21 things I really liked at the London Design Festival 2018…
1 Soho Home’s pop-up shop/event space housing an impressive collection inspired by its ever-increasing number of Houses. It’s been fascinating to watch the brand, renown for its interiors since its first collaboration with Ilse Crawford on Babington House, grow and evolve. Interior directed now by Linda Boronkay (who rumour has it is also designing Amal and George’s pad!!), Soho House has become an adjective. The new showroom is on the top floor at Barber & Parlour — “a space to discover and shop the furniture, textiles, and tableware that have been tried and tested in every Soho House worldwide.” And there’s even an in-house monogramming service! Soho Home, Top Floor, 64-66 Redchurch Street, Shoreditch, London, E2 7DP. Until January 2019.
3 De Padova. Relatively new to London, and sharing space with Boffi (the deluxe Italian kitchen crafters), De Padova is one of my number one look-to design brands. Why? Because it has an amazing collection of pieces, all revelling in the joy of material and form, plus it’s re-issued some of the eternally classic pieces by Paolo Tilche, such as the ‘Silvia’ rattan chair designed in 1960, shown below. For LDF18 it showed new designs from Danish/Italian design duo GamFratesi, Piero Lissoni and Omi Tahara. You could also see the latest super sleek kitchens from Boffi! De Padova, Boffi Chelsea, 254 Brompton Road, London SW3 2AS
4 ‘In the Neighbourhood’ an exhibition devised by interior designer/stylist Louisa Grey (founder of interior design studio House of Grey) and her friend and neighbour Morgwn Rimel. Showcasing the work of emerging local and international designers, artists and makers, it was divided between two homes: Grey House, an elegant North London townhouse, and Blue House, an eclectic loft set in a converted Methodist congregation hall. My fave was the Grey House, described by Louisa as “evoking a sense of warmth, elegance and calm, Grey House features subtle and refined hues, textures and finishes. Curated with an emphasis on handcrafted, natural materials and artwork sourced from international designer makers.” It’s a real case study of a sort of domestic calm that I believe many of us dream of. Sadly the exhibition will now be closed, but I loved it so much, I’ve posted more images in a separate post here.
5 Sanderson’s 50 new paint colours. In 1900 Arthur Sanderson introduced a small collection of paints to complement his wallpaper and fabric collections. Now, more than a century later, Sanderson have 154 different colours, with 50 of those brand new this season and available in a selection of finishes. Rebecca Craig, design manager at the Sanderson studio explained: “Key changes include freshening up the yellows and greens to link in with our Botanical ranges, adding in a selection of greys and teal shades, more coastal blues and sophisticated floral shades.” And did you know they tint all their paints in-house, in the same facility as they manufacture the wallpapers? Impressive. Sanderson
6 Space Copenhagen x Benchmark When this Copenhagen-based super duo works with one of Britain’s best contemporary craft/furniture brands, you have to sit up and take notice. Especially when they say that the designs are inspired by “Donald Judd’s radical and minimalist universe”. The results then are predictably sophisticated and making their way straight to the top of my desirability charts: the spindle-backed ‘Gleda’ sofa, made in solid oak with brass details, and available in three finishes – white oiled oak, aged oak and ebonised (a matt black finish with accentuated grain patterns), and the ‘Muse’ sofa in natural timber with feather-topped cushions and tactile fabrics and leathers. Space Copenhagen x Benchmark
7 Matthew Williamson x Osborne & Little The latest collection of embroidered and printed fabrics and wallpapers from the king of colour is inspired by his home in Deya, Majorca, and it’s a riot of flowers, butterflies, fruit and fauna. The digitally-printed ‘Deya Meadow’ paper shown below comes as three 3m panels and I can imagine pasting this across a wall in an otherwise plain room and it’d be like having your own internal flower garden. As Matthew puts it: “I wanted to create the feeling of walking in a summer meadow so set about photographing single stems of meadow and woodland flowers. The flowers have then been arranged and set against a sky blue backdrop. This wallpaper is a favourite of mine and I can’t wait to hang it in my own home to create a dreamlike sanctuary.” Osborne & Little x Matthew Williamson
8 Poliform x Viola Menchini A simple concept: striking clothing designed by a selection of the most talented alumni from Istituto Marangoni London displayed within the iconic Poliform wardrobes. I particularly loved the joyousness of the clothes designed by art and architecture graduate turned fashion designer Viola Menchini. Poliform, 278 King’s Road, London
