As with most trade fairs, it was difficult to find dense clumps of strong design at the London Design Festival; instead gems were dispersed throughout. When an object did stand out, the work was clever, as exemplified by a flat-pack boat made by two recent RCA grads; gracefully technical as in Jake Dyson’s handsome and super-long-lasting (will-it-to-your-grandchildren) task lamp; or adorned with traces of the maker’s hands as was Johannes Nagel’s pottery. Creativity was found, and hailed from, everywhere: The Australians made a fine showing at Designjunction while the streets of London, itself, provided wall space for those who didn’t want to hire an exhibition booth at Earls Court.
The streets of London, itself, provided wall space for those who didn’t want to hire a booth at Earls Court. This jocular example was on a street off Brick Lane in Hackney, East London.
With Sam James and Doug Inge, Jake Dyson (James Dyson fils, and the inventiveness shows) has created a dimmable LED task lamp that resembles an architectural ruler and gives a warm white light that will last more than 37 years. A visually graceful blend of its inspirations (a construction crane and a drawing board), CSYS moves like butter from front to back, up and down and rotates on its axis while its intensity can be adjusted via an unobtrusive touch-sensitive button.
Clerkenwell-based Jake Dyson’s CSYS task light boasts heat pipe technology developed for use in satellites that distributes heat away from the LEDs, saving energy and prolonging life. With 100,000+ hours of use, it could become a legacy for your grandchildren.
For Established & Sons’s Shoreditch offices and its My London-themed events celebrating the origins of the brand, Nendo printed multiple city maps on heavy trace paper, cut them into squares and feathered the walls with them to mimic London’s legendary fog—of which there was, thankfully, none during the festival.
Tom Dixon hosted events at and near his offices at The Dock, a year-round restaurant situated along a narrow canal in West Kensington. The stand-out product, however, was a flatpack boat by two 2011 RCA graduates, Max Frommeld (pictured here) and Amo Mathies [Max is pictured in the boat in one of the photos] who milled a high-density polyethylene plastic to create “live hinges” that can be folded over and over again a minimum of 6000 times. It will retail for only 800 pounds (about $1,250) in a package that includes oars, watertight cushions and a safety device.
Leipzig-born ceramicist Johannes Nagel showed conspicuously hand-formed and hand-painted pieces in the basement of the limited-edition design gallery, FUMI.
Another work by Nagel.
Instead of no rest for the weary, LDF offered some places of respite: a vast Kvadrat-lined lounger by the Bouroullec brothers inside the Victoria & Albert Museum was much talked-about but this white pipe and colored stripe-lined Illy coffee bar was sponsored by both Italian furniture maker Moroso and lighting manufacturer Flos; it was a pick-me-up that had to do with décor as much as caffeination.
At Designjunction, Australian Jon Goulder of Midland Atelier showed the low-slung Amore Mio chair with a cut-out backrest and feet that taper from front to back.
Also at Designjunction, Australian Marcel Sigel seemingly mixed comic book and Arts & Crafts jewelry to produce the Wall Brooch coat rack.
Charles Trevelyan’s Titanic Lamp is in the spirit of Flos’s architecture-embedded lighting systems, sinking into the surface on which it should float.
At Tramshed, spearheaded by Luis de Oliveira of the increasingly progressive Portuguese furniture label De La Espada, Søren Rose Studio showed off a bristly chandelier that is a good example of a species of pendant light that a number of designers have been experimenting with lately.
Vienna-based designer Thomas Feichtner exhibited work that's formally experimental, but refined for a larger market by producers.
Feichtner's dishware features narrow, seemingly unstable bottoms but actually are quite stable.
Feichtner's angular teapot, bracelet, and cutlery design called "Cutt."