365 Objects Of Design

New Season Homewares From M&S

7th September 2017

Hello everyone and I very much hope that in addition to seeing this post in the first place – which would, frankly, after yesterday, be a bonus – that you are seeing my shiny new newsletter which promises to both function better and look better. Ideally the perfect marriage of form and function which is what we strive for at all times… Anyway, on with today’s Objects of Design. And yes today those objects are plural. There is more than one.

clarendon display cabinet from marks and spencer

Marks & Spencer. That stalwart of the high street which does seem to come in for some stick when it comes to the clothes but we are not concerning ourselves with such fripperies here. We are talking house stuff which, these days, is way more exciting. Well apart from shoes but I digress. Now, when was the last time you had a good old rummage round their website?

Exactly. I’m going to be honest and say that it had been a while for me. Then a few months ago I was invited to their Autumn/Winter launch and behold the beauties that I saw. This was not what I had been expecting. As a result of that I was invited to their biggest homewares store in the Westfield shopping centre, in London to have a proper look and touch and feel of everything.

the webster drinks cabinet will be back in store mid-october

And I was really impressed. They have a huge range of sofas and chairs and dozens of fabrics to choose from. Of course, like everything about M&S it tries to cater to everyone and meet all tastes so it can be tricky to narrow down what you want. But the store has asked me to work with them for the next few months to share with you my favourite pieces and help you find your way round and as you can see from these images, when I saw this – the Manhattan collection – I was happy to oblige.

In fact I reckon this Webster drinks cabinet will be one of the stand out pieces of the season. It’s already sold out sadly, but I spoke to them yesterday and there will be more coming in mid-October. Keep an eye out for it. Drinks trolleys and bar carts have been strong for a while now but I think we might be looking for a move to a more grown up and refined look. Basically putting things away.

the maiko chair in scritti fabric

This chair is a classic example of what you think you get from M&S and what you can actually have. It’s called the Maiko and when I pulled it up on my browser the first image was in a sort of oatmeal fabric. So far so inoffensive. Left to my down devices I would have clicked right past. But scroll down through the 100 choices of cover to Scritti (charcoal) or Mattan (stripes) and you suddenly see that chair in a whole different light.

You could build a whole room round a chair like that. As I have said before black and white is a great base for a room because you can add different colours to it to change the look immediately. A blush pink velvet cushion, for example or an emerald green one for a very modern look. If you’re brave then spots and stripes is always good and take a look at their embroidered cushions which are very Timorous Beasties. The pink one would work a treat on these stripes.

the maiko chair gets a modern update in stripes

Some of you will recognise that eye cushion from my instagram too. I’m trying to resist the temptation to end this post by saying give it another look but you know what I mean.

The chair below is Rosalie and would look great in a bedroom. Yes it could look quite feminine in a pale room but styled, as it is here, against a dark background it’s a strong look. And you should also check out the Loft collection, which is made for compact living. The indigo Malmo sofa is £499 which is pretty competitive with the rest of the high street and other online only stores.

the rosalie cocktail chair is perfect for the bedroom

What do you think? I’m going to be looking at their bedding next month and making a little film about it which I will share with you here.

 

 

 

Now I know the issue of blogs and collaborative posts is a tricky one, but I think you know me well enough by now to know the kind of brands I like and tend to work with. For my part I’m quite thrilled that a brand as big and iconic as Marks & Sparks wants to work with me in the first place and you can see from the images that I have chosen pieces which fit with the aesthetic of The Mad House. Like many bloggers I turn down many more collaborations than I accept and the ones I do make up a small proportion of what I write about. Having said that I hope I work with companies that you like as much as me so that this content doesn’t jar. 

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  • Bridget Whelan 12th September 2017 at 10:53 pm

    Great post and delighted you will be picking out the best from M&S and hopefully they will be listening to you. Haven’t seen your new email newsletter and I seem to have dropped off your subscriber list since the 7th. Help, please!

  • Libby 9th September 2017 at 11:15 am

    Glad to see you taking on M and S – once an iconic store but by now badly in need if a re-vamp. Wiser not to even mention their clothing! But the Home Wares (upstairs) have become extremely interesting, although our local stores, here in the South, display only the tedious colours and styles deemed acceptable down here.All retailers know that the South is poor in cash as well as taste – we Southerners spend too much on just getting a roof over our heads, and people with any sense of fashion or quality go on line or make for London.
    Good that you are looking at bedding – this is another M and S strength, but spoiled locally by appalling stock control. When I looked recently for items in SINGLE sizes there was only ONE in stock of the item I needed, so I bought a king size and cut it in two and relied on my trusty sewing machine to make neat edges.
    I can however report that some relocation of display sections has taken place locally, giving more prominence to children’s wear and less to men’s wear. How about bringing the bras forward? The ground floor remains a dreary desert of undesirability. We would expect higher standards at Westfield.
    Keep up your good work. It is very good that you should attempt to bring M and S good points to our notice.

  • Anna 7th September 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Just keep doing what you choose to do…with integrity and fun, we trust your judgement.

  • Sonia 7th September 2017 at 8:44 am

    I really enjoyed this article and I think that you deal very tastefully (if that’s the word) with the whole sponsored content issue. We know that running the blog is your job and that working with brands is one of the ways to make that pay. You always make it clear if there’s a collaboration and what you select feels like what you would buy personally.

    Here is a question though – do you think the big brands have really mastered the art of collaboration with influencers? So often I see that things are sold out before they even appear on social media or are launched in the press. That doesn’t make me fall in love with the brand, it just ticks me off. I wonder if the brands don’t “get” which pieces will be the stand outs and don’t order enough; or don’t get that if they advertise a key piece to 200 bloggers and only make 50, that it will sell out to the bloggers before it ever reaches the rest of us! I do appreciate that there is a balance between sold out and ubiquitous but at the moment it seems to be on the sold out side!

    • Ardith 7th September 2017 at 5:30 pm

      Excellent observations and questions, Sonia. Cheers, Ardith

      P.S. Love your new email format, Kate!

  • Cheztev 7th September 2017 at 8:23 am

    Love all your posts !

  • Sandra 7th September 2017 at 7:50 am

    Suddenly I have a reason to visit Westfields. I hate mega shopping centres but the M&S home wares section will make the stress bearable.

  • Valerie 7th September 2017 at 7:49 am

    Agree with you Kate – this is a collaboration which fits well, and you’ve shown some striking objects here.

  • Lucy Mortimer 7th September 2017 at 7:21 am

    I didn’t know I wanted a drinks trolley. Until now. It’s duly been added to the list of things we will acquire when we eventually get round to finishing the house (even if I can’t drink until Jan when the bump eventually arrives….) Lovely post Kate, and beautiful photography from M&S!

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