Café Opus at the Ikon Gallery


When Opus restaurant first mentioned they would be running the café at Ikon Gallery in BrindleyPlace – it was only obvious they would come to us, as we had previously designed their Cornwall Street restaurant in city centre, 7 years ago.


The brief was obviously to leave the infrastructure untouched, and cosmetically enhance the space with the use of colour and furniture whilst keeping with the integrity of a well designed are that was akin to art gallery space.

Over the years you have seen a lot of our domestic projects together with our favourite and new reeled interior decoration items.

We thought it would be good to show some of our commercial projects we do, starting off with Café Opus at Ikon. As with all design work we had a budget to work to.


We decided to spend a significant percentage of this on furniture. We thought it was important that the inside and outside areas had a correlation.  We wanted to create an exciting environment outside the fabulous old school building, which is Ikon Galley.  Colour and material was important to us, the intensity of the yellow in this highly practical and stackable, interior and exterior chair, ticked all the boxes. The chair is manufactured by Magis, and are available from The Aram Shop or Aram Contracts.


The colour yellow is used in the Ikon branding – so we tweaked the colour slightly, and combined the two identities of Opus Restaurant and The Ikon Gallery to come up with the brand that is Café Opus at Ikon.

This yellow was then taken inside along with the chair in grey to create a modern colour palette for the interior space.  We used Formica tops to the existing tables, and fitted upholstered banquette seating to the back wall, which creates warmth and sits comfortably with the fabulous three arched windows.  The general colour scheme was softened by the use of very light warm tones of grey, which are easier on the eye rather than the start white.  The umbrellas outside are four meters square and with the use of specially embroidered blankets to create a warm cost feeling on a cool day!

We think this is a great place to pop in for brunch, dinner or a cup of tea! As well as looking good the food is great too!


Inspiration from London Design Week


Another year and another trip by the Suzanne Barnes Design Team to the London Design Week, visiting 100% Design, Tent Design Junction and Decorex which showcase the latest in design. Here is a small selection of products that caught our eyes that we wanted to share with you.


1. Zoe Murphy – A young British designer used mid 20th Century furniture and recycles using creative imagery inspired by her local landscape of Margate.

2. Aditi Studios – Laerdal Pendant Light, the light collection is hand sculpted and decorated in Derbyshire using traditional methods made from mud, dust eclectic powders and fire; silk and glass, paper, water, steel, brass and iron.

3. Curiousa & Curiousa Glass Pendants – Esther Patterson, the founder of designs hand-blown, bespoke glass and bone china lighting.  These single glass shades are free-blown to order.

4. Katie Walker – The Windsor Rocking Chair a contemporary classic design constructed from a single continuous band of steam bent ash with solid seat supported by turned spindles

5. Ceramic Art by Regina Heinz – Taking inspiration form the mountains landscapes of her home county Austria, Regina Heinz creates hand built sculptural ceramics, ceramic reliefs and wall pieces.

6. The Dark Room – These large, unglazed hand-painted ceramic decorative plates come as a limited edition of 10 and feature bold, iconic colours and designs inspired by De Stijl.


7. Lloyd Loom of Spalding – ‘The Elves & The Chairmakers’, Five designers visited Lloyd Loom and reinterpreted the classic chair designs and produced this wonderful exciting new collection.

8. John Galvin Furniture – Cambium Credenza, the drawers and doors are made from locally sourced Scottish Elm. The frame, base and drawer insides of the piece are made from beech.  These innovative furniture pieces encompass contemporary design with quality craftsmanship all created in Glasgow.

9. Avenida Home – Alabaster Placemats & Coasters, Avendia team up with some of the world’s best loved artists to transform high-quality tableware into exquisite pieces of art which are handmade in England.

10. Boeme Design – Madame Pangon A printed velvet fabric. This fabric collection showcases its founder Jo Bounds love of painting and comprises of large scale designs and exquisite panels, printed on the highest quality base cloths and manufactured in the UK.


Boutique Hotel Chic … At Home

Farquar Road 033

The brief was simple – ‘Boutique chic hotel with with a feminine slant.’ The client wanted a unique master suite which was contemporary and modern, yet warm and sumptuous.

Farquar Road 029

Our client had the two mirrors and the two table lamps as shown in the main picture.  Everything else was specifically designed and made to order. The whole room was stripped out and before decoration started we changed radiator styles and positions and updated the lighting scheme.

Firstly the high padded headboard was made to align with the clients existing mirrors, the panelling effect was created by using different textured fabrics from Andrew Martin and Elitis. The overall colour scheme was based on deep and light neutral shades from bitter chocolate to soft taupe, with highlights of pink and damson. The combination of these colours we used in the stunning curtain fabric by Lorca.  And on the upholstered bench in the window and large ceiling pendant we used the Damson colour.  The pick striped bolsters add strength to the overall colour scheme.  The large chic drum pendent shade was made to order in Damson silk from Heathfield Lighting. Large faux fur cushions added texture and depth to the bed which was covered in quilted bedspread in a fabric from Sahco.

