Designers on your doorstep

Martin Vella

What is more homely than sitting in a comfortable armchair with a drink sitting on a coffee table at your side. In these current times with lockdowns and working from home as par for the course in many lives, good comfortable home furniture takes on a much more important part of our lives. Something you can trust and rely upon.

IMAGE > Martin Vella, <em>Harlow Easy Chair</em>, 2021, Victorian ash, 90 x 65 x 55 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.
Not for sale

Spending time at home has not greatly impacted on my ideas of design as I tend to find my inspiration in classic shapes and forms that you may see elsewhere. For example, the legs of my Beauvais coffee table were inspired by the vaulted roofs of medieval European cathedrals and the arches that support them, and Harlow Easy Chair has its inspiration in the strong and luscious curves of the 1920/30’s Art Deco period. As I am a new to furniture design and just starting in this field, I continue to research and take inspiration from both the new and old elements of my environment, man-made and natural.

Spending so much time at home has disrupted the practicing and learning at school as well as interrupting the flow of my creativity. I am not able to complete my design course or finish the furniture I have been creating due to the lack of access to the school space. I have a small garage workshop at home which has allowed me to continue working on small projects and items to get some practice of my skills, however, I am looking forward to going back to my course.

Harlow Easy Chair has its inspiration in the strong and luscious curves of the 1920/30’s Art Deco period

There are not too many design gems in the outer suburbs that were mostly developed at scale from through 60’s and 70’s, so classic gems are few and far between. There is one house I have noticed recently which is probably from late 40’s/50’s. What is a largely standard brick house is lifted by a bold and wonderful rounded front corner. This curved structure provides elegance to what would otherwise be very ordinary. It plays into the deco design that I enjoy.

My favourite “room” in my house is my garden, specifically the sitting area under the pergola. Created as a major project through the extended time of lockdown 2, it is now a joy to sit on a lovely day under the shade of the spreading robinia tree taking morning coffee or perhaps an afternoon ale, admiring my creation. This space has been a haven that I am grateful to have during lockdown.

An object that marvel over is a plant stand that hales from Saudi Arabia. It is not so much the design that I admire, as it is not necessarily the most attractive item, but the fact that it is carved from a single piece of wood.

Favourite Curry 


  • 50g of ghee or butter 
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 50g fresh ginger, peeled &  finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chilli powder (1/2 if you don't like it hot)
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 dessert spoon tomato Puree
  • 150ml water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

Fry onions in ghee until starting to brown. Add garlic and ginger for a few seconds before adding spices and fry stirring continuosly for approx 2 mins until aroma is released. Add tomatoes and puree and fry for a further 2 mins. Add water, sugar and salt and simmer gently for 15 mins until sauce thickens. 

Add protein and or vegetables of choice along with a little more water as required and cook covered until tender. 

Serve with rice and naan breads, maybe some yoghurt. Enjoy.

IMAGES [Top to bottom] > All images courtesy of the artist. Recipe image source: unsplash.

Designers on your doorstep

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