Over the years, 100% Design, the festival’s main furniture show, has grown leaner, while off-site events have expanded their reach. This past September, the official LDF guidebook, appropriately named Design Is Everywhere, listed over 300 events within five designated districts. That’s a lot of Oyster Card use. But one thing remains true about this city-embracing week-long festival: London is full of extraordinary talent that’s impossible to ignore, with some of the best works coming from local designers.
Among them, Benjamin Hubert has been working on ways to make furniture lighter and save on materials. He debuted Ripple, a dining table made from wafer-thin timber, produced by Corelam of Canada. Meanwhile, Lee Broom has developed a cut crystal light bulb that has become a bestseller. He chose festival week to open his first retail location, in trendy Shoreditch.
A co-founder of Established & Sons, Sebastian Wrong left the tumultuous company last year and has re-emerged as the creative director of Wrong for Hay. In essence, he teamed up with the popular Danish company Hay to inject a new sensibility into its already tasteful lines, introducing 34 objects that range from wall calendars and pepper grinders to chairs, tables and sofas. A collaboration with such other talents as Stefan Diez and Scholten & Baijings, the collection is colourful, fun, and targeted to a consumer who loves design but doesn’t think it should cost a fortune.
1 Dot by Joanna Rusin
Dot is a carpet full of holes where you stitch your pattern of choice using a ball
of wool. From a series of participatory carpets designed by Joanna Rusin of Poland.
2 Marshmallow by Ghalia Edrees
Ghalia Edrees’s Marshmallow sofa – which looks as though its stuffing has popped the seams of its tailored upholstery – was a highlight at Tent London. Along with producing its own furniture, the Saudi Arabian designer’s Alghalia Interiors is a one-stop shop for decor.
3 Offshore by Permafrost
The newly hatched Norwegian studio Permafrost has updated the classic toy boat motif with a fleet of industrial and military vessels, including oil rigs, submarines and ocean freighters.
4 8.5 Degrees by Rasmus Baekkel Fex
By adding a slight lean to his chair and table designs, Rasmus Baekkel Fex of Denmark has strengthened the construction of both. The writing and sitting surfaces remain straight, so nothing is in danger of sliding off.
5 Ripple by Benjamin Hubert
For a while now, London’s Benjamin Hubert has been exploring ways to make furniture super-light. His latest piece, Ripple, weighs just nine kilograms and uses up to 80 per cent less material than a standard timber table.
6 Dollop by Ash Allen
If the Dollop light fixture reminds you of soft-serve ice cream, you’d be channelling the same imagery that inspired its designer, Melbourne’s Ash Allen. The sinuous pendant is made from slip cast earthenware.
7 Bungy by Leala Dymond
Bucks New University grad Leala Dymond won a 100% Design Award for Bungy sofa, which keeps extra cushions in place (and provides a secure spot to store the remote) with elastic cords.
8 Concave shelves by Joined + Jointed
British designer Simon Pengelly’s masterfully crafted concave shelves for Joined + Jointed make room for books, as well as objects of all shapes and sizes. The unit
is produced in two halves that stand apart or together.
9 Endless Stair by dRMM
Endless Stair, installed outside the Tate Modern by dRMM of London, resembled an Escher drawing come to life. Comprising 187 steps, the piece demonstrates the firm’s playful engineering and its innovative use of cross-laminated hardwood.
10 Supernova by Brody Neill
In the sleek Supernova desk, two radiating aluminum forms, each sprouting six arms, support a sheet of glass. It’s one of three launches by Brody Neill, the creative director behind Made in Ratio.
11 Udukuri by Established & Sons
Architect Jo Nagasaka’s resin and wood furniture for Established & Sons stood out among the festival’s best collections. The series, debuted in Milan, now includes a coffee table, side table, credenza and chair.
12 Wrong for Hay by Hay and Sebastian Wrong
A major global launch at the festival, Hay and Sebastian Wrong’s collection, Wrong for Hay, was displayed inside a restored Georgian townhouse. Composed of 34 products, the series is geared toward the mid-price market.
13 Cloche by Lars Beller Fjetland
Recent design graduate Lars Beller Fjetland debuted Cloche, a light that shows off its materials with finesse: the bell-shaped shade in spun copper, the stem in ash wood, and the base in cast iron.
14 Melk-i by Georg Muehlmann
Italian designer Georg Muehlmann’s ergonomic wooden stool, Melk‑i, relaxes your spine while strengthening back and leg muscles. It won a Red Dot Award earlier this year for its simple construction and health benefits.
15 Stainless steel bike by AOI Cycle
AOI Cycle’s handcrafted stainless steel street bikes are pure eye candy for urban cyclists. The Taiwanese company hopes to break into the European market with models for both men and women.
16 Silt collection by VW+BS
For this teapot and matching stackable cups from the Silt collection, British architecture and product design firm VW+BS employed the traditional Chinese material of unglazed purple clay.
17 Conductor by Faye Toogood
Faye Toogood never shies from extremes. At Established & Sons’ showroom, the London stylist, furniture designer and fashionista wired a bank of fluorescent lights to a table full of analog toggle switches and let visitors play around. Called the Conductor, her invention paid tribute to the unintended beauty of dated technology.
18 Lee Broom‘s new shop
The rise of London furniture and lighting designer Lee Broom continues, especially since he introduced his hugely popular cut crystal light bulb. He wisely chose LDF as the right time to open the doors to his first retail store, on Rivington Street in Shoreditch.
19 Norse by Modus
Simon Pengelly of Pengelly Design, creator of the Concave bookcase mentioned earlier, once more demonstrated his dexterity with wood. Norse, designed for Modus, is a contemporary approach to the mid-century bentwood chair.