the room as well as the inside of the cage.

Like all Casamania creations, the Twee T. is certainly one to be shared - and liked - by others.

Casamanie Twee T

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Eames Lounge Chair

Monday, 23 April 2018 11:47:00 Europe/London

When it’s time to slip into something a little more comfortable, you could do a lot worse than plump for the Eames Lounge Chair with matching ottoman

Ray and Charles Eames

The ultimate Vitra classic, it positively oozes what creators, husband and wife team Charles and Ray Eames, describe as “the receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt”.  And having sunk myself into this sumptuous seat and my flopped my feet on the ottoman on many an occasion, I can dreamily declare that this leather legend does indeed fit like a glove.

A labour of love created in the ’50s, it’s a ‘modern’ alternative to the traditional English club chair, aiming to embrace its predecessor’s ample proportions but in a more elegant manner.

And embrace it does…not to mention, envelop and enfold – thanks to its curving plywood shell, swathed in the finest hide. And it’s thanks also to intricate hand labour and latest factory technologies that this iconic piece has earnt itself a seat of splendour in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Eames Lounge Chair

Now available in two sizes – classic and new larger dimensions – with a wealth of woods and leathers from which to choose, it’ll always be a soft option.  Sixty years after the Eames team decided it was game-on for the cosy concept of that baseball mitt, nothing else has quite managed meet its match.

Get your hands – or preferably your body – on one. It’s a whole new blissful ballgame.

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Kartell Masters

Saturday, 31 March 2018 12:27:00 Europe/London

It’s a bit like when they brought back blue Smarties…just when you thought something couldn’t get any better, the Kartell Masters Chair became available in a Metallic finish.

Already presented in a palette of 6 colours – enough to tempt every palate – the iconic piece was suddenly even more appetising with this delectable new twist, of which more later.

 Kartell Masters

The Masters, designed by Philippe Starck, is a tribute to 3 symbolic seats, locking together the unmistakable silhouettes of Arne Jacobsen’s Series 7, Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Armchair and Charles Eames’ Eiffel Chair.

 Kartell Masters 2

Winner of the 2010 Good Design Award, the Masters comes in tasteful chair and stool versions and is all the more delicious for being suitable for outdoor use (mat only).

My lovely mum is notoriously fussy about what furniture is on the menu. But even she counts this light, practical and stackable offering as one of her staple favourites and swears it’s her comfiest perch.

And then there’s the small matter of this polypropylene treat becoming even more of a ‘gilty’ pleasure, with the introduction of the Metallics range in Gold, Copper, Chrome and Titanium.

 Kartell Masters 3

Gloriously glossy, the newfound sheen seriously brings out the bling in this classy classic.  And with the Pink Apple Easter sale running until Bank Holiday Monday, now is the time to get your hands – and bottoms – on a Masters chair or stool.

As Starck himself puts it, his distinctive design “brings to mind the lines of three great masters and three great masterpieces”. A bit like a Galaxy, Wispa and Smarties egg all rolled into one. Happy Easter!

Masters stool

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Vitra Eames Plastics

Monday, 26 March 2018 10:02:37 Europe/London

A pop of colour never hurt anyone, so Vitra Eames' iconic range of plastic seats provide the perfect excuse to play musical chairs, albeit without the music.

Vitra Eames Plastics

Mix and match a symphony of 14 seat shell hues, with the option of harmonising these with a cushion or full upholstery in a choice of 8 hopsak fabric tones.

Eames plastics colours

And if you really want your chairs to be heard, you can make it all about the base.

Take the DAR, for starters, whose iconic Eiffel legs (reminiscent of a certain well-noted landmark) shout loud and proud beneath the organically-shaped – (some may say bucket-like, in a good way) armchair shell.

And then there’s the DSW Side Chair – a simpler seat shape without arms, and whose wooden legs supported by steel rods offer a more classic look.

The DSX meanwhile, with the same seat as the DSW, strikes a chord with clean-cut chrome legs.

