Oops... no toilet tissue!

Oops… no toilet tissue!

Getting up in the early hours of the morning to go to the loo, realising that the roll had run out, the last thing you would expect to come to mind is a blog posting about the humble toilet roll. After waking up again at the proper hour, the thought was still with me. So, out of curiosity, I decided to do a little digging into the origins of toilet tissue.

What did I find out? Surprisingly, quite a lot. Here’s a link if you’re interested in the history. From the Chinese first using paper in 50BC to the 21st Century, mankind has been quite innovative when it comes to the every day function of going to the toilet.

Methods such as cleansing with a sponge on the end of a stick (Roman times), to cleansing with just water, to using bamboo, paper, corn on the cob husks, leaves, linen & cotton rags to the paper of the Old Farmer’s Almanac and Sears Catalogue, were all styles and materials used over the centuries.

The first flushing toilet was invented in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, the Godson of Queen Elizabeth 1. Toilet paper was first commercially produced in 1857. Over the years, companies specialising in the production have developed the product to be soft, strong and hygienic. Today, with technology available to us, we also have paperless toilets.  Where there is a need, there is invention and ultimately design meets function.

When it comes to the humble toilet roll, I personally remember getting quite excited when Christmas came around as an old family friend used to always manage to find a Christmasy decorated roll as a present for our bathroom. This always brought us great amusement. As a colour consultant many years on, I can’t believe that I have not bothered to track down colourful toilet tissue for my own home. For me, it would have to be bright, bright, bright, otherwise, it might as well just be white!

Purple Toilet Tissue by Renova

Purple Toilet Tissue by Renova

So, to my surprise, when I started looking for images, I found that there are various suppliers of coloured toilet paper but here is just one company, Renova, which has a fabulous range of colour! What a COLOUR-tastic way to bring design to a bathroom. When it comes to tonal contrast to help those with sight issues, knowing that a lot of bathrooms are often white, perhaps using coloured rolls is the answer. They would certainly stand out. #DesignForDementia

Other decorative ways of using toilet tissue over time has been along the lines of camouflage, room decoration for parties and dressing up like a mummified body at Halloween. Even the likes of Napier Bathrooms at Canonmills found a use for rolls of toilet tissue this festive season.

Napier Bathrooms Christmas Tree Decoration

Napier Bathrooms Christmas Tree Decoration

I’m sure you all have your own experiences of how to decorate with toilet paper but I wonder how many have given thought to the design side of things. I hadn’t!

For now, with only a few days away until Christmas, all that is left to say is…

‘Happy Holidays’ and remember if you use the last sheet on the roll, recycle the cardboard and replace for the next person.

Best check the supply in your cupboard as well, to be sure you have enough for the holiday period, especially if you are expecting an influx of house guests. If not, you just may have to get creative.

Merry Christmas and warm wishes for 2017.

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Lost for Words

Lost for Words

Do you ever feel that you are at a loss for words? In my case, I wouldn’t call it writer’s block but more that I haven’t had anything in particular that I wanted to say. Anyone who knows me personally will appreciate that I am not usually lost for words but, sometimes, I do go a little quiet. This usually happens when I am reflecting. The great thing about being freelance is that you can just stop from time to time and smell the roses, so to speak.  For the last couple of months, from a Blog point of view, that is exactly what I have been doing in between client work and family responsibilities. Taking the time out to explore new ideas and experiment, as well as giving yourself think time is always valuable. For me, personally, it allows new ideas to percolate and develop.

With the change of seasons from late summer, to autumn and now to winter, I haveSeasonal Change enjoyed watching the colours in nature change from the soft cool colours of summer to vibrant, fiery colours of autumn to the crisp and cold colours of winter. Being from a hot country, you would expect me to thrive on the warmth of summer, but, in actual fact, I personally love the sunshine on a crisp, frosty day in winter. At the moment, Edinburgh is experiencing a beautiful winter. The Christmas lights are now lighting up the city and it won’t be long before Christmas will be lighting up our homes.

Coming towards the end of the year, it is a good time to look back. 2016 has certainly been an extraordinary year in politics and world events. For many, it has been a traumatic year, I’m sure. Often it seems frivolous to talk about design and colour, whilst many people are trying to escape and survive war torn areas, natural disasters and personal loss. However, to balance the world out, we still have to dream, work, create and love life. At this time, I feel very grateful for the positive year I have had personally. Talking, implementing and training all things colour and design continues to bring me delight, especially when I receive such warm and positive feedback from happy clients. Colour doesn’t solve all the problems in the world but it certainly can communicate strong and positive messages when used well. Never underestimate the power of colour and design in your home and business environments. It’s just like when you walk outdoors on a beautiful sunny day and have the sun hit your face. The feel good factor is enormous. Even sitting at my keyboard with a cold, the colour around me in my studio and the sunny view outside my window warms my soul.

So, on this note I will leave you to your own thoughts and reflection. Enjoy the remainder of this year. Let light, warmth, and colour into your hearts and share as much time with friends and family as you can.

Think COLOUR  Think BALANCE  Think HARMONY

 

 

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Danish Architecture CentreAfter a recent visit to Copenhagen, my eyes have been opened to the influence Denmark has had on design but in particular, I was fascinated by their attitude to wellbeing, happiness and their sense of play. This image to the left is the exterior of the Danish Architecture Centre, which typifies their love for all things design, colour and play. Inside, there was fantastic exhibition, which detailed a timeline for how the Danish culture evolved to include exercise and activity. The exhibition itself created a sense of fun, where kids could climb over it as perhaps the adults walked through.

