A Valentine’s Picnic… without the corny clichés

By Marica

If you are stumped for ideas to make your Valentine’s Day with your loved one special, try putting a new stylish spin on the old romantic picnic idea.

We as South Africans are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful country. The weather in Cape Town is excellent this time of year, it just begs for an outdoor celebration.

This Beautiful Anniversary Provençal Picnic was Featured on Design*Sponge a while back in collaboration with Bash, Please and Tinywater Photography. Click the Image for the Design*Sponge Article

I search the web for these beautiful images to inspire you. Now this is what a romantic picnic is supposed to look like!

Recently featured on Southern Weddings this inspirational shoot by photographer Larissa Cleveland and wedding planner Shannon Leahy is simply whimsical. Click the Image to view the original article.

Preparation for a romantic picnic should be quite easy and affordable. Use what you have, or otherwise invest in a few key items that can be re-used in future. Steer clear of cliché red & white colour schemes and cheesy old plastic roses. Here are a few helpful suggestions…

Find a beautiful location – Spier – or Warwick Wine Estates or Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, for example, has stunning estates. Choose a shaded spot underneath a tree (for a little more privacy). If you want a more intimate setting your own garden will do.

Select one or two blankets, throws or even a quilt. You might as well be comfortable so opt for a whole pile of pillows. Go for various fun patterns and complementing colours.

To create an intimate ambience, make use of some mood lighting – Fairy lights draped in a tree, candles in colourful glass holders, lanterns or even tea lights inside clear jam jars and glass bottles hung with ribbon from tree branches (be creative). Oh, and don’t forget the fresh flowers – bunches & bunches of it!

Instead of plastic cups and paper plates, use the real deal. Select some quirky dinnerware and chic wine glasses for instant elegance.

Beautiful Picnic Dinner Party Under The Trees

Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily just for couples anymore – my single friends and I thoroughly enjoy getting together on the 14th of Feb to celebrate our “single situation” with a fun bash. Expand the picnic idea into a group event by having a fabulous garden dinner party.

E voilà! A beautiful Valentine’s Day picnic without the “cheese”. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody!


Nature Inspired Design

By Marica

I wanted to write a post on Organic Design, a movement, or rather a motivation in design, which really inspires me and most designers.

Organic Design is a very broad term that encompasses anything from environment sensitive architecture and engineering, to nature inspired design, structure, materials and pattern. It also plays a big part in the development of sustainability, science and future technology.

So why do we have this great fascination with nature and why is it worth emulating? I would say Nature is the embodiment of perfect design. There is a certain grace, balance and beauty found in Nature that all designers, artists and craftsmen strive to attain. Nature is ultimate “form follows function” standard. Every leaf, colour, branch, exoskeleton, right down to the smallest cell was designed and evolved to perform a specific function in the most sufficient way. It is this ingenuity of Nature’s tested patterns and strategies that we attempt to imitate or draw inspiration from.

The Museum of Modern Art curator, Paola Antonelli, introduces the exhibition “Design and the Elastic Mind” and explains Organic Design.

I truly appreciate designers who mimic Nature’s working designs and evolve it to fit a new function whilst still retaining its aesthetically pleasing appearance whether it is in the way a structure is put together, a slight organic curve in a furniture piece, or an intricate pattern on a fabric. Designs inspired by nature has an elegant quality, maybe we recognize some subconscious symmetry in the organic.

Check out these beautiful nature inspired designs…

The Pod Hanging Chair & The Bloom Chair - Weylandts

The Pod Hanging Chair is reminiscent of a weaver’s nest and the Blossom Chair designed by Kenneth Cobonpue resembles a flower, both available from Weylandts.

Merino Bubble Cushions from Peta-Lee

I adore these cushions from Peta-Lee. They are made from Merino Wool Felt and remind me of alveoli and sea grass, beautiful.

Images: http://www.industrialdesignserved.com
The Chrysanthemum Centrepiece by Michaella Janse Van Vuuren

The Chrysanthemum Centrepiece by Michaella Janse Van Vuuren is a reversible design that can function as either a bowl or a candle holder. The piece was the winner of the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the Design Indaba Expo 2009.

Beautiful Ceramic Vessels by Astrid Dahl Images: http://amaridianusa.com/index2.htm

And these organic form ceramic pieces from Astrid Dahl are truly awe-inspiring. They look so delicate and feminine. Isn’t it absolutely breathtaking!

Scientist, Janine Benyus, in her book on Biomimicry suggests looking to Nature as a “Model, Measure, and Mentor”. We truly live on an amazing planet, take care of it!  May Nature continue to inspire us!