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[INTERVIEW] Cass Chapman of Kodomo: Junior Design Awards 2014 Judge

We spoke to our expert panel at this year's Junior Design Awards to find out what floats their design boat and what they love the most about being a judge...

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Cass Chapman

Name: Cass Chapman

Children: Lola, 3

Day job: Founding editor of kodomo.com, and a food and luxury travel journalist

Hobbies: Reading, beach walking and, of course, travel.

Favourite room in the house and why: My kitchen because it overlooks my lavender-filled garden, Brownsea Island and the sea.

Why is good design important to you?

I’m a bit of an obsessive when it comes to aesthetics, though I don’t pretend to be an expert. And I think function is just as important as form. There is absolutely no point in something looking fabulous if it doesn’t make life easier at the same time.

What qualities do you look for when buying well-designed products for your home?

Ideally they’re easy to use because, especially when it comes to anything requiring a plug, I am challenged to say the least. And design is always important if it’s something I’ll look at every day. I am afraid I absolutely do judge a book by its cover.

How have you changed the way you shop for things in your home, while still retaining design quality, since having children?

I have a girl which I’m told means i can still have fragile things around the house. So far, that has proven to be (somewhat) true so I don’t avoid things because they are fragile. That said I’m safety crazy, so anything – be it kitchen goods, soft furnishings, furniture - is judged based on what I know will work with her around the house and which won’t be a cause of worry for her father and I.

What or who is your favourite family homeware design label/designer and why?

I am in love with anything from Graham & Green (the home interiors shop in Primrose Hill and Notting Hill). I had my Saturday job there through school and university and i adore every square inch of the place. The owner, Jamie Graham, designs a lot of the furniture and lighting himself, which he and his wife blend beautifully with other soft furnishings and wonderful things for the home.

What or who is your favourite fashion design label/designer for kids and why?

I love what Jools Oliver has done for her Little Bird range at Mothercare – the retro prints and gorgeous designs are irresistable, and the t-bar shoes are exactly the same as the ones i wore over 30 odd years ago! I think what Laura Tennison has done for Jojo Mama Bebe is fabulous too and for a real splurge i adore caramel baby.

Do you have any treasured family heirlooms?

I have a beautful embroidered shawl my father gave my mother when they got married and a 1970s gold Dior bracelet my grandfather gave my grandmother which, I love so much, I’m scared to wear in case I lose it. Irreplaceable isn’t the word…..

What piece of great design do you wish you had invented?

It’s not so much one particular piece but there is something so absolutely beautiful about a good chair…

What were you most looking forward to about being a Junior Design Award judge for the day?

It was great seeing all the new things that are out on the market, especially the baby products I would have loved when Lola was small. And I’m just really honoured to be part of such a great event alongside so many amazing judges. Anything involving parents, good design and a great publication has to mean a great day, right?


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