2010-11 Product & Design Trend Report from The London Design Festival

on 4/11/10

Recently we saw the London Design Festival take place with a nine-day celebration of cutting edge creative design. Over 300,000 visitors descended on the capital to see the works of over 240 talented exhibitors across various trade fairs including 100% Design, Tent, Origin and Anti-Design. This distinctive Design Festival is a crucial platform for new innovations from an exciting range of design disciplines. 

The Trend Boutique were really impressed by the various concepts from contemporary works pushing forth the boundaries of innovative design, to those who choose to adopt rigorous traditional methods, all producing stunning pieces of work that embrace the creativity that is renowned at London Design Festival.

We have picked out the key influential trends from the festival. Be sure to look at our additional report on Origin, The Craft Fair at London Design Festival and additional articles on names that we feel are pushing the boundaries this year and definitely ones to watch.

Product Direction 1: Minimalist Lines

This year a number of exhibitors chose to simplify designs with an array of minimalistic products adopting basic shapes, colours (most popularly black and white) with fluid lines that create simple practical statement pieces of work.  

Japanese design company Nendo were key in adopting and representing this trend. With a concept that revolves around 'reconstituting the everyday by collecting and reshaping them into something that's easy to understand' minimalism was the strong theme throughout their furniture collection. 


Designs from 'Think Black Lines' collection by Nendo


Designs from 'Think Black Lines' collection by Nendo

Designs from 'think black lines' collection by Nendo

We also liked British design and manufacturing company Decode, whose  vision for influencing the future of modern design & lifestyle is based on quality in design, production and aesthetic. The 'Shell Chair' below has been designed by looking at how an organism in nature develops its structure layer by layer to create this lightweight versatile chair that can be used both indoors and outdoors. 

Shell Chair by Decode

Tripod stools by Decode are characterised by structural symmetry offering practicality whilst embracing the minimalistic trend. 

Tripod Stools by Decode 

Scott Richard & Victoria presented their 'A Year Apart' furniture collection at the 'Tramshed' event during London Design Festival designed over twelve months across twelve time zones. The partnership's final range includes stools, chairs and lighting. The 'Hospice Shelves' below are defined by tubular framework encapsulating simple planes of folded sheet metal. The simplicity of the design creates a visually appealing piece of furniture which is suitable for a variety of functions. 

Hospice Shelves by Scott, Richard and Victoria

These chairs from the Tabbed Dining Collection are defined by interaction between folded planes of sheet metal and hand finished oak elements adopting a range of colour palettes to present the minimalistic trend with a splash of colour. The sophisticated design creates a product that is multi-functional and visually appealing. 

Chairs from Tabbed Dining Collection

Product Direction 2: Unique Lighting

With the changes in EU legislation lighting has become a big deal over recent seasons as we look for new 'visually pleasing' & environmentally friendly alternative. At London Design Festival there was further evidence that designers are rising to the challenge.

Canadian design Omer Arbel and contemporary manufacturer Bocci presented their latest collection of chandeliers during London Design Festival. Using special glass blowing techniques these distorted spheres are created in which small LED or halogen lights are placed. Each piece is unique in form due to the production process and these vibrant pendants create a fun & vibrant lighting feature. 

Lighting by Bocci

These clear spheres grouped to form a large chandelier create a stunning statement piece within any space. The use of simple metal wires to hold the pendants in place adds to the visual impact. The pendants are designed cluster in hexagonal shapes which nestle into each other to create effective patterns. 


Lighting by Bocci

Lighting by Bocci

As well as featuring minimalism in furniture, Decode also designed an array of unique lighting that fits with this trend. This series of Vessels designed by Samuel Wilkinson and produced using special blowing techniques by Stewart Hearn look to celebrate the bulb from a different perspective. The use of different angles and shapes allows the product to either be hung as a pendant or placed on a flat surface. The unique shape and form of the vessels was recognised by nomination for Best British Design 2010. 

Vessel Series by Decode

Founded in 2009 by Attila F.Kovacs and Zsuzsa Megyesi to form Hungarian based company a+z design. This year the design duo launched their new Gipsy furniture collection at London Design Festival. Inspired by a desire to keep many of their disappearing cultural traditions alive, the collection embraces contemporary design whilst incorporating the folk culture of Hungary and Transylvania. These new objects have been transformed and designed for a modern urban environment.
 

Lamps by a+z Design 

These filament lamps by Scott Richard & Victoria are described as a contemporary re-interpretation of the handmade carbon filament lighting from the mid nineteenth century.

