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Formland: The Most Inspiring Nordic Design Fair

Meet me soon at Formland! Yes, I'll be back again this year after attending for my first time last year as their keynote speaker. I also gave some lectures and covered the fair on my social media, which was really exciting and we all had a great time together. I really love Formland, it's very unique in that it's large enough to be inspiring so you can take away a lot of great new ideas and meet great people, but it's small enough to not feel exhausting and overwhelming. I find that really large fairs that take days and days to see are of course, lovely, especially Salone in Milan, but I need the smaller fairsin between too in order to REALLY let everything that I see - to let it all sink in and to thoroughly experience things in a much deeper way. I like the feeling of not having to "rush" through a fair and I love how a smaller fair gives you a chance to make connections with real people offline. Formland is well attended, but it's not loaded with wall-to-wall people so you can actually breathe and enjoy what you're seeing.

Below are some photos from my participation in their fair last year, here is blog post where you can find the brands, too.

Formland really won my heart last year, I'm so happy I was invited back again and this year, I'll be giving two lectures on STYLING (weeeee!) and moderating TWO panels. I am quite excited to be a moderator once again at a fair. It's my newest passion - my first time moderating was at a fair I was on earlier this year, it felt really natural for me after years of public speaking. I was terrified at first, but it quickly felt "right" as I stood up and looked over at my lovely line up of experts sitting on stage, smiling back at me. The energy was fantastic and it inspired me. After 5 minutes, it was like the audience had disappeared and it was just me and my panel together in my living room talking about what we all have total passion for - design and social media.

I love the idea of getting together a bunch of smart people on a stage again, this time in Denmark, and to just chat very casually - and encourage an open and honest dialogue. Nothing scripted or overly rehearsed, just straight from the brain to the mouth - it's often best that way and gives a fair such an edge when they are providing educational lectures that are also fun to listen to, dynamic and totally engaging.

I've sat (I mean slept) through many lectures at design fairs in the past, so I'm determined to never be THAT kind of speaker. Let's hope not, anyway! I will really try to keep the energy high and get the audience involved too - as time allows. Also, I'm not the kind of speaker who exits the stage and disappears. Come up to me, talk to me, let's grab a coffee. I'm totally interested in making new friends and connecting in that way - if I have time, I will make it.

If you want to come to Formland to see me and my friends, Swedish Trend Expert Stefan Nilsson of Trendstefan, Danish Trend Expert and TV Presenter Mads Arlien-Søborg, Danish Interior Designer/Stylist and Blogger Laura Trøstrup from The Sweet Spot, and Danish Trend Expert Anette Eckmann from Eckmann Studio, please do! One of our panels, at the end of the day on Saturday, will be How social media and networking can make your business grow. The other, which is on Friday, will cover current interior and lifestyle Trends & Tendencies where we will, as a group, call out the current trends. The full schedule is here on this page.

Brands I loved to see last year at Formland in Herning, DK.

Brands I loved to see last year at Formland in Herning, DK.

At Formland this year, there are MANY stands that I want to visit, but I'm particularly looking forward to the HOUSE OF FREAKEBANA trend zone (last year it was truly incredible by the two ladies behind STUDIE FLYHELSTED), and to experience a new trend cafe - this year it is a Japanese cafe called MA by Atelier CPh who have worked on styling projects for Kinfolk magazine, Notem, The Poster Club and more. I truly can't wait!

Will you join me at Formland?

I will be there from opening day until Saturday afternoon, I'll leave after my final lecture so around 4:30/5:00. I hope you will look for me. Also, when you're at Formland, make sure to check out the trend hallway where you can find the curators the fair invited to show their current favorite things. You can see mine there as well.

See you in a few weeks!

Love,

Holly

Tour the Ceramics Studio + Shop of Erika Petersdotter in Stockholm

Do you believe that if you fall on to your right path in life, everything just falls into place for you? Hi everyone, it’s Mel here and this month I’m introducing you to a talented ceramicist here in Sweden and her story of how exactly that happened for her.

