London Design Festival 2014

Share this

We’ve always felt it a little odd, with our CDW hats on, that some people suggest that the festival is already ‘too big’.

As far as we’re aware, hardly anybody says the same about Milan – and that’s massive! So we’re certainly not going to hypocritically moan about the size and sprawl of the London Design Festival.

As with CDW and Milan, you’ve simply got to do a bit of homework and cherry pick what you feel is best for you.

So it was that, this year, we decided we shouldn’t overextend ourselves and instead should concentrate on the two major events that are at the heart of what Mix does – namely 100% Design’s dedicated Workplace hub and designjunction.

We’d love to have looked at a lot of the off-piste events and shows such as Tent London, but, as we’ve said, cherry picking was very much the order of the day. We have got a magazine to write and produce after all!

There was certainly plenty to see at both our chosen events, which were in many ways chalk and cheese when it came to look and feel. 100% Design, now very much part of the UK event establishment, was celebrating its 20th birthday at the once again impressively decorated Earls Court, whilst designjunction – the young upstart – looked suitably cool and moody at New Oxford Street’s Sorting Office.

Ocee-1There’s little doubt that 100%’s Workplace sector looked stronger this year. Once again the Boss Design Group stood proudly in prime position and, yet again, showcased an impressive line-up of new products at this year’s event. The new products extend the company’s successful Soft Office range and include a sofa collection and single seat work booths.

The new sofa collection is ideal for use in breakout spaces. Designed to accommodate those offices where space is at a premium, it features a compact footprint and can be assembled on site in the event of restricted access. With a simple, clean and distinctive design, the corners are rounded in a friendly shape with oversized piping featuring on the back, arms and seat to create a cohesive design.

Also on display was Peek – a single seat, high-backed work booth that was successfully showcased at Clerkenwell Design Week. To complete the family line-up, a low-backed version, Boo, was also unveiled.

Also clearly having a good time of things at 100% was BuzziSpace, who launched the brilliant BuzziPicNic, an innovative wooden indoor picnic table, and BuzziShade, a sound absorbent lampshade that provides acoustic insulation in the workplace. Alongside these collections, BuzziSpace looked back through the archives and showed iconic designs by Ernest Race, including The BA3 chair and The Rocker chair.

For the fourth year in succession the good folk at Edge Design exhibited at 100% Design. With its biggest and most impressive stand to date, the company showcased the new elements of its ‘fifteen’ range, revealing an impressive back-to-back arrangement of the highly successful collection.

Octagon was also present, showing its versatility as a breakout range, with tables and the ability to two-tone fabric for a truly contemporary corporate look. The new Kind range was shown in its entirety, from operator to executive, breakout and conference, around a table setting to allow customers to actually ‘try’ the products. You’d be amazed by how many companies don’t!

It’s always a pleasure to see the guys from CMS Ergonomics – and not just because we don’t need to worry about finding somewhere to charge our phones! The wireless pioneer presented its latest innovation, aircharge, which provides wireless charging solutions for the office, home and public spaces.

Joining the show for the first time, Nowy Styl Group explored collaborative working environments, with the introduction of its new Hexa Media Pods and Sand units, while another newcomer to the show, Dataflex, shared its stand with Mauser Office, who presented its new element.x office storage system.

BossBestuhl UK, the specialist in ergonomically-designed office chairs, launched the eye-catching new J2 and Jcon range of seating at the show, while Casala showcased Monolink – the company’s first chair equipped with a system that allows for both linking and stacking.

Danish coffee machine expert Scanomat, meanwhile, launched the Home Edition of TopBrewer, the world’s first iPhone/iPad controlled coffee machine. Its minimalistic design – simply a stainless steel swan neck tap above the counter – enables TopBrewer to be easily integrated into any counter or space, thus ideal for workspace and home. Well, we felt like we deserved a little break!

Back to the business in hand, 100% Design saw the launch of the brilliant Edge, Isomi’s latest collection by designer Paul Crofts. Edge is made from Porcelanosa’s innovative solid surface material Krion, and the collection comprises a modular desk, modular seating and a coffee table, all with a lean angular aesthetic. Read more about Edge, Paul and Isomi on page 66.

Last but absolutely by no means least, it was great to see our friends from Task at the show. We are told they enjoyed a truly great time at the show, with its new acoustic Task Space POD providing a great meeting space in what was a busy area. Acoustic, powder coated to ANY RAL colour, flexible and cost effective, Task Space POD can be customised to your exact requirements – you can choose the layout, glazing, lighting, ventilation system and electrical set-up and then Task will use your selections to create that perfect workspace.

