I used to live round the corner from Places and Spaces so I'm possibly slightly biased about this week's indie. This little shop has been in Clapham, South London, for years - it was here way before most people had cottoned onto the idea of 'design' and possibly before the rest of us had really got to grips with the concept. It stood out - and still does - by selecting items from interesting brands which offer an alternative aesthetic to mainstream interiors. The shop window has never failed to attract my eye with its colourful and engaging displays. It's run by a husband and wife who also offer an interior design service for domestic and commercial clients. Long may it continue.
Who are you? Laura Rippington of Places and Spaces.
Where can we find you? 30 Old Town, Clapham, London, SW4 0LB.
Describe your store in five words: Colourful, friendly, diverse, a definitive style.
What makes you different? We offer customers the opportunity to find pieces that really work for them. Applying our extensive product knowledge and matching requirements with our friendly manner we can source and supply inspiring interiors. The end result is repeat custom - and that’s what we like: great design and happy customers.
How you decide what makes the cut? We often follow a theme which can be a colour reference, a material, a look, maybe a statement or a phrase. A product can be chosen to be in store for any reason we see as valued even if just to question or entertain. What is value anyway? Mostly a piece has to have a sense of presence - whatever that might be.
What were you doing before you did this? Fashion mostly and having fun.
If you were starting again what advice would you give yourself? Stay ahead - hunt for the makers and brands the bigger stores are slow to pick up on. Invest online earlier and design and make your own collection.
What are you most proud of? What people say to us about us. A book I wrote that is now in paperback and sold in over 5 languages even though it was written about design products and processes over 6 years ago.
Do you have a favourite thing in the store right now? I tend not to have favourites but to like everything in store. I guess if I really have to then the Catellani & Smith eco light: an LED is set into a lens that projects an immaculate sphere on the wall. It is not just a light - it’s art. Also a pretend taxidermy white owl in a glass cloche and maybe the cute home desk that seems to float out of the wall it is fixed to.
What's hot for 2013? The brand Droog has been busy designing products and re-defining its design prowess. Lots of great new happenings within this cult brand. Also Roll and Hill lights are just extraordinary both in their design and crafted quality. In gifts, well I am very into Puebco from Japan for the best of traditional austerity and Japanese Englishness.
Every Wednesday 'Indie of the week' celebrates the best independent stores around. These places sell interesting and varied collections of design-related things you don't see everywhere else. They may support young or local designers or be great at finding unique things from around the world. By thinking a little more creatively about what they stock they are fighting the bland homogenisation of so much of the high street. And since I'm down with the realities of modern life, online only stores count too, because a beautiful and easy to use website is just as delightful an encounter in cyberspace.
Do you you have a favourite store? I'd love to hear from you.