London Design Festival returned from 13 - 21 September, with heaps of exhibitions, trade shows and events all over the city. I excitedly began attending talks, launches and happenings and really enjoyed the more curated or discursive aspects of the festival. But by the time I reached my third trade show, my energy - and patience - began to wane. There were a whole host of great new products launched, and then A LOT more that weren't great at all. And while different but not great is one thing, when I saw product after product after product all looking the same... sigh. BUT there was some cool stuff on display, so I thought I'd take the four main recurring themes I noticed and show you my favourite versions of them (or antidotes to them). Behold:
Pastels and soft candy colours are all over everything right now. In small amounts they're delicious, but at an LDF scale they become a little sickening... One great example of mixing a soft colour with something murkier to take the sugary edge off is the 1-2-3 Mirror by Klas & Schenk-Mischke, shown at Super Brands. Pictured above, it's also an intriguing object and uses isosceles triangles, which are the best ones.
There's no doubt that old-fashioned Tungsten filament bulbs, with their industrial aesthetic and warm glow, are beguiling and create a lovely quality of light. But they've already been overdone and somehow designers are still stuck on them. They're also terribly inefficient and pretty glarey when looked at head on (which is what trendy designers want you to do when they leave them exposed). Instead, I prefer Plumen's approach, encasing their super efficient Design of the Year-winning CFL bulbs in new handblown glass Drop Top Lamp Shades, shown at Protein in Shoreditch and Designersblock in Clerkenwell. It takes the trend of encasing your bulb in clear glass and makes it better for the environment and easier on the eye (literally).
On the first day of LDF I was loving the sight of copper. By day 4 I was growing weary of it. Nevertheless, I'm still coveting the Woodstock wood and copper clothes rack I spotted leaning casually against a wall in Monologue London on their opening day, designed by Jeroen van Leur. No amount of copper copycats could dull the shine on this one...
Rounded shapes and curved edges
SO MANY products are taking blunt shapes and rounding them off, making it all a bit less harsh and a bit more cartoony. It's an aesthetic I really liked til I saw a million examples of it, and if something looks a bit clean-but-cartoony I would just rather not know about it for now... Except these concrete and bamboo lamps by Bentu, shown at 100% Design, are great. The pairing of blunt, brutal concrete with smooth, rounded bamboo works really well.
If you fancy seeing some more LDF picks, Bentu's pendants and a few others feature in a guest post I wrote over on Image Daily. I also joined Instagram in time for the festivities, so you can see some highlights over there too.
Images via 1 | 2 | 3 | 4