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

I first discovered Erika Petersdotter’s studio-in-shop a couple of months after first arriving in Stockholm. It was December 2016 and we had some good friends visiting from France, with the goal to fill their luggage with Scandinavian Christmas presents for their lucky family back home. Together we wandered the streets of Södermalm, I didn’t really know where to take them as I was only just discovering our new home myself. We took a shortcut towards the main shopping street and just before reaching it, we stumbled upon the sweetest little store full of handmade ceramics. What made this store even more special was that we could see Erika in the back room throwing her bowls. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

Our friends made their purchases and as we were about to head out the door, I grabbed a card, as I knew that I’d like to come back to do a feature story. I misplaced the card though, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me where the studio was, until around the same time of year the following year, I went walking in the neighborhood and found it again. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

I’m glad that this happened though; because now Erika has brought her potter’s wheel to the front of the store and it’s here that her customers can truly experience the magic of how their purchases are made. It’s these tangible differences that are needed, to give retail an edge, and interestingly something that Tom Dixon touched on when I interviewed him recently. It’s giving people something more than just a browsing experience. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8

In her early twenties, Erika moved to Stockholm from her hometown of Umeå in Northern Sweden, to be with her partner and now, father of her children. She was looking for work in her new city, not entirely sure what to do, however, one thing that stayed with her since her final years of school was her love of pottery and the feeling that she felt when touching the clay.  Erika found her current store, which was then run by a well-known local ceramicist, Mikaela Willers. She became her intern for a year and during that time, learned a lot about not only potting but also about being an entrepreneur. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8

Mikaela then decided to sell and move to middle Sweden.  She had a buyer for the store, however, at the last minute, it fell through. She called Erika to say that it was now time to take the step. That was five years ago. Erika was twenty-five at the time and she is so grateful that her mentor believed in her, despite her young age. She still calls Mikaela, her ‘Mother Potter’ today.  

Initially, she shared the space with other artists and sold mostly other people’s work to take the pressure off while she practiced her craft and found her style. She has certainly found it and throws most of her ceramics, leaving the forms simple and clean, letting the clay show and lead the way of the final look. Quite often she will mix lava with white clay and experiment with firing.

 

Her creations are for every day, it might be a favorite cup or bowl to hold and love. The style is Northern Swedish with a touch of Japanese inspiration.

Watching Erika at the wheel is truly mesmerizing and I wonder if she could ever get stressed doing what she does. She admits that it really is a dream scenario for her. Along with her store, she holds workshops so that others can experience the magic of throwing and showcases a few other ceramicists work in the store. 

Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
When you are on the right path of what you’re meant to be doing, it’s like everything conspires to help you and quite often, a teacher appears.
— Mel Chesneau
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8
Erika Petersdotter for decor8

 

Listening to Erika’s story affirmed what I have always believed in, which is, when you are on the right path of what you’re meant to be doing, it’s like everything conspires to help you and quite often, a teacher appears. Do you believe that dear readers? Have you ever had someone that made a difference to you by believing in you and showing you the way? Or perhaps right now you’re at a crossroad and you just need to follow your heart and make the right turn. 

See you in JULY! -

(Photos, Text: Mel Chesneau)

Anthropologie Opens First Store In Germany - Düsseldorf!

I have such exciting news about ANTHROPOLOGIE, but first, a little background... When I relocated to Germany from the United States in 2009, I knew I'd miss a lot of things about my home country. Things that defined me in many ways, and other things that I just liked that felt energizing and inspiring. Like the American, "Can Do" attitude. The innovation, the gumption, the support systems for entrepreneurs like me, and how easy it is to talk to strangers and to make new friends. I still miss all of these things despite how it's been over 8 years since my relocation.

Düsseldorf Anthropologie Store Window

Düsseldorf Anthropologie Store Window

Of course, other very "American" things have been missed over the years too, like Target and Anthropologie, Paper Source, J. Crew, West Elm and other spots that were once my go-to sources whenever I needed something new or simply, to seek out inspiration. Stores like Anthropologie, for instance, didn't exist in Germany in 2009, so I had to fly to London to visit Anthro for retail therapy, which had the closest locations outside of flying back home to Boston.

Anthropologie   Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Over the years, I've found other amazing sources in Germany for inspiration, but we still really lacked something more - namely, Anthropologie. I haven't seen a concept shop or a store in general that so expertly combines a gorgeous edit of home and fashion combined with imaginative visual displays and styling. That combination, in my opinion, is what makes Anthro so special to me. When I shop there, I'm always guaranteed to walk away looking at the world a little differently. Whether it's fashion or home, I always spot some creative display or a grouping of products that influence me in a positive way.

