Colourful New Year resolutions – Gurasu colour

New Year is approaching and with it the sense of dread that can only mean one thing – time to think about your New Year resolution…

According to Forbes, only 8% of us keep our resolutions, partly because we challenge ourselves too much, or pick things that we just can’t feasibly achieve. Well, we have an idea for something we can all do – be brave. It doesn’t have to mean skydiving or trekking the Amazon, it can mean small things like trying a new skill, or stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Raspberry Pink set of six high ball glasses

For example – let’s think about colour. Colour frightens a lot of people. It’s bold, its daring and it can be overbearing. It’s fine for celebrations, and we love it at Christmas, but the rest of the year – it’s a bit nerve-wracking. But this time why not keep a little of that Christmas cheer into the new year and start experimenting with more colour in the home?

Interior designer and famous fan of brights, Jonathan Adler, told Telegraph readers to ‘choose one accent colour to add to the room’ – choose a tint or a shade and introduce it through accessories: a cushion here, a decoration there, a pattern or print that ties it all together, ’everywhere you look there should be a place for your eye to rest – on a cushion or vase, or a bowl full of lemons or limes’.

And it doesn’t have to come from traditional sources. It can be completely individual. Will Taylor, the man behind interiors blog Bright Bazaar encourages us all to feel free to experiment. He told the LA Times that we should ‘take yourself outside of your home to naturally find the palette that speaks to you. Maybe it’s a colour scheme in an artwork. Or maybe it’s something that has a personal memory for you like your wedding day. Your personal stories are significant things that you can call on to bring coluor in to your home and make you feel comfortable.

Taylor goes on to explain that we should introduce colour slowly, experimenting with what we like and what works in the space. Start with neutrals and add in your brights. Or choose a few colours and add in some contrast, mixing solid pieces with patterns, and adding pretty accessories like glassware or prints. The Gurasu coloured crystal collections are deliberately multi-hued, bringing a bright but sophisticated accent to any room. We love to mix and match, adding a sense of elegant anarchy to a colour scheme. It’s not something to be afraid of, its something to celebrate.

What are your New Year resolutions? And how do you introduce colour into your interiors?

Begining of Christmas season at Queens Parade

Dear Friends of Gurasu Crystal. I have to admit that I am looking forward to our very special Christmas event this Friday, 12th December.

We are collaborating with David Gee, the local Mapesbury artist. His ceramic centrepieces and bowls beautifully handmade in his studio are second to none. I am indeed very excited to showcase his latest collection here at Gurasu Concept store.

David’s pieces including bowls and platters remind me of decorative creations of flora and fauna you can find when travelling the world. He produces one-off pieces, using white earthenware clay, decorated with coloured slips, oxides and under-glazes covered in a range of coloured or transparent glazes.

Green Ceramic Platter

The whole event will be accompanied by amazing flute musician, Jemma Freestone this time performing in a duo with bassoonist, Gareth Hamphreys.

Jemma and Gareth are very talented musicians who won a number of reputable awards and I am delighted to have such skilled artists in Gurasu’s shop. Very much looking forward to their recital!

If it was not enough, I am doubled pleased because I now have the opportunity to give back this Christmas season so David and I decided to make our contribution to the local charity Ashford Place. 10% will be passed to the charity for every purchase we make during this event!

Schedule:

6pm – glass of champagne and a welcome talk delivered by Gurasu’s creative director Joanna Maya

6.15-7.15pm – recital of Jemma Freestone and Gareth Hamphreys

The evolution of Champagne

As the festive season gets well and truly underway, we look at where everyone’s favourite celebratory drink comes from and how it should be served.

‘Pop!’ It’s the ubiquitous sound of New Year celebrations cross the world, the firing of a Champagne cork and the effervescing of the bubbles from the bottle. But what exactly is Champagne, why do we drink it to celebrate – and what exactly should we be drinking it from?

