Dordogne

Our highlights from a week’s holiday in the South West of France, exploring the excellence of the area by e-bike, canoe — and our dinner plates!

View our guide

Where next?
Travel and work in five minutes with George Blower: chef, F&B strategist, fermenter-of-everything and photographer based in Penzance, Cornwall.

1 — What’s the food scene like in your part of Cornwall?
I’ve been here nearly two years now, and it’s definitely growing into a thriving place for good, honest food. Obviously we (Cornwall) have long been known for amazing fish, but the microclimate we have down here twinned with lush pasture and rich soils has birthed a myriad of incredible producers on land too. From heritage rare-breed pigs and ex-dairy cattle to organic Cornish lemons, melons and more, it’s an incredibly exciting place to live if you have an interest in food. And whilst we are rich in the produce caught, reared and harvested, we do lack the diversity of places to eat at. Perhaps I should open a Lebanese-come-Carribean-come-Korean joint to satisfy my cravings…

2 — What’s been a particularly memorable place you’ve worked as a chef?
It’s gotta be a mixture of most places I’ve worked. The warm, welcoming comfort of Nuno Mendes at Taberna Do Mercado giving you a hug, an espresso and a pastel de nata to start each day was joyous. So was the camaraderie and beautiful family I found whilst working at Silo – the world’s first zero waste restaurant in Hackney Wick. Never have I worked with so many dedicated, passionate people under the guidance of the mastermind, Douglas McMaster. Most memorable of all though, would be the kitchen residency I had last year – five minutes from the sea. Across 80 covers, myself and my team cooked from a woodfired oven and a humble grill celebrating the best of what the region had to offer – all from a converted shipping container. It was so busy, but the rare moments of calm to close up for a few hours and take a lunchtime swim were glorious.

3 — And where has your work taken you beyond Cornwall?
It’s only since really in the last year that my love and passion for food has resulted directly in travel opportunities, having ditched my chef whites for life as an F&B Strategist. I recently got back from a research trip to Sicily which was amazing. It’s hard work, often doing far longer hours than I would at home, but it’s all rewarded on the days where you’re quite literally being paid to wander Sicilian streets, chat to locals, find the best haunts and eat the best food.

4 — Finally, what are your travel plans for the months ahead?
Living where I do you really do lap up what it gives you in the summer months, and holiday when winter sets in. Soon I’ll be off to Nepal for three weeks of hiking, eating countless variations of dal bhat and momos, and rekindling my love for a country I’ve spent months in before. I’ll be in Mexico from Dec–mid Jan to celebrate my 30th spin round the sun, and likely to be spending time on a small Greek island (Leros) where my dad lives, sometime around Easter.

Follow George on Instagram @blowersplace

A new photobook in the studio: Naoya Hatakeyama – Excavating the Future City. This book explores in stages the process of building from the raw material, to construction, to building usage and finally demolition. Photographed over a period of 30 years.

There’s an interesting film about the book and the photographer’s work here.

Spent the evening at Apple’s Covent Garden store for an insightful talk by photographer, Richard Gaston. Richard spoke about his process to capture his landscape projects across the Scottish Highlands: hours spent camped to capture the right photograph with all the variables of Scottish weather. After the talk the audience got the chance to follow along his editing process in Lightroom for iPad.

Where next?
Three questions for Yo Hosoyamada, a Japanese illustrator based in London with an eye for architecture, places and spaces.

1 — When you’re travelling, what’s your go-to medium for recording observations and ideas?
My go-to is definitely photography! I love snapping spontaneous shots everywhere I go, which gives me inspiration on composition and different spaces to translate into an illustration later on. If I have time, I will sometimes whip out a small sketchbook and do some scenic studies.

2 — You’ve worked on a number of illustrations for travel clients – what’s your process behind creating scenes and spaces?
Based on the themes and subject matter within the brief, I usually look at reference images online and try to get a good idea of what they look like first. I then try to compose the different elements into a dynamic spatial scene! It’s always exciting when I see a scene that I imagined in my head come to life on paper.

