Search Results for books

Folding Books into Sculptures

I usually use old novels, but this time I used a larger outdated buyers guide. The pages are lovely and crisp and firm enough to support the larger book. It looks good in a vase or just standing on it’s own!

Find a suitable book and remove the cover. The glue or stitching remaining on the spine of the book should be strong, to support the stress that the folding puts on it.

Start by folding the top corner of the page down towards the spine of the book. Repeat with the bottom corner, folded up.

Keep on folding each page in the same way.

As you get to the end of the book, it gets more difficult. You have to use your one hand to keep the folded pages down while folding with the other.

Heres the finished book…

Here are some examples of other shapes you could fold your books into.

And here are a few examples of what you could do with them.

Book folding techniques curtesy of

South Kensington Books

Its so nice to see independent stores investing in their appearance.

South kensington Books is looking really great after revamping their exterior.

I love the exterior bookshelf in the doorway,the hand painted signage and the fact that they are proud to be independent .



22 Thurloe Street, South Kensington
London, SW7 2LT



Suitcases and Books

Love these two window displays, they are windows of the bar called Billy Kelly in the city of Saint Malo in France.

I think this makes such a strong statement draws your attention to the building.

Which goes to show sometimes you just need to make a statement to grab people’s attention.


Books, Books, Books

There are so many more things to do with books rather than just reading them.

It seems retailers and creative people around the world have let their imaginations flow.

On my travels I am constantly seeing amazing displays featuring or made of books old, new, recycled and reinvented.

The trend for using books has been around for ages and its one that will never go away.

Here are a selection of my favourite examples of creative book displays.

Whitcoulls New Zealand


Anthropologie are great fans of using books in their stores and windows, here are a selection from their stores here in the UK and USA.

Camper Pop Up Store

Unknown Jewellery Store

Book Tree

Barney’s New York

Hackett London

Conran London

Creative ideas Book of Art-by Isaac-Salazer

Rainbow Book Window

Sarah Lawrence Greece

Its amazing how many great displays and creations there are out there its just a pity that Book Retailers don’t seem to be doing any of them.

Books don’t just have to sit on shelves

love it when I see retailers merchandising products in a different ways

Wyken Vineyard store

This handmade book stand is a great way to show off books.

Its double sided and gives height to the table.

Dalesford Organics

These Books look great in this simple trug.

Anthropologie UK Christmas windows 2013

From the Field:  Christmas Windows

Anthropologie stores have undergone a magical makeover in time for the festive season with their Christmas window displays now in full swing! Warming shades of scarlet and maroon set the tone for cosy backdrops where glittering party accessories tumble from wooden sleighs and seasonal tabletops are laden with critter candles and piled-high books.


Cassina – London – Brompton Store

Popped to Brompton Design Quarter the other day and came across the new Cassina furniture store which has taken the old Few and Far site. They have created a really beautiful store, elegant, stylish and contemporary. I particularly liked the way they had creatively used books as a dressing them throughout the store.

Here is  some information about Cassina in their words.

Established in 1927, Cassina has been designing the future for over eighty years. During the 50’s the company, founded in Meda (Milan) by Cesare and Umberto Cassina, launched industrial design in Italy. In the rich and complex turmoil of that era, it was pioneering in the way it encouraged architects and designers to envision fresh designs and most of all translate their inspirations into reality. Taking a completely new approach, which saw a shift from handcraftsmanship to serial production, the company began to work side by side with designers. Since then, Cassina has shown a striking inclination for research and the ability to spark multi-participant dialogues between the most talented designers of both the 20th and 21st centuries, including architects and designers with quite diverse sensibilities, styles and creative spirits. The result: a mesh of stimulating ideas, from which Cassina always draws the best. This transversal culture of absolute quality defines the uniqueness of each Cassina piece.

