3 December 2015

It's official!

Hey! Everyone who has been waiting for my etsy shop will be happy to know it's online!
So hop over if you'd like to see my Christmas cards, badges and stickers!


Raindeer holiday season card

Christmas badges!

24 November 2015

Designing my workspace

Today I am looking for ideas to style my workspace.

I have a home office that is currently full of boxes and very untidy. My plan is to make it into a beautiful study where it will be a pleasure to work, make art, and even do my accounting! : )

Following a friend's advice, I've decided to treat myself as a client and to give myself a proper consultation... It might sound a bit strange but I think I'll get the job done better this way!

So here is my step by step plan.
1. Define client profile
2. Define client's needs
3. Look for visual references
4. Create a moodboard and choose palette
5. Design space
6. Furnish room
7. Decorate and style

Over the next few months I'll update the blog as I progress towards my dream study (hopefully it won't take too long!).
Anyway. So far I have reached step 3.

Step 1.
Woman, 33 years old.
Job: Interior designer and Illustrator who works from home.
Relevant hobbies: sketching, jewellery making
Notes: tends to be untidy, has lots of art supplies and boxes of old cards

Step 2.
A tidy organized workspace.
Desk with space for laptop, lamp and space to draw
Bookcase with books and space for filing
Space for art work and art supplies, jewellery kit, photocamera, printer.
If possible fit in sofa bed or daybed.

Step 3.
I have been keeping an eye out for inspiration in magazines and online. Here is a peek of all the inspiring photos I'm gathering in a Pinterest folder to start getting a feel of my dream study.

SFgirlbybay via Pinterest

In my next post about my study I'll define the palette and create a moodboard.

So far I have a loose idea of the colour palette: black, white and pink. This choice is based on my personal taste and on a few items I have in my study that I want to keep. My bright pink laptop-stand, a black paint brush holder I received as a gift from a friend, my white desk and bookcase.

If you are also redecorating and styling your workspace you might like to read these articles:
Creating a girly and glam workspace on Stylemepretty

PS: I'll be working on a workspace 'for him' after I've finished my study!

PPS: remember how I like spotting cool design blogs! Well looking for photos for my sudio I found this lovely blog called SFgirlbybay. Worth a visit!

note: Photo credits and links under each photo. All photos via Pinterest.

17 November 2015

10 things to do before Christmas

With the Interior design course exam nearing I need a to do list for Christmas to make sure I get everything done. Here goes:

1. Buy or make and then send Christmas cards
This year I am printing out some cards with my illustrations on them. I love greetings cards, both hand made and bought. I really like these cards by 'Printstitchandpaste' on etsy. And it's always nice when people send a family photo with a festive message.

2. Make an advent calendar
I'm hoping to be able to make mine this year and have been looking for inspiration on Pinterest. (Hopefully I'll be able to update with a post about my diy!)

3. Make a traditional English Christmas cake
Do you have a trusted recipe passed down from your grandma? Or maybe you love searching the net for the perfect new twist to a classic cake. Why not do a bit of both. Last year we used this video by Tickly Mouth which is really easy to follow. Then we used my muickm's recipe book for the icing (click here for a similar recipe). It reached universal approval.
(for more recipes by Tickly Mouth see their youtube channel,or follow them on Facebook)

4. Buy or make Christmas presents
Well, everyone has a different way of getting this job done. You can buy from the internet (Amazon for books and dvds, Etsy for handmade or custom gifts, for a start). Go down the high street and pop into your favourite shops. Make everyone something special like a painting, a woolly hat, biscuits or homemade jam (see these ideas on howtobuildit.org).
For children it's good to get one special present and a few stocking fillers, because then there are a lot more things to unwrap, and that's the best part. So add a new toothbrush, socks, pencils or crayons.

5. Buy or find a Christmas CD, or prepare a playlist on the tablet
I love Christmas Carols (here is a link if you need to spruce up your lyrics!) and christmassy rock songs (read this article on Rolling stone for some ideas!) that you can have on in the background while your decorating the tree...

6. Decorate the Christmas tree and style your home
Choose a day and set aside some time to decorate in style. Invite your family or friends round, put on some music and have a cup of tea and buscuits while they all join in. Everyone has a different way of decorating a Christmas tree. You can pick a colour scheme, or you can use all the decorations you have and have gathered over the years and make something colourful. You choose. The only rule is have fun!

