Furniture With A Story: Japanese Innovation


This series puts a spotlight on pieces that are truly special and have a fascinating story behind them.

This week, we’re looking at the inspired designs of Di-Classe…. We were fortunate enough to visit Domei and Anri at Design Junction and see the products up close and personal.

The ‘Foresti’ collection stems from the idea of bringing nature indoors. The intricate leaves bring a natural feel to the forest into the home. Notice how the shadows are given as much focus as the lighting piece itself.


Mini Foresti Pendant Lamp – £325

Orland Pendant Lamp – £157

The final piece of the ‘Foresti’ collection is a masterpiece in our opinion! Created from handcut leaves, this piece has then been coated in a white paint which has been mixed with a Japanese formula. When activated by weak ultraviolet rays from fluorescent light bulbs, a photocatalyst reaction occurs and purifies the air and absorbs bad odours. This technique is used widely in Japan when painting the walls. We think the UK could benefit from this type of thinking.


Paper Foresti Pendant Lamp – £365

Look closely at this lamp. What does it remind you of? We spoke to Domei about his inspirations – the lamp is named Arles as when Domei was travelling, whilst in Arles he saw a woman holding her hat in the French breeze. Can you see it?


Arles Table Lamp – £120

This final piece is a fun one, yet still has some lovely intentions behind it. The flame can be blown out just like a real candle. Also, the light of this is gives a warm flickering glow and has been proven to help insomnia. If you’re looking for a Christmas stocking filler, we recommend this! london-led-candle.jpg

Cuore Graphico LED Candle – £10

Click here to view Di-Classe’ full collection


An Expert’s Guide To Upcycling: Featuring Upcycled Hour

Grand Designs 2018

Pictured: Nicky, Natalie and Rob (a trio of upcyclers) with Chris, founder of Upcycled Hour (third from left)

We had the pleasure of meeting Chris, founder of Upcycled Hour – the UK’s only independent agency supporting and promoting the work of professional upcyclers – to discuss the art of upcycling and dispel myths surrounding the movement . Read on to learn more, as well as Chris’ top tips to integrate upcycled pieces into your home. 

What is your personal experience with upcycling?

I began upcycling items when I bought my first flat way back in the 1970s. I wanted to fill my home with unusual things and the only way I could afford to do so at the time was by buying preloved and changing the look to suit my taste by reinventing and refinishing. Fast forward over forty years and there is a creative reuse coup happening and it now has a name – upcycling. Of course I still love to upcycle items for my home because its a great way to reflect your own personal taste but these days, as eco chic interior style ambassador and Upcycled Hour founder, I am also very fortunate to have access to all kinds of wonderful professionally produced pieces and always very spoilt for choice.

Can you give a brief history of upcycling

In the late 1980s an inventive designer and writer by the name of Jocasta Innes made using a variety of paint techniques on walls, floors and furniture into a huge interiors trend. With her parsimonious approach to interior design, she became a household name and wrote a highly successful series of books including ‘Paint Magic’ and ‘The Thrifty Decorator’. These books included a lot of furniture refurbishment and reinvention but we had to wait a few years until the word ‘upcycling’ made its first appearance. During an interview with Thornton Kay, creator of the Salvo empire, German salvage dealer Reiner Pilz used the term when talking about the European waste systems and although a different kind of upcycling to what we associate the word with today, nevertheless it gave a name to a new type of creativity. Environmental issues brought to light in the late 1990s led more artists to look at ways to incorporate upcycling into their work but it was not until the early 2000s when artist Annie Sloan created a new type of paint which did not require surface preparation (chalk paint), that the modern-day upcycling movement as we know it really took flight. By 2014 many artisans were working professionally as upcyclers and so the Upcycled Hour agency was created, the very first independent association to support and promote the work of professional upcyclers creating for interiors.


Blue Tone Console Table Hand Painted With Annie Sloane Paint – £280

Buying Upcycled Pieces

How do I choose the right upcycled piece for me and my home?

When purchasing an upcycled piece check the quality of finish, functionality and consider whether you want this to be a stand-out, statement piece or whether its something that has to have more flexibility of style. The fusion between interior design heritage and contemporary craftsmanship results in some pretty incredible upcycled products these days so take time to source an item that reflects your interior design personality, that fulfills its purpose beautifully and is something that will always make you smile.


Sideboard with Old Masters Prints of Fruits & Flowers – £595

Can you explain the different ways in which something can be upcycled?

Upcycling is taking an unwanted or damaged item and renovating, reinventing or repurposing it to produce something of higher quality and value so its not make-do and mend, its not DIY and its not hacking – the clue is in the first syllable! The only limitations with upcycling, apart from the materials involved, are the imagination and skills of the designer-remaker. There are a huge variety of ways to upcycle an item from simply repainting or reupholstering a vintage piece of furniture to taking discarded ring pulls and creating a chandelier, using the pages from old magazines to make a piece of art or even reinventing old bowling balls into table lights.


