Lost for Inspiration

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Design Inspiration - Eames Lounger and Ottoman:
Sorry, couldn’t resist this last one.

Design Inspiration - Eames Lounger and Ottoman:

Sorry, couldn’t resist this last one.

Design Inspiration - Le Corbusier, ‘I prefer drawing to talking’: 

“I prefer drawing to talking.
Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.”
-Le Corbusier

 (Thanks to Fad and Asbjorn Lonvig)

Design Inspiration - Le Corbusier, ‘I prefer drawing to talking’: 

“I prefer drawing to talking.

Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.”

-Le Corbusier

 (Thanks to Fad and Asbjorn Lonvig)

Design Inspiration - Le Corbusier Chaise Longue:

Just beautiful.

It’s at least ten years since I finished my MBA (Durham Business School, if you are asking), but a few things still stick out in my mind.

Apart from making some great life-long friends, the best thing was the breadth and depth of reading you could do.You could really indulge your passions and curiosity as you had the time and space to absorb the experience of others.

The work of Charles Handy, Clayton Christensen, Michael Porter and others were all hoovered up with enthusiasm.

So, coming across a recent lecture by Jim Collins on Inc.com, was a real pleasure, especially as he was talking about his BHAG concept - the big, hairy, audacious goal.


In the simplest of terms, this is when a business or individual sets a huge goal 20 - 30 years into the future and strives and works towards it.  it’s a measure of the long term thinking and ‘built to last’ focus a company needs to survive.

It’s a short and punchy read, so if you want to know more head over to Jim’s web site for more on his iconic books, along with some great PDF guides to his best known concepts.

Happy reading.

Design Inspiration: Dieter Rams Chronograph Watch

Design Inspiration: Dieter Rams Chronograph Watch

Design Inspiration: Dieter Rams Braun Record Player

Design Inspiration@ Dieter Rams Braun ET 66 Calculator

Design Inspiration@ Dieter Rams Braun ET 66 Calculator

Design Inspiration: Dieter Rams Braun Coffee Machine

Design Inspiration: Dieter Rams ten principles for good design

As one of the most important designers of the last century, Dieter Rams asked, and found a way to answer, one of the most important questions within his field of expertise - is my design good design?

Knowing that good design cannot be measured, he created a set of 10 principles against which good design could benchmarked.  

These were developed during his time as Chief Design Officer at Braun, a post he held until 1995 and during which he introduced dozens of iconic products.  His influence and pedigree can be clearly seen in the work of the current champion of the ‘10’ - Jony Ive and Apple products he created across the years.

Just goes to show how a collection of simple principles can be the bedrock of huge influence.

An inspiration: Peter O’Toole.

A lost legend.

Every man needs good stationery.  

There is something solid, dependable and reliable about it.  No need for a full battery, internet connection or storage space for this stuff. 

It’s simplicity is its strength - just think about the millions of dollars NASA spent on developing a pen to work in space, when the Russians just used a pencil.

Good stationery is also a source of great creativity. Just look at the selection on Sir Paul Smith’s desk in his new Design Museum exhibition or his collaborations with Rhodia - all driven by a passion for traditional writing and scribbling of ideas that technology can’t truly replicate:

So, I do love sharing new and inspirational finds, especially as gift ideas,  this time from The Journal Shop:

Midori BRASS Number Clips

Palomino Blackwing pencil sharpener

Calepino Notebook set

Classic Palomino Blackwing pencil

And finally, my Christmas gift inspiration:

A beautiful Midori wood inlay ruler

If stationery is good enough for Sir Paul on his Desert Island, it’s good enough for me!

Being a Belfast lad, born and bred, I have strong early memories.  

From the corner shop near my Grandmothers house, to the solders patrolling the streets, there are a number of stand out images from my past, but none were so strong as the Harland & Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath:

Their imposing, but positive, yellow presence permeated the city and into my memories. So, imagine my delight when I came across Harland & Wolff apparel.

Inspired by the originality and craftmanship of the original shipyard, Dennis Bree and Tim McAllister set up the company which celebrates the heritage of this historic space.  

As a result, they have concentrated on working with local craftspeople to lovingly create a focused range of high quality products.

My picks from the collection.  Well, lets start with a S&G hook T-shirt:

A beautiful, soon to launch, yard shirt:

But the best of the lot (and already on my Christmas list), a pair of limited edition H&W Rivet cufflinks:

So wonderful I almost didn’t want to post the link!

Update: That beautiful yard shirt is now on sale,  but only 20 of them have been made,  so get in quick!

I came across this article a few months ago and keep on coming back to it for inspiration.

Written by David Hieatt, joint founder of the brilliant Hiut Jeans, it details ten inspiring lessons for anyone wanting to create a great product, service or more importantly, solution for customers.

What stood out for me from this?

It’s good to sell stuff

Quality matters, but you have to create a solution to a customer’s problem, be it lifestyle, image or aspiration

Pay your skills forward to keep them alive and others inspired

Finally, my favourite one:

Don’t just strive to be the best, strive to be innovative, strive to be different.

I haven’t really made it to many exhibitions over the last few years; that’s what having kids does for you.

However, there is one I will be making a real effort to get to - Hello my name is Paul Smith, at the Design Museum.

Paul Smith sign at the Design Museum

Running from 15th November to 9th March, this looks to be a wonderful celebration of the creativity, fun and quirky Britishness that he has brought to the world of fashion and style.

The exhibition not only documents his humble beginnings in 1976, but gives real insight into his current ways of working - including a recreation of his famous office environment:

If you can’t get down there anytime soon, have a read of this great overview from Sharpened Lead.

Otherwise, I’ll see you in the queue!

As early visitors to my blog will know, I am a big fan of Steve McQueen.

He had a natural, every man, approach to dressing well.  Picking the brands and clothes that met his lifestyle needs, rather than the trademarks that paid his way (unlike most celebs today).

One of his most iconic outfits came from Bullitt:

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The jacket was a bespoke wool herringbone tweed creation by Theadora van Runkle, the costume designer for the film.

It was a soft cut, 3 roll 2 button design - like those from Boglioli and Caruso, with suede elbow patches.  So, it has more of a modern day, unstructured Italian feel, rather than the American preppy heritage it originates from.

Worn with a shirt and tie, this could have been a staid outfit;  however, thanks to the beautiful pairing of cashmere rollneck, charcoal trousers and suede chukkas it was the perfect outfit for his action led character.

It was recently announced that the original jacket was going up for auction (again) at Bonhams this January:

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However, when this was originally auctioned in July 2013, it achieved a selling price of $720, 000, but the sale never completed - hence the second attempt via Bonhams.

With the original being quite a bit out of reach for you and me, how can we replicate this great outfit?

For the jacket, you can trawl eBay like I have done unsuccessfully for the last few months, but vintage tweed can be quite hit and miss for quality and fit.

Therefore, I would start with this nice Magee Brown and Black Herringbone Jacket:

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Next, the rollneck jumper is a little more difficult, due to the thickness and colour match.  So, have a look at this Bullett inspired Merino Wool rollneck from Sunspel:

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The trousers are a bit easier; go for a classic pair of Incotex slim fit brushed cotton blend pair from Mr Porter:

Slowear Incotex Slim-Fit Brushed Cotton-Blend Trousers

Finally, pick up an authentic pair of the Sanders Joel boots worn by McQueen in the film:

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At £180, they are a tad more affordable than that iconic jacket!

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