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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.