Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Box mentality


A broader approach to any design project can achieve a property’s full potential. Emanuela Alladio of Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited advocates planning outdoor spaces right from the beginning of any project.

When planning a new extension or build, we tend to think inside the box. We visualise the house as the main box, sitting somewhat alone on a piece of landscape, and then divide this empty box into separate rooms, each with its own very specific function to fulfil – each a smaller, yet still empty, box (furnishings are often brought into action at a later stage).

Once the main box is finished, we stop to wonder how the box relates to the space around it. Only at the end do we think of ways to soften the building and make it sit more naturally within the outside space. The result is that often the finished box doesn’t connect with the neighbourhood or the wider landscape, and the inside/outside flow is seriously compromised and its potential lost.

Yet when we admire images of houses and gardens conceived with an integrated approach, we are in awe. So why consider the relation between house and landscape as an afterthought? Wouldn’t it be better if someone was in charge of thinking outside the box from the very beginning of a project?

We could do so much more if we engaged the building with its surrounds from the very beginning. If, at the early planning stage, client, architects, garden designer and interior designer all sat at the same table the result would mean much fewer lost opportunities, well-integrated solutions and useful economies of scale.

We hire architects to create forms from interconnected spaces, focusing on concepts such as flow and aesthetic, we hire interior designers to introduce the right mood and texture to each and every one of these spaces. All our energy is spent worrying about what happens inside – floors, furniture, curtains, light fittings, kitchens and bathrooms – forgetting that this beautiful flow will stop as soon as those brand new bi-fold doors open – and we are faced with an empty and alien back garden.

Yet the solution is out there. Bringing in a skilled garden designer can continue the dialogue outside. A skilled designer will absorb information from all sources and develop the outside space to extend the link with the house. Your brilliant, new, glass-clad, sleek kitchen living area will no longer open to an uninspiring and empty back garden. You will discover a new world of potential and create a stunning outdoor room.

Some tricks are simple: choose the same porcelain tiles installed in the kitchen for the patio area – in a different finish to add slip resistance outside – to achieve that instant, seamless, indoor/outdoor transition. Make the most of the expanse of glass walls in your new extension by controlling the views out, creating new ones, adding light and water for a touch of drama.

Of course, just like a good architect or interior designer, a great garden designer will guide you through this process, looking at the ‘outside box’ and dividing it up into a series of meaningful layers each with a different function: privacy, drama, entertaining, framing the view etc. And the difference will be in the small details – identifying the best aspect for dining or enjoying a swim or a view, making the space feel much bigger and more inviting thanks to directional paving or the right materials and plant palettes, choosing the best plants for the site given the local soil, drainage and exposure to the elements. Once this process is complete, the indoor/outdoor flow will be seamless.

Despite this enormous potential, so often garden designers are called to ‘intervene’ right at the end of the renovation, new build or extension, missing out on some earlier opportunities. Considering the outer environment can bring so many tangible advantages to any development, for example, by making the most of an existing level, framing a borrowed view from the landscape and creating a positive link between the building and its surrounds. This can be easily achieved if the garden designer is engaged from the beginning as a three-way conversation with the architect and client. It would often mean saving on costs too as later ‘interventions’ are minimised.

This holistic approach to an extension or a new build is already very established across the ocean and is being adopted here too, producing some amazing results. Next time we admire a stunning new build if we ask ourselves why our eyes are so drawn by what they see it will no doubt be the very unique connection that the building has managed to establish with its surrounds, the creative use of local materials, the effective and functional use of space, the clever yet understated details. This very elegant product will be the result of clever thinking outside the box.

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Profile: Alladio Sims
Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Ltd was established in 2015 after Jon Sims and Emanuela Alladio collaborated on a Silver Gilt winning show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The two directors continue their collaborative approach throughout their practice with Jon’s background in interior architecture giving distinctive spaces and Emanuela’s passion for plants and photographic eye adding great texture and contrast.

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Alladio Sims Garden Landscape Design Limited
Unit C Willow House, Dragonfly Place, London SE4 2FJ

Contemporary brass designs


Architect and designer Stefano Giovannoni has curated an exceptional roster of talent to come together and create pieces under a new brand, Ghidini 1961. Jane Pople explores this contemporary collection, the history that influenced it and the designers who are shaping its future.

Stefano Giovannoni has created a new brand leader in brass products, bringing together the world renowned manufacturing excellence of the foundry Ghidini Bosco of Villa Carcina, specialists in die casting brass, aluminium and zamak, with some of the most iconic designers of modern times.

