THE LOWDOWN ON THE SHOWS
Celebrating 20 years, 100% Design opens today at Earls Court exhibition halls, SW5, where show director William Knight has pulled out all the stops. A Daniel Libeskind giant chandelier hangs in the foyer, the multi-arched entrance tunnel sparkles with light and mirrors, and the auditorium and bar are just as exotic. Tickets on Saturday’s public day cost £15 but you can get yours half price by using our readers code ES100 at 100percentdesign.co.uk.
Best for food and shopping is designjunction, with four floors of new design at The Sorting Office in New Oxford Street, WC1. It’s very people-friendly, open to allcomers, with street food and pop-up shops and runs from tomorrow until Sunday. Tickets cost £10 on the door or £8 online. Use code ES241 to buy two for the price of one at thedesignjunction.co.uk.
Tent London, the edgiest show, is staged at the Old Truman Brewery, off Brick Lane, E1. Open to all from tomorrow until Sunday — tickets £10.
The 17th edition of Designersblock is a gathering of the avant-garde that’s free to enter and guaranteed to entertain, in its beautiful new listed venue — The Old Sessions House at Clerkenwell Green, EC1. It runs from tomorrow until Sunday. See verydesignersblock.com.
Michael and Georgie Gettings of Michael & George with their HP pencil lamp, showing in Tent London
Focus fills up to 100 showrooms of Design Centre Chelsea Harbour with textiles, wallpapers, trimmings, lighting, furniture, rugs and more, featuring 500 brands. Wednesday’s public day is free, with free transport from Sloane Square. Call 020 7225 9166 or visit dcch.co.uk. Decorex International, the big daddy of the design shows, is in its 37th year and is being staged at Syon Park, Brentford, with free coach from Richmond Tube station.
Cool new vibes, instilled by brand director Simone du Bois, include street food, and Hogarthian cameos by “alternative” designers such as Nigel Coates. Public day is Tuesday next week, from 1pm-7pm, with tickets at £30. See decorex.com.
Lighting is a star turn this year, with new designs that save energy and look sensational. There’s a whole new devoted show, called lightjunction, in the basement at designjunction, where you will find all the experts and the fittings.
Look for the Punk London stand from Innermost, who bill themselves as “the Vivienne Westwood for lighting”. A clever, adjustable spotlight hangs from the ceiling like a pendant. You can also meet Jake Dyson — who is to lighting what his father is to vacuum cleaners — with Ariel, his super-slim LED strip that’s long and strong enough to light a kitchen island. Elsewhere, shades of the unexpected include wood and even marble. Prize for the most fun is the 6ft-tall HB Lamp by Michael & George (michaelandgeorge.com), shaped like a giant pencil with yards of self-adhesive cable spooling out from the tip which you can use to “draw” patterns on the wall. See it at Tent London.
A “materials trail” at Tent leads to crushed glass bonded with bio-resin, plus 20 glorious British limestones and marbles (see materialscouncil.com). Yet more stunning stonework has its own tent at Decorex.
A “materials landscape” features at 100% Design. Curated by Old Street’s SCIN Gallery, it has the eco-aesthetic with reclaimed ply and glass. Michael Sodeau’s Halo Hypetex chair is made from the same carbon fibre as an F1 car, while a cute pair of owl-like speakers is modelled from resin composite.
Samuel Chan with new launches at designjunction. Two-door Kerning sideboard, £1,435 and four-door, £2,350. Pendant trio lamp from £850
Wood holds it own and is the preferred choice of many gifted designers. Most of those coveted furniture Design Guild Marks still go to wood designs. Samuel Chan heads the list, filling his Chelsea store with quiet, good-looking furniture — Chan is also showing at the designjunction event. At Tent, woodsman Sebastian Cox creates deliciously delicate design in coppiced hazel.
Meanwhile, skinny, eco-friendly furniture frames are big, with the minimum of tubular or squared-off metal supporting chairs and table tops.
IN IT TOGETHER
Fashion designers’ names pop up in unexpected places. Matthew Williamson does a second collection for fabric and wallpaper experts Osborne & Little and print/fashion designer Jonathan Saunders brings his unmistakable style to The Rug Company. Paola Navone unveils new fabrics with Rubelli at Focus, where Tord Boontje has also conjured up shades and lamps for British furniture and lighting favourites Habitat and Porta Romana.
Designers rule — and London is the richer for it.