TEN QUESTIONS, TEN ANSWERS: Absolute Zero Degrees on Mini Moderns

azd2Together Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson of Absolute Zero Degrees, a graphic design outfit based in south London, produce Mini Moderns, a homesware label for kids with more than a little adult appeal too.

They have ridden the wave of the new market in children’s interior design, and have become, within 4 years of their launch, one of the world’s most inspiring design companies for children.

Mark, 41, (shown right in the picture on the left) from West Yorkshire, holds a degree in English literature and loves New York, Negronis and Radiohead. He dislikes red sports cars. Keith, 42, from North Yorkshire, has a degree in graphics, used to work with Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway at Red or Dead, and loves Autumn, gigs, The Festival of Britain, and the Amalfi Coast (ED: but then who doesn’t?). He hates prejudice, heights and laziness. Here they talk design, eco issues, and being online uncles to their growing legion of fans….

LittleBig: Most people turn to design for children when they have kids themselves, and become frustrated or disappointed at what is on the market. You don’t have that justification so what’s your reasoning for Mini Moderns?

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Posted 25 October 2008 in Decor,Designer Profiles


petit-chaise1BOOKHOU’S natural, graphic style of children’s products is as big on ethical thinking as it is on restrained Scandi-Nippon Modern looks. With a constantly changing online store featuring hand-made chairs, a rather lovely maple ply mobile in the shape of abstract birds, modern patchwork bed throws and graphic animal-print cushions (as well as adult prints and furniture), Bookhou’s Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth – graduates in art and architecture and parents to Lliam, 2 – offer a charming and less commercialized take on stylish goods for children.

Plus their work is affordable – their wooden ply and recycled furniture chair – a kind of 21st-century eco-chic take on the Eames – is just 95 Canadian dollars, approximately £47, the animal cushion toys just C$45 (approx £22) and even better, they’re happy to ship their furniture to Europe and beyond… We spoke to Arounna for more on Bookhou’s work and home style. Read the rest of this article

Posted 6 July 2008 in Designer Profiles,Furniture

POP ICON: Clifford Richards

noahs-ark-poster1NO, NOT THE WIMBLEDON SINGING SIXTIES POP ICON. Clifford Richards – the famed graphic/paper products designer, who created cutting-edge London store Paperchase’s key products back in the day – is a whole different pop icon altogether. And now, at age 73 – and a grandfather many times over – his profile is on the rise again.

 Cliff’s new moment in the spotlight comes courtesy of the V&A museum, who bought much of his paper work from the 1960s and 70s for its permanent collections a couple of years ago. It has since commissioned him to produce exhibition graphics for its Sixties Fashion show, as well as a number of graphics for the recently reopened V&A’s Museum of Childhood in 2007. (Their shop currently sells several of his exclusive print products.) 

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Posted 2 September 2008 in Art + Graphic Design,Designer Profiles

PROFILE: ZidZid Kids

Photography & Styling: Marc Holden and Claire Bingham

img_9874EX-TEACHERS  Julie Klear (American) and husband Moulay Essakalli (Moroccan) are ZidZid, a charming design company based in the heart of Marrakech.

Merging European and American sensibilities with Moroccan handicraft techniques, they make tiny poufs, soft toys, babouches, storage, and bags (see the aeroplane bag, pictured left) – all hand-stitched in the house next door to the duo’s home, which they share with their children, Noor and Zak. The range is both growing fast (more shoes and books are next), and is guaranteed to charm your little one with its “Moroccan flair.” Read the rest of this article

Posted 1 September 2008 in Designer Profiles,Toys

EAT ME: David Mellor Design

child.jpg“MY FATHER had in mind that children should start off with good design from a young age.” So says Corin Mellor – creative director of David Mellor Design, the Peak District-based tabletop design company begun by his father in the 1950s – of the cult children’s cutlery set designed in 1977. It’s still a best seller.

The design was based on one of Mellor’s first cutlery ranges, the Java – which featured an injection-moulded resin handle with stainless steel head fixed together with a single rivet. With the help of Mellor’s younger sister Clare, whom David used as a model, the Java was resized for smaller hands (the set is recommended for use between the ages of 2 and 10), ergonomically-shaped for easy grip, and re-coloured in a Modernist palette for easy identification.

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Posted 1 September 2008 in Eating / Drinking,Products

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