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September 2013

London Design Review

discovering, championing and inspiring new designers

A complete review of the 2013 London Design Festival including insider info from the designers who took part. confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013


London Design Review p3

The London Design Festival was incredible yet again this year. The sheer volume and diversity of design was incredible. The colour, the pattern, the texture, were at times overwhelming, but always inspiring. What struck me throughout the festival was that the really special pieces, the things that stayed with you, all came from a place of good intentions, of openness, of generosity. Whether it was HAM’s limited edition copper foil rabbit print created and sold in aid of Maggie’s, the Mini Moderns Remix project, which saw them give away their designs and colours to a group of designers they respected to do whatever they wanted with, or the Heal’s Discovers project champioining new designers. My own project this year was BRINK, also aimed at discovering and championing the design talent of the future. It was incredibly hard work but worth every second when the graduates started making connections with press and buyers. And I think that is what London Design Festival is all about - making connections so that we can all find our own way to do good through design. As Kyla McCallum says in my interview with her on p10: “Good design creates a positive response in people and helps them in some way. It could save their life or simply put a smile on their face.” I hope you enjoy reading about the London Design Festival. Here’s to next year! Best wishes, Katie x PS A special thank you to Adam Hollier who took many of the photos for the magazine - check out adamhollier. co.uk. He’s very talented - and absolutely lovely!

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September 2013

tent london

Tent has secured its place in my heart as my favourite show at the London Design Festival. The natural light helps - T1 is just a nice place to spend time. The balance between old favourites like Zoe Murphy (above) and new talent helps - it’s about 50/50 every year, which I think is right. The festival atmosphere fuelled by music and good coffee helps. But I think what does it is the people. Tent London is run by a bunch of really nice people with a passion for what they do and an understanding of what it’s like on the front line of LDF. And it shows. The exhibitors are happy and relaxed and there’s a really nice vibe at the show. I decided to partner with Tent for BRINK (see p38) and I’m really glad I did. I’m also really glad I found time to look around the show! Here, and throughout the magazine, are some of my top

picks. I loved Zoe’s stand and also loved her collaboration with Mini Moderns (see p34). Sian Elin, who launched at Tent last year, was back with new designs, looking as bright and fresh as ever (see p16). I loved Junction Fifteen’s Olly stool, named after Oliver Twist for its twisted leg detail. (Read my interview with them on p30). It was great to finally meet Bjorn Andersson (see p54) and the team at Tortus Copenhagen (see p46) having featuring them both on the blog in the run up to Tent. I loved Sebastian Cox’s coppiced hazel creations. His passion is contagious - read my interview with him on p56. I loved Rachel Powell’s new Nelly print - especially when she confessed how easy it was to design! (See p50.) Room 39’s collaboration with Jude Dennis was a gorgeous and innovative development

(opposite top right). Tamasyn Gambell’s midcentury inspired fabrics were a real find (see p32). I’m still in love with Seven Gauge Studios (opposite top left) having met Joy Bates at Pulse in May - the yellow and grey colour combination is to die for and the wool is so soft to touch it feels like it might melt away. And moving the trend on to orange and grey, I loved Melanie Porter’s fabulous knitted creations (opposite bottom). Having heard Tori Murphy’s name on the lips of many a design savvy person, it was lovely to finally meet her and see her work in the flesh. I love the fact she’s got the guts to embrace an almost monochrome pallet when all around her designers are rocking every shade of icecream. And I want one of Piers Saxby Candy’s jelly mould lights! (See p14).


London Design Review p5

Photos by Katie Treggiden

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September 2013

“I’m inspired by the crazy chaotic life and street culture in India, from graphics on auto rickshaws and highway trucks, the Ben-Day dots of Bollywood poster prints, holy cows, or a carnival of kites, to the curious characters in government offices, local markets, bazaars and tea stalls.” Kangan Arora


London Design Review p7

Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013 Now in its third year, designjunction has become an established part of the London Design Festival and this year took over the former Royal Mail Sorting Office on New Oxford Street for the second time. The ground floor was like a Morrocan souk, a Thai food market or a bustling Surrey farmers’ market depending on your frame of reference and exciting or overwhelming depending on your mood. A consumer-friendly combination of designermakers and food stalls made the whole experience very immediate. The person on the stand was usually the person who had designed and made what they were selling which meant you got to hear the product stories first-hand always a treat! I loved Richard Brendon’s collaboration with Patternity. I am a big fan of Kangan Arora (see p6) and Lindsey Lang, who is tipped to be the next big thing by those in the know! HAM was there to launch a limited edition copper foil print in aid of Maggie’s, which I was delighted to see flying off the shelves. I’m such a type geek that anything Monotype do always appeals to me - the notebooks for FAO were perfect. Not Another Bill also made an appearance, selling subscriptions to their monthly gift in the post service - and Falcon Enamelware had a new range of colours on a stand completely constructed from cardboard. Lovely Pigeon’s expansion into stationery was going great guns and Barbara Chandler’s Joy of Design