A long-time home of Italy's manufacturing skill, Ghidini Bosco of Villa Carcina is located in the province of Brescia. Here the foundry excels in combining advanced technologies and rapid prototyping with traditional craft skills. Its vast portfolio of products spans thousands of designs, from lighting fixtures to furnishing and decorative items.
Over the last fifty years Ghidini Bosco has established close ties with many international architects and designers. Together they have developed custom products and continue to create classical and contemporary art items. All production takes place in-house and is characterised by a meticulous attention to detail from the idea to the end product. Each design passes through various processing stages; from pressure die casting to lost wax and gravity casting, from machining to drilling, from satin finishing to sandblasting and polishing.
All this expertise and experience has laid the solid foundations of Ghidini 1961, a new design brand created in this year under the art direction of Stefano Giovannoni. Putting together a diversified creative team, Giovannoni has curated them on the ability to enhance the properties of brass. A luxurious material which features golden tones and reflections, tactile with a velvety smooth surface, the brand feels it has so far been unjustly disregarded by contemporary design. Being aware of the corporate potential, the creative team led by Giovannoni has developed a remarkable collection of items of furniture and accessories for daily use, characterised by innovative design, smoothed by classical and playful shades, consistent with the nature of brass.

The resulting Ghidini collection comprises works of art, where brass acquires an almost sculptural power, bearing witness to Ghidini’s attention to detail.

Almost all the line’s catalogue of designs is for the home. One of the most iconic pieces to emerge is a striking doorstopper in the shape of a rabbit, with a skilfully rounded profile designed by Stefano Giovannoni. He has also created small desktop versions to be used as paperweights and a version as salt and pepper shakers.
There is the fabulously surreal Champagne cooler in the shape of a large thimble, conceived by Studio Job, and one with large circular handles by Richard Hutten, who also designed a coat hanger in the shape of a stem on which there are wide-open winged butterflies. Everything is made with precision, from paper bins to fruit bowls, all characterised by a geometric weave, made so as not to require any welding of the sides.

Nika Zupanc’s platters in the shape of palm leaves are characterised by an outstanding surface finish. Then there are Stefano Giovannoni’s rectangular anthropomorphic platters, where geometric shapes are softened by a series of ‘humans’ who stand along the edges and also appear at the top of salt and pepper shakers, like a personal brand.
In its rich variety, the collection is a compendium of the most significant contemporary creative expressions, interpreted and enhanced by Ghidini’s skilful expertise and ability to interpret brass in all its possible shapes and finishes.

Shop the Ghidini 1961 collection and fill the home with stunning contemporary artworks.

Profile: designer Stefano Giovannoni
Stefano graduated in architecture at the University of Florence and is a designer who has mainly worked in home accessories and kitchenware.
He collaborated with international companies such as Alessi, Fiat, Lavazza, Pepsico, Samsung, Seiko, Siemens, Sodastream, 3M, Telecom, Toto, Veneta Cucine, and many others.
He has designed very successful products that have broken all sales records in the design field such as the Girotondo collections (over 10 million units sold) and Mami, the famous products of ‘FFF’ series for Alessi, the Alessi-one bathroom ware and the Bombo family for Magis.
Thanks to Stefano’s ability to intercept the tastes of the general public, he has been named ‘The champion of super and popular of the 2000s’ (A. Alessi); ‘Most designers bankable’ (E. Perazza) and ‘design King Midas’ (C. Morozzi).

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Shop the Ghidini 1961 collection at
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Design in partnership


Interior designer Ruth Marshall discusses the reasons for engaging professional advice before commencing work on an interior design project.

Whether planning to refresh rooms or embarking on a more extensive refurbishment, you may wonder whether it is a worthwhile investment engaging a professional interior designer. Planning a new space can be daunting, and you may have concerns that a designer will ‘take over’, or that you could lose control of your budget. In reality, hiring a professional can save valuable time, help avoid costly mistakes and generally make the whole process less stressful and
more enjoyable.

The relationship with a designer is a partnership, with a shared vision to create something unique that reflects your tastes and personality. A designer’s experience and product knowledge helps narrow down choices and show what will work in your space, introducing niche products to make all the difference. They’re able to tailor projects to take account of specific requirements with custom-built joinery, beautiful bespoke upholstery and soft furnishings, and will have longstanding relationships with trusted professions and tradespeople. Don’t be afraid to ask for references if you want to be really sure.
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Our aim at Ruth Marshall Interior Design is to make the design process as stress-free and enjoyable as possible for our clients, combining luxury and comfort to create timeless, beautiful interiors in our signature classic contemporary style.

Our initial consultation is a friendly meeting of minds to explain how the design process works, understanding your lifestyle requirements. We’ll discuss budgets at this point too, as this will influence the choice of the best suppliers.
We’re often asked about current styles and whilst we love to keep abreast of interiors’ trends, it’s our view that it’s more important to ensure any new space is well planned, functional and flows with the rest of the house – it won’t look or feel quite right if one room has a completely different style and feel to the rest.
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We’ll be taking a look at current and upcoming trends in essence magazine’s Interiors Supplement next month, so if you are about to embark on an interiors’ project it will be an interesting read.

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With over 15 years of interior design and bespoke luxury soft furnishings experience, Ruth Marshall Interior Design offers the highest level of service from initial design through to final installation.
Telephone: 0203 590 6728