Highlights from London Design Week 2017
Six presentations that wowed with their vibrant, distinct vision
by Zach Robinson
For all the design fairs cropping up across the globe, the London Design Festival (LDF) still maintains its place as one of the most important and inspiring. Year after year, new designers break out through presentations across the city at this time. In turn, celebrated designers reveal their latest imaginative efforts. Some of it will one day find use in the home; other parts are simply a testament to creativity. The following six exhibitions took place across the festival this year, and each captured our attention for a different reason. That said, there's plenty of metallic finishes down below, but that's simply one through line we noted at this annual celebration of design.
Blackbody for Haviland
A large-scale standout from designjunction, the contemporary interior design fair, this chandelier marks a collaboration between French design studio Blackbody and porcelain producer Haviland & Co. Blackbody actually presented two vignettes of their unique OLED lighting (only one of which was done with the heritage partner) and also showed some smaller versions of their popular fixtures. Blackbody's strength comes from their efforts to use an array of OLED components to create a diffuse light that looks more like candlelight.
British designer Bethan Gray showcased her new tea set, made in collaboration with Editions Milano. The tea set takes inspiration from traditional British ceramic tea sets seen in the V&A archive. Its made from hand-carved Arabescato marble and detailed to the point where light gently filters through the sides of the vessels.
Matteo Cibic Studio
Matteo Cibic showed two collections this LDF. At London Design Fair, he presented his menagerie of golden characters, "Il Paradiso dei Sogni." These are 24k gold-plated and are produced in an edition of 99. He also showed his collection of flora and fauna from a utopian future where clothes, food and material needs are grown rather than manufactured. Called "Dermapoliesis," this collection was primarily composed of glass and ceramic but also featured benches and shelving in lime wood.
Dutch collective Form&Seek showed at the Netherlands official pavilion within the London Design Fair. All their objects are created to be both narrative and functional, with each telling a story through its form. This collection was called “Openness” and aimed to look beyond borders to showcase craftspeople and processes from around the world. The OP Vase by Bilge Nur Saltik used Turkish carved glass to create a kaleidoscopic effect making a single flower look like a bouquet—a certain standout. Additionally, their Hue Kitchen Textiles by Rive⋅Roshan employ an ombre to create different color compositions based on how they are folded for use.
Ornamental Grace + Olivia Aspinal
These unique pieces were made of the first "material of the year" for London Design Fair: Jesmonite. The gypsum resin combination feels like stone to the hand and can cary incredible color. For these, the Jesmonite was handmade by material designer Olivia Aspinal and used to bring color the the limited edition Ornamental Grace vessels.
Turkishceramics and Adam Nathaniel Furman collaborated on this site specific installation for Granary Square and designjunction, known as Gateways. Four 12-foot-high tiled gates aligned by way of their progressively smaller openings. Each arch featured a different ceramic treatment—from modern tiles to traditional pieces that harken back to Turkey's long history of ceramic production.
Images by Zach Robinson