September 13, 2012 in interior styling
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working on this six page story for Elle Decoration Magazine which you can see it in this month’s bumper October issue, a wonderfully heavy issue as a lead up to the London Design Festival and the Elle Deco British Design Awards. It started after I submitted some ideas to the editorial team and this Japan-inspired story – with my working title of origami – was given the go ahead. One of the pleasures of working on a feature like this is you are free to be inventive. Another is working in partnership with a creative photographer, in this case talented Uli Schade who I have worked with on many previous Elle Deco shoots.
This type of photo shoot is created from scratch with a location or studio researched and all furniture, products and materials sourced and created to fit with the concept. Each shot is throughly considered in advance, though there is always improvisation and flexibility on the shoot as each shot is created.
I especially love the day bed by Another Country and the pleated paper sculpture by artist Richard Sweeney in the image above left. The concrete wall is in fact wallpaper by Tom Haga which can be produced to fit your wall size exactly.
There is a conscious mix of items in this story to appeal to all budgets, some are of a higher price, some high street and others can be made or customised at home. The desk legs in the shot above for example are simple £5 Ikea trestle legs but repeated at varying angles to create a geometric pattern under the untreated pine £35 Ikea table top painted with Fired Earth paint. I always like to make some unique objects too, to give the story its own personality and to encourage readers to do the same. Items that can be made or painted at home that cost little but create individuality. The photos below I took at home and show some of these items.
Some of the simple, untreated wooden blocks were placed in water first and then into indigo ink to create a two tone ombré look. Others were painted with acrylic paint in different flat colours on their sides as a contrast and to complement the overall colour palette.
The canvas above was painted spontaneously and freely with indigo ink and a Chinese brush that I bought in Hong Kong many years ago. The large canvas below from London Graphics was painted with Fired Earth emulsion and then I stitched an origami folding diagram through it with embroidery thread, an easy way to create art at home.
This rug took a few hours to make with the help of my assistant Polly Ord, and transformed a simple £20 Ikea rug into something unique that fitted with the story. It creates a graphic but fun optical illusion on the floor.
To read the full story, see Uli’s images at their best and find details of all of the products, you can buy the October issue of Elle Decoration in newsagents now. You can get the lovely subscriber-only covers like the one above if you subscribe. Elle Deco also has a Facebook page and you can follow editor Michelle Ogundehin and the team on Twitter too.
And as we roll into the fabulous London Design Festival I’m looking forward to hitting the shows. I hope to see some of you there!
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and best-selling author based in London. She is a contributing stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for 14 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, as well as for leading retailers and well-known brands. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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