Fluorescent Champagne Flutes

Fluorescent Champagne Flutes

Origin of Champagne

In its most simple definition, Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France. If it doesn’t come from Champagne, it’s not Champagne, it’s sparkling wine. It begins like other wine: grapes are harvested, pressed and fermented. Where Champagne differs is that it also undergoes a second fermentation stage, giving it its characteristic bubbles and sweetness.

Initially, these bubbles were seen as a flaw in the wine-making process, which could result in unpredictable explosions in the cellar. That is until a certain Benedictine monk, Dom Pérignon, came onto the scene. He implemented production methods and materials that would reduce the number of explosions, experimenting with different grape blends and turning Champagne into a desirable drink rather than an accident waiting to happen.

It quickly became the drink of choice for European aristocrats, associated with coronations and celebrations, and by the 18th century, its place at the table was established.

History of Champagne glasses

Initially, it was served in coupes – wide, flat glasses (also known as champagne saucers). The shape of the glass allowed the bubbles to dissipate more quickly and prevented the aromas fully developing. At the time, this was seen as an advantage, as too much fizz was considered undesirable. The glass also allowed the opulant court of Marie Antoinette to dip their cakes into the drink (although contrary to rumour, the glass was not modelled on the Antoinette’s left breast…)

The coupe stuck around for centuries, and is an icon of the Gatsby-esq glamour of the ’20s and ’30s. However, as the 20th century progressed, glass fashions changed. 70% of taste is acquired through smell, so it seemed a waste to loose those aromas, and a shame to loose the bubbles that gave Champagne its individual style. And so the flute was born. The tall, slim glass allowed the bubbles to remain, and there were even designs which manipulated them for increased aesthetic effect.

To flute or not to flute

However, the aroma was still being lost. While most of us probably drink Champagne from flutes, those in the know are switching to either wine glasses, or specially-designed Champagne glasses which resemble wine glasses or tulips. The wide base allows the aroma to develop, while the narrower lip and tall sides funnel the bubbles and smell towards the drinker. This coincides with a change in attitude towards the beverage, with more people considering Champagne as a serious wine, rather than a frivilous aperitif. It’s a win-win situation for drinkers and Champane-makers alike.

However you choose to enjoy your festive season, don’t forget to check out the Gurasu Champagne flutes and wine glasses for a colourful crystal Christmas.

 

 

Here are some of our favourites

Bomma Dots Champagne Bowl 190ml, set of 2

 

Bomma Dots Champagne Bowl 190 ml

Bomma Gem Champagne Flute 210ml, set of 2

 

Bomma Gem Champagne Flute 210 ml

Black Friday Weekend: 15% Off Everything Starts Now

15% OFF LIMITED TIME ONLY

Celebrate Black Friday weekend with 15% off everything and FREE delivery on all orders

Ends at midnight Monday 1st December

Enter BLACK15 at Checkout

Gurasu Black Friday Promo

Although promotions are unusual in the luxury industry the truth is that Black Friday is right around the corner. To prove that we are not “too-posh” here at Gurasu we would love to treat you with a 15% discount and Free delivery from 7am 28th November until 1st December midnight too.

What is the Black Friday?

The modern definition: “Black Friday” is the day immediately following the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the United States, which falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s an unofficial commencement for the holiday shopping season. The interesting fact is that many employers give their employees a day off to enjoy the shopping spree. Hmm… should this apply to the UK too..?

However, according to another source the real definition of Black Friday comes from the phenomenon of a horrendous traffic which happened straight after the Thanksgiving in the mid 20th century. Before traffic lights, traffic police were the way that traffic was regulated. Nowadays, the traffic police are required to direct motorists during these especially congested moments all day due to crowds of shoppers.

Why Gurasu is in? We just want to give you an opportunity to indulge in luxury.

Gurasu’s top five exhibitions in London this winter

Escape the Christmas crowds with our insider guide to some of November’s best exhibitions

London is an amazing city. We love it. A city at the forefront of fashion, yet with its own innate individuality; somewhere that shouts contemporary spirit amid ancient buildings and streets of history; a place where Michelin-starred restaurants sit next to classic cafes. And it’s no secret that it offers some of the best shopping in the world. That’s why, come Christmas, the streets are thronged with crowds looking for the perfect gift.

