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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

UMBRAlievable - Modern design doesn't get more accessible than this!

Canadian design company Umbra was born 31 years ago when graphic designer Paul Rowan couldn't find a nice window shade to hang in his new apartment window. So he made one...and others liked it! He soon teamed up with friend and industrial hardware manufacturer, Les Mandelbaum, and Umbra was born.

Since that time Umbra has grown to become the world leader of modern, original, casual and affordable design for the home - introducing designs that have broken the mould and creating entirely new categories in the home decor and gift market. 

Utility are proud to be one of the largest retailers of Umbra in the UK and we're very pleased to introduce a host of new home accessories & giftware products that, like all Umbra designs, inject personality and a sense of magic into any interior.

Umbra's comprehensive catalogue, from photo display units to quirky hook/hangers, is creative, innovative and modern, all the while remaining highly affordable. Modern design doesn't get more accessible than this.
 New Releases

Shop the Umbra collection here

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Mooore MOOOI

New Moooi CollectionMoooi have been impressing the design world for years, with furniture & lighting that is visually strong, highly functional and individual, such as the Smoke Chair, Light Shade Shade Chandelier, Pig Table and Horse Lamp

During Salone 2014, under the art direction of Marcel Wanders, Moooi presented their "Unexpected Welcome" exhibition, showcasing their new and exciting 2014 range in an interactive experience that had all of Milan talking - You can view the panoramic display by clicking here.

We have been steadily adding to and improving our online catalogue of Moooi products and are happy to announce that best sellers such as the Bart Sofa and Container Tables are now available to purchase at
Joining these best sellers are a host of brand new furniture and lighting pieces that were introduced during Salone 2014 including the playfully elegant Zio Coffee Table and Sideboard, the versatile Prop Light range and the Bassotti Coffee Tables that merge the solid grace of marble table tops with the shiny lightness of classically shaped legs.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Because we're HAPPY - Thanks to Swedese

We've been working hard to expand upon our collection of Swedese products and we're pleased (happy even) to announce that the Swedese "Happy" range is now available to purchase online at Utility. That's not all though; we've also slashed prices across the range & deducted a further 15% in adding the entire Swedese collection to our Summer SALE

Roger Persson describes his furniture design as "a game with lines and curves" and this can be seen quite clearly in Happy; the smiling furniture family made up of dining chairs, stool, armchairs and sofas. 
By adding soft surfaces and forms to an otherwise modern aesthetic expression, he creates a long lasting idiom. Like his other ranges for Swedese, happy is beautiful and functional - comfortable, practical, and possesses a special knack for fitting into all types of environments. We think the range is especially suited to commercial, retail or reception spaces.

"Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth".

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lee Broom Lighting

Lee Broom founded his eponymous British company in 2008 and has since gone on to become one of the UK s leading product and interior designers. In his short career, Lee Broom has launched five furniture and lighting collections, designed over 40 retail, restaurant and bar interiors and has won awards including the Designer of the Year at the British Design Awards in November 2011. 

The latest lighting collection from the man dubbed "the pin up of British manufacturing" is now available to purchase in our online store. Here are some of our favourite pieces.

One Light Only - OLO
OLO is a collection of striking pendant lights that draw on Lee Broom's fashion background. Characterised by its gem-like faceted exterior, OLO references both Art Deco jewellery and late 1970's fashion photography. 2014 sees the introduction of three new finishes. Two stunning matt finishes - matt white and matt gold - producing sharp lines and graphic, angled shadows on its surface. The form of the light is also reinterpreted in solid walnut - the wood grain adding a natural and tactile element to the geometric shape of the shade. A polished gold interior ensures a warm glow is emitted on all.

Crystal Bulb 
Taking inspiration from the delicate craftsmanship of crystal cutting, the Crystal Bulb combines industrial influences with decorative qualities, transforming the everyday bulb into a beautiful ornamental light fitting. Each lead Crystal Bulb is handcrafted using traditional techniques and hand cut with a classic crystal pattern inspired by traditional whiskey glasses and decanters. The Crystal Bulb, winner of the British Design Awards for 2012/13 is available in a clear or frosted brushed brass pendant or five piece chandelier.

Tile Lamp
The Tile lamp, from the award winning Heritage Boy collection, draws on traditional British manufacturing techniques and is a great example of combining classic shapes with unexpected application. Available in two sizes - blue and white - the Tile Lamp explores the use of traditional glazed tiles on lighting. The lamp is clad in a classic formation giving the impression of an upper surface of a tiled column. The Tile Lamps use genuine twice flared ceramic tiles made the same way they have been for 150 years. The moulds are hand carved and monogrammed for authenticity and are produced by the same factory that produce tiles for the London Underground.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Introducing 'WRONG for HAY'

Initially showcased during the London Design Festival 2013, "Wrong for Hay", the collaborative venture between Danish design label, Hay and London based designer Sebastian Wrong, enjoyed a successful global debut at Salone Milan.