3 — Finally, what are your travel plans for the months ahead?
I am currently travelling in the Puglia region of Italy. It’s very exciting as I have never been in this particular area of Italy. I’m also planning to travel to the US later in the year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that as well.

Illustration from Yo’s Business and Traveller commission.

Over the past week, we’ve spotted a number of geese on the move across Walthamstow.

After backing Allday Good’s Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year, look what arrived in the post today.

Produced in the UK (Sheffield & Hackney), this version of the Allday knife has had both its blade and handle produced from scrap material – a savvy way to reuse items destined for landfill. Previous releases of Allday knives had the blade production in Sakai, Japan along with scrap plastic for their handle. I particularly like the look of this knife — the contrast of the blade with the marbled look to the handle. Looking forward to using this!

More about the campaign here.

Where next?
Three questions for Maria Oliva, an interior designer for hospitality projects and fellow Walthamstow-based creative. A feature we’re doing as part of our newsletter content.

1 — With your specialism in restaurant design – what places are next on your list to visit in London?
I have a ‘eating out’ list that I keep updating — I’m sure it will never end. But that’s the beauty of the restaurant scene in London. At the top of my list I have: Ikoyi Restaurant St. James’s (which recently got in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list), The Princess of Shoreditch and Jeru. The list goes on and on...

2 — Your Instagram highlights interior details found on your travels – what’s been your most memorable experience?
It’s very hard to pick one. Every trip is a source of inspiration. But perhaps Milan is where I can collect most of my design treasures. I love to visit the city again and again because, like London, the design scene is in a constant state of change.

3 — Finally, what are your travel plans this summer?
Somewhere in the British countryside with my motorbike. I like to have the freedom to make very loose plans without worrying much about the destination. I know that I’ll stop when I feel it’s time to do so. This gives me the opportunity to enjoy the journey, keeps me open to new discoveries and focused on the present.

Photo from Maria’s Portobello Road Restaurant project.

Between the studio and the allotment are a number of fruit trees for public picking – they’re not around for long!

Where next?
Three questions for Tian Khee Siong, London-based photographer, cyclist and Covers collaborator. A feature we’re doing as part of our newsletter content.

1 — There’s a lot of people away at the moment! What places have caught your eye recently?
I have a long list of places I want to visit. Currently it’s: Paris for some Le Corbusier and Palace of Versailles, Helsinki for architectural sightseeing and also the Amalfi Coast.

2 — You’re always cycling around London, what’s your favourite part of exploring by bike?
I enjoy exploring most parts of London but to choose a favourite I think it’s south-east London. I like seeing the changes from one area to another with surprisingly a lot of greenery in between. I’m also keen to explore Egham and Windsor.

3 — Finally, what are your travel/holiday plans this summer?
There’s no overseas travel plans just yet, but for a short local break, a walk up a munro is on the cards.

Photo taken by Tian outside Eindhoven Centraal.

The Covers newsletter starts next month. Going out on the 3rd of each month – it’s a combo of ideas, insights, studio updates and places we’ve been.

Join the mailing list! Sign up here.

A great day for a site visit for a new project underway with architects and placemakers, We Made That.

Distance of a shadow has been featured as part of The Brand Identity’s The Edit article: “Five projects including Manual’s curious identity system for the iconic Eames Institute”.

Read the article here

Leaving this one here. Crème Brûlée at Le Palissy – a small bistro in a village south of Biron.

A highlight of our trip to the Dordogne was dinner for two at O’ Plaisir de Sens in La Roque-Gageac, where we enjoyed a starter of white asparagus, mains of pigeon and  lamb shoulder, and desserts of rice milk ice cream and nutty praline & chocolate pudding. The food was paired with impeccable service. There was a moment in the evening when it felt so good to be sitting outside in the courtyard with the ambience and relaxed feel they’ve created. A very enjoyable evening.

Read more on our Dordogne trip in our guide

Distance of a shadow has been selected as a Staff Pick by the team at Fonts In Use.

Back from the printers is one of our photographs taken in Tentsmuir Forest (a forest by the sea in the north-east corner of Fife) on our trip earlier this month. Produced by The Print Space – an A1, C-Type print onto Fuji Matt paper.

