London Design Week 2012

Karen Henry Cork Exhibition Lamp shades London Design Week Materials New Designs Show

Author: Karen Henry Karen Henry, Chief Designer, Bootkidz Ltd
London, UK
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September in London is Design Week (LDW) where local and international furniture designers and retailers exhibit their products in venues all around London The largest exhibition that is held every year is at Earls Court. This exhibition used to have established furniture companies exhibiting alongside new designers. In 2012 this show focused more on established local and international furniture companies and architectural suppliers.

London Design Week Coffee Shop
LDW Coffee SHop

For me, LDW is about the excitement of new designs, imagination, and seeing how a material has been used to create an object that appeals to me. Of course, an object that has been well made or crafted is something to appreciate. So with new and exciting in mind, I headed to Design Junction on Lower Oxford Street and I was not disappointed!

8.30am. It was an early start for the day - early Saturday morning in London is a quiet time. It was a sunny crisp morning, streets were quiet and peaceful. I arrived earlier than opening time but luckily had spied a cafe close by that had very good looking croissants - tea and croissants - what a fine start to the day!

Then it was time to be awed - so with high expectations, I was off to the show. Not a very glamorous exterior but inside, a great exhibition space.

At the entrance, the first exhibit was a Maserati - an impressive start!

Maseratri at London Design Week Entrance

I wandered around the floors and there were some fantastic designs on show. Of course, everyone will have their own favourites and these are mine :) My first 'discovery' was a table chair made of recycled aluminium with a wooden seat. The aluminium was powder coated in gentle colours and this for me matched the gentle subtle lines of the chair legs and backrest.

Recycled aluminium chair and table

By the same designer were a set of small lights that added a gentle sparkle to the space. On closer inspection, I saw that these lights were quite unusual in that they were entirely made of metal. A very friendly Matt Pepper introduced me to his new company and their products. He and Michael Young, the already well-known designer, have joined their talents to form EOQ. The lights are in fact made from a solid piece of aluminium. The light is carved out of this piece of aluminium and then powder coated - pretty impressive.

Aluminium power coated light cover-stand

Then it was off to see the fantastic work of Simon Hasan. Our paths crossed at London Metropolitan University where Simon was beginning his life as a designer. From the early days, Simon had incredible imagination and design ideas. Smart, witty, imaginative, hard working. What had he been up to?

Simon Hasan at LDW 2012

I loved the new lights - sort of smoky cafe or upmarket eatery/bar came to mind. Handmade with boiled leather and brass. Simons current materials of choice (for a good few years now) are his hand boiled and formed leather with touches of expensive metals like brass.

This combination is awesomely combined with his faceted mannequin design for Fendi - surely one of the best ever mannequin designs! Well done Simon!

As Simon pointed out - the food areas were fantastic. In fact, they were the best looking food spaces I have seen at a show. Look at these photos and judge for yourself....... 

Now on to other favourites - look at these lamps below, each designed and made in the country where that craft and material are found. From the left to the right, there is a concrete lampshade, a clay (ceramic ) lampshade, a marble shade, and finally a cork lamp shade, and a fabric shade.

Artek Cafe 1

Artek Cafe 2

There were a few more truly breathtaking light fittings or rather 'light sculptures'. Below are my favourites - a twisted wooden veneer lamp, a crystal umbrella shade from Baccarat, a hessian shade from Pinch, and floor lights from Bocci. 

An interesting idea in recycling is this lampshade made from a polystyrene box of some sort.

Recycled Lamp shades

Wooden veneer sculpture lamp

Bocci designs

Another Country

The British company Another Country had a selection of mahogany and oak (veneer in some items) designs. I particularly like the lampshade!

Spanish company Gubi had noticeably well-crafted designs. 

Orlando Kieley house had a sideboard that is both colourful and well crafted.


And on a final note... A fun answer to recycling car tyres :) Your very own King Kong!

Gorilla made from tyres with pink paint brush at LDW

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