designjunction


London Design Review p9 photography project featured a series of portraits of designers that really seemed to capture their personalities. Upstairs another two floors had a calmer vibe and the architectural details of the Old Sorting Office were more visible - helter skelter style mail shoots being a personal favourite. On these two floors, new designers rubbed shoulders with the old guard and there was a real diversity of design to see. I was delighted to see confessions of a design geek Bursary shortlisted Thorody (aka Vicky and Theo, below) with their own stand for the first time and a whole host of new products, including one fabric named after their cat Ivor! Likewise Kyla McCallum with her Foldability products - see

Photos by Adam Hollier

p10 for my interview with her. It was great to finally meet Baines and Fricker and see their new product range including a coffee table that is already being stocked by Heal’s. See p36 for more from them. Another recent entry into Heal’s is Dare Studio. It’s always a pleasure to see Sean and on this occassion it was also really nice to meet one of the designers he’s working with to expand the range. I first came across Northern Lighting at the Stockholm Furniture Fair so it was great to see them represented in London and to meet one of their designers, Vibeke Skar see p29 for more from her.

Studio (more Stockholm pals) on the Mitlab stand, but their products were looking gorgeous as always. Victoria Delaney’s ghostly plates also caught my eye Victoria originally trained as a silversmith and used old cutlery-making die tools to press the image of a piece of cutlery into these plates. An original and captivating idea. Therlemont Hupton also had products named after their pets - this time stools named after Dolly and Jessie the dogs. MidCentury Modern also took over a large portion of the venue, providing another consumer-friendly opportunity to shop.

I just missed Note Design

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September 2013

interview :: kyla mccallum


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Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013 Kyla McCallum is in the 95th percentile for spacial awareness. This became clear when we met, over an InDesign lesson - she could see every configuration of the grid in front of us immediately and simultaneously - configurations that had to be pointed out to me one by one. It’s no wonder that she’s doing things with an origami module that even the man who invented it didn’t think possible. I caught up with her at designjunction...

Tim Walker and how he creates such large-scale, fantasy scenes. My origami projects are getting bigger and bigger and I hope to create work on a similarly large scale in the near future. I really like doing one-off, site-specific projects as they bring new challenges and force me out of my comfort zone.

“I like to design through making and I enjoy playing around with a material. The lighting collection I launched at the London Design “When I was five years old, I Festival began with one model in wanted to be either a fashion mind but when I started folding designer or a sea lion (a little odd, the pieces I realised there were I grant you!) when I grew up. many other shapes that I could I spent my early years living in create. I get a bit carried away safari parks as my Dad trained sea sometimes and keep making lions and dolphins. He used to let new things rather than honing me and my sister play on the sea down and focusing on one thing lion stand and try to balance balls and completing it. I have to be on our noses like the seals. I never strict with myself if I want to get could work out how they did it, anything done! I often come up but dreamed that one day I would with ideas but have to put them be able to! to one side until I have time to work on them. It’s nice when I “Now, I’m an origami addict! get a chance to delve back into I’ve just launched a studio called past sketchbooks and remember Foldability, specialising in origami all these projects that I’m excited inspired products, packaging and about working on. bespoke pieces for interiors and events. In the future I want to “My sketchbooks are filled with use origami to create large-scale pictures, notes and drawings of set design and displays for visual things that have inspired me. merchandising. I’m also obsessed Whenever I feel a bit stuck I just with fashion and would love to look at them and it takes me back design a collection one day. to the excitement I had when I was first making them. Also, I’ve “I’m a bit of an image hoarder and started to use Pinterest but it’s a have thousands of inspirational little dangerous as I can get stuck pictures on my computer and on there for hours! all over my studio and bedroom walls. The first thing I do when “The best days start with a cup of I move to a new space is cake coffee and a hot almond croissant the walls with images. I’d die from The Corner Café. It’s great without my printer! I’m inspired if I manage to get my emails out by a broad range of things, from of the way before 9.30am and fashion design to architecture and don’t look at them again until photography. I love the work of late afternoon. I like it when I’m

