form + balance

Form + Balance Meets Studio Emma

Emma Noble

If you have been following the FORM + BALANCE Instagram you will know that I am a huge advocate for Studio Emma – an artist that creates concrete objects which celebrate colour and texture for a contemporary home.

Her etsy store is full of delicious colourful objects, each piece is made by hand from start to finish in Emma's Studio in Edinburgh. Due to her unique process, every piece is different from the next. So if you see something you like the look of, I highly advise you buy it, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Objects don't wait around.

We caught up with colour enthusiast Emma McDowall to talk about her contemporary colourful brand "Studio Emma”.

F+B: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?

SE: I create colourful, contemporary concrete home wares. A collection of different products – vessels, art objects, clocks, lamps and most recently small tables. 

F+B: How did you brand begin? What was the very first product you created?

SE: After graduating from Gray’s and returning to my small hometown, I was frustrated by the lack of equipment and resources to hand. However, my curiosity and drive to create led me to source unusual and found materials. I started to experiment with forms and recipes in the modesty of my parent’s garden shed. That is where the first concrete pieces were born!

F+B: What is a typical studio day for you? How do you find the perfect work|life balance?

SE: Every day is completely different! I am always working on different orders, commissions and projects. I always want to be in the studio creating things as that is where I am most comfortable and happy. I like to spend time with my colour chips, selecting my palettes of the day. I also like to spend a lot of time on my Instagram photos. Some days I have to make myself catch up on the admin side of things – e-mailing, re-stocking my shop etc.

I actually find it very hard to switch off from my work, I think I am constantly looking at things for inspiration and thinking about what I want to do next. I do try to make sure I take at least one whole day off from the studio/work a week as you do really benefit from it but that rarely happens!

F+B: What is the inspiration behind your work/products?

SE: I have always been obsessed with colour and texture especially within architecture. A lot of my photography is based on this subject.

After creating the first pieces I sort of realised they were a 3-D representation of these photographs.

Colour is the main focus of the work so just anything I see where I just love the colour combinations is great inspiration.

F+B: What is your favourite materials to work with and why?

SE: Concrete! I think I love to use it now more than ever because I have learnt so much about it over time through my experimentation. I also like that I use it in an unconventional way so I have given it a new context.

The process I use is completely free and allows the concrete to naturally create the surface pattern and textural quality. The results are spontaneous and unpredictable and I love that about it.

I have also started to incorporate some metals and wood, I like the idea fusing different materials together.

F+B: If you didn’t do this, what else would you do?

SE: My alternative dream job would be trend forecasting colour palettes for WGSN or picking the names for the colour chips in B&Q!!

It would have to be another creative role I can’t imagine life not being creative everyday.

My key piece is a difficult choice for Studio Emma. I am really big on lighting just now so her lamps would normally be a go to for me HOWEVER have you seen her recent collaboration?

A little, contemporary table made from luxurious European oak & concrete.  This table is one in a collection of four tables created through the collaboration of Emma Mcdowall x Jonny Pang. The concrete top is hand-moulded by Emma, and the wooden bottoms were hand-crafted by Jonny in their shared studio in Edinburgh. This piece is completely unique and one of a kind. BEAUTIFUL.

If you wish to keep up to date with Studio Emma, head over to her social media, where you will find prime examples of cool contemporary colour.

INSTAGRAM:  || @_studioemma

TWITTER: // || @_studioemma 


Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment below.

Em x


Form + Balance Meets Copper & Solder

Emma Noble
Single Stem Vase and Tray

The metal homeware trend is fast becoming one of the most developing trends of the year. With copper creeping into the living space, it is now so much more than an interior design accent for fixtures and fittings. Think more accessories such as sleek lamps, minimal coffee table trays, candles holders or a great statement piece of furniture.

