Designjunction and Designersblock, London Design Festival 2014

Review

by Kostas Koutoupis

This is a review of two major destinations of the London Design Festival, Designjunction and Designersblock. Designjunction took place at The Sorting Office on New Oxford Street from 18th– 21st September. Not far from them was Designersblock, running during the same dates at The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell Green.We started at Designjunction at the opening night and then moved on to Designersblock.

For a review of other shows:
History of London Design Festival and 100% Design
V&A
Shoreditch Design Triangle
A Place Called Home

DESIGNJUNCTION

Set at New Oxford Street and laid across three floors, or four if you count the basement also used this year, Designjunction, now in its fourth edition, has managed to establish itself as one of the must-see destinations of the London Design Festival. Featuring furniture, lighting and product design from around the world, Designjunction offers a great variety of suggestions for anyone interested in home accessories.

Here are some of the highlights of the show we enjoyed.

Dominic Wilcox’s ideas never fail to amaze and his Driverless sleeper car had puzzled visitors, taking shots and talking to the designer to find out what it is and how it works. The stained glass car was Dominic’s take on the idea of a radical vision for the future of mobility and was part of the ‘Dezeen and MINI Frontiers exhibition’. The aim of the exhibition was to explore how the synergy of design and technology could transform future travel. Dominic’s innovative design is a car that drives itself to its destination while you lay inside taking a nap or daydreaming through its stained glass shell. Food for thought for the car companies of the future…

London Design Festival 2014, Domic Wilcox, Driverless Car

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Domic Wilcox, Stained Glass Driverless Sleeper Car of the Future

Black Body’s impressive installation initiated visitors to the show’s lighting section found in the building’s basement. Comprised of dozens of lights hanging from the ceiling in formation, this installation created a remarkable effect that was quite reminiscent of a starry sky at night.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Black Body light installation

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Black Body light installation

Tom Raffield, an old Hidden Art member, was the first one we saw at the lighting section. A producer of hand-crafted furniture and lighting, Tom Raffield manipulates wood in a unique way. Made from steam-bend strips of wood, Tom Raffield’s light shades create beautiful shadows with light dispersing across the room as it peeks through wooden curls. Those with a fireplace at home can also stack their wood in one of his elliptical log holders.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Tom Raffield

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Tom Raffield

Moving on to the designers that are on our e-shop and Hidden Art members both past and present, we were very glad to find many of them exhibiting at Design Junction.  We first said hello to Jen Taylor and had a chance to admire Hokolo’s full line of designs first hand.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Jen Taylor at the Hokolo stand

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Jen Taylor at the Hokolo stand

Next was Lindsey Lang. Winner of this year’s Homes & Gardens Designer Awards 2014 – Young Designer Award, Lindsey’s stand featured her trademark patterns imprinted on cushions and kitchen accessories. Added to this was her take on tile design where blue white and grey mixed with round shapes to create soothing patterns for walls and flooring.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Lindsey Lang Design, Tile Series

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Lindsey Lang Design, Tile Series

Noodoll’s stand was full of the playful attitude that sets the brand apart. Added to their bright-coloured stationery, their 2014 series of animal-shaped tablet cases and funny looking, monster hooks were all there. Noodoll’s Cloud Cushion, a new comer to our e-shop, stole the show for us!

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Noodoll Cushions

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Noodoll Cushions

Moving upstairs we stopped at Aarevalo’s stand to have a small chat and admire the Kakkoii series of speakers once again! Timeless design, bold colours and the ability to stream music from any Bluetooth device; one can’t ask for more from portable speakers.  We were also introduced to ‘loop’d’, Aarevalo’s latest design: a mini-Bluetooth speaker you can wrap around your wrist. If you can’t part with your music when outside or doing sports ‘loop’d’ might be what you are looking for.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Aarevalo with Kakkoii speakers

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Aarevalo with Kakkoii speakers

Seeing unexpected materials used as a basis for household accessories is always fun! Like these wall hooks and candle holders made from colourful pipeline in Nick Fraser’s space. Set next to them were his terracotta series of Pendant Shades and vases.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Nick Fraser Pipeline and Terra Cotta series

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Nick Fraser Pipeline Series and Terra Cotta Designs

The 3d-printed Straw and ‘Henry’ the Egg Cup sets were attracting a lot of attention at DesignK’s stand. In the spotlight, however, was his all-new Geometry Collection. Re-imagining an everyday ritual, DesignK managed to bring the Bauhaus spirit to tea and coffee breaks. A full tableware set that marries elementary shapes with the constructive style of patterns, the Geometry collection proves that functional can also be beautiful and extra-ordinary.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, DesignK with his new Geometry Collection

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, DesignK with his new Geometry Collection

Not far from DesignK’s stand we stopped at Vitamin’s space to get the latest update on their designs. Next to their familiar Knot Lamp Shades we spotted their brand new K Lamp. Made from terra cotta, its fusion of round shapes and earthly colours make it a beautiful decorative piece that could stand on its own even if it wasn’t a lamp.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Vitamin, K Lamp

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, Vitamin, K Lamp

Julian Mayor’s work is always fascinating. He is inspired by the sculptural possibilities of computers combined with industrial and craft making processes. At DesignJunction he launched the Organic Loop and Contour Chairs. He exhibited with Alex Garnett who designs tiles. He exhibited at the HIdden Art stand at 100% Design in 2003 when his Impression Chair was on the front cover of the Independent.

London Design Festival 2014, DesignJunction, Julian Mayor

London Design Festival 2014, DesignJunction, Julian Mayor with Alex Garnett

David Weatherhead’s love for wood and bold colours was spread all through By’s stand. We had a chance to admire By’s clock and stationery line and also spoke to David about the ‘Time Machines’ collection, a series of clocks that look like they jumped right out of a Dali painting! We’re very glad that ‘Time Machines’ will soon be arriving on our e-shop.

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, David Weatherhead from By...

London Design Festival 2014, Designjunction, David Weatherhead from By…

Having spoken to many designers, we had the last sip of our drink and headed off to Designersblock. Overall, Designjunction was a nice way to kick off the ‘festivities’ in this year’s London Design Festival and provided a nice warm-up and a lot of inspiration for the days that followed.

DESIGNERSBLOCK

Designersblock was close to Designjunction in the lovely Clerkenwell in the Old Sessions House. For us it is one of the must-see destinations not only because of the variety of designs on display but also because of the opportunity to get a glimpse of the stunning architecture that London still has to offer.

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, The Old Session House

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, The Old Session House

Now in its 17th year, the 2014 edition of Designersblock took place in a beautiful building, the Old Sessions House at Clerkenwell. The space chosen couldn’t be more appropriate and it was well worth a visit even if design is not among your interests. The large marble surfaces, high-ceilings, wide old staircases and long corridors of this old courthouse were cleverly mixed with designers’ work, interesting lighting and colour choices to create a very modern, urban aesthetic. One of the show’s highlights was the succession of projections upon the building’s dome on the inside.

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Dome Projection

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Dome Projection

One of the most impressive spaces was the main hall on the upper level where designers exhibited their work under old-school arched windows and an immaculately painted ceiling against high, worn-out walls that brought the word industrial to mind.

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Upper Main Hall

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Upper Main Hall

A few minutes before closing we managed to see the Plumen’s Glowing Oak. Planted in the centre of a spacious room, a single tree was decorated with pendant light shades to create a stunning indoors light installation.

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Plumen Light Installation

London Design Festival 2014, Designersblock, Plumen Light Installation

Overall, Designersblock stood out for its unique aesthetic, the choice of space and the emphasis put on young design talent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s