Anthropologie Düsseldorf
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When I recently spoke to my contact in London and she told me about their first mainland EU store to launch in Düsseldorf on May 25, 2018, I was thrilled. I'd been waiting for this FOR YEARS. She asked if I wanted to attend their pre-opening press event, and naturally, I couldn't refuse. Anthro selected their 10,000 square foot, two-floor location in Düsseldorf because it has a strong creative scene there and is known as the fashion capital of Germany, but they are actively looking for locations in Hamburg, Berlin, and Munich, next. Hamburg is where I frequent since it's so close to where I'm based, so fingers crossed that this is their next location.

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

NOTE: See the paper flowers above on the wooden wall? This was behind the cash register. Each flower posy was handmade by a different Anthro store and sent to the new Düsseldorf location to celebrate their launch. What a thoughtful idea.

Anthropologie   Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

I'm curious to see how Anthro influences the market here. I remember how they had a huge influence on how mainstream Americans saw and experienced fashion, home decor and shopping "experiences" in general. They were always so innovative and knew how to give customers a genuine experience in-store to make taking the time to visit more of an occasion than simply something to check off of your to-do list.  Also, they really brought a very European sensibility to America, as they were first very much like visiting a French Brocante - with lots of products looking and feeling very European.

Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Years later, their offerings are quite global and often hard to pinpoint origin, but the shop retains its ability to influence and inspire customers and I imagine in Germany, if they grow to several locations across the country, the influence will also be felt. I remember after Anthro started popping up around Boston, my friends were talking about it and shopping there because their stores were like no other at that time and had a tremendous energy around them - you felt they supported local artists, handmade craft, authors, even musical artists, and they did and still do in my opinion.

Anthropologie   Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie   Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie   Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie   Düsseldorf  - Home Floor

Anthropologie Düsseldorf  - Home Floor

Throughout this post are personal highlights from their press and launch party last Thursday evening from my iPhone. The evening was a-buzz with lively people, gorgeous visual displays, lots of flowers, a live singer/acoustic guitarist, an open bar with delicious cocktails, unlimited canapés for snacking, flower bouquets for all from FLOWERBX (they just launched in Germany, too!), and so much more to enjoy - like simply roaming the huge space to check out everything from dresses to throw pillows.

FLOWERBX Germany pop-up at Anthropologie Düsseldorf

FLOWERBX Germany pop-up at Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf
Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

Anthropologie Düsseldorf

I'm so happy to share this very memorable event with all of you and welcome to Germany, Anthropologie! #anthroinbloom // On Instagram find more inspo at @decor8 and @anthropologieeu

(Photos: Holly Becker for decor8)

 

 

Dimore Gallery Crush - Milan Design Week 2018

Dimore Gallery, an interiors company based in Milan, was founded by the genius, creative designer couple Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran, and this year their installations really blew me away during Milan Design Week. So much so, that I just had to jump online and tell you all about it here in this report. This year, these extraordinary men flipped everything that was right into a very good "wrong" that worked somehow and stimulated my imagination like crazy. Last year, their gallery was much more literal with rooms and scenes that you could imagine living in. This year, it was a total circus for the senses and for me, it was intoxicating as much as it was challenging for me to fully wrap my head around. And for these reasons, I decided that I really liked it because it was nice to be exposed to something that wasn't comfortable, easy to translate or even relatable... I liked the feeling of being forced out of my comfort zone as a creative person. 

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Salci and Moran had three locations for guests to experience, though I only had time for two and honestly, that was enough. Anything Dimore does takes so much time and mental/emotional energy for me to experience, then process, that I almost need downtime and a glass of wine after so I can just sit alone and try to figure out what that was all about. I love this though, the mind trip these guys take me on, it's great.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

One thing that stands out about Salci and Moran is how fantastically artistic and creative they are, but also that they possess a strong sense of business, making them wildly successful and sought-after in the world of design - at least here in Europe. They really do everything so well, it is quite impressive. Journalists, designers, tastemakers, trendsetters, you name it... All want to see what Salci and Moran have to show during Milan Design Week and honestly, it's not all hype or more designers seeking some status climb - the praise is based on something very real - these guys absolutely take everything you think you know about design and interiors and give it (and your imagination) a hard and fast spin.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