Products that hone the warmth and sheen of a rose gold or tinted copper are perfect to add a modernist nod to the industrial look. Teamed with concrete they go hand in hand to create some truly unique pieces. There are some inspiring brands out there that create amazing metal pieces however my absolute choice at the moment has to be Copper & Solder. They work with both Copper AND Concrete, what could be more perfect!

We caught up with Copper fanatic Katie Figiel to talk about her stunningly simple and industrial homeware brand “Copper & Solder”. From concrete candle holders to wall hooks to one off bespoke pieces, Katie lovingly creates every piece in her studio.

Copper Pipe Coffee Dripper

F+B: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?

KF: Copper and Solder is a brand which hand crafts unique homeware pieces, that creates an industrial, minimal feel, perfect for modern, casual living spaces. 

F+B: How did your brand begin? What was the very first product you created?

KF: My dad had been playing around with copper pipe in his spare time and made my sister and I some nesting tables for our flat in Surrey. It got my creative juices flowing and I started designing other products he could make for us. In the meantime I unfortunately got made redundant from my job in London and moved back to my hometown in the midlands. This is when I started crafting copper products myself, alone, creating a name for the brand and opening an online shop.

Dalmatian Plate

F+B: What is a typical studio day for you? How do you find the perfect work|life balance?

KF: I find working for myself fairly challenging. It’s only been a year, so I’m still getting used to a different routine and everyday is very different. It usually consists of lots of emailing, soldering, mixing concrete and post office runs. My other half works in hospitality meaning he mostly works evenings, so sometimes I work all the way through the evening and spend the afternoon with him, which is great!

F+B: What is the inspiration behind your work/ products?

KF: The industrial, modern look, is quite important to us, I think it can easily fit into different environments. I try and produce products that are practical but visually appealing. We're always scribbling new ideas down, and we want to keep introducing new, unique products to broaden our range and have something available for everyone.

Bespoke Copper Table

F+B: What is you favorite materials to work with and why?

KF: Both copper and concrete are really challenging materials, but I really enjoy working and experimenting with them both. I’m certainly still learning! All of the copper we use is hand soldered, so it’s a rather lengthy process and has to be really accurate. Sometimes it’s good to pop the headphones on and complete zone out.

F+B: What is the biggest advice you can give when it comes to decorating your home/space?

KF: Keep your surroundings simple but fill with inspirational pieces. I’m always wanting to change things around, whether it’s to do a little photoshoot or hang a new print up. It makes it so much easier when you have simple and plain space to work with. I love creating mood boards and collecting inspirational bits and bobs, these can be put up and taken down quite easy.

Coaster and Dalmatian Plate

F+B: What other brands are you inspired by?

KF: There are SO many inspirational brands at the moment, both big and small! India Hobson(photographer), Honest Skin Care, Concrete Jungles, The Work Bench & STALF are just a few independents which I love love love (I could easily fill this page) and larger brands such as Aesop, COS, Le Labo, Hay and & other stories are always the ones I look up to with their simple but stylish ethics.

F+B: If you didn’t do this, what else would you do?

KF: My background is printed textiles, so I would probably delve back into it and create prints for fashion.

Concrete Coaster

And what is my key piece I hear you ask? My go to product would have to be the concrete Dalmatian dish – perfect for candles or to keep all those rings and trinkets in one place. As most of her products are hand crafted, it is impossible to get two pieces the exact same and therefore I URGE you, if there is anything you take from this write up, then please ORDER straight away when you see a piece you fall in love with. I guarantee that once it’s gone, it’s gone. 


To tempt you even more, Katie is offering readers a super 15% off all orders until 1st of August – just use the code FORMANDBALANCE.

If you wish to keep up to date with Copper and Solder, head over to their pages, where you will find an array of lifestyle shots that will both inspire and give you just a small stab of jealousy at how simply beautiful and aesthetically pleasing everything is.

INSTAGRAM: || @copperandsolder

TWITTER: || @copperandsolder


Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment below.

