Nathan Lloyd looks at essential design shops here in the South West…
London has long been the focal point for design in the UK. For most fashionable items you really need to make a list of shops and go spend some time there. Having said that there are more and more smaller boutiques and shops popping up all the time in some of the most unlikely places.
Bristol has plenty of cool credentials, Cardiff is also on the up – but Carmarthen? You’d be forgiven for dismissing it out of hand if it weren’t for the fact that there are plenty of retail treasures to be found there too.
My priorities, as far as these small town delights go, are simple: they need to be independent, carefully curated design stores with lovely owners. If you’re in Wales or Bristol, I’d recommend these:
Mooch etc – Carmarthen
A lovely small design store nestled among equally nice interior stores and charity shops on King Street in Carmarthen. Run by the warm Ruth Cochran, Mooch etc is a refreshing change from the usual ‘Shabby-chic’ and ‘Modern Welsh’ style of interior store that you find in that neck of the woods.
With a range from Orla Kiely to Happy Jackson, designs from Welsh designers, handcrafted wooden jewellery, there’s something for everyone. It even stocks Scandinavian brands such as Klippan blankets, Lotta Jansdotter and Ester & Erik candles – Yay!
13 King Street,Carmarthen SA31 1BH
Home byKirsty – Cardiff
Home byKirsty opened in 2014, by trendsetter and designer Kirsty Patrick, who’s byKirsty brand had garnered her big press in the interior design world. Located in the trendy Castle Arcades, where tiny boutiques are squashed next to each other. As you step through the door, you step into a world of Scandinavian design inspired loveliness. With chipboard strewn walls, and pegboards filled with well designed objects, this is the contemporary space that Cardiff needs.
Stocked with pieces from my favourite brands, namely; Eastwick candles, Plumen, Pirrip Press and Mini Moderns, it alleviates having to go to London/Bristol for them and is a main reason to visit Cardiff. The place is chockfull of locally designed pieces too, with an entire wall lined with Welsh greeting cards.
16 Castle Arcade, Cardiff, CF10 1BU
Rawhide – Hay-On-Wye
Amongst the myriad of bookshops in Hay-on-Wye is this rather curious little shop. On entering you’re greeted by a throne made from cow horns, surrounded by stunning silver jewelry and well designed Scandinavian homewares. It also sells – as the title suggests – handmade leather items, like gorgeous handbags and wallets.
Here you’ll find exquisite Jewellery by Alex Monroe and Ayala Barr, Ceramics by What Kate Loves, sheepskin rugs and lamps to name but a few…
Its Scandinavian pieces include Iittala glassware, Hultquist jewellery, Sagaform cookware and serveware, the ever collectable Moomin mugs by Arabia Finland and even wallhangings from London-based Finnish designer Klaus Haapaniemi.
4 Lion Street, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Powys HR3 5AA
Bristol Guild – Bristol
Commonly known as ‘The Guild’, Bristol Guild, or The Bristol Guild of Applied Art has been around since 1908 and was built on the principals of William Morris, to offer a place for Artists and craftsmen to socialise, collaborate, exhibit and sell handcrafted wares. These days it still follows that principal with it stocking crafts and homewares from many local British artists and designers. It is also the home for the design lover, stocking droolworthy brands such as Iittala, Orla Kiely, Magpie, Alessi, LSA International and Freud. Whats not to love!
Seriously, If you’re in Bristol. It’s worth a trip!
68-70 Park Street, Bristol,
Pirrip Press – Bristol
Located on the upper end of Coulston Street, between the Christmas Steps and the hospital, Pirrip Press is a small design and print studio, run by the lovely design duo Alexandra Higlett and Georgina Hounsome. From stunning geometrical prints in vibrant colours, to notebooks and accessories in their house style, Pirrip Press have been finding their way into small boutiques and shops for some time. It’s small wonder considering how neat and distinctive they are.
64 Colston St. Bristol. BS1 5AZ