Task is, of course, also a proud partner of ICF Italy and continues to successfully represent them in the UK. A smart selection of the Italian brand’s beautiful seating was also on show at 100%.

We said a little earlier that we were going to cherry pick our way through these two events – and we were extremely focused (for once) on not heading off-piste. That was, however, until we bumped into a couple of our friends from Vitra. Situated in the Interiors sector rather than the Workplace hub, Vitra presented key pieces from the 2014 Vitra Home Collection (hence not being in the Workplace sector), headlined by new collections from Barber & Osgerby and Jasper Morrison, plus the introduction of exciting graphics and colours from Alexander Girard. The classy stand reflected these fresh, contemporary designs and also included a number of carefully updated classic pieces from iconic designers.

Task_Final_3D00718-Task-Pod001What’s more, with Vitra celebrating its recent partnership with Artek, the Vitra showroom highlighted their shared passion for design during the festival, showcasing the harmonious integration of these two iconic design houses in London for the first time.

Celebrating this double in some style, Vitra even picked up a few A&D mates on the way to Earls Court in a special branded Routemaster bus. Nice touch.

Our friends at Armourcoat tell us they were delighted to act as sponsor of the Eco, Design & Build hall at 100% Design. The 2014 hall included the central ‘materials landscape’ hub, designed and curated by Thomas Matthews in partnership with SCIN gallery, and included the new Istria and KonCrete polished plaster finishes from Armourcoat.

Armourcoat also headed East to exhibit at Super Brands for the first time. The company presented ArmourFX custom-made decorative wall panels, Istria polished plaster, the Sculptural ‘Smoke’ design and the new Duncan MacKellar Signature Collection.
At the same event, award-winning UK furniture designer Steuart Padwick presented his ‘Eye of the Storm’ UHPC Ductal table created by Armourcoat.

Time is very much of the essence (and we don’t, unfortunately, have a Mix bus) so it’s on to the Piccadilly Line and the wonders of designjunction.

We were delighted to find that many of the issues of actually getting into the Sorting Office were alleviated this year (maybe we just got lucky – but didn’t hear any complaints) so that at least gave us a little more time to have a good look through the show.

We do really like the retail and culinary offering on the ground floor, but the displays upstairs are what really warranted our attention.

We immediately bumped into a number of A&D mates – which is well worth taking note of. They clearly like this show – and we even subsequently discovered that a good many more designers, being so busy right now, headed over to the Sorting Office at the weekend.

We bumped into our Mixology head judge (the Len Goodman of the interiors world!) Mark Simpson on the Bolon stand. Bolon showed off its impressive new Silence collection. Silence can be supplied in sheets, tiles and planks. In sheets, four colours in pattern are available – these are called Pulse, Rhythm, Motion and Vibration. In tiles and planks, six colours are available – Gracious, Visual, Sense, Balance, Illuminate and Ocular.

The guys at Deadgood once again provided not only the finest beer of the week, but also a particularly eye-catching display of chic new products. As we’ve said before, we really like the Tree Table, designed by John Tree – and we also really like Woody, a new fun and practical (and stylish of course!) upholstered bench featuring the aesthetic of a fallen tree. What is it about Deadgood an trees right now?

The beautiful people at beautiful British furniture brand WorkHouse were another busy bunch throughout the show.

New launches for the show included the Ella upholstery collection by Bethan Gray, Sonny pendant light by Gemma Fabbri and the British tile collection by Custhom, Gemma Fabbri, Jethro Macey and Roy Pegram. We really liked the new furniture pieces, although we were told that the tiles had been particularly well received.

Ocee Design enjoyed a fruitful designjunction – well we’re guessing they did seeing as every time we walked past the Oceers were all busy looking after visitors.

Three impressive new product launches were led by the curvaceous FourSure chairs and FourReal tables and partitions. The new Four products are the latest additions to the acclaimed family. Ocee’s recent Den building adventures were also revealed, with the launch of the extensive range of Den acoustic work areas, created to make public spaces private. With eight different styles, numerous configurations and a full array of accessories, Ocee believes that everyone has the opportunity to build their perfect Den.

We were (as always) impressed Made in Ratio’s cool, eclectic product mix, Modus’ sleek display turned heads and we were wowed by Jake Dyson’s amazing, technically advanced LED lighting.

What more could we want from a design festival? More time, obviously.