Click here to visit their website

10 Commandments of Visual Merchandising 2013

10 Commandments of Visual Merchandising 2013

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 04:00 PM PST

Please note that an edited version of this article first appeared in December’s issue of Retail Focus Magazine and has been reproduced in its original version with kind permission of the magazine.  Please check out their website
Do men and the visual merchandising industry suffer mid-life crises?  Well, it would seem so and from my own cursory research and depending on who or what you believe of course, then I certainly have apparently already been through it or it is rushing towards me like a stranger experiencing a case of mistaken identity.  When did that happen? The years seem to pass me by quicker and quicker and what once appeared to be just a fleeting period of youth now seems an even further distant memory fading quickly away.  Although, surely something better will replace it?  Wont it?  On the one hand I can’t help thinking, with some sort of offensive satisfaction or a kind of two fingers up to the world that, ‘well I’ve made it this far’ which appears to be some kind of achievement at least?  There is also that feeling that there is some great contentment in the gaining of experience and knowledge which is something I have learned to relish.  In the meantime, according to the various mid-life crisis descriptors apparently I will be taking up a new musical instrument (No. 13), dying my hair (No. 20) (too late for that one then) desiring to buy new clothes obsessively (No.19) (looks like I’ve been having a mid-life crisis for the last 40 odd years in that case) a desire to become a healer (yeah right), the list goes on, in fact 35 of descriptors in total just to pigeon hole everything you were thinking anyway.  If anything my biggest disappointment as I looked forward into the future through once youthful eyes must be the broken promise that technology and in particular computers would make my life easier and all of those incredible holidays, all those new experiences that I had planned over many years while I gladly let technology take over yet again seem to be shelved as the realisation that the same technology which promised me so much leisure time has in fact cheated on me and ensured that I work twice as fast and for twice as long each day.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 28) desiring a simple life.  Damn you technology.
Another year in the world of Visual Merchandising has come and gone.  The enormous celebrations of 2012 are notched up in the history books, the window schemes came and went in their usual ephemeral way and off we go full speed into 2013 complete with mid-life crisis apparently looming.  The wonderful thing about these big events is that they are a time where we are able to stop and reflect on where we are as a country, where we are as an industry and input so much more energy into our Visual Merchandising.  This period of reflection of course is only very useful if we are able to identify not just what currently exists and what we did well but what we are actually going to do to build on our achievements or change what we did badly previously.  The 10 Commandments of 2013 will hopefully build on what we did well through my own period of reflection (and potential midlife crisis) and identify where we still need to build and make changes as an industry.  Mid-Life Crisis (No. 21) A desire to surround oneself with different things.  Oh there I go again.
1.       Thou shalt encourage localised creativity
Prior to the financial crisis of the early 1990’s we saw an enormous amount of creativity on the high street through retail store windows.  It was always a pleasure to go shopping in different cities where new stores could be serendipitously discovered adding to the excitement of the journey.  With the launch of the notion of branding as we now know it and the homogenisation of the high street around the globe, gradually the visual blandness of the high street became ever more apparent with much of the Retail industry afraid to be anywhere near risqué for fear of alienating an ever minutely sliced demographic .  What we are seeing however is the gradual, although albeit only just dipping its toe in the creative pool is the return to localised creativity, mostly due to brands such as Anthropologie.  Why is this, I hear you ask?  Well, of course sadly so many companies never really did understand the importance of Visual Merchandising and so the teams that were in place were the first to be culled in any crisis.  With the gradual realisation of the integral importance of these visual teams and the loss of techniques passed down through generations, but so much was lost.  Nearly 20 years on we are still seeing the effects of this short sightedness by so many brands.  As we build on our teams of Visual Merchandisers and support their development through the ranks, hopefully we will claw our way back to beyond where we were two decades ago, although much more informed and much more inclined to think twice before letting our teams go.  As we all know, differentiation is one of the keys to the retail offer and enticing the customer into the store, entertaining them, keeping them there and making them spend more money is our job.  (Mid-life Crisis Descriptor (No. 14); Sudden interest in creativity
2.       Thou shalt put the fun back into schemes
What happened to fun?  There we were squeezing out every last penny from the customer, blandly offering anything they wished for, as cheaply as we could and as quickly as they wanted it (and the quicker the better) and along the way forgot that visual fun is not just the domain of the department stores.  I daily peruse the stores of London’s West end and with the exception of a few of the multiple brands teetering on the edge of creative schemes; it’s just plain old dull.  While of course Visual Merchandising doesn’t have to be confrontational, offensive or indeed need to be particularly thought provoking (and its best not to venture into taboo areas unless one is willing and preferably able to defend it), it can however be thoughtfully clever.  Liberty and Selfridges here in London are always so sharply brilliant for example together with a few brands such as Desigual, Hackett and occasionally some Zara stores too, although the Visual Merchandising industry has generally lost its sense of fun, don’t you think?.  It seems that the days of installations such as those reported in New York in the 1960’s with scenes produced of aeroplane crashes with stewardesses running up and down the gangway screaming whatever was being promoted have long gone.  What about the events that were once promoted through newspaper articles with large banners screaming ‘Come and see the Lions’ at a named store?  These events generated massive excitement and probably some disappointment when customers realised that the ‘Lions’ were in fact a brand of fireplace at the time.  Are we sanitising everything for the lowest common denominator and afraid that disappointment is a terrible thing that we need to cushion our customers from?  Isn’t this something that Luxury brands always do so well? Mid-Life Crisis Descriptor (No.6) It feels good to be hurt sometimes.
3.       Thou shalt communicate to our audience
So often I see Visual Merchandising that I simply don’t understand.  I try and unravel the thinking behind such schemes on a regular basis although so often it can be meaningless and apparently unrelated to anything else.  Is that a bad thing?  Well, part of our roles as Visual Merchandisers is to communicate effectively to the customer, isn’t it?  As we also know, don’t we, that Visual Merchandising can be seen absolutely everywhere, from ancient sculpture to the daily newspaper or a magazine.  The same principles can be applied and if done well, it will communicate effectively; job done.  Unfortunately these solutions appear to escape the majority of retailers and, well, an image (in this instance in the form of a graphic) says a thousand words, doesn’t it?  But which words?  And why can’t we think of saying it in a different way?  Mid-Life crisis (No. 32) Fixated on finding solutions to problems.  Is there no stopping me?
