Dowse collection for The Design Museum July 06 2014
‘The sun never knew how great it was until it struck the side of a building.’ Louis Kahn
Earlier this year I was thrilled to be asked to create a collection to accompany the upcoming exhibition at The Design Museum London, Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture.
To my shame I had to admit to not having heard of Kahn before, so what followed was a wonderful period of discovery. It seems his work isn't as heavily documented as many of the other great modernist masters but I soon realised I was familiar with some of his buildings, though maybe not his name. I soon learned the significant importance of his vision and legacy and became fascinated with his work and life.
Born in Estonia in 1901 he became, by the time of his death in 1974 one of America's greatest architects. Influencing generations of architects with his purity of intent and his refined use of basic materials.
His buildings are monumental though not grandiose, they respond to the human scale. With a deep philosophy and poetic sensibility, he devoted his career to the pursuit of formal perfection and emotional expression.
He worked with simple materials such as brick and concrete and with this created spaces reflecting his belief that modern buildings could have the monumental and spiritual qualities of ancient buildings. His conversation with a brick whilst professor of architecture at The University of Philadelphia shows his humour and theory on his materials.
'You say to a brick, 'What do you want, brick?' And brick says to you, 'I like an arch.' And you say to brick, 'Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.' And then you say: 'What do you think of that, brick?' Brick says: 'I like an arch.' Louis Kahn
He has been criticised by some for creating intimidating buildings. Looking only at the exteriors they may have a point, they appear as abandoned modern cathedrals. But it's with his use of basic geometric shapes appearing as though sliced from the sides of the buildings that the magic really happens. They create wonderful light wells within the interiors that are exhilarating. These interior spaces are a celebration of light and space.
‘All material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow and the shadow belongs to light’ Louis Kahn
The spaces he created have been known to generate great feeling in those who spend time in them. These people often reflect on the sense of respect Kahn must have had for those who would use his buildings. In the wonderful and revealing documentary about his father My Architect Nathaniel Kahn interviews many people whose lives have been touched by Kahn and his buildings. Often a tear is shed in memory of him in this very human film.
'Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.' Louis Kahn
For the collection I focused on what I saw as two of the stand out aspects of his work. In the metal I wished to capture the harmony he created with simple geometric shapes and with the screen prints aimed to express his uncompromising vision for his monumental buildings and the light of the environments these structures absorb and reflect. Choosing a palette of metallic ink and pastel colour for the background pattern to capture this light and also some of the more personal elements gathered for the exhibition, such as his watercolour and pastel sketches.
Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture at The Design Museum London July 9th 2014 - October 12th 2014.
The Dowse collection is available exclusively from The Design Museum Shop and Dowse.
Dowse at The National Gallery April 09 2014
We're thrilled some of our geometric design jewellery pieces will be available to buy at The National Gallery this month in conjunction with the exhibition Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting. The show starts on April 30th.
A Guide To The U.K.'s Coolest Seaside Town. March 14 2014
We're very pleased to be included as a top spot to visit in Brighton on Refinery 29's A Guide To The U.K.'s Coolest Seaside Town.
New Stockists. March 07 2014
We're very happy to announce that DOWSE jewellery is now available at the Design Museum London, Chirpy Store Leeds and Search & Rescue London. We warmly welcome them to our network of stockists throughout the UK.
Christmas opening times at the shop & Last post information. November 28 2013
Christmas Opening Times.
Starting this weekend we'll now be open every day until Christmas. Our opening times will be this until Christmas Eve, when we'll play it by ear to accommodate last minute shoppers.
MONDAY 10.30 - 4
TUESDAY 10.30 - 4
WED - SATURDAY 10.30 - 5.30
SUNDAY 11 - 4
Last days & times for ordering in time for Christmas.
Getting Festive November 10 2013
Started on the Christmas decoration at the shop today.
Our hello wall has become a bit ho ho ho. With the facetted geometric pattern becoming an alpine landscape with the addition of some trees.
Dawson Denim November 09 2013
One of our amazing designer / makers, Dawson Denim made a video with Stylesight We've been selling their aprons, bags and tool belts at the shop in Brighton where our customers have been really fascinated with the exquisite detail in their hand made denim workwear. In this video you can learn a little more about their ethos, influences and the importance of the components that create such a distinct and high quality range.
Designer Interview: Fun Makes Good October 25 2013
What ambitions do you have for your work?
Designer Interview: Baines & Fricker October 25 2013
Tell us your story please, where did it start for you?
Is being a designer what you imagined it would be like?
What are your greatest challenges?
Where does your greatest satisfaction come from?
Why do you manufacture in Britain and why does it matter to you?
What are the pros and cons of making here?
What ambitions do you have for your work?
Outside of design what influences you?
Does where you live influence you?
Please tell us some best kept secret's in your area.
Which other British designer / manufacturers do you love or admire?
Please shine the light on any emerging designers you think we should know about?
What does a typical day involve for you?
What are you favourite websites for inspiration and / or wasting time?
What do you enjoy doing apart from designing and making?
If money was no object what classic piece of British design would you buy?
Coverage on weheart.co.uk online magazine. June 21 2013
It’s the ambition of many an independent business to get themselves a bricks and mortar premises, especially if you’re in retail; it’s somewhere people can walk into, sit down in, somewhere you can hang things from the walls, where they can be picked up and examined. Something concrete to make it all seem a bit more real. And there’s no shop window like a… shop window.