working on a new project but it’s at the development stage where I’m still exploring, drawing, making and experimenting. Any day that involves a trip to Leyland is quite exciting. I’m like a child in a sweetshop in there! “I studied on a course where projects were often themed around saving the world or design for communities. I always felt a little out of place as I just enjoyed working with materials and considering the aesthetics of objects, which was perhaps a little frowned upon. It’s not that either form of design is good or bad, but there’s a broad spectrum of design disciplines and each area has a different purpose. Perhaps you could say that good design creates a positive response in people and helps them in some way. It could save their life or simply put a smile on their face. “I’m really proud that I’ve launched the Sonobe lighting collection. It’s a project that’s been brewing for four years so it’s great that the products are finally available to buy. “My advice for aspiring designers would be to get advice from the people they admire and find some good mentors. I learned more in one hour of talking to an established lighting designer than I had in five years of university. “My LDF secret? I had to change into my party outfit behind my stand on opening night! The doors had already opened for the preview and we hadn’t quite finished the stand. I had two minutes before an interview in the VIP lounge for Monocle radio so there wasn’t time to nip to the ladies for a wardrobe change!”


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Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013


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100% Design

“I grew up in a village and as a child, I used to go down to the milking shed to help - or hinder! These days my workshop is in an old milking parlour. The cows and pigs are often my only company. It’s pretty cold in the winter - I sometimes find my tea has frozen over while I’ve been working!” Piers Saxby Candy confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013

q&a :: sian elin


London Design Review p17 How do you overcome creative block? I try to travel a lot and go to see new things. That’s a great way to stay inspired and feel excited about all the pattern and colour around you. Or I’ll What inspires your designs – just take a break and move onto and how are they designed? another area of my business. Sometimes I’ll work on a new My designs are inspired by design very slowly over the Eastern patterns, combined with Western and Scandinavian course of six months, just so I can experiment a lot, think sensibilities. I take Islamic and Moorish designs and I abstract about what I want to achieve, and have the head space and them, redraw them, and recolour them. I use graphic time to develop my thinking shapes with a midcentury feel. I around an idea. hand draw all my designs, then I scan them in, and get the repeat What does it mean to you to have been part of the working by touching them up London Design Festival? on screen. Then I colour them in Illustrator. And then they’ll go It’s a fantastic platform to showcase new and exciting to print! ways of looking at things, and I think it’s really important to represent British design. What’s the most important thing to know about you? I have always loved drawing and designing since I was a kid, and what I get to do now is my childhood dream.

Photo by Adam Hollier

London is at the forefront of world-class design, and as it’s just a stone’s throw away it seems silly not to take part. What was the best thing you saw at the festival? I loved Zoe Murphy’s work. She produces the most beautiful furniture which delights the eye. And the incredible wooden hand-woven lights by Louise Tucker. Fantastic craftsmanship! What are you most proud of ? Leaving my job and building my business over the past year. Tent is my one year anniversary, so I am very proud of that! What advice would you give to an aspiring designer? Keep it simple, and do what you do really well.

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September 2013

“A good day in the studio involves an early start, preferably before 8am, and getting lots done before midday. A nice lunch and maybe a stroll down to my local junk shops to gather inspiration and objects followed by a productive afternoon.� Ed Kluz, St Judes


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:: imprint :: I was pretty excited about Imprint at Craft Central, billed to be “a cross-disciplinary exhibition of printed design,” and it didn’t disappoint. I am a bit of a print-nerd, and I loved the different ways that “print” had been interpreted by the exhibitors and the curators. Janet Stahelin Edmondson had used lace to ‘print’ into porcelain. I was really inspired by Hannah Victoria Locker‘s prints which were made of two overlaid sheets of opaque ‘trugrain,’ each with a different pattern, so the idea of printing colours in layers was taken even further than in traditional screen printing. Kethi Copeland‘s collaboration with Dosmaquinas Monterrey, the Amsterdam Printed Chair, was a great example of taking printing into 3D form. I like the idea of printing on found materials and Marby & Elm‘s letterpress (wooden Gill Sans type if you’re interested!) Sing With Me print was a lovely play on the sheet music it’s printed on. The exhibiton also included printed textiles by Laura Slater, the latest from Thornback and Peel and some handmade screen printed notebooks enough to get any stationery-nerd excited!. Founder of HAM and famous for screen printed bunnies and pigs, Joanna Ham is also a very talented fine artist. Her newest work (on the left in the picture to the right) was developed especially for the show. Each print is created from a mixed media collage, which is then used to generate a photogram, which is in turn digitally reconstructed and hand screen printed – the detail is incredible and having been privileged to see these in progress I was bowled over by the final result. If you get a chance to look at them close up you’ll be amazed that they’ve been screen printed. And on the right, I loved the colour and texture in Katy Binks‘ abstract prints, which are also hand printed. Photos by Katie Treggiden

