As London Design Festival takes over the capital this month, we shine a spotlight on a carefully curated selection of exquisitely designed pieces available at boutiques within The Royal Exchange.
Paris Bag in English Lavender, £495, Aspinal of London
British luxury accessory brand Aspinal of London has a longstanding affinity with the countryside, and as a partner of the South Downs National Park Trust, it works closely with the charity to help support the livelihood of local South Downs butterflies and bees. As such, the natural environment was a key inspiration for its new Story 3 collection, which incorporates conscious design decisions such as metal-free, upcycled and carbon-offset leathers. The handcrafted Paris bag is a minimal, architectural style in an elegant trapeze silhouette, constructed using clever origami-inspired folds that can be worn outwards, as well as inwards, when extra space is needed. Three colours of metal-free finished leathers are available – English Lavender, Smooth Tan and Smooth Black – and as a thoughtful finishing touch, a detachable ‘A’ motif and bee charm represents the brand’s sustainability initiative, ‘Bee Aspinal’.
Colour changing glasses, from £595, Tom Davies
Tom Davies is renowned for pushing the boundaries of eyewear design, using the most technologically advanced materials possible to create unique bespoke lenses and frames. All his glasses have been crafted in his London factory since 2017, where he leads a team of ambitious apprentices in mastering the art of handmade frame production. As a new addition to Tom Davies’ offering, bespoke customers can now choose a pair of glasses made in an exciting new material that enables not only the lenses, but also the acetate frames to change colour in UV light. To achieve this, Davies has taken the same properties as photochromic lenses and applied them to his signature acetate frames, which are created in his specialist ‘Acetate Kitchen’ workshop. He has invented two captivating colours – one that transitions from a warm amber into a vibrant plum, and another, which transforms from clear crystal to deep smoky grey.
Meisterstück Great Masters Pirelli Limited Edition 1872 Fountain Pen, £2,265, Montblanc
Writing instrument maker Montblanc and global tyre manufacturer Pirelli have both been recognised for their commitment to craftsmanship for generations, but it is less known that rubber is the material that defined both of their origins. Pirelli began producing a variety of rubber goods in 1872, and in 1906, the founders of Montblanc made their first writing instruments from ebonite, a hard rubber attained by vulcanizing natural rubber. The new Meisterstück Great Masters Pirelli Limited Edition 1872 combines the art of writing with the art of tyre-making, celebrating the know-how of Pirelli craftsmen,“sgorbiatori”, who hand-carve the meticulous tyre patterns, and the skill of Montblanc’s expert artisans, who complete more than 100 steps to craft each Meisterstück writing instrument. The matt rubber on the fountain pen’s cap and barrel is engraved with a historic graphic treatment of the Pirelli logo that dates back to 1966, and, on the hand-crafted nib, above the image of a tyre containing the Montblanc emblem a striking Pirelli ‘P’ is engraved.
STEP TO IT
Grizedale in Dark Brown Rough-Out Suede, £540, Crockett & Jones
Northamptonshire-based shoemaker Crockett & Jones has been producing the finest quality footwear since 1879. While traditional craftsmanship is still at the heart of the brand, it has innovated its designs to incorporate contemporary materials and modern manufacturing methods, to ensure superlative style, comfort and durability. The Grizedale is its latest Rough-Out Suede boot, featuring a cleated rubber sole, gunmetal eyelets and a heavy-duty lace. Designed as the brand’s toughest and most robust rough-out suede boot to date, one of the most interesting details of the boot is the ‘half bellows tongue’ – made from contrasting grain calf – which prevents water infiltrating the lace area. A full leather lining with a waterproof membrane also ensures your feet will stay dry, even when stomping across the countryside through wet grass or shallow streams.
LABOUR OF LOVE
Lovestrike Medium Pavé Necklace (pictured in yellow and rose gold), £1,250, Vashi
Thanks to its workshop being based within its boutique, contemporary fine jewellery house Vashi has disrupted the jewellery industry by inviting its customers to collaborate in the design and making process. The brand is perhaps best known for its bespoke engagement rings, in which customers can choose from thousands of combinations of diamonds and ring styles at accessible price points, but it also offers a number of scintillating jewellery collections. Vashi’s Lovestrike Medium Pavé Necklace, from its LoveStrike collection, interprets the sound of love visually, as a ripple effect representing the shape of sound waves formed by a beating heart. The necklace has a total carat weight of 0.64, and the pavé-set motif is suspended from a chain, ergonomically designed to sit naturally just below the collarbone.
READY FOR SERVICE
MB Savanna watch in Grade 5 Titanium, £4,595, Bremont
British luxury watch company Bremont has manufactured watches for exclusive military squadrons around the world since being founded by Nick and Giles English in 2002. Its partnership with fighter pilot ejection seat engineer Martin-Baker in 2009 saw the Bremont MB pilot watch collection become the first and only mechanical timepieces to undergo and withstand the rigours of live ejection seat launches. And, as weight means everything for a pilot, Bremont has recently relaunched the MB model in lightweight Grade 5 Titanium, with other updated design details including an anti-reflective tactical protective case surface treatment, advanced ruthenium plated skeletonised rotor and a new desert colour palette. Taking its name from the harsh Savanna landscape, the 43mm Savanna Special Edition model also features the distinctive knurled effect on the barrel and crowns, inspired by components on the ejection seats, as well as a yellow and black loop at the end of the second hand referencing the all-important ejection pull handle.
ON THE SCENT
The English Pear and Freesia Limited Edition collection starts from £50, Jo Malone London
Jo Malone London is known for creating fragrances with unexpected combinations of ingredients, yet with distinctly British character. First introduced in 2010, this year it has launched a new limited edition English Pear and Freesia collection, comprising a cologne, home candle and body wash. The scent has been designed with ingredients chosen for their fresh and elegant properties, to create a fragrance that is fruity but not too sweet. The juiciness of King William pear is balanced by a floral accord of cool, white freesias, while amber and patchouli notes underpin the scent with a comforting touch of woody warmth. The design of the packing has also been carefully considered, taking the classic Jo Malone London shapes but enhancing them with fluted glass detailing to mirror the elegance of the fragrance.
Koppel Wave Bowl in mirror polished stainless steel, £249, Georg Jensen
Synonymous with minimal Scandinavian design, Georg Jensen founded his eponymous brand in 1904, with a philosophy to create functional and beautiful lifestyle products. The Koppel wave bowl is a prime example of this. Inspired by the distinctive design style of Danish designer Henning Koppel, its flowing shape captures the movement of the sea and its stainless steel surface reflects the light around it thanks to its mirror polished finish. The undulating, fluid form of the bowl creates the illusion that it is almost floating above its stand. Koppel’s long-term collaboration with Georg Jensen resulted in a number of iconic designs, characterised by Koppel’s signature use of expansive and beautiful shapes that make everyday items aesthetically pleasing as well as practical.
All items are available to purchase from The Royal Exchange. Please visit our boutiques page for a full list of stores and opening hours
The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year. We look forward to welcoming you for a considered shopping and dining experience in spectacular and historic surroundings. Please visit our boutiques page for regular updates on our retailers’ opening information and hours, as well as details about virtual appointments and click and collect services.