9 Lee Broom’s Observatory collection. Following the success of his launches in Milan and the USA, British designer Lee Broom transformed his London showroom to present the third and final instalment of ‘Observatory’, his award-winning, stellar-inspired lighting collection. Plus he added in a new piece: Orion, think modular tubes with opposing spheres, presented in gunmetal black. Lee Broom, 93 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3AY
10 Christopher Farr Cloth x Anni Albers. Anni Albers (1899-1994) is one of the best-known textile artist of the twentieth century, alongside Lucienne Day, so the news that Christopher Farr Cloth had collaborated with the Anni & Josef Albers Foundation to create two new designs was a stop press moment indeed. ‘Orchestra’ is drawn from a series of works with the same title, inspired by Anni’s visits to the Berlin Opera as a child in the 1920’s. ‘Temple’ is developed from a study for the Ark panels to hang in the Jewish Temple Emanu-El, Dallas in 1956. Although Albers worked primarily in textiles, creating wall hangings, curtains, bedspreads, mounted “pictorial” images, and mass-produced yard material, later in life she added printmaker to her repertoire, producing many designs in ink washes for her fabrics, and occasionally experimenting with jewellery. So fabulous news that CFC is helping to keep her legacy alive. Christopher Farr Cloth x Anni Albers
11 A Fountain for London by Michael Anastassiades. With the rise of bottled water many of the drinking fountains introduced to London in the mid 19th Century have been allowed to run dry. And today, when the pressure is on to shift to a refill culture, The London Fountain Company, set up by Jane Withers and Charles Asprey, is on a mission to bring fountains back to the streets of London. It’s first design by Michael Anastassiades was launched during LDF18 at the V&A. Elegant, enduring and robust, as you’d expect from Michael, it can be used for refilling bottles as well as drinking, and the hope is that it can be implemented on a larger scale in the capital and beyond, starting with its first permanent placement on Thurloe Place, South Kensington. The London Fountain Company
12 The Scandinavian Eco Townhouse As an ever-increasing number of people are looking to minimise environmental impact when decorating their homes, it was interesting to see Skandium transform its flagship four-storey townhouse in South Kensington into a Scandinavian eco home with the help of two stalwarts of Scandinavian design, Montana and Skagerak. The intention was to not only curate a collection of responsible design, but also to demonstrate that it can be a vibrant, beautiful and liveable solution. As such, Montana enlisted architect Helena Laursen, to design two of the floors in its signature bold colour palette, while Skagerak transformed the basement and garden using their collection of FSC-certified furniture from a contingent of 30 international designers. The Skandium Townhouse, 31 Thurloe Place SW7 2HQ
13 Sarah Colson x Debenhams Fingers crossed that Debenhams can keep up the momentum with its collaborations with British designers as I think this should be it’s USP, that thing that differentiates it from any other department store on the fast-being-depleted not-so-Great-anymore British high street, as I wrote about here. So, chuffed was I to spot this collaboration. The first home Edition designer its worked with since the launch of Abigail Ahern’s collection, and the only lighting designer. Sarah was inspired by natural quartz formations and said of her work: “I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to work with Debenhams and bring my experience and vision to the customer. Geometric quartz crystals nested side by side in illuminated caves inspired the forms for the GEM collection. The sculptural designs played with the light on their numerous facades and inspired the idea of creating multiple forms that could be use individually or as an eclectic set.” Available in store, and online, from December. Debenhams Edition collections. Sarah Colson
14 Scholten & Bajings x Fortnum & Mason Using more than 80 products, designed by companies from across the globe, Dutch design duo Scholten & Baijings, famed for its delicate tableware, created a contemporary tea installation on the first floor of the historic flagship store in Piccadilly. Fortnum’s iconic Eau de Nil colour provided the inspiration, with all furniture and products designed by Scholten & Baijings bearing the distinctive green hue. In addition, a special porcelain tea set was made for the occasion by 1616/arita japan and Maharam Accessories Japan, produced in the Japanese Arita region, renowned for its fine porcelain since the 17th century. The marble floor and tables were produced by the Italian marble manufacturer Luce di Carrara.