4.       Thou shalt maintain retail standards
Oh how many times do we need to view dusty floors, dusty merchandise, lighting not working or if it is working its lighting nothing in particular?  Strands of invisible threads hanging like the ghost of an old scheme, security tags showing, labels everywhere, damaged graphics and unprepared merchandise fill the high street.  I always try and think of a retail space as if it were my own home.  Would I invite someone around if it were unclean or untidy, of course not?  It still amazes me that the basics of visual merchandising are not always in place.  Why is this?  Because retailers are not investing in good quality, experienced, reliable teams who are paid a decent salary to do so and then developing these teams’ skills in order to maintain a higher level of presentation.  It’s all looking a little slack right now.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 1); Looking into the mirror and realising its all falling apart.
5.       Thou shalt not use live animals in windows
I’m must admit that I’m not an over enthusiastic animal lover and like furry products from something that has been literally skinned alive in an Asian province somewhere even less.  While working for a company in China mid 2012 I was quite amazed to come across the circuses which not only had the obligatory one trick ponies and dogs in garishly coloured tutu’s but incredibly little hippos being ridden by monkeys wearing tiny pill box hats (the Monkeys not the hippos).  Well, I had seen chained Leopards at Gorky Park in Moscow and the dancing bears on my travels through India, all horribly flea bitten, unkempt, gone mad and laid on for the tourist’s entertainment; none of it was amusing or entertaining in the slightest.  I could have happily coped with a few jugglers, Chi Chi the Serpent Amphibian Man and a few bearded females; in some parts of London it appears the norm anyway?  That said, I suppose the attraction of Chinese Circuses is the same as my attraction to Visual Merchandising.  I just hope that something dangerous or even just a little Rock and Roll may actually happen.  But the Lions riding pillion on motorbikes around the wall of death and the skipping Elephants in (forgive the pun) jumbo stiletto heels really did push me over the edge a little.  The only Circuses that I like are those of Piccadilly and Oxford here in London.  Anyway, thankfully we rarely see live animals in retail spaces (unless you happen to be in Vegas) but even so I do occasionally come across them and in particular this fish in a tank at Victorinox annoyed me this year.  This is just cruel and unnecessary don’t you think?  The product could have been shown in a different way to communicate its qualities.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 11) Desire to become physical.
6.       Thou shalt keep informed about current trends in Visual Merchandising
Why do we so often see the same schemes cropping up time and time again?  Repetition of props such as umbrellas has been overdone now, right?  I’m not entirely sure who produces some of the schemes, who designs them or who commissions some of them but surely just to go out onto the high streets and take a look requires such little effort?  There are plenty of publications ‘out there’ from which to refer although how this information is interpreted and used is clearly a problem.  As ever, the only limitation is our own imaginations and surely brands need to employ people who are creative, in tune with what is happening on the street, experienced and aware of how their work is being interpreted?  It often feels as though we as customers are on the receiving end of a random vision from some retailers and one of my conclusions is that there is so much interference from other departments into the world of Visual Merchandising, which incidentally it appears that everyone else has worked in and everyone else wants to have a say but no-one else really seems to have a grasp of.  So get out there and have a look to see what everyone else is doing.  Simple.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 24) Desire to change the world for the better.
7.       Thou shalt continue to develop the use of digital technology
I have been rather amazed at the amount of technology on the high street which has been launched in 2012.  Hopefully the days of big old clunky machines that never really worked anyway are long gone.  I’ve had hours of fun at the new McQ store in Dover Street and of course the brand spanking new Burberry store along Regent Street here in London.  OK, well the majority of the technology is the implementation of giant video screens, so no news there then, although we are seeing more and more interactivity happening with the use of ipads at All Saints and the launch of the Matches Curation at Matches during London Fashion week and ‘machines’ which can photograph us, e-mail our images to everyone we know and let the world decide what we purchase.  The days of London’s West End becoming an Elizabethan theme park of the way we used to shop are still, it seems a long way off yet although I am excited about the potential of virtual shopping at its most convincing.  It would seem however, that even the levels of technology that we do current have access to is already alienating a proportion of society.  As humans are sensitive creatures, it would appear that we are becoming ever lonelier.  And there we were sat on our facebook, googling our twitters and all we wanted was to share the physical love between each other.  Apparently digital social networking hasn’t quite lived up to our expectations after all and we’ve all realised that we want and desire real human interaction.  Looks like customer service rather than technology is the biggy moving forward.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 32) Becoming fixated on new ‘wonder’ solutions to problems.
8.       Though shalt not use motifs
Why do retailers always use the same old motifs year after year?  This one has to be in our 10 commandments this year again as this never seems to move on.  What is it with the use of Heart motifs in particular that retailers seem to feel the need to return to every year?  There are of course variations on the theme but why do we have to keep producing the same stuff time and again?  Motifs have no design left in them, and while they are of course universally recognisable can we now move onto something different?  Is it the need for comfort, nostalgia or times where we felt secure?  I don’t know the answer, but surely someone somewhere will do something to generate a different mood?  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 29) Excessively looking back to one’s childhood
9.       Thou shalt continue to support Visual Merchandisers
Supporting the Visual Merchandising teams within any retailer is critical.  These teams are expected to work though the night, produce and produce to the highest levels and commit nearly all of their time.  Of course, we love what we do and we wouldn’t want to do anything else, however, these guys need all the support they can receive in generating the best work on the high street.  Of course most retailers will take these guys for granted and leach every ounce of creativity out of them with little opportunity for them to replenish their creative energy through visiting shows and exhibitions within a working day.  Why?  Because this is not viewed as work and God forbid anyone enjoy what they do for work, right?  Staff development and investing in your teams is absolutely necessary and should be a priority in 2013 if you want to hang on to them.  Mid-life crisis descriptor (No. 4) Change and invest in new things
10.   Thou shalt have a fantastic 2013
I am certainly looking forward to 2013, mid-life crisis or not.  In the meantime, I shall continue to have shifting sleep patterns (No 15), Doing things that get me into trouble (No. 34) Wonder where am I going with my life? (No. 31), maybe I will restart things I dropped 20 years ago (No. 23), play again just to play (No 30)
Oh what the hell, do your worst Mid-life crisis and bring it all on.  Happy 2013..!


