LDF14 Highlights

I've just about recovered from my week of excitement at the London Design Festival. There's so much to say and I've barely scratched the surface, but here are some of my visual highlights.

I'm always a sucker for a bold print so naturally I felt compelled to take a shoe selfie on one of fashion designer Jonathan Saunders' new rugs for The Rug Company.

I'm always a sucker for a bold print so naturally I felt compelled to take a shoe selfie on one of fashion designer Jonathan Saunders' new rugs for The Rug Company.

While I was at The Rug Company I couldn't help but notice the impressive scale and precision hanging of the pictures. Also, the beautiful lantern. 

While I was at The Rug Company I couldn't help but notice the impressive scale and precision hanging of the pictures. Also, the beautiful lantern. 

You know you've made it when... The Rug Company has their own kitchen with resident chef at the back of the showroom (555 King's Road). They laid on this feast for the official launch of the Chelsea Design Quarter. Not too shabby.

You know you've made it when... The Rug Company has their own kitchen with resident chef at the back of the showroom (555 King's Road). They laid on this feast for the official launch of the Chelsea Design Quarter. Not too shabby.

Just across the road I was stopped in my tracks by this giant lantern. Having recently interviewed Charles Edwards for Alto Magazine I have a greater appreciation for the work that must have gone into it. Also, wow, it really shows how scale is everything. 

Just across the road I was stopped in my tracks by this giant lantern. Having recently interviewed Charles Edwards for Alto Magazine I have a greater appreciation for the work that must have gone into it. Also, wow, it really shows how scale is everything. 

These are the Tela glasses from Wrong for Hay which I was raving about last week. They have the feel of stitched fabric, very tactile and rather beautiful too. I nipped into Selfridges and found the Hay mini market in the basement (it's there until Christmas) I'm still lusting after the cushions. 

These are the Tela glasses from Wrong for Hay which I was raving about last week. They have the feel of stitched fabric, very tactile and rather beautiful too. I nipped into Selfridges and found the Hay mini market in the basement (it's there until Christmas) I'm still lusting after the cushions. 

Zaha Hadid's self-supporting Crest sculpture in the V&A courtyard was very easy on the eye and a much photographed centrepiece. Here's a more technical write up from Dezeen which explains how they got 8mm thick aluminium sheets to curve like this.  

Zaha Hadid's self-supporting Crest sculpture in the V&A courtyard was very easy on the eye and a much photographed centrepiece. Here's a more technical write up from Dezeen which explains how they got 8mm thick aluminium sheets to curve like this.  

This is a pic from the talk I attended at the V&A about the Wish List. I can't rave enough about this one, it really is a special project. Sir Terence Conran, in partnership with AHEC (American Hardwood Export Council) and his own furniture company Benchmark, asked his famous friends: "What have you always wanted?" So, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Amanda Levete... the list of 10 is a roll call of the great and the good of contemporary architecture and design... were partnered with emerging designers to actually make their dream object, the thing they'd always wanted but never found - assuming that thing could be made from sustainable wood.  You can read more about it here and there's a lovely 6 minute short film by Petr Krejci (click on playlist and it's the 11/11 one) shot at Benchmark's Berkshire workshop where all the pieces were made over a two week period. Watch it and I guarantee you'll be dreaming of moving to the country and taking up wood carving. All the pieces are on show at the V&A until 24th October.

This is a pic from the talk I attended at the V&A about the Wish List. I can't rave enough about this one, it really is a special project. Sir Terence Conran, in partnership with AHEC (American Hardwood Export Council) and his own furniture company Benchmark, asked his famous friends: "What have you always wanted?" So, Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Amanda Levete... the list of 10 is a roll call of the great and the good of contemporary architecture and design... were partnered with emerging designers to actually make their dream object, the thing they'd always wanted but never found - assuming that thing could be made from sustainable wood. 

You can read more about it here and there's a lovely 6 minute short film by Petr Krejci (click on playlist and it's the 11/11 one) shot at Benchmark's Berkshire workshop where all the pieces were made over a two week period. Watch it and I guarantee you'll be dreaming of moving to the country and taking up wood carving. All the pieces are on show at the V&A until 24th October.