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September 2013 The Brompton Design District is always a pleasure to explore and reminds me of the days when the London Design Festival was something I ambled around for fun on evenings and weekends. There was a sense of spontaneity, the feeling that you never knew what was waiting around the corner. Brompton still feels a little bit like that - you can get lost and just enjoy bouncing from red LDF sign to red LDF sign. You don’t need a strategy or a map and you’re not necessarily looking for things you already know about. There is still a sense of discovery - for me at least. This year I found Young Creative Norway, which

was well worth the trek up Exhibition Road (see p28). I found RCA Sustain, an edited version of the graduate show I visited earlier in the year. I explored the V&A at length and very much intend to get thoroughly lost in there again soon. (See p44 for more on my favourite installation.) I also visited some old favourites. Skandium never disappoints during LDF and this year had a fascinating exhibition which laid out the design and making process of two products - the Cate & Nelson tea pot is pictured below. It was fascinating to see all the iterations and refinements made by the designers throughout the process. Mint had an exhibition called

Cabinets of Curiosity which showcased cupboards and cabinets from one designer containing beautiful objects from another. (See left hand image on the right.) Squint had once again taken over the “garage” space nextdoor and created a riot of colour and pattern. I particularly liked the chair with its upholstery cut in half to show the layers within. LDF saw the launch of Squint’s Velvet Collection: a selection of British furniture and accessories covered in bright red velvet, including mahogany tables. Staggeringly the whole collection is water- and heatproof making it a lot more suitable for everyday use than it looks!

:: the brompton design district ::


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Photos by Katie Treggiden apart from bottom right

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September 2013

100% Norway celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, making it just a year younger than the London Design Festival itself. Curators Henrietta Thompson and Benedicte Sunde came up with the concept “10 x 10” and invited 10 rising stars to showcase their work alongside 10 established Norwegian designers, each of whom responded to the themes of light and nature. Outside, a huge Sun installation (above) by Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad celebrated the light that is so important to Norwegian culture and design, due to the fact that parts of the country see no natural daylight for up to three months during the winter! I loved Lars Beller Fjetland’s topheavy Cloche lamp inspired by

a bluebell. Made from just three elements, its improbable form is made possible by the flexibility of the lightweight ash wood used for the ‘stem’. Epaulette was a simply designed picture frame by Ida Noemi and Caroline Olsson, who met at 100% Norway two years ago when they were both showing individually. Manufactured by Menu, the clever combination of a limited number of parts means it doesn’t require any screws, glue or fixings. The Bow stacking stool by the Strek Collective is the result of a collaboration with Fyresdal Tre, a Norwegian wood manufacturer. The design combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design processes. The Copper Mirror Series by

Hunting & Narud is made of granite, steel and copper, celebrating Norway’s mining heritage and native materials. Sverre Uhnger’s O lamp is inspired by his fascination with lathed wooden balls, and named for its circular shape. The tuck sofa (top right) by the same designer reveals its construction in the visible wooden frame, but is softened by the padding and textiles neatly ‘tucked’ around it. Finally, I loved the simple Scandi style and honesty of materials used in the Siska collection by Kristine Bjaadal (bottom right). Kristine develops her designs through modelling instead of sketching, resulting in proportions that fit the hand perfectly.


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Photos by Katie Treggiden

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September 2013 I think 100% Design comes in for a lot of unfair criticism - it’s a trade show and a very good trade show at that. I must confess that I have been guilty in the past of running around the Emerging Brands and Interior Design sections and giving the rest a miss. This year I had reason to explore more widely and I’m glad I did. In the International Pavillion I discovered the Adaptive Taipei City stand, representative of their bid for 2016 World Design Capital. As well as the colourful Aurelia Light by QisDesign and the stunning Crack Vase by Jacky Wu, there was a design concept for a bus stop that blind and partially sighted people could use to find out when their bus was due and let the driver know that they’d like him

(or her) to stop. Good design is about finding solutions to problems and making people’s lives better and this might have been the best example of this I saw at LDF. I wandered into the Kitchens section and discovered new LED technology that enables food production within the home, reducing food miles and waste to zero. Domaas/Høgh were showing in London for the first time in the Super Design Market. I missed them on the day, but caught up with them later to find out more about their creative process see p26. And of course the Emerging Brands and Interior Designs sections didn’t disappoint either.

Lorna Syson (right) is a regular in the Emerging Brands section and always has a gorgeous range of nature-inspired textiles. It was lovely to bump into James UK and Young & Norgate again, who both seem to be going from strength to strength with bigger stands every time I see them! Meeting Steuart Padwick for the first time was really nice too, as was hearing about how he designed the original Penguin side table in an hour for an event where everyone was sitting in Penguin deckchairs and therefore too low down for the tables at the venue. And it was fab to meet the team at St Judes (see p18) and Felicity Dessewffy (see p60).

