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I have been if search of modern and sustainable packaging for my jewellery for some time now: I do not want to compromise on the aesthetics when using recycled / recyclable / biodegradable packaging – because it is nice to have a nice something wrapped around nice things you buy.

I am still looking; and I happened to visit the NUATAN showroom in Knightsbridge during the London Design Festival which runs until the end of this week. And I really wanted to share as what the studio do seems like a very exiting step into the responsible future of our everyday, including design and fashion. 

Developed by an interdisciplinary team at cp! NUATAN is a new generation of bioplastic. It is made from 100% renewable resources, it is 100% biocompatible and 100% biodegradable.


This alternative to oil-based plastics is a result of a 6-year research and collaboration with scientists from Slovak University of Technology. By combining craft + technology, fast + slow production methods, crafting plastics! studio discover the mostly unknown field of bioplastics derived from plants.

From a material’s birth to its decay, from limited edition to mass produced consumer goods, cp!s explores new aesthetics and material limits and challenges negative prejudice on perishable materials.

Thus, the actual design output wise:


cp! eyewear is the first product to translate the studio’s ambition and philosophy – cp! glasses are honest; their shapes are reduced to their most basic elements, e.g. to ensure the 100% biodegradable element the design omits any no hinges or screws. (to be entirely honest, this still affects the aesthetics and the feel of the eyewear, but it is a big Step One and if they got so far achieving the qualities of the material, polishing off the design is only the matter of the right team and a little bit of time 🙂)

London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world and this year runs across the city through 15-23 September. So do go see and meet the forward looking designers throughout London this week! x

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Stumbled upon this fab pop-up in Knightsbridge’s Brompton Road last Sunday when walking through the Brompton Design District showcases. Established in 2007,  it is the leading District during the annual London Design Festival with a dedicated programme of temporary pioneering and innovative showcases.

So, to Totomoxtle:

Totomoxtle is a surfacing veneer for interiors and furniture made with native Mexican corn husks that are naturally colourful (Mexico has over 60 different species of corn!!). Introduced in London by the Mexican designer Fernando Laposse, Totomoxtle uses corn husks that are flattened and glued by hand and laser cut to make marquetry. 

I really admire the creative thinking of designers like Fernando, who are responsible, forward looking and forever inquisitive. Fernando uses materials that are cheap, readily available, and are often a waste or a perishable matter. Besides creating a new sustainable material, the project also raises awareness of the rapid loss of the original species of corn in our globalised world as well as creating employment for the indigenous farmers.

Thus, no waste farming = unique and elegant design!


London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world and this year runs across the city through 15-23 September. So do go see and meet the forward looking designers throughout London this week! x


Look look look ... Well excited for the Yu Stepanel designer profile to appear in the November issue of the British Vogue!

Really grateful for the kind support of everyone – thank you!!

Yuliya x

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BARCELONA, design effects II

This is a small tribute to the Caixa Forum gallery in Barcelona, and an invitation to dive into the soft, marble-wrapped entrance, designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki.

Minimal, clean and concise but warm at the same time, just a sun-lit feast for an eye looking for laconic intelligent beauty.

Enjoy! x

BARCELONA, design effects I

Fundació Mies van der Rohe: The Barcelona Pavilion

Barcelona geniously wears her gothic and baroque architecture, mixing it up with the modernista fairy-tale constructions and contemporary minimalist edificios and complexes.

Fundació Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion belonging to the latter ones, an island of balance and calm on Montjuïc, blew my mind by its laconic beauty and the amount of peace and pleasure it brought to our stay.

The Pavilion was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the German National Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exposition – commissioned by Georg Von Schnitzler, the German National Pavilion was to demonstrate the new spirit of the Weimar Republic and showcase “the clarity, simplicity and honesty” of Germany at that time. The project was dissembled at the end of the exposition, to be reconstructed and put back together in the original location on Montjuïc in 1986 by architects Cristian Cirici, Fernando Ramos and Ignasi de Solà-Morales. The same materials, glass, steel and four different kinds of stone (Roman travertine, green Alpine marble, ancient green marble from Greece and golden onyx from the Atlas Mountains) were used for the reconstruction.

Clean geometrical lines, precision of the pieces and clarity of their assembly – all were a breath of fresh air and celebrated the Less Is More philosophy. The same one that guides me in my jewellery designs too.


Big love,

Yuliya x

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On March the 5th I had the pleasure and luck to have attended the atmospheric set-up of Mehdi Ghandyanloo’s Spaces of Hope exhibition, curated by Howard Griffin Gallery.

Lucky, because it was a rainy Sunday afternoon, the closing day of the exhibit, and the Ambika P3, the former industrial testing facility near Baker Street, was all left for my friend and myself (the next couple of visitors literally walked in only as we were leaving the exhibition!). And it was just the experience that added even more meaning to the serene works of Ghandyanloo, the Iranian artist who lives and works in the country, having grown up there during the Iran-Iraq war.

On entering I immediately had this confused feeling – do I feel happy or do I feel sad? as I was looking at each work that cosily sat in the darkness of the industrial walls, only spot-lit to reveal the painting itself and nothing more.

Silence and suspense – as if you were holding your breath, awaiting something to happen, good or bad – who knows.

The lines are so clean, so right, it could be heaven or hell; the soft colours and the light – streaming through somewhere it is not supposed to be coming through in this layout – are melancholic, but your human nature somehow tells you that regardless of what’s to come next – in this very moment there is this, maybe unreasonable, hope that it will be alright. That the ladders actually lead somewhere light and bright, that something good is behind that wall at dawn, that there will be peace and well-being.