7. Organize Christmas parties or dinners with friends and colleagues
Take time out of your busy schedule to plan a few gatherings with special friends and your colleagues. Even just a drink before dinner during the first few days of December can be a nice way to say Merry Christmas to people who are special to you.

8. Plan big Christmas lunch (who's bringing what, who's house this time)
This part takes major planning... but not on my part! I am spoiled since the senior ladies in my family do most of the work! My mother-in-law cooks an amazing feast, my mum adds wonderful trimmings (you can find her recipes in her blog 'Cappuccino and brioche'!) and my brother's mother-in-law makes wonderful Italian dolci. But if you are the one doing the planning this article on www.netmums.com seems pretty helful!.

9. Wrap the Christmas presents
I read in a magazine that a great place to wrap your presents is on your ironing board because it's the right height so you're not straining your back. Try it if you have a lot of parcels to wrap... Make sure you have enough wrapping paper and string and add a little tag for the name. You can make your own out of cardboard and a piece of string, buy pretty ones on the internet or shop, or even download printable tags.

pintable tags, image via Pinterest

10. Take some time to think about love
Christmas is a time to focus on joy and love and to be grateful for what we have, to fill our hearts with love towards our friends, family and neighbours. Whether you go to church, have a gathering with friends, go for a walk with your partner, sit quietly meditating, now is the time to let the light into our hearts and allow it to fill us with warmth.

note: credits to images and links are under each photo.

10 November 2015

Interior design and my first renderings

Two years ago I started a masters program at a local school to specialise in designing interiors. Now I'm preparing my final project for the exam in December.
Each student has to redesign a fictitious appartment which needs renovating according to the needs of imaginary clients.
I have been given an imaginary couple as my clients. They are in their forties.
Our teacher spelled out their interests and hobbies. She's a university professor and loves cooking. He has a travel agency and collects artwork.

I have designed the appartment. The clients wanted a master bedroom with on suite bathroom and wellness area. A guest room/study/gym (!). A guest bathroom. A kitchen, dining area and lounge (which in my project are one open space). Lots of space for their books. Their art collection dotted around the house.

Now all I have left to do are the 3D renderings (in Italian they call these 'i render'). These are the perspective drawings of the various rooms created using a 3D model to which you add materials, colours and lighting to create an image which resembles a photograph of what the house will look like.

Renderings take a long time to make and require a lot of expertise if they are to be of high quality. There are professionals who specialise solely in making renderings for other designers. However there are some special computer programs that enable you to make quick renderings, very useful to give your client several options and to make changes along the way. These type of 3d images are used especially in the retail business, for example in shops that sell furniture, kitchens and bathrooms.

A rendering is very useful to give your client a feel of a space. Together with plans, sketches and moodboards you should be able to imagine exactly what the designer is dreaming up.

Over the next few weeks I'll post a few renderings of the appartment. Here is the one I made last night of the 'bagno giorno', the guest bathroom. I use to make renderings when I did my internship in an architects studio, but they had often been set up by other designers and I just had to add bits and bobs, change the colours or materials. This is the first time I do one completely on my own, from the design itself to the 3d model, from the lighting to the materials, so I'm quite proud of myself!

il bagno giorno - rendering

26 October 2015

Golden colours and autumn magic

Today the screensaver on my phone is a row of trees with golden leaves. And outside my window there are lots of beautiful colourful trees. Oh, and it's raining too!

When I was little Autumn was my favourite season because I like the crunching sound of leaves, the way trees show off their amazing variety of colours, and the feeling that winter is on its way, which to my childhood self, meant Christmas! Ok, it still does, of course! And I still love Autumn..

Last week, I was leafing through one of my interior design magazines when I came across an article about the colour of the year for 2016. Akzonobel, a Dutch paints and coatings company, have created Colour Futures to study trends in the use of colour for interior design. The colour 2016 will be Cherished GOLD.

Well that's just what I need to get me into that cosy Autumnal feel!

So I have set up a folder to fill with Gold inspiration on my Pinterest account.

some leaves I picked up on my way to work this morning

I'l leave you with this song by Mika....

16 October 2015

Inktober and drawing for fun

Over the last few months I have started keeping a sketchbook on a regular basis. I have always had a sketchbook, but I used to use it very randomly, with very little method, just when I felt like it. Recently I have come across various books and blogs that have encouraged me to make sketching a daily habit.

As a result I started using my tumblr account almost daily. A few weeks ago, while looking at other artists' work, I came across the hashtag Inktober and wondered what it was. I looked it up and discovered it's a challenge started in 2009 by Jake Parker, which now takes place every October.

