Last Sept 17 to 25, more than 400 London Design Festival (LDF) exhibitors took over the UK capital. Scores of designers presented their latest collections and wowed visitors with their amazing artistry and creativity.
The festival also provided the design community the opportunity to explore emerging concepts and materials. Unlike at Milan’s Salone del Mobile, where exhibitors offer finished products for sale, here at the LDF, many of the products showcased were not fully developed for retail yet but were exciting ideas waiting to happen.
In 2016, the festival comprised five official shows and seven “design districts” around the city.
Among them, I had the chance to visit Decorex, 100% Design and Luxury Made — three large-scale shows designed specifically for the interior design and decorating trade industry.
In this first of a two-part series, I have picked out some trends and ideas that caught my eye during my visit.
Modern angular-shaped and accented creations were on trend including Tom Faulkner’s pieces which were stunning to say the least. An award-winning British outfit, the brand is known for its beautiful handmade tables, chairs, lighting and accessories.
With highly polished surfaces and worked in various metals, wood and glass, Faulkner’s pieces often feature strong architectural lines and distinctive shapes.
Ethnic and handcrafted
Eye-catching ethnic prints and patterns were also brought to the forefront of modern design as seen on fabrics by A Rum Fellow which was founded by Caroline Lindsell and Dylan O’Shea. Their creations often feature handwoven fabrics designed in the studios in London but made in the hills of South America. Most of the textiles are created by skilled Mayan artists interpreted in classic ethnic motifs with modern contemporary colours.
Meanwhile, Joanna Bird showcased a number of ceramic art spotting ethnic touches from artists such as Pippin Drysdale and Jaejun Lee, each showcasing handcrafted works which were stunning in their simplicity.
One of the highlights at Decorex was the Sir John Soane’s Museum booth which provided a launch platform for its licensing partners to showcase their design-led products which are inspired by the museum’s vast collection that goes across a broad range of categories — from interior design products, to home furnishings and garden ornaments.
Licensed products promoted awareness of the museum and generated valuable income. All profits were returned to the museum and used to support its continued work. Curated by influential interior designer and architect Ben Pentreath, this year’s booth was absolutely captivating. The Haddonstone’s (one of UK’s leading manufacturer of fine garden ornaments and architectural stonework) replica bust of Soane’s Inigo Jones was a standout for me.
It was also a delight to see IVO Prints working with the Kew Botanic Library & Archive to celebrate the vital processes and biodiversity of nature.
This collection featured hand silk screen prints on 100% linen and linen/cotton for use as drapes, blinds and wall mounted panels. Selected designs were also available as non-woven wallpapers.
Art deco luxe
The art deco trend continues to make a strong statement at many shows and it was no different at the London fairs last autumn. French fabric house Casamance featured many nostalgic motifs and colours of the European jazz era in warm golden tones contrasting with bold aquamarine shades. The trend was also reflected in tableware including fine bone china by Royal Crown Derby. It introduced a new elegant tea set that was really stunning. Named “Oscillate”, these pieces were hand finished in 22 carat gold and will make a truly handsome addition to any collection.
Also making an impact was Ecart International’s collection of furniture and lighting pieces designed in the early 20th century by the likes of Eileen Gray, Mariano Fortuny and the late modern designer Andree Putman.
Several brands showcased at Decorex took on the cool Scandinavian look. Sebastian Cox’s Bayleaf Collection was designed and made at his South East London workshop with each piece handmade from British wood. The collection celebrated the colours, grain patterns and unique differences present in the diverse, home-grown timbers.
From France, Harto of Paris showcased pieces that were charming and wont to make a lasting impression on anyone while the Alki collection combined ancestral tradition in furniture-making with modern technology to create a contemporary style that hinted of Scandinavia.
Watch this space for the next instalment of more interesting interior trends from the design capital of the world.
This story first appeared in TheEdgeProperty.com pullout on Feb 17, 2017, which comes with The Edge Financial Daily every Friday. Download TheEdgeProperty.com pullout here for free.