The Best of the LDF

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We’ve got sturdy, comfortable footwear on, our Oyster Cards are topped up and (cue poor Worzel Gummidge impression) we’ve got our drinking heads on, Aunt Sally.

It must be London Design Festival time again. As ever, we’re thoroughly enjoying ourselves – catching up with industry mates, attending the odd launch and soirée – and even taking a look at a few inspirational products and displays. In fact, if it weren’t for the inclement weather (we should have added waterproofs to our list) we’d be the proverbial pigs in muck.

Here are a few of those inspirational products, displays and events – from both old and new friends alike.

Protocol collaborated with Italian manufacturer Metalmobil to showcase some new and exciting designs on its 100% Design stand. Most notable were the polypropylene Nassau chair by Marc Sadler, the Dalton range from Giulio Iaccetti and the extensive Myra soft seating range by Emilio Nanni.

Protocol is now a preferred supplier of Metalmobil furniture in the UK and features on Architonic.

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Our friends at Nowy Sytl Group reminded us that 79% of new ideas are born away from the desk and, this year at 100% Design, presented a collection of furniture that encourages collaboration and creative thinking.

The company featured LinkUP – a modern chaise perfect for taking a break and relaxing, together with Tepee, a new modular sofa system with added privacy in the form of thermoset felt panels.

For those times where a desk is crucial, the Group has also introduced Levitate, a new desk and workbench with domestic styling, a wooden frame and a pastel colour palette.

KI opened the doors of its New Fetter Lane showroom during LDF to unveil the new Ruckus seating collection, which disrupts and redefines the boundaries of learning spaces. Today’s educational environments are required to support ‘active learning’. Innovative curricula and pedagogies can only succeed if students are able to move freely and engage with their teachers, their materials and each other. Ruckus offers a unique approach to facilitating this essential movement – it allows the user to rotate 360 degrees within the chair, rather than having to move the chair itself. Regardless of starting position, the user can quickly pivot and reorient themselves to where they need to direct their attention.

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For LDF 2017, Milliken’s flooring showroom in Clerkenwell became a celebration of creativity in the city. Events focused around the launch of design journalist Katie Treggiden’s latest book: Urban Potters – Makers in the City. Throughout the week Milliken was home to an exhibition of ceramics by makers featured in the book: Nicola Tassie, Barry Stedman, Florian Gadsby and Matthew Warner.

‘It was such a privilege to see the themes and ideas I’d explored in the book brought to life through an exhibition, a film, workshops and demonstrations in the Milliken showroom throughout LDF,’ Katie summarised.

Meanwhile, ceramicist and former Victoria & Albert Museum artist in residence, Matthew Raw, recreated his studio in the Milliken showroom and gave demonstrations and making-workshops.

Silverline showcased its latest storage products, Switch+ and Sync, at 100% Design. Switch+, a mobile unit with integrated power and smart accessories, attracted a great response, we’re told. Sync, which was also well received, combines the strength of a steel construction with the variety of wood.

Enigma Lighting exhibited at the first ever lighting specification exhibition to be part of the LDF, darc room. This was a great platform to broaden the conversation to designers who may not work with lighting everyday but nevertheless are involved in the lighting specification process. It was great to see lighting being put at the forefront of design!

Knightsbridge Furniture has been designing and manufacturing quality British furniture for almost 80 years now – and has recently been collaborating with some of the brightest names in contemporary British furniture design. The sumptuous curves of the Bebop collection, designed by award-winning furniture designer David Fox, created a welcoming atmosphere to the 100% Design stand. The Bebop booth and study bays are designed to allow for occasional meetings, giving both privacy and comfort. High and low back seating can be mixed and matched, allowing clients to create collaborative work environments. Jessica Burston, Knightsbridge Marketing Manager, commented: ‘We had a great show and were really pleased with the interest that we received both from existing and new clients.’ Also showcased at the show was Alfie – which was designed in collaboration with this month’s Mix profilee, Sean Dare, and was inspired by the 1960’s cult film of the same name.

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It was a double designjunction for Humanscale this year, with a presence in the retail destination, The Canopy, and Cubitt House for trade. In the retail space, the Trea chair by Todd Bracher incorporated fabrics that emulate the textures of nature, with designs from British textile company Zoffany, alongside the stunning architectural Vessel light, a totally glare free LED encapsulated in a finely-tuned quartz cylinder. Humanscale continued to lead the way with ergonomics in Cubitt House, introducing the brilliant QuickStand Eco, which combines sleek user-friendly design with expert engineering. The latest task light Infinity, was also showcased – the 2017 Red Dot winner has optimal usability and best of class light output, quality with an intuitive dimmer control to customise nine levels of light, plus a passive infrared, energy saving occupancy sensor.