To take part all you have to do is make art using ink (add colour if you like) and post it on your social media with the hashtag #inktober, throughout the month of October You can do a daily sketch, weekly, anything that helps you get into a habit. (I know it's a bit late to start, but if you wanted to you could draw for 30 days in a row, and that's the same really).

So for the past three weeks I have been drawing in pen, occasionally adding water with a paint brush.

You can see my work here. It's rather random but fun!

If you want to see other artists' work just type #inktober or #inktober2015 and you'll come across lots of very interesting ink drawings.

If one wanted to they could set up their own personal challenge. What would yours be? You could pick any theme really and just go with the flow!

9 October 2015

Design blogs that rock

You know those websites and blogs you fall in love with at first sight, and then keep going back to for inspiration? Well I have quite a few. I often get carried away browsing the net and admiring all the great photos and posts I find.

So here are some of my favourites:

design sponge: an amazing blog beautiful and inspiring

la tazzina blu: even if you don't read Italian, this blogger posts lovely home tours, wishlists and styling ideas

la volpe rossa: an Italian blog about Interior design by a young Student of design. This blog is super new and is really worth a visit!

Theydrawandcook: the website founded by a brother and sister illustrating duo, publishing illustrated recipes and now illustrated food as well.

Theydrawandtravel: their sister website that gathers illustrated maps by illustrators worldwide.

And my latest favourite:

Koosje Koene illustration - a blog written by a Dutch illustrator, who share her tips and pages of her sketchbook. If you like drawing you'll love her draw tip tuesday posts!

Plus I have recently started using my tumblelog (ladybirdskecthes.tumblr.com is my online sketchbook on tumblr) more regularly and keep dicovering really inspiring blogs by artist and designers!

There are so many beautiful blogs and websites on the internet, I am in awe of all the people running them and sharing their work. It's so inspiring and I feel priviledged to be able to see all these photos and images...

Do you have a favourite blog?

New blog new home

Dear readers,

As you may have noticed my blog has had a little revolution!

It is now called: laura's blog...
And the address is laurastratta.blogspot.com

It is still going to focus on Interior design, design and my drawings.

Over the next few weeks I hope to give it a design revamp. I hope you will like the changes!

Ciao for now!!

16 May 2015

Round-up from the Salone Satellite

Just over a month ago I visited the Milan Furniture Fair. The Fair is really big, and ideally you need to spend three days there to see everything... I only had half a day, (I spent the morning at the Fuori Salone, which you can read about here, if you like), so I decided to focus on a select few pavillions and areas. My first stop was the Salone Satellite.

The Salone Satellite is a part of the main Fairgrounds dedicated to young desingers, most of them just starting out, all under 35. It's a fascinating area of the fair, where very fresh ideas and prototypes are displayed in wooden four-by-four stands, each designer standing next to his work, unless he's on a coffee break or visiting the fair. Unlike the rest of the Salone, which requires a ticket, it can be visited for free.

After spending a few hours there, taking pictures and asking questions about the products, I had plenty of business cards and leaflets in my handbag, and I had seen many noteworthy designs.

Here are some of my personal top 10 designs, the designers and the links to their websites:

Furniture by Studio Pousti, Iran.

Myriam Pousti and her Furniture, which requires no screws or glue

Andusa and Terrasse by SCMP design, Switzerland

Andusa, outdoor-indoor vases

Terrasse, a carpet inspired by patios and gardens
photos SCMP design

Mood Cups by Frederique Ficherouille, Belgium.

Ceramic 'Mood cups'
Fugu bag and Samurai Chair by Benwu Studio

Fugu bag has inflatable shock proof padding
Samurai chair and Sumo chair upholstery

As if from Nowhere by Orla Reynolds, Ireland.

'Rings' lamp by Garay Studio, Spain.

Rings by Garay Studio
Photo by Garay Studio

Concrete by Anna Badur, Germany

'Concrete', photo from Anna Badur's website
Photo Anna Badur

Zlata Light by Kimxgensapa

Plug in baby and Edu Wardrobe Daniel Wehrli Industrial design, Switzerland

A new way to take your shoes off

A wardrobe made using minimum material

Wooden Aquerel by Maike Harde, Germany

Wooden Aquerel

There were lots of other interesting designs so if you would like to see other round-ups of the Salone Satellite here are the posts from two of my favourite blogs:

La Tazzina blu's personal top 10 of the Padiglione Satellite

- Design Sponge: Dipatches from the Salone Satellite

Photos by Laura Stratta, unless otherwise stated. (credits under each photo)

12 May 2015

Fun at the Fuori Salone - part three, Università degli Studi

Fuori Salone in Milan...