Paul Smith was there demonstrating his revolving shed which was designed with Nathalie de Leval and made from thermally modified ash for the Wish List project.

Paul Smith was there demonstrating his revolving shed which was designed with Nathalie de Leval and made from thermally modified ash for the Wish List project.

Another Wish List object was Zaha Hadid's shapely water carafe "Ves-el" made from white oak and designed with Gareth Neal. Benchmark had to upgrade its CNC software to achieve the complicated form. Neal described it as having: "A sense of the handmade through the arm of a robot, questioning the viewer's perceptions of craft". Hmm food for thought.

Another Wish List object was Zaha Hadid's shapely water carafe "Ves-el" made from white oak and designed with Gareth Neal. Benchmark had to upgrade its CNC software to achieve the complicated form. Neal described it as having: "A sense of the handmade through the arm of a robot, questioning the viewer's perceptions of craft". Hmm food for thought.

Greeny/blue is pretty much my favourite colour so I made a beeline for these mouth-blown glass cylinders. They were part of an installation by glass artist Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert in conjunction with Perrier-Jouet, also at the V&A. Each cylinder is made from one breath. Pretty cool. 

Greeny/blue is pretty much my favourite colour so I made a beeline for these mouth-blown glass cylinders. They were part of an installation by glass artist Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert in conjunction with Perrier-Jouet, also at the V&A. Each cylinder is made from one breath. Pretty cool. 

This is Wintrebert posing by his cylinders. It's all about "the balance of light and form, as well as the paradoxical strength and fragility of glass". And arm tats. 

This is Wintrebert posing by his cylinders. It's all about "the balance of light and form, as well as the paradoxical strength and fragility of glass". And arm tats. 

I met up with fellow design journalist Giovanna Dunmall at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and we ended up spending most of the week hanging out at various events which was fab. Here she is trying out "designer doughnuts" by Martino Gamper. 

I met up with fellow design journalist Giovanna Dunmall at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and we ended up spending most of the week hanging out at various events which was fab. Here she is trying out "designer doughnuts" by Martino Gamper

Just as I was desperately trying to contain an eye roll of "only in East London" I turned around and saw said doughnuts having their own photoshoot. I've seen it all now. They were delicious though. 

Just as I was desperately trying to contain an eye roll of "only in East London" I turned around and saw said doughnuts having their own photoshoot. I've seen it all now. They were delicious though. 

I took some time out to do some serious journalism work on Fabien Cappello's 'Soft Play' installation in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. It was unlike any soft play I've ever been to.

I took some time out to do some serious journalism work on Fabien Cappello's 'Soft Play' installation in the lobby of the Ace Hotel. It was unlike any soft play I've ever been to.

Bethan Laura Wood's Altar was inspired by temple displays, altar pieces and harvest festivals and in the background you can see the inside of Hoi Polloi restaurant. I really liked it. It was part of the Super Stimuli event at Ace Hotel. 

Bethan Laura Wood's Altar was inspired by temple displays, altar pieces and harvest festivals and in the background you can see the inside of Hoi Polloi restaurant. I really liked it. It was part of the Super Stimuli event at Ace Hotel. 

Over at 100% Design at Earl's Court I caught a bit of Philippe Starck's talk. He is arguably the original celebrity designer. Make of that what you will. He's apparently a bit of a hermit who does very little publicity these days, but he was on fine Gallic form here in an almost stream of consciousness monologue: "being a designer isn't a choice, it's a sickness".

Over at 100% Design at Earl's Court I caught a bit of Philippe Starck's talk. He is arguably the original celebrity designer. Make of that what you will. He's apparently a bit of a hermit who does very little publicity these days, but he was on fine Gallic form here in an almost stream of consciousness monologue: "being a designer isn't a choice, it's a sickness".

Giovanna introduced me to the designer Paul Kelley (above) who was showing these amazing magnetic copper cubes that configure any way you like and looked just like real live Minecraft blocks.