Photo by Katie Treggiden


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100% Design

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September 2013

domaas/høgh :: the creative process


London Design Review p27 I caught up with Norwegian design duo Domaas/Høgh after their first LDF experience to find out more about their creative process... “We aim to make products that are fun, simple and will make people happy. “We are inspired by everything around us. Children and their way of being creative inspire us. Materials and techniques are also a big inspiration. If we discover a new material or a way of using it our ideas are turned on like a tap. “It all starts out with an idea that just comes into our heads, often when we are in the shower or sitting on the bus. Then we talk about the idea, explaining it to each other. This is when the fire starts and

we want to start right away. Sometimes we go straight to the workshop and start making, to see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes we go back to sketching and making adjustments in the design. We love making the prototypes ourselves because you get a better understanding of the material and what is possible. Some ideas disappear as quickly as they come, but others stick. “If we get creative block, we go and do something else. You can’t control the creative flow. If an idea comes up, we have to get it down on paper so we don’t lose it. We try not to stress about our work because when we are relaxed the work flows by itself. A stressed idea is not always a good idea. We always move around in our

process. We do not work step by step in one order. We jump around back and forth. There is never the same order to our process and we think that this keeps it from getting boring. “When we are working on a good idea and we get really excited about it, we talk over each other and just spit out whatever is on our mind. We get excited about each other’s thoughts and we can go on like this for the whole day. Suddenly one of us can burst out with something regarding the idea when we are actually talking about something else! We keep thinking and working away in our brains like this. “Our advice for new designers? Be Curious. Be fearless. Continue to work even if you face adversity.”

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September 2013 I walked through the doors of the Ognisko Polskie (literally ‘Polish fireplace’, but we’re told it’s the Polish Hearth Club) and was confronted by the hustle and bustle of something not quite ready. Dustsheets hid unknown masses, workmen carried ladders, a voice in the distance issued directions. “I’m looking for the Young Creative Poland exhibition,” I ventured hesitantly. A workman looked confused. “It’s upstairs,” a voice came - from upstairs. The voice belonged to a smiling young lady who led me up to something that was most definitely ready, in fact something that has been four years in the making. In 2009 the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Creative Project Foundation brought

an exhibition of Polish design to London, introducing a new generation of young talented designers to an international design audience for the first time.

alongside recent graduates who are energising Poland’s design scene with new ideas, blurring the boundaries between traditional craft and cuttingedge industrial technologies.

Young Creative Poland was an exhibition as part of Polska!, a year-long event aimed at promoting Polish culture and design in the UK and beyond. The show featured Oskar Zieta’s Plopp stools, Beton’s Chair Transformers and Puff-Buff ’s Queen’s Chandelier.

Work from 40 designers was showcased representing the diversity of Poland’s design industry. Disciplines included product and graphic design, textiles and lighting, and street art and architecture.

Fast forward four years and many of those ‘rising stars’ are now household names, not just in Poland, but globally. Young Creative Poland – 4 Years On, curated by Miska MillerLovegrove, Anna PietrzykSimone and Kasia Jezowska, brings them back to London

Highlights included Vzór’s production of the iconic RM58 armchair designed by Roman Modzelewski in 1958 – the prototype is in the permanent collection at the V&A. After more then 50 years, the armchair is being commercially produced, using 21st century technology to bring 20th century vision to life.

young creative poland Photo by Katie Treggiden


London Design Review p29

“I find inspiration in nature, culture, minimalist form, unique details, exclusive materials and craft traditions combined with a strong passion for trends and fashion.� Vibeke Skar, Northern Lighting

Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013

interview ::

Photo by Adam Hollier


London Design Review p31 What’s the most important thing to know about you? We manufacture everything in Britain, using skilled craftsman. When you were five years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? And now?! David: My mum would have said an artist - I used to decorate every wall in her house with crayons! Ben: To be honest when I was five all I wanted to do was build things out of Lego. Nothing’s really changed. What inspires your designs? Watching how we interact with everyday objects and finding ways to use our local manufacturing resources. Tell me about your process. Each product starts with a

thought, an idea, a doodle, detailed sketches, 3D CAD modelling and eventually a prototype. We identified pieces from our library of concepts that were right for our debut collection. We chose manufacturing methods that ticked the boxes for us in terms of sustainability, skilled craftsmanship, an innovative contemporary aesthetic and quality build. What’s your failsafe route to inspiration? David: Coffee! It’s important to keep busy, to stay focused on your goals and sketch through it. Ben: Always question the things around you: why and how? You’ll be surprised how quickly you can kick start your creativity. Get out and about and look around you.