French Trotters Interview by Hip Shops

Carole and Clarent Dehlouz started FrenchTrotters as an extension of their passion for traveling and for discovering interesting local items in their journeys. Alongside this smart selection that they have put together for the store, FrenchTrotters has recently materialized into a clothing line, also run by the inspiring duo. We’ve asked a few questions about this project’s history, their approach on the retail business and the FrenchTrotters vision. We’ve learned about timelessness in design, dedication to perfection and the ongoing communication and commitment to one’s values.


HS: Le Marais represents Paris’ centre of fashion & art of a certain feel or flavour. You’ve recently moved into a new space near your previous one. How did you choose this new location?
FT: Three years after setting our first store in the Bastille area (2005), we opened a men’s store in le “haut” Marais* district in 2008 which quickly became very successful. The area and the people really fitted with our spirit and concept. We feel Le Marais is really the best neighborhood for us in Paris. So we naturally wanted to find a bigger space that could host our men and women multi-labels selection as well as our in-house label. We eventually found a huge 200 sqm space. Big enough to also host a homeware section, which we wanted to have for a long time.

(*Le Haut Marais is the higher part of the Marais, located the 3rd district. It’s very different from the 4th district part of Le Marais which is a lot more mainstream and crowded. Le Haut Marais is a lot more chic and refined with more high end stores which started to emerge 4 years ago.)


HS: Do you consider your clients to be specifically connected to this area as a symbol or embodiment of hipness/coolness?
FT: We certainly have a hip and cool crowd coming to the store. However we try to avoid being too “trendy”. We like the idea of welcoming a mix of very different people. Our neighborhood regulars for example are very low profile. They like nice quality products, but keep an effortless and understated style. That’s the spirit we like.

