July 26 2011
For Raphael Chapell, owner and founder of Stylechapel, just stepping outside her front door in Shoreditch, east London, provides enough inspiration for her quirky-chic web shop. “Every time I walk around the neighbourhood I see places, things and people and that fire up my imagination,” she says.
As well as scouring the design markets that surround her studio, Chapell sources her products by attending degree shows and design events, usually meeting designers personally and always ensuring that each piece has a story to tell.
The result is an eclectic selection of design-led homewares, jewellery and accessories – each accompanied by a short but insightful biography of the designer. This leads to some interesting discoveries: by clicking on Mirabelle’s hammered-brass Harmonia bangle (first picture, £40), I found that the designer is the daughter of a Parisian silversmith and that her Asian-inspired collection is entirely Fairtrade, and when admiring the vibrantly coloured Belize necklace (third picture, £115), I read that the designer, LeJu, has crafted her entire range from vegetable ivory, a seed that is sustainably harvested from a palm-tree species (Hyphaene Phytelephas), which she came upon while exploring in the Amazon rainforest.
The stories behind the homeware products are equally intriguing, and include Dalston-based Nick Fraser’s playful use of plumbing materials to create the industrial-looking exposed-pipework Coatrack (£75) and Candelabra (second picture, £35), as well as Lorna Syson’s beautifully textured cushions (£32-£90), inspired by the British countryside, and constructed from a biodegradable blend of wool and stinging nettles.