Every year, the London Design Festival seems to grow in size, with more new neighbourhoods joining the fun, more pop-up locations all over town and more brands ordering yet more prosecco for their showroom parties. For us, though, it’s still all about east London, for fresh contemporary international design.
The London Design Fair in the former Truman Brewery, in particular, has stepped it up again in the past few years and offers a true treasure chest filled with emerging international design talent. The show feels like a mini design expo, hosting various exhibitions that shine a spotlight on the design scenes of specific regions - this year including the Balearic Islands and United Arab Emirates.
So, which new products and brands really stood out from the mass over all? Here are our favourite furniture and lighting discoveries from all over the city last week:
We spotted new brand Kam Ce Kam in their pop-up showroom on Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street. The founder is designer Jehanara Knowles, who grew up in the UK and India; her inaugural collection balances influences from both, with curved lines and natural materials like cane, chunky terrazzo and ribbed wood.
Mallorcan textile manufacturer Teixits Riera presented an understated daybed by designer Nicolas Guevara as part of the Balearic Islands: Made in Mallorca show at London Design Fair. The mattress rests on a slim angular walnut frame and is upholstered with the brand’s Alcadena ikat fabric in light grey.
Emerging brand Wangan Studio from Turkey wowed us with their Three Quarter Lamp, which they included in their set-up at London Design Fair. Three slim, gently brushed brass sheets with concentric circles surround the glass sphere with two of them not closing fully, creating an elegant asymmetric shape.
Also at London Design Fair, the United Arab Emirates was represented by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which exhibited artisanry designed and produced by women in the region. The show included a chair woven with a mane of Safeefah palm, created by Mermelada Studio with Emirati graphic designer Ghaia Bin Mesmar.
Along the hall, London designer Lucy Kurrein continued her collaboration with Italian upholstery manufacturer Molinari, launching the Otto sofa and lounge chair. With a generous footprint, its body is characterised by a slight bend between each seat and features voluminous, slightly curled back- and armrests, underlining the curvy nature of the piece.
London brand Altrock Surfaces presented a series of furniture made from their terrazzo. The material is a compound of scraps from marble processing, which are bound with resin to give these leftovers one more life. We especially liked the look of this pink round dining table with white-grey Carrara.
Next door, designer James Stickley shined with his bold but minimalist MMPM tables. Their tinted glass tops sit on hand-polished aluminium cylinders. The tubes are treated with a reflective mirror lacquer in blue or silver that gives them a futuristic space-age look, while the transparent coloured tops add another layer of hues on top.
Over at the 100% Design fair in London Olympia, David Rockwell’s new Sage collection was unveiled at the stand of British brand Benchmark. The range for commercial projects includes seating, dining tables and office furniture that all fulfil the WELL standard, a rating system for buildings focussing on wellbeing.
Another highlight from 100% Design: British brand Another Country presented the fruit of their collaboration with French designer Alain Gilles. The Fold Chair features a tall cane back. The black frame is made from powder-coated steel, while the seat and head cushion are upholstered with a grey wool felt.