What does it mean to you to be part of the London Design Festival? Delight at being able to showcase our collection at such a prestigious event.We’re excited about the endless opportunities, meeting new people, clients and getting an insight into fellow designers’ lives and works. Best thing at LDF13? Wonseok Jung’s robotic wings with pendant light on the BRINK stand - it was mesmerising. (See p38.) What advice would you give to an aspiring designer? Gather as much knowledge as possible, investigate, question and try new things. Secure a placement whilst studying. You never stop learning so start early.

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September 2013

“My advice for aspiring designers is to recognise what your style is and develop it. Stick to what you are passionate about and do best. Don’t compromise yourself in order to be commercial.” Tamasyn Gambell


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Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013 Just when you think you’ve got Mini Moderns licked, they up their game and surprise you again. Their latest project, Remix, is a collaboration with a group of designers who have each taken a Mini Moderns pattern or colour and made it their own, resulting in a vibrant range of products that are very Mini Moderns, but in a very new way. With the strap line “Made in the UK by nice people,” Mini Moderns founders Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire are nice people too, people who invest time in mentoring through projects like Boost and the confessions of a design geek Bursary, people who care where their products are made and by whom, and people who attract other nice people to them. Looking around the launch of the Remix project at the East London Design Store was actually quite moving. Here was a group of people who’d trekked halfway across London on their last free evening before the London Design Festival to support Keith and Mark. They were the perfect hosts, welcoming people like long lost friends, making sure everyone had a drink (Rosie Lee‘s Earl Gray martinis no less) and introducing people to each other. Keith spent most of his evening ushering designers to the same spot as their products for me, so I could snap some pictures! It’s no wonder the cream of London’s design talent wants to work with them – and with fantastic results. Nice is underrated in my opinion.


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September 2013


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Q&A :: Baines and Fricker Having long been a fan of Baines & Fricker, I was delighted to get the chance to quiz Eliza Fricker about the work they were showing at designjunction... What’s the most important thing to know about you? Neither Steve or I went to university and I think this has given a more varied and exciting route to where we are today, which reflects in our work. When we were five I wanted to be an archaeologist

Photo by Adam Hollier

and Steve wanted to be an architect. Now, we are where we want to be (although I would love to write a book!). What inspires your designs? Heritage, craft and industry. What’s your failsafe route to inspiration? Going out together as a family to somewhere new or to a firm favourite. We always have fun and talk about stuff. That usually seems to do the trick. What does it mean to you to be part of the London Design Festival? We get to see people - other designers and people who understand what we do. It’s great to finally see all our work together and to get the chance to talk about it. It makes all the

hard work worthwhile. What are you most excited about? Working with Heals! What are you most proud of ? Being a couple and working together. What single piece of advice would you give to an aspiring designer? Design and make what you like. Don’t try to make things that you think other people will like. And finally, what’s your favourite colour?! This week? Yellow.

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September 2013


London Design Review p39

Photo by Adam Hollier

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September 2013

Having scoured graduate shows up and down the country, BRINK was my curation of 2013 graduate design talent. I was honoured to present work by: (from left to right in the image above) Sam Jennings (Falmouth University), Bilge Nur Saltik (Royal College of Art), Wonseok Jung (Royal College of Art), Hannah Quinn (Manchester Metropolitan University), Alex Mueller (The Cass at London Metropolitan University), Carolina Peraca (Central Saint Martins), Henry Franks (Northumbria University), Gav Birmingham (Dundee University) and Tobias Gutmann (Konsfack University). Hannah Quinn said: “Having visited London Design Festival last year as a student seeking

inspiration, I certainly didn’t expect to be exhibiting there myself the following year! I was so excited to be part of BRINK. It’s a fantastic opportunity. As a recent graduate this level of exposure is invaluable so it’s great that confessions of a design geek and Tent are working together to provide a platform to promote graduate design,” And Alex Mueller said: “BRINK was great for me. I was really honoured to be chosen to show my work on the stand. Showing at any exhibition is always a great experience, but knowing that I was selected as one of nine designers from the whole of 2013’s graduate output makes it extra special. It was a great experience talking to people about my work, getting interesting feedback

from industry professionals and having the opportunity to meet other designers and exhibiting next to such talented people.” I’ve written about each of the selected designers’ work in detail at confessionsofadesigngeek.com/ category/brink/ 2014 will see BRINK move to an 800 sq m space in the Truman Brewery’s Loading Bay Gallery on Dray Walk. As well as a curated space of 2014’s design graduates, universities and graduate collectives will have the opportunity to buy stands putting their work in an industry context in front of buyers, specifiers and potential employers and students for the first time. Photo by Katie Treggiden


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Photos by Adam Hollier

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013


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Photos by Adam Hollier

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013


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v&a :: god is in the detail

lens. It was an installation that really brought the 2013 LDF theme “design is here, there and everywhere” to life, opening your eyes to the incredible design that is all around you.

