London Design Festival 2022: A Right Knees-up
Like the rest of the United Kingdom, London Design Festival 2022 exploded in late September as if the pandemic never happened.
The 20th edition of the London Design Festival 2022 was a massive conglomeration of open studios, exhibitions, workshops, talks, film screenings and parties spread throughout the city’s design districts. Covering everything would create a doorstop-sized tome, so here are three exhibitions that cast wide nets and pulled in healthy hauls of exhibitors and visitors.
A new fixture on the London design calendar, Material Matters (based on Grant Gibson’s podcast of the same name) carried installations from over 40 brands, a marketplace and a speaker series of designers, makers and organisations in Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s Southbank, primarily focussed on how to use resources more effectively.
Smile Plastics, a Welsh company run by circular-design evangelists Adam Fairweather and Rosalie McMillan centred on closed-loop, zero-waste manufacturing, displayed a new solid-surface panel called Heron made from discarded white goods (think fridges and freezers).
Hydro, a Norwegian aluminium brand, held workshops and seminars aimed directly at architects and designers devoted to the potential of recycled aluminium from demolished building projects, food and drink containers, or even cars, in applications such as reinforcing concrete.
Using material research to explore alternative binding agents and substrates to maximize a material’s inherent properties, Alkesh Parmar impressed visitors with a new range of lighting pieces made from carefully sewn orange peel.
Norwegian-based brand, Fora Form, showed a variety of products including the demure Atrium Chair for contract environments, and the re-configurable Senso Frame sofa system, both designed by Anderssen & Voll and all intended to foster interaction in spaces where people gather.
Craft was a strong theme at this fair. Modet, an Irish company founded by award-winning craftsman Paul O’Brien in 2017, launched the Langford collection, a range of furniture including dining chair and table, console table and bench that have been hand-carved from solid oak and contain hints of classic Scandinavian design.
Park Royal Design District
Now in its second year, Park Royal Design District is a melting pot of innovation and creativity, with over 250 studios of artists, designers, makers and creatives all located in north-west London, one of the largest industrial estates in the U.K.
Bill Amberg Studio, known for bespoke leather interior products, showcased a new sustainable furniture collection made from hide and wood waste from the Knepp estate, famous for its pioneering rewilding projects.
Blast Studio was impressing festival-goers with its ongoing work creating sustainable 3D-printed furniture and lamps made from waste coffee cups and clay, and transforming them through the use of mycelium.
A Swedish artist and designer based in London, Tom Hertz is a maker of furniture, lamps and sculptural objects with decidedly unexpected aesthetic choices.
London artist Yinka Ilori is riding a wave of popularity with his technicolour billboard graphics and urban interventions. So much so that the Design Museum ran an exhibition of his work parallel to London Design Festival (and extending into 2023). He also launched new additions to his homeware line at a pop-up shop in Park Royal Design District during the festival.
Also in its second iteration, Design London was spread throughout Magazine London in the newest design district, Greenwich Peninsula. Billed as the largest contemporary design fair of the London Design Festival
Versarien, an advanced engineering materials group, teamed up with British artist and designer Steuart Padwick to create a 3D printed installation using 100 per cent cement free mortar enhanced by Graphene. Called Island Steps, the volume of material needed was reduced significantly as the printed structure is hollow, and together with the fact it is cement free meant a substantially reduced carbon footprint when compared with a solid cast equivalent. No materials were wasted on formwork.
HAY‘s Palissade Park Bench collection of freestanding benches for outdoor use designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec gave visitors an outdoor space to take in the views across the Thames River to Canary Wharf.
Ton from the Czech Republic showed off the new 822 chair collection, designed in partnership with Swedish studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. It takes inspiration from Josef Hoffmann’s 1930 design of the modernist model A811, but an updated version whose proportions work better with the natural forms created by manual wood-bending technology.