One of the busiest weeks in the interiors calendar, London Design Week featured a plethora of events at a multitude of sites all across the Capital. From stunning hand-made pieces at London Design Fair in the East End to heaps of meet the designer sessions at swanky Chelsea Harbour, there was plenty to see and do for the interior’s obsessive.
Kensington’s Olympia played host once again to the largest and longest running trade event (with a day open to the public on the Saturday) and it celebrated its 25th year with Design Fresh, showcasing breakthrough new talent from the industry.
Highlights included A Sense of Finland, sited in a specially constructed eco log house which featured the very best of Finnish furniture, lighting and interiors and allowed visitors to fully experience the sights, sounds, taste and smells of Finland for themselves. Inside the house was filled with calming sounds of the Finnish forest with interior design that focused on sustainability and well-being. Closer to home was Underground Vol. II, Kirkby Design’s second collaboration with Transport for London, featuring seven designs from TFL’s archives that have been readapted as luxury velvets in geometric patterns with a modern spin on the colour palette.
The regeneration in King’s Cross makes it an attractive place to visit these days and no less so when Design junction is running. The premier design district – which includes the hip boutique store destination Coal Drops Yard, and the ever inspiring Central Saint Martins art school – this year showcased new and exciting brands shaping design today.
Cubitt House was the venue for lighting and furniture, while homewares and accessories were represented in The Canopy by designers such as fashion illustrator, textile designer and ceramicist John Booth, whose bold rug designs for Floor Story featured abstract portraits in vibrant colours. Talks included New Voices in Design organized in conjunction with LivingEtc, part of the magazine’s campaign to encourage diversity in design and discover what the industry can do to actively encourage participation by those from a variety of diverse backgrounds.
Even grabbing a coffee was a design delight if you stopped off at the Elle Decoration Café. Conceived by design studio Matteo Bianchi, it was fitted out with seating by Maurizio Casini and featured handmade rugs from Lillia Rugs and wallpaper by Baboon.
London Design Fair
In the heart of the East End of London, Shoreditch’s Truman Brewery was host to 550 exhibitors from more than 35 different countries. A collection of both independent makers and designers and more established brands there was so much to see over the four days. The Bathroom Gallery in partnership with Elle Decoration featured bathroom big guns Roca with Armani, while the International Craft Pavilion was home to beautiful work from artists such as ceramicist Linda Bloomfield and furniture maker Anthony Dain. Several country Pavilions featured work from designers from countries as far afield as Uraguay, China and the United Arab Emirates.
Chelsea Harbour was the elegant home to Focus/19 where new-season collections from 600 brands from around the world were on show. Furniture, fabrics and lighting were all on show and the walls of the FT’s How to Spend It pop-up restaurant helped to highlight the latest design directions, including Pierre Frey’s Chandernagor wallcovering by Braquenié, French Wave B and Franklin border by Adelphi Paper Hangings from Tissus d’Hélène.
A series of talks – Conversations in Designs – played host to a number of international design stars including Steven Gambrel, Kit Kemp, Russell Sage and Francis Sultana. LivingEtc Associate Editor Busola Evans joined a panel of experts to talk tile inspiration with Artisans of Devises. Showrooms responded to the ‘Legends’ brief by dressing windows and showcases at their best, featuring iconic photography from the archives along with their latest designs.
Wallcovering specialist Phillip Jeffries teamed up with Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co, pairing a photograph by Norman Parkinson of Dutch fashion model Apollonia Van Ravenstein, with Shangri La wallcovering and Delft plates mounted on the wall. Wallpaper* editor-at-large Suzanne Trocmé, who judged the Legends competition revealed: “It answered the brief beautifully…and was totally evocative of an era and I want to be in it.”