Farquar Road 032

The walls were painted in a delicate shade of pink/mauve. (Zoffany Paints – Chåteaux) this gave the room a soft glow and provided a backdrop for the deep colours and the long run of wardrobes.  The mushroom coloured carpet was called ‘Cocoa’ from Westex. The beautiful streamlined wardrobes were designed by us and manufactured by CW Architectural, we used a specially stained oak veneer and all the doors and drawers had the latest push catches and soft closers creating a perfect finish.

Included in the scheme was the refurbishment of the ensuite, we carried the colour scheme through with the tile selection. The room was relatively small so we used the same tile but different size format on the floors and walls. The expanse of tile was broken up by using a metal trim at picture rail height. The wall hung wc and vanity unit kept the floor free and created an illusion of space.  the vanity unit is from Keuco and was purchased along with all the sanitary ware from Designer Bathrooms by Michael.

Farquar Road 031

Using colours from the pink/mauve palette made the scheme more feminine than if we had just used a neutral base and more shades of brown! As always we produced colour boards and plans before we started the project so that our client could see what we were proposing.

Milan Furniture Show


Salone Internazionale Del mobile is the largest trade furniture fair held annually in Milan. Since its humble beginnings in 1961, it when it was created to promote Italian furniture design for export, it has grown to become the leading global showcase for new designs from world renowned companies.


With this in mind, the SBD Partnership headed off to the stylish northern Italian city to be inspired and investigate new trends. The show is huge covering more than 140,000 square meters of exhibition space.  It has a fabulous cosmopolitan buzz about it and your jostling with more than 290,000 visitors form a great mix of nationalities.  Even with the world recession and a slight drop in exhibitors, the 1,200 plus that are there to put on an exciting and elaborate show.

The exhibition covers all areas of furniture design and is sub divided into the areas of classic modern and design.


We spent most of our time in the design zone and the stand that stood out for us was Flexform.  It oozed an alluring laid back style, contemporary lines with a luxurious yet welcoming softness from the fabrics.

We noticed the trend on many stands was to build up and create a single form. For example, rather than having a single piece coffee table, three or four were integrated with varying heights and textural finishes, creating a totally combined singular sculptural look.

The return of deco and decadence is also very much a look. Furniture pieces used strong curved and linear forms, a style predominant in the art deco period, mixing them with upholstered and veneer finishes to create decorated surface patterns. Finished off with bejewelled detailing, it was a little ostentatious for some, but pure indulgence for others.

A simple stylish trend that is emerging is the removal of upholstery from furniture legs. Although it is something we’ve been doing for a while on our bespoke pieces, it was seen more readily across the board on general furniture pieces. It looks fantastic.


Although this is a trade show, the general public can visit on the last weekend of the event. If you feel like being inspired and fancy a weekend away in one of the most stylish cities in Europe, then head out there; you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to pack some stylish flat shoes as you will be walking miles without even realising it.

Essence Of Spring

Four Oaks 039

The design of a room can have many starting points of inspiration, a photograph or painting, piece of fabric or in this case a collection of adjectives which conjured up a vision of spring.

_PPP1875Spring is all about the freshness of light. The sun is sitting higher in the sky, creating shorter shadows; everything seems lighter, fresher, crisper, a new happiness after the long dark winter months. The design objective was about capturing this essence while creating a luxurious sanctuary of calm and joy, hence the colour palette was born.

The feeling of luxury was created with beautiful and intricately embroidered fabrics, mixed with luck velvets and crisp satins, accentuating the smooth curves of upholstered furniture and applauding the detailed buttoning and piping; adding a delicate touch with the soft draping of the bed spread.

An ambience of calm and lightness was achieved by layering subtile tones of neutrals with warm grey and taupe base, adding crispness with fresh duck egg hues. The little cheeky injection of the vibrant cerise pink adds joy and fun, just like the new blossoms of spring. The playfulness of the pink accent is mirrored in the wonderful art from the Number Nine Gallery hanging in the lounge area.


To give the design some structure and to balance out the softness strong geometric forms were incorporated with the use of a linear pattern to the headboard by Lorca (Minto) which takes centre stage and it continues along the walls with a Today Interiors wallpaper Liquid Fantasy.

Depth is added to the ambience with the use of warm wood tones; walnut is wonderful for this, adding interest and detail with its grain.

The carpet  from Jacaranda is hand woven and is inviting to walk on with its detailed ribbed weave and silk like sheen which adds interest to the open spaces.

It was the art of capturing the essence of your clients’ thoughts and feelings with fabric and textures while also embodying a luxurious functionality fit for any top hotel, which has created a spacer that you feel spoilt in every time you visit and you just want to smile.