And while the first world carry on shouting about how depressing the perspective for our planet and humanity is, those actually in the epicentre of the tragedy and hardship whisper about how good it can still be.

yuliya stephanelComment

i know it does not do all the tricks and does not have the authentic feel of the classic skateboard, but the lexus hoverboard means that the future is happening now, and to me it celebrates the true craftsmanship and dedication to bring the extraordinary creations into our everyday lives.

"...As our legendary Takumi craftsmen say, the difficult takes time; the impossible just takes a little longer..."


authentic jewellery pieces are created under the initiative by article 22 from bombs dropped during the “secret war” in laos, which left this land the most heavily bombed country in the world.

the story of the brand probably caught my eye first of all because i'd fallen in love with the lao land and its mesmerising landscapes last january and so have warmest feelings on any mention, and secondly it was the secret war bombings in 1964-1973 which in all honesty i have never heard of.

the brand was born from the concept of a bracelet — elizabeth suda taking further the local initiative by rural artisan families who began creating spoons out of the bomb scrap metal 1970s.

with each peacebomb bracelet sold, article 22 and the local artisans support their families, community, contributing to village development, cultivation of local talent and demining in laos.

now the network of article 22 artisans expands further to weavers and silversmiths from vientiane to new york city.

1 bracelet helps clear bombs from 3 sqm of farmland.

this is an incredible initiative: transforming weapons to jewellery, cruelty to beauty

love the peace xxx


“ama sua, ama llulla, ama quella” – don't steal, don't lie, don't be lazy, the core incan law is as eloquent and fundamental as the landscape of machu picchu

if you are flying above or taking a very high-up vantage point, the sacred city takes a shape of a royal bird – the condor. this is not an accident, the three key animals, the snake, the puma and the condor represent the underworld, the world of men and the upper world. thus machu picchu with its inhabitants, likely consisting of priests and oracles, was the not-known-to-pizarro upper world city, while the empire's capital cuzco marked its power with having been built in the shape of the puma

brave up the inca trail or take an old fashioned wood-panelled train from ollantaytambo to aguas calientes (which we did!) – any route is a masterpiece in itself, and then the final destination leaves you quite speechless

after hanging out with llamas and having stamped our passports with the famous image, we took a couple of hours' walk down back to aguas calientes. my friend javier was looking out for the local species of orchid which he is quite passionate about, and i – for those pumas, more of mixed feelings on my end i would say

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female nude back view, 1917
the blush accent on the lady’s rear here was considered quite outrageous when it was first displayed
but that was schiele, the egoist, so he clearly did not care! and by far it was his least controversial one
“i still believe that the greatest painters painted figures. i paint the light that emanates from all bodies”— long awaited meeting with mr. schiele [will only be beaten by the meeting with his mentor mr. klimt] at courtauld gallery was short (1.5 rooms) but sweet
loved his facial expressions studies as in the sneering woman with his sister gertrude as a model + the complex and dramatic mother and child, 1910
interestingly, his pre-war angular lines, and death contemplating solemn draughts were replaced by more flowing and more vividly coloured images from 1917 [square=death, round=life… subliminal symbolism??] the earlier works do it for me though, for sure much more interesting as far as i can be humbly concerned..

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so bernini got me hooked. on a sunny afternoon a kind roman older gentleman treated me to a coffee and showed me around the historical rome around trevi (very random that was, but sweet at the same time!), took me to pantheon, and stopping by the chiesa Santa Maria sopra Minerva pointed at the Elephant proudly declaring it was done by bernini! i really had no idea who he was (ah my ignorance!) the next day, at galleria borghese i met these!

now, i am totally useless when it comes to writing about art, but i reeeallly wanted to scribble a  few words about this encounter of mine...

i know, classical art is not much of a vibe in this day and age, but being in the presence of such a magical excellence of human skill made me feel very very uplifted and happy. i just think we are too much preoccupied by trying to convince ourselves that that glass of water is indeed an oak tree - and it is fun, curious and eye opening, makes you change the angle; but the sheer beauty of "the rape of proserpina" reminded how we need the simply beautiful things like this work to feel the beauty of the moment we are in, of our soul and conscience and of the world.

his strong fingers indenting into her soft young flesh, and the tears on her cheeks – from one, her, side of the story; now look at him all triumphant upfront, holding steadily her twitching body; and the three-headed dog backing the situ up, ensuring he will keep watch, no escape. it is dramatic, but not tragic somehow… it is an internal drama first of all. such an experience…
was swept off my feet by this skill of storytelling – regardless of the media: you can see every vein, every turn of flesh, every muscle and every dent left on the fragile skin. made out of stone after all, but you completely forget – the flesh is so lightweight, yet real.

the other one who knows how to tell a good story is raphael. (some impressions later x)

 proserpina and pluto, in gian lorenzo bernini's "the rape of proserpina"

proserpina and pluto, in gian lorenzo bernini's "the rape of proserpina"


i was downing my aviation at the lovely town house in dean street when i noticed something irregular on one of the walls of the side street i could see through the window.  there was a nose sticking out of the wall; thought maybe i overenjoyed my aviations. but of course it was one of the seven. fixed by the hackney's rick buckley in response to the cctv cams placed all over the place. apparently it was a controversial and questionable topic back in '97 - "they saw it as an infringement of their liberty"; a bit of a banksy sort of vibey - but also out of about thirty five, ten survived as part of the buildings structure - which is great and adds to the urban myths so wonderfully. look for the seven noses of soho and you'll obtain infinite wealth; look for the survivor on admiralty arch (said to be be lord nelson's second nose - in case the one in trafalgar square falls off - how can you not love london after this!)

dean street nose
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