On my recent trip to John Lewis in Oxford Street where I had a long wander around their revamped Homewares department I stumbled upon something completely unexpected.
The introduction on the wall summed it up perfectly, and here it is:
A celebration of design and imagination, our Creative Spaces are designed to inspire. John Lewis offered space to four of the UK's most innovative interior creatives and gave them free rein to sign their perfect home environment. A relation of individual style, personality and taste, the Creative Spaces bring contemporary home design to life in an exciting and immersive way.
There were four spaces, so let's take each one in turn.
1. Tom Raffield
With his imagination stimulated by the beauty and wilderness of Exmoor where he grew up, Tom's designs are spectacular, ecologically sound and beautiful. He's a former winner of the Lighting Design Association's Lighting Design Award and it's easy to see why.
His space is themed on a woodland cabin of someone who creates beautiful products using traditional methods. It's inspired by his home, a gamekeeper's cottage set in 30 acres of woodland in rural West Cornwall. Which if I'm honest sounds idyllic.
2. Buckinghamshire New University
Charlie Fowler, a member of John Lewis' Design Studio has worked as a furniture designer for ten years. His most recent outreach project involved third year students from the BA Furniture course at this university. The students designed furniture aimed at solving the problems associated with working from home.
The design brief reflects the increasing number of people who work from home and the blurring of boundaries, particularly in urban areas where pressure on space means that very few people have a dedicated room to use an a home office. These pieces have been designed to make the maximum use of space and to be multi-purpose and adaptable.
I've mixed feelings about these, I can see why they could be very popular and there was one piece that I really liked. But apart from that one piece - and I'm pretty sure you'll work out which one without me telling you - I couldn't ever see me buying these.
And yes, it was the fold-up desk on the wall that I was taken with. I think it's a clever way of incorporating a desk into almost any space. If I wasn't already running out of walls, or didn't have sloping walls upstairs I'd be looking into this further.
3. Timorous Beasties
Founded by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons in 1990, Timorous Beasties are noted for their surreal and provocative textiles and wallpaper. The studio is a diverse operation considered iconic by those in the know and has won many awards.
This space explores the great opportunities that hallways have. They're often the first space that greets you into your home or one that enables you to move from room to room, and they believe this means we can be more daring and provocative than in a conventional room. Here they have kept everything relatively dark to illuminate the rooms leading off the space, and this is a very deliberate attempt at reassessing an often neglected space.
4. Supermarket Sarah
Sarah is a stylist and she wanted to mix her passion for fashion and interiors with a fun new way of shopping online. It's a simple idea and is a wall of "clickable" items. Sarah sells items on uniquely curated walls, the first of these went live from her living room. They soon spread to bars, galleries and major department stores. The site is now an open platform for creatives to sell their wares and Sarah works with major brands to create unique retail spaces and branded content.
Sarah's Supermarket room forms her signature splash which is normally in CMYK colours but is now in the John Lewis green, and she's picked her favourites for her ideal studio which embodies the feeling of studio play.
I found this to be a fun set and I as I'm rather partial to green, I found lots of things to like - especially the large S!
So there was quite a lot to take in in this relatively small space. And without knowing it was there either. I'm not sure how long it's there for, but I'm glad to have seen it. What do you think?