The collection, which comprises  furniture, textiles and accessories from designers such as Nathalie Du Pasquier, Faudet-Harrison and Lucein Gumy, is based in London and is clearly inspired by the city's creative energy, eclecticism and willingness to explore new working relationships, products and markets. 
 "Wrong for Hay is an opportunity to push the boundaries in terms of curation. We can be experimental and sophisticated but also pragmatic. It's a platform for new work that celebrates London's design culture" says the brands creative director, Sebastian Wrong. 

Hay's principle of good design at accessible prices is central to the collection with Wrong stating that "a huge part of the brief was to hit a certain price point, which is very important for us, and I think we've succeeded in doing that". 

We've compiled a list of what we think are the most exciting products from the new collection and made them available in our online store. Come and take a look!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

NEW - Diesel Living with Foscarini - The Collection

"From rock to Pop, from casual to vintage and from graphics to art."

Foscarini has created some of the most iconic lighting designs of recent times and the Successful Living collection in conjunction with fashion company Diesel promises to do the same through expanding on a range of lights that reflect the company's raw, industrial credentials.

The latest instalment in the Diesel with Foscarini partnership, now available at Utility, is this completely new collection of lamps that speaks a multitude of languages, tells different stories and expresses an unmistakable style: the Diesel lifestyle; Ironic, unconventional, fun, fiery and creative. A way of being and of dressing that also becomes a way of furnishing.

Click here to view the DIESEL collection.
Click here to view the entire Foscarini Lighting collection.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Return of the Grand Prix

In the 1940s, Fritz Hansen experimented with steam bending plywood, which caught the attention of the young architect, Arne Jacobsen. Jacobsen normally designed his furniture for a specific purpose, but in 1952, he developed the three-legged Ant - for no other reason than a desire to make an all purpose chair that was easy to stack. This was a chair with a moulded, double curved seat and back element, in one complete piece which, with a light spring in the back, felt both comfortable and secure. 

The Ant proved itself to be Denmark's first real piece of industrial furniture, but at first, Fritz Hansen was not interested in producing the chair. It required major investment in new production machinery, and the manufacturer did not believe it would sell. When Jacobsen turned up with an advance order for 400 chairs for the canteen of Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk, he was able to convince his manufacturer of the product's potential.

Arne Jacobsen continued to develop the Ant chair, and in 1955, the Series 7 was launched. It had the same self-supporting plywood seat shell and pre-assembled frame of chrome plated legs, but the seat and back were wider, and the new chair was equipped with four legs instead of three to ensure greater stability.

The Finest Distinction

In 1957, one more chair was launched along the same principles. The 3130 chair was introduced at the Designer's Spring Exhibition at the Design Museum of Art & Design in Copenhagen. The chair got its nickname later that year while on show at the Triennale in Milan, when it received the Grand Prix - the finest distinction of the exhibition.

A number of new types of glue had recently been developed that made it possible to glue larger pieces together than previously. Jacobsen exploited this technical triumph to construct a new edition of his steel chair, now with wooden legs as well as seat, and with more defined shape to the back. He saw the chair as an alternative to the first two chairs, which with their steel legs had a rather colder and more industrial expression.

In order to make the new chair's legs appear more slender, he shaved arched lines into the circular legs, so that a section at a right angle to the central line of the legs shows a surface that could almost be a triangle. When the chair first came on the market, the four legs were laminated from 31 layers of veneer. The grooves in the legs' two outside edges ended where the legs reached the bottom of the seat, so that the glued surface on the flat part of the legs could be as large as possible.

The original Grand Prix did not achieve the same level of success or sales figures as either the Ant or the Series 7. This was partly because it was so complicated and expensive to produce, but also due to problems with its construction, which proved to be fragile - the legs broke off too easily, and the chair was taken out of production

New production methods today have made it possible to produce the Grand Prix chair's frame in one piece, which is attached to the bottom of the seat in a circular shape - in exactly the same way as both the Ant and the Series 7. This has improved the chair's construction considerably, making it far sturdier.
This season, Fritz Hansen reintroduce the Grand Prix 4130 with wooden legs which is available in Oak, Walnut or a choice of 9 coloured Ash veneers.

All the chairs mentioned are available at

Click to view:
The Ant Chair
The Series 7 Chair
The Grand Prix 3130
The Grand Prix 4130

Article Source: Katrine Martensen Larsen for Republic of Fritz Hansen