HS: You’ve recently added a new dimension to your previously owned business. The FrenchTrotters clothing line. To what degree do you and Carole involve yourselves in the design process? What do you consider to be specific for this line, the main qualities you focus on?
FT: FrenchTrotters clothing line for men and women started 2 years ago. Carole and I are involved 100% in it, from the design to the production. We focus on clean garments with a particular attention to quality and fits. We always use the nicest fabrics. The main line is crafted in France (Paris and Brittany). We have a second collection that is crafted in India where we are able to do our own prints, dyes and embroideries. Craft is always important and we want the collection to feel very authentic. For the first year the products were sold exclusively in our stores. The line is now open for distribution and is being stocked in a selection of very nice stores around the world.


HS: How do you choose to promote the FrenchTrotters shops? What kind of communication tools do you use?
FT: Our best means to promote our shops is first to give our customers a great shopping experience. Nothing can match the word to mouth from happy customers. And of course we also strongly focus on all internet tools which give us the ability to interact with our customers from all over the world, via our blogs, Facebook, twitter, Vimeo, Instagram, etc. We post news, images and videos daily. In addition to developing an extra business, our online shop is also an amazing window for a worldwide audience.

HS: Both you and Carole have a photography background. How did you switch to the retail business?
FT: We didn’t really switch actually. They both combine very well. Photography is a tool we use to capture what we like and to develop our own esthetic. That is exactly what we do with retail. Since we launched our first store 8 years ago, our work has always consisted in curating things we like and nicely displaying them in our stores, creating our own visual identity.

HS: We’ve noticed you started selling more interior design pieces and you’ve introduced new brands like “Another Country”. Do you intend to grow on the design objects’ category?
FT: Even if clothing is our main activity, we have always seen FrenchTrotters as a global lifestyle environment that would combine all our passions. Interior design has always been important to us and we are very happy today to have found a space big enough to develop this field. This new homeware corner is a first step and there will certainly be more projects related to it in the future.

HS: Since you’re activating in a certain fashion niche where the client/staff relationship is not an ordinary one, what do you choose to deliver when training your staff in order to successfully preserve French Trotters’ vision ? Do you come into contact with your clients regularly?
FT: The relationship with our customers is very important. We want people to spend a good time in our stores which starts by a warm welcome and good advice. Each product we sell has a story so it’s important for our staff to talk about it. We only recruit passionate people. And of course we spend a lot of time ourselves in our shops and we know our regulars. That’s very important.

HS: Do you shop in Paris? Which are your favourite stores?
FT: We like to spend some time at Le Bon Marché which has a nice grocery and a very good bookstore and design department. We buy plants at a little cactus shop near the Marais store called Les Succulents Cactus. We also go at Truffaut for our little kitchen garden in our apartment balcony.

HS: How would you spend your day in Paris? Where do you enjoy going?
FT: We like to go out in the morning to get a good breakfast in a café. When we have free time, we go at the Jeu de Paume to see a photography exhibition, or watch a movie at the MK2 Biblothèque. When it’s sunny we like to walk in Les Buttes Chaumont. We also enjoy simply hanging out at home. At night we go for a drink with friends at Candelaria or Clasico next door. And then we go for dinner at l’Office, Vitelloni or Le Floréal. When we feel in a more gastronomic mood, we book a table at Le Chateaubriand or Septime.

HS: Is there any store in the world that you’ve found inspiring for your type of business?
FT: We travel quite a lot and and visit a lot of inspiring stores like Biotop and Art & Science in Tokyo or Hunting & Collecting in Bruxelles. But we are more inspired by places than shops. La Grenouillère in the north of France. Bardenas in Spanish desert and the Aire hotel. Also Capri and Puglia in Italy. The landscapes of Morocco. And of course New York. We try to bring back a little bit of all these atmospheres into our Parisian stores.

Hope we’ve aroused your interest to learn more about the FrenchTrotters experience!
And with just the right insights Paris might charm you even more on your next trip!

If you like this article take a look at the Hip Shops website, it’s packed full of amazing stores from all around the world.

Bowerbird Book by Sibella Court

Sibella Court, bestselling author of Etcetera, The Stylist’s Guide to NYC and Nomad, has always been a bowerbird. This was first noticed when, at the age of three, she put together collections of shells, sequins, beads and ribbons. Like her avian counterpart, she goes far and wide to add to her collections, enjoys arranging and rearranging the pieces and, ultimately, believes that collections, containing the memories they do, are a vital part of any home.

In Bowerbird, Sibella reveals her very personal and surprising approach to collecting and collections. She shows how to procure the elements of a collection, how to organise and store them, and how to display them in creative and ever-changing ways. With the help of Bowerbird, you will view your belongings in a whole new light.

Pre-order Bowerbird here! Bowerbird is launching worldwide in October. All books ordered from The Society inc. will be signed and stamped by Sibella.

Click here to pre order your copy


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