ATTENDING A DESIGN FAIR FOR THE FIRST TIME
For one reason or another, I haven't ever been around to attend the London Design Festival. This September was my first chance and although I was really looking forward to it, I was also a tiny bit apprehensive. Some of this stuff is for 'the trade' isn't it? Would I be seen as a time-wasting outsider? Would I stand out a mile among all these creative types?
I had around five hours before my coach turned into a pumpkin (I had to be back for school pick-up) so it was a whistle-stop tour.
STOP 1: (UN)COMFORT ZONE BY DIMORE STUDIO
Interiors by Dimore Studio always stop me in my tracks. Their maximalism, luxe materials and bold use of colour are my kind of thing. So, when I saw they had an exhibition at LDF it went straight on my list. Mayfair galleries, on the other hand, are not my usual thing so you could say that this one was out of my (un)comfort zone (sorry!).
I didn't get off to too great a start when I couldn't open the gallery door (it knew I was an imposter) but one of the gallery team kindly opened it for me - phew!
Once inside, there were five room scenes that gave glimpses (though brass port holes) of imagined lives, richly-coloured decor and Italian furniture from the 1930s to 1970s. Some of it reminded me of my Nana's flat from when I was growing up, which is quite bizarre as the installation's imagined inhabitants were poker players and drug-taking party animals. Perhaps I just didn't realise what was going down at Nana's!
STOP 2: THE V&A
I wish I’d had more time at the V&A. As the LDF hub it had a staggering 28 design installations for the occasion, as well as all the usual V&A fabulousness. The only scariness for me here was the fear of missing out with only an hour or so to find my way to the highlights. That's pressure if your map reading skills are as patchy as mine.
My favourites, shown below, were Ross Lovegrove’s Transmission - a 21m-long sculpture made of folded material – and Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room, an immersive experience using coloured light.
STOP 3: DESIGN JUNCTION
Designjunction, my last stop of the day, was the one I was most excited about seeing and also most apprehensive about. This was the first day that the show had opened its doors to the public, not just to trade.
I couldn’t wait to explore and I really needn’t have worried. Bar one stand where the staff/designers didn’t look up from their mobile phones, everyone was really keen to talk about their products and the stories behind them.
I came across some beautiful ceramics by Emma Cerasulo, who produces her designs alongside artisans in Puglia, where she spent time growing up. I particularly loved her Splatter collection in a deep green glaze, which she describes as both bold and eccentric.
I also found a striking wall light that I couldn’t believe is handmade using coffee residue. Check out Recoffee Design. Brilliant!
I’m so glad that I finally made it along to the London Design Festival. There is so much inspiration to be found. If you’ve been tempted to go along – just do it!