Fisherman In The Lagoon Moonlight By Turner

Fisherman In The Lagoon – Moonlight

Image Credit www.tate.org.uk

But sometimes retail therapy isn’t enough – you simply have to escape those crowds and find a spot for some serious R&R. One option, of course is shopping online. Another is to take a break in the heart of town, a few hours of peace and contemplation. The perfect spot for these secret moments? A museum or gallery. There is nothing better than peppering the Christmas madness with a trip to one of London’s exceptional exhibitions, so we have picked our top five to help you find your own inner calm.

1. WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

This annual treat of an exhibition opens every autumn at the Natural History Museum, displaying that year’s very best wildlife photography. 2014 is the 50th anniversary, and historic images will be displayed alongside this year’s winners. Intimate animal portraits, incredible still lives and action shots, beautifully technical or creatively imagined – the talent and vision on display is spectacular. Plus the subject is a real crowd-pleaser and appeals to all ages, meaning you can keep the kids in tow without any moaning.

Natural History Museum
Until 30 August 2015

2. GRAYSON PERRY: WHO ARE YOU?

The National Portrait Museum is always a treat; wandering between its famous faces is a lesson in who’s who throughout history. From society portraits to commemorative pieces, each one executed with talent and creativity. However, at the moment, there is an additional surprise in store for visitors. Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry has interspersed 14 new portraits amidst the classic and contemporary collections, portraying 21st-century subjects and asking the question: who is worth commemorating in this day and age, who represents our identity and country, and what does it mean to be British? It’s a fascinating insight into our changing times and an easy way to introduce yourself to Perry’s sometimes kitschy aesthetic.

National Portrait Museum
Until 15 March 2015

3. LATE TURNER: PAINTING SET FREE

Coinciding with Timothy Spall’s representation of the landscape painter in the film, Mr Turner, the Tate Britain is hosting a collection of the Turner’s later paintings. Exploring how his style changed as he aged, and how infirmity and illness affected his technique, the exhibition is an exploration of both a body of work, an the actual physical skill behind it. It’s an interesting angle, and one which adds a personal dimension to some stunning paintings.

Tate Britain
Until 25 January 2015

4. COLLECTING HISTORY: THE FOUNDERS OF THE WALLACE COLLECTION

Rather than focussing on one artist or genre, this fascinating exhibition details the creation of a collection – the Wallace Collection, housed at Hertford House, Manchester Square [Link to Google maps]. It tells the story of the Seymour-Conway Family and the paintings, sculptures and objets that they amassed over five generations. Letters, photographs and even art are employed to lead visitors through the family history, introducing the collectors and those around them who helped them to collect. An insight into not only one of the best preserved formerly-private collections in the city, but also into the people behind them and their personal and contemporary tastes.

Wallace Collection, Hertford House
Until 15 February 2015

5. WOMEN FASHION POWER

We’re pretty sure that alongside the games and books there are more than a few items of clothing on your Christmas lists. Whether you are buying for yourself or someone else, find inspiration at the Design Museum. Women Fashion Power looks at the wardrobes of 25 influential women, from Margaret Thatcher to Vivienne Westwood. Each woman has contributed one outfit, and the exhibition considers them as both tools of self-expression and power. It’s not only an interesting statement on the place of fashion in politics, art and society, but also a fantastic display of some of the most iconic outfits of our times.

Design Museum
Until 26 April 2016

Joanna’s top Christmas present ideas

The leaves are falling, the evenings are darkening and thoughts are turning towards Christmas.

As November gets underway, it is time to start planning the festive season and the gifting that goes with it. We’ve taken look at some of our other favourite London brands to find inspiration…

Glass Mount crystal bowl by Arik Levy

Glass mount bowl 365 BOMMA_f_Kristina_Hrabetova

For Her: POLLY WALES: London-based jeweller Polly Wales is inspired by antique treasures and ethnic adornments to create striking, organic designs. She uses a process called ‘lost wax casting’ which yields completely individual pieces, with the stones seeming to emerge from the precious metals they are embedded within. A stack of her delicate halo rings, paired with a chunkier constellation ring, is a lovely seasonal accessory.