Em x

Form + Balance Meets Studio of Basic Design

Emma Noble
Studio of Basic Design Duo

It is known that I am partial to a notebook or two. As long as I can remember I have always had an obsession with buying paper goods, notebooks, diaries, planners and stationery.

Every Birthday, Christmas, Anniversary or random Tuesday, my partner always buys me a notebook. It is like a tradition in our house. I do not appreciate flowers or stuffed animals, however buy me a notebook and I’m yours for life.

Lucky him.

You must understand this. I never ever use them. I just like to collect them and keep the pages empty. How dare I vandalized a perfectly clean sheet of paper. I do however have separate notebooks that I AM ALLOWED to use. These accompany on every trip or venture out the house – handbag size of course. I keep them in my car, side of my bed, in the kitchen. They are used to jot down ideas or lists. And once full and tatty, I keep them. Years and years of notes, opinions, ideas and sketches all contained in one cover. I can usually tell what year they are from by the annotations and criticisms in the pages– even notes for this post started in a notebook.    

With all the technology at our fingertips it’s a rare occurrence to pick up a pen and write.  It’s tactile joy. I think this is why I resort to paper first. So you can imagine my delight when I came across Studio of Basic Design.

Based in Krakow, Poland, Studio of Basic design is a product design company run by two like-minded people who carefully curate beautifully simplistic product for your home more specifically your desk.

The One in Black

F+B: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?

SOBD: We are a design studio, based in Cracow, Poland. We design simple objects for everyday use, that are locally produced in Poland out of high quality materials.

F+B: How did your brand begin? What was the very first product you created?

SOBD: While studying architecture in Munich we have attended a class in furniture design. We loved it so much that we decided to set up Studio of Basic Design, which will start with designing small everyday objects. Our first design was a notebook with wooden covers called bon.journal, which we do not produce any longer.

Full Notebooks in Brick and Marble

F+B: What is a typical studio day for you? How do you find the perfect work life balance?

SOBD: Until recently, we had worked on the designs next to studying architecture. We have just graduated and we are now going full time with our studio work. We are excited about looking for a work place and creating new daily routines.

As it comes to the balance, what we do for the studio is also our passion. However we still try to find time for activities not related to our work, such as doing sports and meeting with friends of different interests.

F+B: What is the inspiration behind your work/ products? 

Our inspiration comes from everyday life. We look carefully at our quotidian habits and ask ourselves how can they be improved in a practical and aesthetic way. Other source of inspiration for us is travelling and architecture.

NYC Minimal Print

F+B: What is your favorite material to work with and why? 

Recently we have learned about the craft of making ceramics. We really enjoyed the whole process and the end product. Currently we are in search of local Polish craftsmen, who could produce the ceramic items of our design.

F+B: What is the biggest advice you can give when it comes to decorating your home/space? 

We have a feeling that today’s living spaces are becoming very schematic and impersonal. It is why we would advise to decorate a home or a work place according to our daily routines, so that the objects will facilitate them, not get in the way. It is also related to making conscious decisions about what do we really need in this space.

View of the Studio

F+B: What other brands are you inspired by? 

We admire the simplicity and clear idea of Muji, or the sophistication of Menu designs. However we also appreciate the work of local craftsmen and young designers, which we often encounter on the Internet. They usually articulate the process that is behind the final product and their dedication to every piece that they make. 

Marble Weekly Planner

And what is my key piece? My latest purchase was the Weekly Planner in marble. Open-dated so you can start using it whenever you want. This planner contains a weekly schedule for 54 weeks and a monthly planner where you can keep the overview of the whole year. Inside you will find high quality, smooth paper. The soft cover is coated with matt foil. This is one of the books I do write in.

To tempt you even more, Studio of Basic Design is offering readers a super 15% off all orders until the end of July – just use the code SUMMER15.

If you wish to keep up to date with Studio of Basic Design, head over to their pages, where you will find an array of papery goodness. Simple.



INSTAGRAM:|| @studioofbasicdesign

Thanks for reading, please feel free to comment below.

Em x