We spent the weekend in Scotland exploring Fife and Scottish Borders. Highlights included: a wander around Lomond Hills, Peebles, Tentsmuir Forest and Kinneuchar Inn. At Kinneuchar Inn we had a delightful lunch: a braised beef shin and Guinness pie (a sharer for two), along with mash and seasonal greens. Highly recommended.

An evening at Landrace Upstairs in Bath. A cosy space for around 20 covers in the room above their bakery.

Thanks to Colophon Foundry for featuring our Distance of a shadow project on Instagram. We utilised Benjamin Critton & Colophon’s typeface Mabry for the project, selected for its personality and tabular figures – ideal for the vertical type across each post. More on our project here.

See Colophon’s post here

A fun evening spent outside with a wood-fired pizza oven. We sourced all of the ingredients, including sourdough pizza dough, from Ooni Groceries. It just left us with the fun part starting the fire, throwing the dough and adding the toppings!

We went to Niwaki on Chiltern Street store to purchase a new kitchen knife — a beautiful carbon Santoku.

Covers is on the move to Switchboard Studios to join a community of designers, photographers and creatives next to Walthamstow Wetlands.

Happy New Year! Seeing off the end of the year with a (big) round of tacos.

An afternoon spent following Modernist Estate’s No6 Perambulations: Barbican to Bloomsbury. The route starts from The Brunswick Centre, arcs north to Camden and back down to the Barbican.

Photo taken at Maiden Lane Estate, designed by Benson and Forsyth.

Thank you to wonderful clients, collaborators and friends for this year.

Our card is produced from surplus G.F Smith Colorplan — and made without printing (or foiling) too. The card is simply a series of carefully designed cuts through the material, produced on a Zünd digital cutting machine. The magic happens when light shines through giving a silver, foil-like appearance.

Merry Christmas from Covers.

Shoot day with photographer Tian Khee Siong to capture the posts and components that make up our Distance of a shadow installation. We used the Circuit Room at Switchboard Studios for this one.

Delighted to be a part of East End Trade Guild Waltham Forest map. The map for the borough showcases local small businesses that are a part of the wider 400-strong community of businesses based in East London.

Headed to North Wales for the night to celebrate the private view and opening of The Winter Art Garden at the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop.

Created by Charlie Gladstone, the garden featured 12 artists and designers and their responses to the theme of ‘Light & Change’.

More on our installation here

We’ve just launched an updated version of Harlosh’s site to showcase The Winter Experience – a focus on the feel of both houses during the winter months. More to see on the project page, or visit their site for more.

Photography by Richard Gaston.

A site visit to Hawarden Estate Farm Shop ahead of our installation for the Winter Art Garden. Autumnal tones in full show throughout the estate.

En route into town, a quick detour to enjoy a delightful Pain aux raisin from Pavillion Bakery on Broadway Market.

We mapped out a day of cycling for the London Design Festival 2021. Highlights included: Blast Studio’s Urban Stomach, Design Exhibition Scotland, Sonic Bloom by Yuri Suzuki and Peter Saville for Kvadrat.

Pictured here is the K-Briq by Kenoteq discovered at Design Exhibition Scotland, further reading on their project here.

Submitted photograph as part of dn&co’s open call for their London Design Festival exhibition – It’s a Sign. The exhibition celebrates the vernacular of the humble sign. It's on for the duration of LDF and entry is free.

Photo taken in Les Houches, France, 2017.

We spent the weekend in Edinburgh and took the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective: on a boat tour to see the three bridges (along with countless seals).

Our boat trip was followed with dinner at The Fishmarket Newhaven.

We tested out some packaging prototypes with the help of our studio neighbour, Supahulk.

Utilising the precision cutting of their Zünd machine, we were able quickly prototype a number of ideas.

Popped into New London Architecture’s space in Coal Drops Yard to see their extensive model of central London. Worth stopping by when in the area.

Excited to share that Hour directory has been featured on The Spaces.