You can go solo with the DAR, DSW and DSX by leaving them uncovered. Or you may want them to be accompanied by a non-detachable seat cushion or full upholstery in hopsack – select from a scale of shades.

And if you really want to play it bold, consider adding white or black piping to the fabric to make those seats really sing out.

But for the look that totally rocks, it’s got to be the RAR – a soothing composition of the DAR seat but with golden maple rocking skids. Only available unupholstered, it holds a lot of sway wherever it goes.

With the different seat shells, upholstery choices and bases across this plastic chair range, there’s no stopping the number of combinations possible. Designed in 1950 by Charles and Ray Eames, some models can even be used outdoors.

But hard-wearing and comfy, no matter how you choose to orchestrate these high-quality style stalwarts, you know they’ll always look as good as they sound.

Vitra Eames Plastics chairs

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Knoll Saarinen Tulip Tables and Chairs

Friday, 16 March 2018 15:55:13 Europe/London

It's been a murky old winter, but a shiny clean spring is on the horizon. Take Knoll's Saarinen Tulip range for example...it may have blossomed into life many moons ago, but its feel is as fresh as ever.

With their trademark pedestal black or white bases wiping away the messy need for what the designer called a ‘slum of legs’, the Tulip look is still neat and new. And very nice it is too.

Designed by Eero Saarinen in the 1950s, the classic style sleeks across a series of tables and chairs. Beautifully-bevelled table tops gracefully adorn the ‘majestically effortless’ one-legged moulded base. With the tops available in magnificent marbles (glossy or satin) and laminate or veneer finishes, the Tulip table will always simply look smooth.

And that’s whether the talk turns to the Dining or smaller Side tables, which stand tall alongside their equally elegant Coffee counterparts.

Knoll Saarinen Tulip Tables

The distinctive Dining tables (including some in Acrylic Stone for outdoor use) are served up in a choice of 5 diameters from 91cm to 152cm in the round version, with the Oval options stretching to a spectacular 244cms.

And blooming alongside the Tulip tables are the stools and chairs (swivel or fixed base) with or without arms. Take your pick from a flourish of fabric and leather upholstery options.

Knoll Saarinen Tulip Chairs

With such a crop of combinations, all things bright and beautiful or serene and subtle are possible within Knoll’s iconic Saarinen Tulip range. Whether you choose to step out loud and proud or tiptoe through the tulips, enjoy this bunch of beauties.

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

Good to Glow with Louis Poulsen

Monday, 5 March 2018 13:09:26 Europe/London

Pink Apple are proudly basking in the rosy glow of Louis Poulsen - the latest lighting brand to add a special sparkle to our website.

 

Take the Louis Poulsen PH5 Contemporary Hues range, offering a colourful breath of fresh air with its haze of harmonious tones. This three-shade pendant system gently directs the light downwards, with uplifting results. 

 

 

 

The PH Lights range meanwhile - available in more than one size in table and floor versions - make a different sort of statement in mouth-blown white opal glass. Loosely-based on the idea of a spiral, these too provide soft lighting, but with a choice of contrasting black metallised or high-lustre chrome base.

 

 

 

If the PH selection could be considered to put the 'class' into classic, then AJ lamps surely spell out the 'fun' in funky. Designed by Arne Jacobsen, the AJ light collection sparked into life in the 1960s and is still going strong today. Available in table, floor and wall versions, it shouts retro, but in a playful rather than overpowering way.

 

 

And then there's the Panthella Table and Panthella Floor, created in 1971 by Verner Panton, whose bright idea was to build a design where both foot and shade served as a light reflector. Its distinctive domed top was always shaped for success.

 

 

But taking centre stage among such side dish delights is The Artichoke. This world-famous unique sculptural design dreamt up by Poul Henningsen in 1958, boasts 72 painstakingly-positioned leaves. With much of the production process still carried out by hand, this prize specimen guarantees totally glare-free light from any angle.

 

For more shining examples of how you can trip the light fantastic, click here.

 

Posted in Blog By Helen Crawford

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