MYLA: Beautifully crafted in an Italian atelier and tailored to gently enhance and flatter the body’s natural curves, Myla silk sleepwear is an indulgent way to ignore the cold and stay in bed. The brand’s iconic Isabella range has beautifully cut babydoll, camisole and robe sets, and the new AW14 collection pairs tactile velvets, tulle and delicate lace with on-trend metallic embroidery and innovative tailoring to strike just the right balance between elegance and allure.

PENHALIGONS: The classic British fragrance house, Penhaligons, has done it again this season with a selection of enticing and interesting fragrances. We think ‘Lothair’, with its refreshing and seasonal notes of grapefruit and juniper paired with green fig leaf, is a great Christmas scent.

ANYA HINDMARCH BESPOKE: We love Anya Hindmarch’s designs – elegant with a twist, injecting fun and personality into classic leather tailoring. Add a special touch for a loved one with her bespoke service: initials or a handwritten message or drawing embossed on her signature French calf leather.

For Him

BILL AMBERG: Bill Amberg is known for his men’s accessories – fun designs brilliantly crafted. The stylish backpacks and messenger bags are perfect for teens or young men who want to cut a dash, but we really covet the new Bridle Rocket, which adds a little individuality into formal wear with its unusual briefcase shape.

SMYTHSON / MARBY AND ELM: What to get the person who has everything? We are always fans of personalised stationary – it is the kind of thing no one buys for themselves. Smythson is the famous name, with a selection of classy, minimalist designs, but Marby and Elm is an excellent boutique alternative, with personal service and some interesting ideas, all printed on a vintage press in Clerkenwell.

For Kids and Teens

HUNTER: Traditionally associated with Wellington boots and practical outdoor wear, Hunter have stealthily entered the world of fashion, with some impressive collections emerging over the past few seasons. Their dedication to quality and durability remains the same, adding weatherproofing and interesting material and rubber accents to everyday wear. We love the high-heeled boots, in leather or rubber, paired with the sleek, fitted down jackets, to add a bit of dash to your splashing.

CARAMEL BABY & CHILD: Long-acclaimed for their beautiful infant clothing, Caramel Baby & Child have launched a lovely new winter collection. Our favourites are the brushed cotton ‘Willow’ dress. Snug and soft, it has pretty embroidery down the front and would look lovely for a festive gathering. If you’re searching for something for a new arrival, they also have baby gift sets, including adorable striped mittens and hats or merino wool jacket and bootie combinations.

For Pets:

MUNGO & MAUD: Let’s not forget Fido this festive season… Mungo & Maud have lovely pet clothing and accessories crafted in traditional fabrics. We think the ‘Good Dog’ treat jar filled with their organic granola dog treats would be the perfect gift for man’s best friend, while his feline counterparts can snug down for Christmas day in the Corduroy Hideaway bed.

Twist Crystal Whiskey Set

From Gurasu: And of course, we have some lovely gifts at Gurasu, from a minimalist whiskey set, Twist Crystal Whiskey Set, to elaborately coloured and engraved decanters Rainbow Olive Green Decanter. Bright hues also make our Birds of Paradise glassware sets a lovely festive addition to the Christmas meal, while the Glass Mount bowls by Arik Levy  are an architectural centrepiece to grace the most elegant table.

Birds of Paradise Crystal Cocktail Glasses, set of 6

Rainbow Olive Green Decanter

The gift of wonder this November

Winter is the time to spoil yourself and your loved ones, so this year, at Gurasu we decided to create the most irresistible smaller gifts of luxury in a form of sets of two #setoftwo If your tastes run to sparkle, there are crystal glasses galore – from the jewellery-like and vibrant Birds of Paradise tumblers – the most loved product by our clientèle – or the set of two wine glasses to choose from.