“London studio Covers’ new travel platform, Hour directory, puts a stylish and eco-friendly spin on staycation travel.”

Read the article here

We’ve been growing potatoes on our balcony with some mixed success!

Discover what makes Hour directory project special in this feature by Creative Boom:

Looking for a well-designed getaway? Look no further than Covers’ new directory

Hour directory, our latest project, is now live.

The directory brings together architect-designed places to stay outside the city, and beyond. Discover places to stay in easy reach of the city with highlights in the area to explore. The first six locations include Harlosh and Glen Dye in Scotland, and Breac.House in Ireland.

Find out more about Hour directory

Walthamstow is home to a fantastic sausage shop, the East London Sausage Co. The weather was too good not to try out a few on the BBQ over the weekend.

We took some time off to head to North Wales with family. Highlights in the area include: Y Garreg cafe and community store, Celtic Cabin in Barmouth and the National Cycle Route 8 Bryncir to Caernarfon.

Photo taken on the road into Harlech.

Covers were a part of this year’s Fedrigoni calendar.

Our entry was for the theme ‘Place’ and marked the 8th of the month. Our concept was to combine the number 8 with a block formation that could be found in brick, block or pattern form in a building.

Over the weekend, we visited Turner Works latest project, Hackney Bridge.

Situated on the edge of the Olympic Park, there are a number of spaces for small businesses: hospitality, retail, creative and event space. There’s a clever use of materials throughout: from wood stains to off-the-shelf sheet materials.

One to save for revisiting next year: the blossom in Aldgate Square.

Happy New Year from Covers!

Produced by digital print with a series of hand-debossed lines.

To showcase our fields of work, Covers commissioned Charlotte Trounce to produce a set of illustrations to represent remarkable places to stay, eat and explore. There’s a day and night set – see more on our About page.

Cycled to Jolene in Stoke Newington and picked up this delicious pizza slice with prosciutto and potato.

On our way back from a week in North Wales, we stopped at Hawarden Estate Farm Shop.

There was a harvest of apples in progress for their juice and we stopped for a bite to eat before continuing back to London.

Based in north-east London, our studio is next to Walthamstow Wetlands – Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve offering fresh air and green space on the doorstep.

Looking forward to taking part in the next instalment of the Forge programme. The workshops held over the next 12 weeks provide independent creative businesses with time for coaching and development.

Read more about Forge here

Adam sat down with Kate at Creative Works to talk about Covers, the studio and projects we’ve been working on.

Read the article here

In recent weeks, we’ve been learning the craft of bookbinding. Here's a work in progress before adding the case of the book.

Places to eat in Walthamstow. We stopped by favourite local-spot Lighthaus (in the Argall industrial estate) to pick up some lunch.

We’ve launched Open Near Me — a community page for local places to eat, drink and visit in Walthamstow, E17.

The page is in response to the uncertainty around Covid-19, and provides a central, open resource that can be duplicated beyond our neighbourhood for other communities.

Night skiing at Oslo Vinterpark. It’s a 40-minute metro ride from the centre of Oslo with views across the city and the neighbouring forests. On Weekdays it’s open until 10pm.

A visit to neighbours Square Mile Coffee for a tour and tasters. Based in the Uplands Business Park, they roast, pack and test here.

A look into the kitchen of Marcus after a delightful lunch for a special occasion. Mains of Galloway beef fillet and Scottish halibut. Desserts of Cox apple caramel and Salted milk chocolate aero.

We spent the weekend in Stockholm and spotted these (brave!) winter swimmers on a walk from Aspudden to Konditori Lyran.

A case of the Favorit typeface at the Rimowa store in London. The type is used as part of the embossing process of a luggage tag.

Happy Xmas from Covers! 

The postcard is a silver and black litho print onto Gmund Cotton stock.

Covers aim is to bring together thoughtful design in the world of hospitality by creating a studio for places to stay, eat and explore. We'll do this by working and considering the guest’s entire experience.

Our name alludes to covers in the restaurant sense, in relation to covers in hotels and holiday architecture, and more broadly in relation to the purpose of a brand identity.

Idea No.2