This year’s line-up at the London Design Festival was just too much for me not to make an effort to turn up to see, and given that it was pretty much three weeks ago already, it’s taken me a while to get through it all! With so many incredible shows and exhibitions open across the city, it was a difficult task to choose where my focus would lie over the course of my two day escape, so I focused on the east. Here are my highlights – hold on tight for the eye candy!
Bare Minimum at Viaduct
During a tour of the Clerkenwell design quarter, we began at Viaduct for the Bare Minimum exhibition, a beautifully curated selection of minimalist furniture and lighting. The focus for the show was to highlight a fresh perspective on minimalist design, exploring the detail in choice of materials, textures, shape and colour. Designers included Jasper Morrison, Giapato & Coombes, Maarten van Severen and E15.
It’s pretty evident (and exciting) to see that the botanicals trend is showing no sign of slowing down, and ceramic artist Ann Kristin Einarsen’s planters were top of my list to visit at 100% Norwary. Give me smooth, matt ceramics, throw in some green planting and I. Am. There. A woodcrafter turned ceramics designer, Einarsen’s inspiration for the two tone Rolla and Sip planters were the salt and pepper grinders created for Muuto. Currently a protoype (I desperately need these!) the user is encouraged to mix the pots and bases to create a different look for their indoor plants. Yes. Please.
London Design Fair
Seen earlier this year in Copenhagen and causing quite a stir, the #80 White modular sofa by Camilla Aggestrup was, I thought, every bit as stunning in the flesh. Designed for commercial spaces, the sofa can be split into single seats or added to according to its use. With a woven, transparent high back it gives a sense of privacy and I loved its simple, graphic shape.
The serving trolley has started to become a more familiar site within our homes again following its popularity in the 50s and 60s and home entertaining. Finnish designer Maiju Uski’s contemporary take was designed to serve the different actions of cooking and serving with its steel frame, niche to hang useful things and small drawer The top of the trolley holds a tactile configuration of wooden chopping boards, soap stone platters and porcelain plates. I could really see this as a portable home for plants too, but then I would, wouldn’t I!
With day beds and benches becoming a more portable alternative to the sofa, I was pleased to see the collection by Danish brand Friends&Founders. Based on their “favourite spot” philosophy, founders Rasmus and Ida Linea Hildebrand design multifunctional and multi-spacial furniture to encourage indoor/outdoor use and flexible living.
Young Mexican designer David Pompa combined traditional Mexican techniques and contemporary style to create his lighting collection. Using a combination of handblown glass, pottery, polished metals and woven PVC, Pompa’s work is putting new Mexican design on the map. I was particularly struck by the barro negro (black pottery) found in Oaxaca which through a process of smoking gives its metallic effect used in his designs.
Mini Living Installations by Asif Khan
The most stand-out piece from the whole week was the Mini Living experience, a series of three small scale urban gardens in Shoreditch. Designed by architect Asif Khan in collaboration with horticulturalists and plant designers Conservatory Archives, each installation was created to explore solutions to urban living as spaces to relax and connect with others. These fully immersive forest spaces felt like a cocoon, with transparent walls letting in soft light and a variety of plants which members of the public were invited to take home after the festival as a continuation.
Did you managed to see anything of note from the festival this year? Tell me what I missed!