Ross Lovegrove said: “You can just wander in off the street and come into the V&A The London Design Festival – my studio is very close so I installations at the V&A are often do. There are moments always a pleasure to explore: when you just need to see seeing contemporary design something amazing. When amongst the permanent you come here you see such collection always provides an immense sophistication. I could interesting viewpoint. have easily chosen ten things – there’s a Celtic doorway This year, this was particularly evident in installations designed just around the corner that’s incredible – it looks like it was to highlight the incredible design already at the V&A. The digitally designed… but if you want to focus in on something best example of this was God using a crystal, I think its better Is In The Detail, a project for to choose something small – which 14 designers, including Ross Lovegrove, Faye Toogood plus my eyes are going a little bit, so although I love that and Tom Dixon, were each asked to highlight a detail within spoon, I do need the lens to see it properly! the V&A using a Swarovski

“If you look at the people in this gallery, they don’t look – and perhaps that’s okay, because it’s all about the experience of being here, but then they go out into the street and they don’t look there either. People take design for granted: a watch is incredible, the detailing on a car - the rear tail light on a car is like a jewel with all the LEDs and we walk past them every day. “When you walk around a museum, no-one’s giving you a focus, no-one’s saying look at this or look at that, and that’s a beautiful aspect of this project. To have people who live in London and do interesting things saying to people: “Gosh take a look at that!” I love that idea.” It was a really inspiring project that embodied the ethos of the London Design Festival.

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013

interview :: tortus copenhagen


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September 2013

“I am an idealist, and have even been called a moralist. “When I was five I think I wanted to be rich. Sadly, I became a potter! “Our designs are inspired by the materials themselves and the way they transform in the firing process. “At Tortus, production and design are one and the same. We design intuitively as we experiment with form and surface over time. We do not draw on paper or make models, producing as we feel in the moment. Each ceramic object is a form of sketch. We accumulate knowledge over time through the many attempts we make with our many glaze types and clays. “My failsafe way to find inspiration is sitting at the wheel and making simple vessels. Even after more than 20 years of working on the wheel, I am amazed by how it constantly reveals new possibilities. “The success of my work on the wheel has to do with whether or not I have the touch on the day. Some days, I feel so in tune with the material that I dare to take big chances with objects on the wheel. Every now then, I feel from the moment that I sit on the wheel in the morning that my touch is off and should just take the day off to save myself from a lot of frustration. “The London Design Festival means that we can present our work in a new setting to an international audience that does not know us. We left the safety of our home in Copenhagen where people’s perception of our work is coloured by what they have seen from us in the past. We can find out if our work strikes a cord outside of Scandinavia. The response has been overwhelming and we will definitely be back. Tent has meant amazing international exposure for us. “Good design moves me on an emotional level due to a sensed passion or motivation behind the design. “I feel proud when people spend their hard-earned money on our products because they sense the quality of the work and passion that goes into their making. “The most important lessons are hiding within the things that challenge us. “Never dismiss or assume too much about a design or product without a closer look. You will really be missing out, as some of the best design is not the most straightforward. “The materials we use in the production of our ceramics are accessible to anyone. We have just found a way to use them in an extraordinary way. “My favourite colour is green, but we have not made any ceramics in that colour yet.” Eric Landon, Tortus Copenhagen


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Photo by Adam Hollier

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013

Photo by Adam Hollier


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“A really good day starts with a ride out on my horse, rain or shine. It’s valuable thinking space for me. Then coming home and putting my scruffy printing clothes on before starting a day in the studio printing. Being up to my neck in ink and mess, with the radio on, is when I am at my happiest.”

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013 Designersblock popped up in the Southbank Centre for the second year running, this time with a much bigger presence right across the venue. You can always guarantee that Designersblock will be a bit of an adventure with a few suprises chucked in. Last year Lauren Baker stole the show with her embellished skulls, this year there were a few contenders for top spot. I loved Camilla Barnard’s popup workshop announcing her intentions with the sign: “I’ve got wood. What do you want me to do with it?” And true to her word she was carving everything from Gregg’s sausage rolls to entire pencil cases with wood. The sheet of A4 paper she had made for one witty customer made me smile.