So, what was it like to experience Dimore this year, for me personally? Their main event was called, "Transfer: an emotive installation dedicated to Masters of 20th-century design". They took their space with its multiple rooms, blackened each room to where you almost needed a guide to take you through, and placed tents in the middle of rooms showing various settings and styles using furniture, fabric and accessories from their collections (that they also sell to the public) along with things you'd have in a typical living area - newspapers, books, ashtrays, etc. Honestly, none of it was really pretty or even something you'd want to copy and try at home. Which, well, was the true beauty of it.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

It was a bit like walking through a movie set, very theatrical and heady, with music piping into each room along with fragrance, that made you feel a bit high and otherworldly. This is something, for me, that truly sets Dimore apart in the world of design that you won't find at the inspiring spaces of Rossana Orlandi, Studio Pepe, or anywhere else really - how Salci and Moran are extremely in tune with all of the senses and use them in wildly imaginative and even sensual ways to bring an interior space to a whole new level - this full-on experience that gives interiors a personality beyond just a good looking sofa, amazing light, or a few well-styled accessories.

Dimore tickles and teases all of your senses as you experience their unusual combination of aesthetics and the overall ambiance. It's so captivating.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Moran and Salci are so obviously storytellers, collectors, and some of the most artistic I've seen in Milan. They are not interested in being trendy or fitting in. They could care less about showing what's already been seen just to get some good press. They are in love with creating experiences for themselves and for others and beyond that, in making their collections of vintage and antique items come to life in magical, fantastic ways.

DimoreGallery-SdM2018-5-2-3-933x1400.jpg
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

Salci is, what I call, an over the top, creative pirate of sorts - his fashion sense and overall look is so amazingly inspiring in a world of boring cookie cutter fashion... Just looking at him gives you creative energy and makes your brain swirl.

His partner, Moran, is also impeccably stylish and resembles Benedict Cumberbatch, at least to me. He bears no trace of his American background with the exception of his genial manner which is very distinctly southern Gentleman (he's from the Carolinas as I am). His eyes are friendly and full of warmth and his charm is contagious - I was impressed by his overall aura and vibrance.

And yes, I met them both and was happy to spend time chatting with Moran (Salci speaks mostly Italian). What an honor to share moments with them both, who were so kind and gracious to me, which took me by surprise as I assumed they'd be a bit arrogant and unavailable but it was just the opposite - they are very involved in their work and kind to all who stop them for a chat or to simply compliment their artistry and vision. They were even quite modest, a beautiful discovery which made me love their work even more.

Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018
Dimore Gallery Milan Design Week 2018

I will wrap up by saying that experiencing Dimore this year felt so different from 2017, a bit complicated, unexpected, and very unique to them. Seeing all of the vintage and antique pieces that they collect and sell, exhibited in such a creative way, was pure magic. These types of experiences stay with me for months after Milan Design Week wraps up, and these types of people really stand out in a world where sameness and the mundane have become almost toxic to my own creativity. Dimore has given me some good energy and fuel for my own work and projects, and I'm grateful for that.

(Photography: Silvia Rivoltella)

Marcel Wanders: The Five Seasons for Alessi, Milan Launch Party

I met Marcel Wanders! Yes! But first, let me explain how and why. It’s all about my collaboration with Alessi and his latest Five Seasons collection with them… Ready to learn more?

Iconic Italian brand, Alessi, has produced everyday designer objects since 1921. In fact, most of us have a few products from them in our home, most likely the kitchen. They frequently partner with some of the best designers in the world and I just had the honor of visiting their showroom during Milan Design Week and mingled with one of their brightest stars, legendary Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.

Together, they’ve launched the Five Seasons collection composed of 5 fragrances based on the four seasons plus a mysterious, sensual and spiritual 5th season, all for the home. Best of all, I was at the launch party and was able to experience the seasons, and Marcel, up close and personal.

(I even asked him for a selfie later on, as a total fan should - scroll down for that...)

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

First, the product

With room perfume, candles, and diffusers, this collection will appeal to design fans because the fragrances are sophisticated, unique and the overall design is mostly clean, sophisticated and will fit any décor. You won’t find the typical scents in this collection; instead imagine a candle with subtle notes of bergamot, lily of the valley and musk.