Filament Lamps by Scott, Richard and Victoria

Designer Esther Patterson combines classic designs with contemporary imagery to create distinctive designs such as these vibrant hand-blown glass pendants. She describes how her work 'explores relationships between beauty and perceived ugliness, questioning perceptions and examining visual metaphors'. By focusing on pattern and form the designer produces truly unique works.  

Ceiling Lights by Curiousa&Curiousa

 

Product Direction 3: Tactile Surfaces

As part of London Design Festival, 100% Design 2010 saw the launch of Giles Miller Surfaces. Using innovative production techniques unique surface finishes and materials for interior and architectural specifications are created. Giles’s techniques allow for personalisation and bespoke imagery to be integrated into the surfaces of the materials he creates, giving rise to a more personal and always original product that has led to work with clients such as Stella McCartney, Selfridges and Bombay Sapphire.
 
Inspired by the patterns on football pitches, Miranda Surface Tiles consists of thousands of tiny plastic hairs that can be manipulated by touch to create various designs. 

Miranda Surface Tiles by Giles Miller

These Rosaic Wall Tiles incorporate grids of 10 x 10mm 'pixels' with slanted roofs which can be inserted to face any of four directions. This creates an effect of up to four shades in a fashion that demonstrates the absolute height of creative originality and technical intrigue. 

Rosaic Wall Tiles by Giles Miller

This unique surface using corrugated cardboard highlights the talent and originality at Giles Miller's studio. By using a 'fluting' process whereby imagery is drawn in cardboard by alternating the direction of corrugation. The latest designs use 3-dimensional shapes such as these butterflies that protrude from the surface of the material.

Fluted Cardboard by Giles Miller

Product Direction 4: Nature-Inspired Woods

Interiors inspired by themes of nature were a key trend at London Design Festival this year, something The Trend Boutique have been talking about for quite some time and its great to see confirmation of this at the London Design Festival. Designers looked at using environmentally-friendly materials to create sustainable pieces combined with strong visual designs producing unique furniture. 

Japan based design team Leif Designpark presented this Flower Cup Chair design at the Tramshed event during London Design Festival. The modern design offers practicality as well as being a statement piece of furniture.  

Flower Cup Chair by Leif Designpark

Describing their values as being driven by what 'brings us together and ultimately makes us feel alive' Studioilse's designs are seen as a whole vision and experience which consider the needs of the client, and the world around us today in terms of social and economic realities. This eating unit named the 'Together Table' is described as 'furniture that brings people together'. Made from sustainable sources of solid chestnut this handcrafted piece offers additional seating through the design of an extendable table. 

Together Table by Ilse Crawford

Sebastian Cox's work embodies a strong ethos of sustainability. His most recent collection 'Products of Silviculture' aims to promote the use of hazel as a contemporary material, an abundant resource which the designer feels is overlooked in the UK. This 'Rod' desk lamp was the result of a lengthy design process in which the designer was attempting to find ways to make an adjustable lamp using limited materials and processes. 

'Rod' Desk Lamp by Sebastian Cox. Credit to Spadge UK

This superlight chair weighing only 1.8kgs is designed to be visually and physically lightweight. The design draws inspiration from nature with a solid hazel frame and woven hazel seat which adds detailed aesthetic interest and represents the traditional methods used for thousands of years to manipulate green wood. It has also been created to be removable so it can be easily replaced with as it wears. In addition, the design is created to be versatile to ease into any interior space without being obtrusive. 

'Suent' Superlight Chair by Sebastian Cox. Credit to Spadge UK

Sebastian adopts a different production process using sawn hazel rods assembled without glue, using the shrinkage of the green wood as it dries. By sticking to the same form as the previous design of the Suent chair, the product is a demonstration of creating aesthetic interest whilst considering the environment by using sustainable materials. 

'Kerf' Chair by Sebastian Cox. Credit to Spadge UK

London Design Medal

As a final note we wanted to comment on how earlier this year The Trend Boutique featured the work of the talented group at Thomas Heatherwick. We were impressed by the way in which the team had encapsulated nature within their stunning British Pavillion design at the Shanghai Expo pushing environmental concerns to the forefront of their project. The company's sheer talent was recognised this year when Heatherwick studios were awarded the highly prestigious London Design Medal for outstanding contribution to design at The London Design Festival. 

Thomas Heatherwick awarded London Design Medal. Credit Susan Smart Photography

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