The New English is a regular at Designersblock and always comes up with something new - this year, true to form, it was mugs on heads (below right) and plates on manekins. A large part of the Clore Ballroom (right) was filled with lots and lots of iterations of Gerald the paper dog, made from the same kit and decorated by different artists. Gerald was part of a rebranding exercise by Lazerian, who seems to have taken on a life of his own. There were too many to pick a favourite, but I was rather taken with Liam Hopkins’ Radiate. Alongside the fun stuff, there was also a lot of seriously good design. I loved Miriam Jones’ simple wooden products decorated with electricity wire

to add a splash of colour (below left). I also was very excited to finally meet Polly Granville and see her newest work. There were some fabulously ontrend concrete containers with lids in various warm metallics by Roseanne Bannister. I loved Jane Crisp’s Three Years in the Making collection - a Family of Milking Stools and the Trug, Fruit and Egg Basket worth the wait I’d say! Ceramic designs by Xiaoqi Zhang looked like they had melted into themselves - I think I spotted them at the CSM graduate show earlier this year. And it’s always nice to have an excuse to amble around the Southbank Centre!


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designersblock

Photos by Katie Treggiden

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013

“My first paper prototypes caught on fire during a photo shoot. I thought the idea had burnt and died right there!� Bjorn Andersson


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Photo by Adam Hollier

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013

interview :: sebastian cox


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confessionsofadesigngeek.com


September 2013 “When I was five I wanted to be a farmer and that developed into wanting to be an inventor at around age seven. Now I want to be doing exactly what I’m doing. With the possibility of having eight days in a week to do it in. “I am so in love with my material and how it ties in with a more sustainable life, I sit up at night thinking about it, reading up on it and watching TED talks about it. Planing a board of quarter sawn English timber to reveal its medullary flecks and rays genuinely makes my pulse race. And my work to date hasn’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible with coppiced hazel, I’ve got so many ideas of where I want to go with it.

“Most of my design ideas come from the material and how it’s going to be held together in a piece of furniture. I like to focus on very textured surfaces and finding ways to frame them neatly, to make sure they aren’t too ‘rustic’ or obtrusive. I like to use the detail of the construction of each piece to provide visual interest, with tenons, pegged joints, or dovetails – all visible and touchable. “It can either start with the material, or a sketch. Either way, it often involves a mockup of a joint or detail, and a few drawings. I rarely get too bogged down in CAD, but create just enough of a design to give me an idea of the form. I think it’s always

best to get on and make it. The best thing about being a designer-maker is that you can prototype your designs, and if they’re good, you can sell them! There’s no hanging around for manufacturers. “To get over creative block, I just have a conversation with my best friend, and studio mate, Liam Treanor. We’ve been workshop-wed for a while now, and as a result, we understand the way the other can visualise problems. We can often pluck the solution out of a quick ‘crit’. It’s really great. “My favourite days are in the woods, harvesting hazel. It’s hard work but is so rewarding. It’s such a special treat to spend a day in the woods for work.


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LDF13 in #photosofnumbers

“If you’re an emerging designer, you have to be a part of the London Design Festival to be a part of the industry. It’s bloody hard work, and very expensive, but it’s great fun. I spend most of late August thinking, “Why are we doing this to ourselves?!” But once your stand is up and you’re meeting some of the most interesting and exciting minds in the industry, who are all in the same place at the same time for one week only, you soon remember why. “I’m very excited about the Grown in Britain campaign. It really matters to me that people think about where the things they buy come from and this should include furniture and timber products. Grown in Britain are going to help make this happen. “I think Dieter Rams’ 10

Principles for Good Design still apply. The principles that interest me most are those that focus on environmental sustainability and making a product with longevity – aesthetically, physically, and emotionally. Winning the Wood Awards was brilliant, but I’m most proud of building a business in a recession and surviving the first three years. I would advise new designers to be experimental and be willing to accept that sometimes it’s okay not to be in control of materials. Sometimes they just do what they want, not what you want - especially wood! My favourite colour is the green of a lime leaf in May with mid-day sun above it. Mouth watering!

Photo by Adam Hollier (Numbers by Katie Treggiden)

confessionsofadesigngeek.com


“Each design starts with a spark, an idea or inspiration. From that point piles of sketches build up, maquettes are made and remade, rough full-scale models are built and shiny renders are created. Discussions are had to flesh out ideas, uncovering new aspects to the design. Then the workshop springs into life: scrap material transforms into rough prototypes - the hands do the thinking, until the leap to final materials is made and the piece is left to speak for itself.� Felicity Dessewffy

confessionsofadesigngeek.com

London Design Review 2013  

A complete review of the 2013 London Design Festival including insider info from the designers who took part.

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