The diffusers, which usually are seen on the market with typical reeds, are much different in Five Seasons. Instead of generic reeds, stylized leaves were designed from mahogany, making the design fresh and unique. These elegant leaves make the diffusers more of a décor accessory as much as a practical, functional room fragrance. Each of the five scents has its own stylized leaf paired with a different fragrance in the collection. The 5th fragrance is also paired with a natural lava stone that subtly diffuses the perfume into the room.

In addition to the overall design, I liked the fragrance and product itself because you can imagine the collection appealing to anyone, regardless of gender, age or even cultural background. The collection doesn’t feel overly masculine or feminine, which I love because so many companies producing fragrance today tend to target women, yet many men also love a home that smells appealing to them and not the typical flower or fruit scents often found when you’re shopping for room fragrances, candles, and diffusers. The porcelain bases of the diffusers and candles can be selected in black or white and the fragrances are definitely gender neutral.

The 5 fragrances are:

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

BRRR: Notes of bergamot, lily of the valley and musk. Fresh, sparkling atmosphere, reawakening the senses.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

AHHH: Youthful, grassy, delicate notes like cardamom, hyacinth, and vetiver.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

HMM: Red berries, fig and woody notes. Clean and elegant.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

GRRR: Incense, cedarwood, and moss. Sensual, complex, smoky notes.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

SHHH: Eucalyptus, rose and patchouli. Intrigue, a mysterious bouquet.

My Favorite

While perusing the Alessi showroom in Milan, lifting each glass dome to experience one of the five seasons, I was focused on selecting my personal favorite. Which one was it, you may wonder? Definitely AHHH (shown below) because it was fresh and pure and I would love this scent in my bathroom while relaxing in the tub with some wine and good music.

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Next, the designer

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

I can't forget the famous Marcel Wanders! I’ve wanted to meet for twelve years, ever since discovering his work while I was still in design school. I’ve long loved how he marries traditional Dutch design with futuristic shapes and modern design, showing the true talent of Mr. Wanders to be so diverse, fresh and a true leader in his field.

I've also long admired his playful sense-of-humor and sparkle, which was so apparent when we met - he is absolutely charming and full of life, which translates into his work – including this collection of fragrances.

As you can see, I was all smiles during this special event and am so proud of Marcel's continued success and his contributions throughout the years to the design industry overall - such a mega inspiration to so many!

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Photo: Erik Schumacher

Bonus

Did I mention a party with cocktails were involved? Each of the 5 cocktails served were designed to ‘match’ each of the fragrances. I wish I had taken a photo of each of them – it was such a gorgeous idea to imagine how a fragrance would taste and look if translated into a refreshing drink. Fantastic idea.

I also ran into some friends, made new ones, and had a beautiful evening in the warm and summer-y courtyard with Marcel and the many friends who came out to support his launch.

Here are a few snaps from my iPhone. No evening is complete without a selfie and a shot of the floors, which were very cool and looked great with my silver loafers.

Alessi Holly Becker
Marcel Wanders and Holly Becker
Alessi Five Seasons Collection Marcel Wanders
Holly Becker Alessi Milan Showroom

My evening in Milan with Marcel and the whole Alessi team was a true pleasure and an honor. I’m happy that I was able to experience his collection and also, his big, open and vibrant personality. All in all, a great collection and a gorgeous evening well spent.

(This post was sponsored by Alessi. All words and thoughts are my own. Photography by Erik Schumacher, iPhone photos from Holly Becker for decor8.)

 

We're Off To Milan! See You Again On April 23rd!

Hello friends of decor8! I am heading to Milan first thing in the morning, and a few of your decor8 columnists will be there too for Design Week and the Salone del Mobile. In fact, I'm working alongside Mary Middleton and Agata Dimmich at the fair on Thursday to cover a bunch of Italian brands, so follow my Instagram to see more @decor8. I'll also be working on a special assignment along with some smaller projects, too. It promises to be a very productive week!

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There's a lot happening, and I can't wait. The most exciting part though is to see my friends and colleagues and mingle in a beautiful city like Milan that is so vibrant and full of sunshine, great food, and nice people.

Have a fantastic week everyone! You can catch me blogging here again with my team on 23rd of April with lots to share from Milan, but in the meantime, I'll be sharing my inspirations from Milan through Instagram Stories and Insta photos all week, so please follow me @decor8 to be a part of the fun.

Love,

Holly