Industrial Upcycled Steel pipe coffee table – £445

Why choose an upcycled piece?

There are so many benefits in choosing an upcycled piece: individuality of style, low environmental impact, knowing you’re the only person in the world to own such a piece, UK craftsmanship as well as being at the forefront of supporting a new craft movement that is truly rocking the interior design world.


Upcycled Wooden Side Tables In Woods And Pears Decoupage – £195

What are your favourite upcycled pieces on Vinterior at the moment and why?

This Poul Henningsen pendant light is so incredibly iconic and really does pass the test of great design time. Many mid-century styles look as fresh today as when they were created, they retain that brave new (design) world vibe and as yellow is one of my favourite colours to wake-up an interior, I’m sold!


Poul Henningsen pendant light – £3,487

 The lacquered upcycled credenza is from a completely different style genre, it has an old world look of luxury that appeals to my love of heritage chic styling as well as ubiquitous but always adorable black furniture. With clever reinvention its difficult to know whether this piece of furniture was created in 1780, 1950 or yesterday, the mark of a superior upcycling design that will not only hold its worth but also its owner’s attention.


What do you think is the best way to combat the stigma surrounding upcycling? – (if you feel this question is appropriate)

Historically misunderstood, upcycling is a generic term that has encompassed the bad and ugly as well as the good.  Thankfully since Upcycled Hour was created in 2014, things have gradually changed and we are now seeing professional upcycling not only becoming a respected craft but a sought-after choice. More and more interior designers and celebrities are buying upcycled, appreciating the wonderful way in which these items inject individuality and eco chic into the home.


Bespoke Upcycled Mondrian-inspired Sideboard – £975

Chris Billinghurst is an ambassador for eco chic interior style and the founder of Upcycled Hour, the UK’s only independent agency supporting and promoting the work of professional upcyclers creating items for interiors.

Click here to browse more upcycled pieces



An Expert’s Guide To Vintage Lighting: Featuring Agapanthus

At Vinterior, we understand that a lighting piece can really create a statement in your interior and complete a look. We have interviewed Tom and Zoe from Agapanthus, a seller on Vinterior, to give you a behind the scenes peek at the process of vintage lighting restoration and their top tips on how to decide on that perfect statement lighting piece.


Where are you based and who works with you?

We are based in Stockport, owners are Tom and Zoe and we have 3 people working full time with us, Bob, Annabel and Peter.

How long have you been working with antique lighting and restoration?

Tom has been restoring lights for 23 years since he was 16. Zoe joined the business 7 years ago and we have grown it together from there.

How did you get into it?

Whilst running an antique shop specialising in pine furniture we were asked by a customer to restore a chandelier which got Tom hooked.

What are the processes involved in a renovation of a chandelier?

A typical chandelier restoration would involve photographing the piece in its original state. The chandelier is then taken completely apart and cleaned using various techniques dependant on the material. The chandelier is then re-wired, earthed, insulated and assembled back together. We have extensive supplies of antique and new parts that will cover us for restraint most antique lighting pieces. The chandelier crystals are washed by hand, dried and polished. Where possible we retain the metal pins that attach the crystals together and then hook these back to the chandelier. Sometimes crystals are damaged or missing so we also replace these. The final stage is attaching the ceiling fittings that are required.

What gives you most pleasure with what you do?

It has to be finding amazing pieces at markets and fairs whilst abroad and then when the piece reaches its home and the customer is delighted!

What is your favourite ever piece of antique lighting?

Tom’s favourite lights were 1903 arts and crafts chandeliers that we restored for the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. For Zoe it is a French brass and crystal chandelier with gorgeous cut-crystal swags – it is stunning yet simple and elegant. It’s currently in our lounge! You have to keep the odd piece – makes the job even better.



1800s Italian Florentine Candelabra – £2,225

Buying Antique Lighting

If someone was buying their first antique light what are the top 5 pieces of advice you give them?

  1. Go with what you love
  2. Choose something that is the right scale for the room
  3. Consider what you want the light for…mood, functional, style
  4. Be bold – a light can make a big impression and be the first thing you notice in a room.
  5. Buying an antique light is an investment, they are becoming more rare and they will hold their value.

What was the most interesting project or person you have sold a piece to?

Our favourite project was supplying the lighting for a famous fashion model. The property was a beautiful Georgian property that was once the residence of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and J. B. Priestly. The lighting we supplied and sourced was spectacular and seeing the final stages of the whole interior design project was incredible and inspiring.

What trends are you seeing for antique lighting?

French toleware pieces are increasingly popular, particularly the gilt and brass ones. Mid-Century glass pieces are on-trend, particularly the ones from the Bauhaus movement. We love to seek and find the genuine pieces. The classic brass and crystal chandeliers are however timeless!


Mid Century Chromed Pendant With Grey Glass Shades – £680


Click here to view Agapanthus’ full collection