4th October 2012
This year was the 10th London Design Festival and it has come a long way since the first one. Now it has clusters of venues, to make it easier to visit. It also attracts more individual visitors. For instance it was great to see people walk in the streets of Shoreditch with their LDF map, which reminded me of the Hidden Art Open Studios in its early days. The late evenings for each cluster also worked, as many venues were serving drinks and very much gave it the Milan Furniture Fair feel. Equally it continued the festive feeling that has engulfed London since the jubilee to which we won’t want to say goodbye.
There were a lot of venues, much more than in previous years, or at least so it seemed.
100% Design’s theme for this year ‘Inspiring Connections’ could well have been this year’s theme for the London Design Festival: connections between designers and manufacturers; new use of materials, between designers and retailers, the new and the old and innovations.
There wasn’t enough time to see it all, so this is just a selection of what Kate and Dieneke managed to see.
This was the first year under new ownership with Will Knight as events director, and interesting design started straight away, with an entrance entitled “inspiring connections” which resembled Moooi’s Heracleum 2 lighting.
Hidden Art was at the first 100% design and hasn’t missed many, and we have seen it change over the years.
As always it was lovely to see Hidden Art E-Shop members at the event, such as Desinature and Liquidesign
Charley Whinney who has exhibited with Hidden Art in the past also had a stand, as well as Dare Studios.
100% Design was arguably the most extensive of the events throughout London Design Festival. In order to bring some structure to the space, it was split into several sections, meaning that it was easy to browse everywhere without feeling overwhelmed.
Aside from just designs, there was a seminar programme which included Marcus Fairs in conversation with design gurus including Yves Behar who discussed his design philosophy.
Notable at the event was the strong theme of light and simplicity in design, particularly in lighting, see our Pinterest board for more on this.
There were plenty of innovative and truly original ideas to be seen; from a magnetic wall to the feature exhibit “On Our Doorstep”, local design activism presenting the work of some of the leading designers and companies who are positively activating change. Hidden Art was also included on the map.
Design Junction is still relatively new on the design scene, but has grown over the last three years into an impressive show, offering a wide variety of products. The site had a more industrial feel than 100% Design, but this complemented the space – a renovated Post Office sorting office- that was the perfect place for hosting this event. Many designers chose to light their products with multiple lamps instead of the usual lighting, which made walking around the space a more approachable experience.
Design Junction was host to several Hidden Art members, such as Kukka, Vitamin, Thelermont Hupton and Lindsey Lang.
Also exhibiting were Scene launching their new E-Shop. Scene have exhibited with Hidden Art for many years.
It also hosted the Joy of Living project, with an auction to fundraise for Maggie’s, featuring a bucket from one of our members Hive. This is the second Joy of Living, the brainchild of Max Fraser.
Dare Studio who has exhibited with Hidden Art in the past also had a show at Design Junction as well as at 100% Design.
It also included a variety of eating places, including Canteen with London Transport.
Kal Chottai (Damdesign) launched his 2012 clock at Dwell. Linford Christie (pictured below with Kal) paid him a visit during the launch event.
Tent had a lively atmosphere and seemed to have grown compared to last year. The Superbrands area was situated next to the main area, and was nicely designed, providing a white backdrop.
DesignK was at Tent presenting his new “Tea for One” table.
Julian Mayor, who has exhibited with Hidden Art for many years also showed his latest work
Jodie Leach, who sells his products on www.hiddenartshop.com was also present.
Another design company known to Hidden Art, Urban Upholstery, Also made their presence
There were great products from Mashiko Japan.
Established by Staffordshire University Flux represents a collection of talented designers from the University who produce mostly blue patterns for fine bone china, which then are produced and sold commercially.
Also notable was a lovely blue ceramics series from Patrick Lang representing the making of ceramics.
Connectingthe dots is a project that presents Dutch designers and design-culture internationally during key events and fairs that had some interesting concepts. Being Dutch I loved the work of the Dutch Designers, many of them trained in the Eindhoven Academy and produced some lovely work.
100% Norway nearby in Dray’s Walk had a great exhibition – showcasing the work of Norwegian designers in a great space.
This Designersblock was arguably the best so far. It had a great atmosphere and there was plenty of lovely new work. This was represented by the large amount of people who were queuing outside and eager to get in. However, once inside, they were not disappointed.
There was a vast range of designs from interior design products with and interesting edge to conceptual walls constructed of salmon skin. The show included the second year of Bodging Milano, a project that explores green woodworking. it included a chair made by Kay & Stemmer.
One person participating in this was Valentina Gonzalez, who had worked with Oaxacan crafts people to produce the Wild Botched Chair in collaboration with an Oaxacan artisan.
There was an excellent workshop programme organised by exhibitors, including a “toy hack day” organised by Community Toy which encourages the reuse of materials, resources and skills exchange, social interaction and progression. Further info www.exploringsenses.co.uk
There was plenty to see, including several interactive designs, such as a distinctive pinball machine featuring bike brakes and a bowler hat.
the book Interviews from Confessions of a Design Geek was also available at the Designersblock Shop at the Royal Festival Hall Shop.
You can visit a related post with some images of Designersblock’s 15 years taken by Hidden Art staff over the years here
Ceramics in the City
Now in its 11th year, Ceramics in the City has been held in the Geffrye Museum since it was given a grant from Hidden Art through European Funding. Organised by potter Karen Bunting it still showcases work from Hackney Contemporaries members.
Over the years it has grown into a must-see event.Ceramics in the city had something for everybody, aptly set close to the Geffrye display of living rooms from different periods. The product range varied widely, and E-Shop members Tina Vlassopulos and Linda Bloomfield were in attendance.
There were beautiful products that were purely for ornamental purposes, but also a wide range of every day ceramics such as mugs and tableware. However, all of these pieces were still interesting from a design perspective, particularly these pieces by Daniel Boyle, demonstrating that products can be visually interesting and practical.
Richard Ward, longstanding Hidden Art member and board member launched his new Lola Lola sofa. Great atmosphere and a lovely sofa.
For the second year SCP had a great exhibition in their East London shop called the Design Department Store, with some amazing work. Including products from Kay & Stemmer (such as the Agnes Console Table and Mirror) and Gareth Neal’s project ‘In Pursuit of Carbon Negative’.
The KK outlet had a lovely exhibition from Dominic Wilcox, called Variations on Normal, including his shoes which direct you to where you want to go to.
In Portobello Dock Dieneke also visited the Tom Dixon and Moooi show. There was some lovely work. Hidden Art had exhibited here a couple of years ago, and since then Tom Dixon’s building now houses a permanent restaurant as well as an extensive shop which sells products from other designers in addition to those from Tom Dixon.
It was great to see work from Piet Hein Eek in recycled wood, although very expensive.
I also liked Tom Dixon’s Fresh Fat Chair and Fresh Fat Bowl
Moooi was exhibiting its collection that was launched in Milan and which had some lovely work.
His heracleum lights that seemed to have inspired 100% Design
I loved The Big Ben clock –a huge wall clock which has labels to personalise the clock – everywhere, nowhere, home, Milan and Amsterdam.
He was also commissioned by Delft Blue to produce a series of vases. This also inspired the Sofa and cushions above. (Called Delft Blue Jumper)
I also liked the Altdeutsche Moebel, Old Frankish furniture with the old German hand-painted pieces by Studio Job translated into playful and happy designs.
In the car park there were some lovely delivery vans from Innocent which also has his residence in the complex.