Brighton-based designer Susannah Dowse has achieved her ambition with the help of interiors people Baines & Fricker, combining her creative studio with a shop sellingDowse jewellery as well as gift products from other local and national artisans. We’ve long been fans of husband and wife duo Steve Baines and Eliza Fricker, and the couple’s signature style is writ large, although subtly, across the shop in the Hove area. Their clean fresh wood furniture and fixtures provide a perfectly pale display environment, the hand drawn designs of their wallpaper and prints are inventive, and of course there’s a B&F fruit crate tucked away somewhere. As Susannah herself says, it’s nice to see something on the high street that’s not a café or a boarded up video shop, and her first retail outlet is a particularly welcome addition to Brighton’s.
New Service at the Brighton shop: The Wish List June 20 2013
We now provide a Wish List service at the Brighton shop. All you need to do is come in, have a browse and let us know what you'd like added to your list. Then let your friends and family know you've got a list registered at the shop.
All they'll need to do is give your name and we'll show them round and all the items you've chosen.
They'll know you're getting something you love and that it's money well spent, rather than a gamble on a gift you may not enjoy as much.
Elle Decoration design awards June 12 2013
If you've visited our shop and like it you might consider nominating it in the Elle Decoration awards for Destination of the year (shop).
I'm sure having only been opened for a couple of weeks we've got no chance at all. But it could be some good exposure for the shop. So if you think what we're doing is worth sharing please consider nominating email firstname.lastname@example.org with your nominations. See the image for the categories and info. Thank you!
We opened a shop. May 30 2013
You may already have experienced the satisfying feeling of wearing DOWSE's unique jewellery in the knowledge you are also supporting both British made design and manufacturing. DOWSE have been building a steady stream of loyal fans over the last few years and those already collecting their delicately constructed asymmetric designs and cloudy dream inspired interiors will be pleased to hear that Brighton based DOWSE have finally found themselves a house.
Filling a space in the Hove area of Brighton for affordable gifts sourced from British designers, DOWSE has handpicked the best local makers, together with specially selected European made items, bringing them together to showcase all in a finely crafted home. Continuing in the DOWSE tradition, items are sourced locally and ethically, ensuring that people are paid fairly and airmiles and resources are not spent needlessly.
Combining simplicity, decoration and an eye for detail, DOWSE is hoping to bring back some life to the high street, beyond the smell of coffee and yet another boarded up video shop. Part of a movement across the country that appreciates the value of well made and distinctive products made by individuals over chain shops and mass manufacturing, DOWSE makes it easy to make the world look better and be better.
Selling jewellery, mid century British furniture, prints, homewards, cards, stationery and more. DOWSE have collaborated with noted local designers Baines & Fricker to create a unique installation for the shop, making the whole experience of shopping much more like a dream and a stroll than a soulless troll through the internet.
Shop Launch May 21 2013
The DOWSE shop will launch this Thursday 23rd May 6pm - 9pm drinks and bites provided for your merriment. So if you're in Brighton please feel free to drop by. You'll find us at 133 Western Road Hove BN3 1DA near Norfolk square.
The shop will open for business on bank holiday Monday 27th May 10 - 5.
Exciting times April 12 2013
Things may have seemed a little quiet around for a while. The reason being we've been a bit distracted by exciting new developments at DOWSE. We're planning the opening of our first DOWSE shop. A showcase for Susannah's design and the best local designers here in Brighton. We'll also be stocking some beautiful British mid century furniture and selected interior products by some great British and European designers.
The shop interior design is a being created in collaboration with fantastic Brighton design duo Baines and Fricker. We're very excited to see this all coming together and hope to open within the next month or so....fingers crossed!
Collaboration with Ayten Gasson Lingerie. March 04 2013
We're very happy to have teamed up Ayten Gasson Lingerie on a limited edition range of bridal lingerie. Available in either a gift set or as individual garters and knickers. The white silk bridal knicker is trimmed with elegant vintage Nottingham lace and is a subtle way to incorporate ‘something old’ into your wedding day. The knicker is finished with a delicate blue bow ‘something blue’ and an exquisite lucky horseshoe amulet created by DOWSE to add ‘something new’. Available to buy at Ayten Gasson
New jewellery collection: The Tender Line January 04 2013
The title The Tender Line hopes to capture the humanity and fragility of an idea and then how it's made real through a mechanical process.
This collection takes primary influence from the 1920's and the ideas of the modernist future held at the time. Motifs reflecting the symmetry of the machines and geometry of the architecture in Fritz Lang's film Metropolis. Also exploring further the Art Deco philosophy of using machine production to create elegant and streamlined designs through our use of etched industrial metals to make delicate and decorative pieces.
The collection is imagined to be worn by Gloria the capricious beauty in F Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Beautiful and Damned.
The House that DOWSE built. September 15 2012
Welcome to the new home for designs by Dowse.
Dowse previously worked with good friend Ridley as Ridley & Dowse, now that their adventure together has ended this is where Dowse shall be found from now on. The same service and design style you will have been familiar with from R & D will continue to grow and many new directions will be explored. We hope you stick around to see the new developments.