Giovanna introduced me to the designer Paul Kelley (above) who was showing these amazing magnetic copper cubes that configure any way you like and looked just like real live Minecraft blocks.

Designjunction, held at the old postal sorting office on Oxford Street, was as busy as ever at the press preview with thumping bass coming from the DJ booth. Down on the ground floor Tom Dixon was selling items at up to 70% off (pic above). And there was so much to see over four floors it was pretty overwhelming. I always like the ground floor shopping bit which has lots of great indie shops/people like Kangan Arora, Theo, Hend Krichen, Ham, MinaLima, The Artful Project. I was also excited to find a new "affordable high-end" online interiors brand called Hem which is part of Fab.com and is coming to the UK very soon. I'll do a separate post on this.

Designjunction, held at the old postal sorting office on Oxford Street, was as busy as ever at the press preview with thumping bass coming from the DJ booth. Down on the ground floor Tom Dixon was selling items at up to 70% off (pic above). And there was so much to see over four floors it was pretty overwhelming. I always like the ground floor shopping bit which has lots of great indie shops/people like Kangan Arora, Theo, Hend Krichen, Ham, MinaLima, The Artful Project.

I was also excited to find a new "affordable high-end" online interiors brand called Hem which is part of Fab.com and is coming to the UK very soon. I'll do a separate post on this.

Designjunction draws the crowds year on year.

Designjunction draws the crowds year on year.

I went to a pretty cool party at the top of Tate Modern, here's a totally unnecessary picture of the view.

I went to a pretty cool party at the top of Tate Modern, here's a totally unnecessary picture of the view.

At the Finnish Ambassador's Residence, no less, we got to meet the delightful Klaus Haapaniemi who is a Finnish textile designer. It was such a beautiful location in which to see beautiful things. 

At the Finnish Ambassador's Residence, no less, we got to meet the delightful Klaus Haapaniemi who is a Finnish textile designer. It was such a beautiful location in which to see beautiful things. 

Loved this pyjama wearing dude at the Klaus Haapaniemi launch. The fabrics are lovely, they have a William Morris vibe. 

Loved this pyjama wearing dude at the Klaus Haapaniemi launch. The fabrics are lovely, they have a William Morris vibe. 

A wonderful clash of pattern at Klaus Haapaniemi who may be edging out the Hay cushions in my pattern lust list. 

A wonderful clash of pattern at Klaus Haapaniemi who may be edging out the Hay cushions in my pattern lust list. 

Airbnb put four sheds up in Trafalgar Square. It was a bit unexciting. 

Airbnb put four sheds up in Trafalgar Square. It was a bit unexciting. 

Although I did love the cool chicks from Patternity who were one band member short of the sisters from Haim. 

Although I did love the cool chicks from Patternity who were one band member short of the sisters from Haim

At Tent London I was instantly chilled out by the low vibrations of by these Meditation Bowl Bells, part of an exhibition called Constancy and Change in Korean Traditional Craft. Every home should have one.

At Tent London I was instantly chilled out by the low vibrations of by these Meditation Bowl Bells, part of an exhibition called Constancy and Change in Korean Traditional Craft. Every home should have one.

Also at Tent I saw this stunning origami wall covering by RCA graduate Tracey Tubb. Wow.  

Also at Tent I saw this stunning origami wall covering by RCA graduate Tracey Tubb. Wow.

 

Honorary mention for the fabulous Italian designer Paola Navone who introduced her new textiles collection for Dominique Kieffer by Rubelli she talked about how the interiors industry likes everything to be perfect, but she rallies against this:"Little accidents, I like them; I try to promote imperfection, controlled imperfection". 

Honorary mention for the fabulous Italian designer Paola Navone who introduced her new textiles collection for Dominique Kieffer by Rubelli she talked about how the interiors industry likes everything to be perfect, but she rallies against this:"Little accidents, I like them; I try to promote imperfection, controlled imperfection". 

And finally, this rug by Christopher Farr really spoke to me.

And finally, this rug by Christopher Farr really spoke to me.