15 Lara Bohnic The ancient art of Urushi, or Japanese lacquerwork, has long been a source of fascination to me. Especially Urushi boxes, often used for jewellery or the storage of love letters. Either way they were precious boxes for precious things. But often very traditional in form and pattern. Enter then Lara Bohinc’s new limited edition creations for LDF18. Delicious dainty boxes with a sculptural twist. Loved’em! Lara Bohinc
16 Society bedlinen. Ahh how I love this company’s bedlinen (So much so that I’ve written about them here.). And I always look to them to see which colours they have chosen for the season ahead as they occupy a rare sweet spot, poised between fashion and home, that I’d call home couture. For AW18 it appears to be sea greens and blues, with a touch of rich plum. Society Limonta
17 At Home with Hostmaker According to At Home with Hostmaker, “the home should be an artful concoction of places travelled, people met and stories formed along the way”. And it should know, as the brand offers a home-making service as a series of packages from mood boarding to full installation, for the time poor seeking interior design. As a way to show off its versatility, for LDF18, it crafted an exhibition that took the curious through three three rooms with three distinct personas. “The Botanist offers sanctuary in its abundance of foliage, hessian and blooms; The Bold intrigues with deep moody hues and comforting sumptuous textiles; and The Artisan allures with its rustic imperfections.” At Home with Hostmaker
18 Molteni x Gio Ponti Molteni hold the official license to re-issue work from the Gio Ponti archives. And one of the latest pieces to receive contemporary glory is Gio Ponti’s D.859.1 dining table, originally designed for the Time Life Building. An exquisitely sculptural piece of art/furniture in solid ash with bronze ferrules, it was designed originally as a meeting table for up to ten people. It stands out not only for its impressive size—over 3.6m long—but especially for its simple yet refined design. I only wish I had a dining room big enough to put it in. But hark, as well as now being available in a darker-toned black stained ash, the D.859.1 is also available in two smaller versions that faithfully reproduce the harmony and proportions of the original design. Result. Molteni
19 Forest + Found x egg Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth, aka Forest + Found, are an artistic duo who produce sculptural and wall-based artworks. The use of raw material is integral to their work, with wood transformed into objects that they describe as “symbolic of human ritual” and images “that conjure the monumental and contemplative”. This exhibition was looking at “the elements of earth, fire and water that form the connection of life to the land”. And many of the vessels in the show were made from a single beach tree found in Sussex. Very appropriately, the pair exhibited at Maureen Doherty’s egg, a shop devoted to the most beautiful everyday things. As she puts it, “egg makes and sells timeless, simple clothes, accessories and objects. Drawing on traditional skills from around the world it is not about fashion, but about the pure enjoyment of shapes, colour, materials and making.” Bliss. Egg, 36 Kinnerton Street, London SW1X 8ES
20 Cole & Son Botanica Collection Finally, this wallpaper deserves a mention for being one of those rare, stop you in your tracks prints. And with an increasing desire to bring greenery into our homes, whether real or fake, I don’t think you could actually do much better than this magical ‘Forest’ design, or in fact many of the other prints in this fabulously outdoorsy collection. Cole & Son Head of Design, Carley Bean, explains the inspiration: “One of the things I’ve always loved about the English landscape is its distinctive seasons. The innate beauty of nature and the magical allure of its transformation through the year. Botanical ~Botanica~ is our ode to nature. We wanted to explore both the unkept beauty of forests, fields and meadows, as well as the love and attention given to cultivated gardens. We started sketching, finally deciding upon 15 unique designs paying homage to our British roots. Each design was hand-drawn and hand-painted to scale capturing the inherent beauty of the subject itself.” Cole & Son Botanica Collection
21 Electroanalogue at the Coal Office First glimpse at the space which Tom Dixon, ever at the vanguard of all things cool, now calls his HQ. And this exhibition was exploring the creative space between technology and making through a diverse range of installations and collaborations. So from hyper real patterns printed onto carpet and digitally-printed cow hides to furniture made with specially-patterned Formica to new prints for wallpaper company Kirby Design. A great new space and an interesting concept. Tom Dixon