Exhibition of Play

What struck me most about Copenhagen, was the openness, the small detailed brick work in their architecture, use of colour, sculpture, water fountains, outdoor dining and their enjoyment of exercise. Everyone was either running, walking or cycling. The bikes being a mode of transport, came in all shapes, colours and sizes. The infrastructure was very much geared towards the cyclist, with separate lights, lane ways and paths dictating the urban landscape.

Tower in CopenhagenThese examples of Danish architecture are just a couple of the styles you can find throughout the city. Copenhagen is characterised by the variety of styles such as Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo through to the modern architecture of today. They are wonderfully detailed with design, texture and colour. Apparently, with little access to stone, brick became the chosen material to build with. The first image, being the Church of Our Saviour (Dutch Baroque) unusually has a helix spire with an external winding staircase. It also is known for its melodic carillon in its bell tower that plays throughout the day and evening to midnight.

Some other examples (images below) of architecture and design that I came across, show the variety of materials, shapes and colours.

Copenhagen 1

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Even street utilities get given a face lift, along with the local birds living in colour.

Street Utilities

Colour Knit Wear

Copenhagen

The Locals like Individuality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The green light district in general and this roadway as you enter, exhibits loads of colour in the environment, as well as colourful characters! Art sculptures are dotted throughout the urban-scape, which always adds interest to building sights and pedestrian areas.

Copenhagen Green Light District

Crazy Paving

Copenhagen

Street Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I especially enjoyed the Dansk Design Centre. Design history at every twist and turn, with many influences, in particular the Japanese culture. The story of textile printing by the “Pioneer of Print”, Marie Gudme Leth was told and a visual documentation of Danish design through the ages was proudly on show.

Marie Gudme Leth - 'Pioneer of Print'

Marie Gudme Leth – ‘Pioneer of Print’

Print by Marie Gudme Leth

Print by Marie Gudme Leth

Copenhagen Danish Design Centre

Print by Marie Gudme Leth

 

 

 

 

 

Copenhagen Design Centre - Sphere

Sphere

Copenhagen Design Centre - Sphere

Sphere

Copenhagen Design Centre - Artistic Piano & Stool

Artistic Piano & Stool

 

 

 

 

 

Copenhagen Design Centre - Colours influenced by Japanese art

Colours influenced by Japanese art

Copenhagen Design Centre - Chair inspired by waves in Japanese art

Chair inspired by waves in Japanese art

Copenhagen Design Centre -  Japanese Sword Hilsts

Japanese Sword Hilts Inspire Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bike made with a bamboo frame

A bike made with a bamboo frame

A range of contemporary Danish Design

A range of contemporary Danish Design

Bike with a practical design for carrying

Bike with a practical design for carrying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, back to my question, what do you think of when it comes to Danish Design?

For me, the one product design that comes to mind and has brought me, along with millions of children and adults alike all over the world, so much fun is Lego.  The creator, Ole Kir Christiansen in 1934, went from making wooden toys to designing the colourful, interlocking bricks that we know today. The name Lego derives from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well” and the company still remains in the family. It just goes to show, how good design can last forever and how design & colour and bring you so much joy.

The different branding logos throughout Lego's History

The different branding logos throughout Lego’s History

Looks a lot like Nessie!

Looks a lot like Nessie!

City Landscape made from Lego

City Landscape made from Lego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should you ever get to Copenhagen, then remember to  ’LEG GODT’ and appreciate all things design & colour.

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Tennis racquet and strawberries WimbledonAfter being out with a client this morning sorting window treatments and working this afternoon, I am now about to take a little time off to watch the tennis at Wimbledon. In particular, the Murray v Kyrgios match. The dilemma of who to support. Murray being an old favourite and Kyrgios being an Aussie. I guess, it is a win/win either way but I would love to see it be a real contest with Murray going through to the next round and hopefully the final.

While, waiting for them to commence play, I thought I would just inject a wee bit of colour into your day. The weather so far for July has been rather dreary to say the least. Mostly being a ‘cup half full’ type of person, it can only improve. Meanwhile, one thing you can do to lift your spirits is to embrace some colour. Today, just to combat the grey skies, I put on a hot pink shirt and my colourful boots. Ahh – that made me feel cheery!Colourful Boots

Most of us probably embrace colours subconsciously, however, did you know that you can change moods by actively choosing colour purposely? If you require some energy, then perhaps choose from the red, orange and yellow spectrum. If you wish to be reflective and creative, then blues and purples can help. Greens will make you feel refreshed and balanced, brights will give you a lift and subtle colours might make you feel calm and relaxed. Don’t underestimate the benefits of colour.

Colours come in warm or cool undertones, dark or light, bright or soft, clear or muted. Not only will the colours you wear have an impact but so too colour in your interior environments (work or at home) will influence your moods and productivity.

When you next consider decorating, give colour some real consideration and choose carefully. Make sure you select a colour palette that works appropriately for all users, bearing in mind the light source, the intended use of the space and the functional requirements. For interiors, colour solutions are not only determined by the choice of paint on walls but also from flooring, furniture, soft furnishings, accessories and artwork.

If you’re trying to bring more colour into your wardrobe, again consider you, the wearer. It is a chance for you to individually shine and benefit from the joy of colour. If colour confidence is what you need, then why not book yourself in for a personal colour analysis. Having your colours determined, will help you know your best colour palette, as well as learning the unlimited combinations available to you and how to have fun with colour in general.

Design & Colour TrainingAlternatively, if you want to know more about design and colour for interiors, I am running a two day workshop on 13 & 14 August known as DESIGN & COLOUR with HARMONY. See details on my website under “training” and get in touch to book.

On that note, let there be sunshine in your day (naturally or artificially) and enjoy the colours of summer.

Wishing you all in the northern hemisphere, happy summer holidays and for those having a winter break, stay warm.

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