Come and meet us at Country Living’s Christmas Fair in London

Country living fair London banner

On 15th of November take a look at our website to find out the pineapple tumblers in the most magnificent, newly-launched colours of crystals including aubergine, lavender, amber gold or sky blue. If you are always tempted by pink sapphire our raspberry hue is coming to our showroom too. So, please enquire or browse our crystal gurasu heaven…

Emerald Crystal High Ball Glasses, set of 6

Chic and elegant, raspberry is a princess among others. With a distinct nod to tradition which embraces a modern happiness and vigorous lifestyle, the collection of Birds of Paradise includes stemware and barware in a mix of colours. It invites the curation of modern “friends and family” drinking experience, which interplays between proportion, weight and size.

Crystal tumbler in raspberry

While for those who always succumb to retail shopping galore, there are the most beautiful destinations to start your treasure hunt for your Christmas gift. The top-quality Country Living Magazine’s Christmas Fair or the open air Belgravia Christmas Market. At both events we will have a pleasure of meeting our lovely loyal and new customers.

Emerald Crystal High Ball Glasses, set of 6

Highlighted by a bold emerald green hue, these stunning high ball glasses make a stylish choice for serving juices, gin and tonics or other long mixed drinks.

Emerald green high ball

The Christmas shopping experience is always enchanting is you choose the right places to shop and here we want you to spoil yourself with crystal at most fashionable, jewel-like crystal ware for your truly magical Christmas table. So start with a set of two tumblers for your best-friend, a crystal votive in amber gold for your mum, and end up with a set of emerald high ball crystal glasses for those unforgettable moments by your Christmas table.
Love
Joanna Maya

Contemporary design inspired by classic craftsmanship

Hand made in countries famous from the best crystalware, each piece of Gurasu crystal represents generations of exquisite craftsmanship, combined with contemporary design for a modern, elegant finish

Man working hot glass

Gurasu Crystal is known for its contemporary flair – a modern take on classic crystal elegance. However, each piece is still crafted using an age-old process, with hours of skilled work going into every step of the process.

Our crystal is produced in the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany most of it is entirely handmade by local artisans who have been working with crystal for generations – says Joanna Maya. Glass and crystal production in Czech Republic has its origins in the 13th century, in the Lusatian Mountains of north Bohemia.

For centuries, this has been the centre of the industry, supplying demand from the finest houses and palaces of Europe. Production has changed little and the Czech Republic is still known as the home of some of the finest crystal in the world.

Glass factory production line

Taking the production to the Czech Republic doesn’t just make aesthetic sense, it is also part of the story of Gurasu. Founder Joanna Maya has been fascinated by crystal since childhood, when she would watch the blowers on family trips to the mountainside.

Mountains are the source of crystal and this is the reason why all factories were situated surrounded by them.  Wanting to preserve this beautiful craft, she established Gurasu in London what now enables her to collaborate with the best, aspiring, British artists on new designs.

London is the most amazing and inspirational design city and I am proud to live and developing the crystal brand here, surrounded by the best design talent! – says Joanna.

Production begins with the raw materials, heated to 2640 degrees Celsius. Historically, crystal was shaped by glassblowing the mixture by mouth and this is still the most valued technique in the industry.

Four specialist glassblowers are required for each piece of Gurasu crystal, dipping the blowpipe into the heated glass mixture and shaping it either by hand turning the pipe or blowing it gently into a carefully-crafted mold. Once it has been shaped, the piece is set to cool. A glass can cool within a few hours, but larger pieces can take several days.

Women working hot glass

Exquisite cut separates beautiful crystal from good crystal. Our craftsmen spend a further eight hours achieving the perfect cut and clarity, by hand and by cutters who understand that each design must be meticulously and finely etched using a two stage process.

It is a painstaking process, but one that produces the sharpest cuts. Once cut, the crystal is delicately coloured and polished by hand to bring out the brilliance and sharpness of the design.

Learn more about the traditions behind Gurasu in A History Lesson category.