Here is the third and last part of my tour of the Fuori Salone.
After visiting the main furniture stores in via Durini, our Milanese friends took us to see part of the exhibition by Interni - Energy for Creativity at the Università degli Studi di Milano.

'Il Rossetto', the lipstic, was slowly spinning round

In a separate courtyard there was an installation by Daniel Liebeskind for Oikos, an Italian brand that produces sustainable paint and varnish. The sculpture called 'Future Flowers' was part of the launch of a new range of colours. Even the lizards liked it!

a lizard sunbathing..

Photos by Laura Stratta

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Next up is my round up of the Salone Satellite!

If you'd like to read more about the Fuori Salone you can read my previous two posts:

27 April 2015

Fun at the Fuori Salone - Part two, Brera District

Fuori Salone Part two, Via Durini, Brera District

After visiting San Babila we walked to via Durini where the stores of historic Italian Furnire manifacturers are based.
Here are my highlights from Via Durini:

1. Meritalia presenting the new sofa Minah, by Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas

The shop window of Meritalia

Minah in red and orange

Minah as chaise longue, sofa and armchair, in black and grey

2. Cassina celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The shop window had a display using the iconic pieces of furniture to recreate the atmosphere of a fun fair, with chairs spinning round and a ferris wheel made with the chaise longue by LeCorbusier, LC4.

Fun at the Fuori Salone, Part one: Flowers and Swings

Fuori Salone part one: Palazzo Serbelloni, San Babila

Here is the account of the first part of my trip to Milan to see the Design Week and the Furniture Fair. This year I was only able to be in Milan for one day, so I spent the morning at the Fuori Salone and the afternoon at the fair grounds. It wasn't really enough, ideally you need at least a day at the Fuori Salone and a couple of days at the Fair (or the other way around depending on what you're interested in) but I still managed to see lots of nice things and had a great time!
I spent the morning near San Babila and visiting via Durini, where lots of the most well known furniture stores are based. My Milanese friends took me to a couple of interesting places, Palazzo Serbelloni and the Università Statale.

Our tour started at the Duomo, Milan's Cathedral

From the Duomo underground station we walked along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, where all the different flags of all the countries taking part in the Expo 2015 are diplayed.

We arrived in front of San Babila Church where we were meeting our friends. Here I noticed the front of Zara Home which had an interesting floral display to attract visitors. Unfortunaley the shop was shut (they opened at ten!) so I only got to peer through the window. All nice stuff for the home... Still I like the display (although I was hoping it was made of real flowers, but I suppose it would have been a very high maintanance display!)

24 April 2015

New designers from the Salone Satellite

bergian designers

ateliers J6J
pierre-emmanuel vandeputte

12 April 2015

Top places to visit at the Salone del Mobile

If you are planning on visiting the Salone del Mobile in Milan this week, you should probably be warned that there will be lots of walking envolved!

First of all there is the Salone del Mobile in Rho: here you will find Euroluce, Eurocucina, Workplace3.0, the Salone Satellite (a special exhibition for designers under 35) and many other installations.

If you manage to spend two or three days in Milan, once you've been to the Fiera in Rho, you'll want to visit the Fuori Salone, the part of the Salone that happens all over the city, in many different venues.

There are six main quartieri (districts) to visit:

If  you only have two days, you could go to the Salone first, especially if you've never been before, then spend a day visiting two or three of the areas of the Fuori Salone. Use a map and keep your eyes open wide!

If you are returning to Milan after several visits to the Salone, you may want to concentrate on the Fuori Salone. In which case, pick a handful of events, plan an itinerary and have fun!

Unfotunately I don't think it's possible to see everything at the Salone or at the Fuori Salone, so I'm going to have to pick my route now and make sure I savour the places I do visit! Although a part of me would like to see it all!

My personal favourites so far are:

The Salone Satellite (full of suprises and fresh ideas)
Superstudio Più in Tortona

But I must admit, at heart I am a traveller, so I like to meander around and see where streets take me. I like to allow time and space for suprises... So hopefully my canon and I will see unexpected things...

I'll keep you posted and look forward to reading other poeple's accounts too.

the Fiera di Milano in Rho

A scene from the Fuori Salone