LDF17: Craft and Making at Decorex

With a bent towards the luxury end of the market, Decorex is not a show we’ve covered on Design Milk before, but its focus on craft and making has slowly been bringing it to our attention. Last year, we covered the New Craftsmen’s Crafthouse installations there, and this year we decided it was time to include a full round-up in our London Design Festival coverage. (Detail above from a table by British furniture designer Sebastian Cox.) Making their Decorex debut, Mourne Textiles is a third generation weaving workshop and design studio based at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. It was established by Norwegian-born Gerd Hay-Edie in 1949 and is now run by her grandson Mario. “Inspired by… Read More

LDF17: Design Frontiers Promises Cutting-Edge Design Thinking

After the launch of the London Design Biennale in 2016, this year Somerset House hosted Design Frontiers, an exhibition that promised to “illuminate the thinking and working practices of celebrated designers, whose work is redefining the frontiers of their disciplines,” and in some cases, it really delivered on that promise. A project that questioned the essence what graphic design could and indeed should be, was Dominic Lippa’s book entitled 250 Facts & Figures. Inspired by the notion that we have more information at our fingertips than ever before and yet seemingly less wisdom and more so-called “fake news,” coupled with the responsibility of the graphic designer as a disseminator of information, he collated 250 indisputable facts into one book and encouraged visitors to each… Read More

LDF17: Milliken Showcases Creativity in the City

International contract flooring brand Milliken turned their showroom into a showcase of London’s creativity in collaboration with our very own editor at large Katie Treggiden to celebrate the launch of her new book, Urban Potters, which launched in the US (published by Ludion, distributed by Abrams Books) on Tuesday, October 10th. Matthew Raw was artist-in-residence for the week, running a series of demonstrations and workshops using colored clay to make a series of tiles, inspired by the use of ceramic tiles in London’s architecture and interior spaces such as pubs and underground stations and of course providing a neat link with Milliken’s own carpet tiles. Royal College of Art graduate Matthew Raw is based in London and is a founding member of… Read More

LDF17: MINI LIVING Launches First Urban Cabin

The London Design Festival saw the launch of MINI LIVING’s Urban Cabin concept – the British car brand’s first foray into architecture. Described by the brand as a “a communal modular-structure,” the Landmark project on the Southbank was designed in collaboration with London-based architect Sam Jacob. “As increasing city urbanization makes private space more and more of a luxury, the demand for multi-purpose communal spaces, co-housing and sharing communities rises – paving the way for brands like MINI LIVING to provide innovative solutions,” said a statement from the brand. The collaboration is based on the idea of London as a city of contrasts between past and present. “I’ve always been interested in combinations, juxtapositions and… Read More

Tom Pigeon Has Taken Wings to Become a Flying Success

Kirsty Thomas runs Tom Pigeon from the East coast of Scotland designing and making jewelry, stationery, art prints and home accessories inspired by her surroundings, but her career almost took a very different path. “I loved art at school, but I was also pretty sporty and so I initially opted to study sports science at Liverpool University much to my art teacher’s dismay,” she says. “After a year of measuring muscles and studying the dynamics of rugby, I decided to jump ship and transferred to the Foundation Art and Design course. I discovered fashion and textiles and realized that I wanted a much more creative future.” It should have come as no surprise – Kirsty has always had an interest in the arts… Read More

BCB17: Stoke-on-Trent Hosts Fifth British Ceramics Biennial

Launched in 2009 with a festival celebrating contemporary ceramics from across the world, the British Ceramics Biennial is a biannual festival in Stoke-on-Trent, home to iconic brands such as Wedgwood. Seen by many as a city in decline, Stoke is in fact the vibrant home of the UK’s ceramics industry and source of much contemporary and exciting work, as evidenced by this the fifth iteration of the festival. Leading London-based designer and ceramicist Ian McIntyre curated Brown Betty: An Everyday Archetype, an exhibition that included Lee Miller’s photograph (above) among many examples of the ways in which the iconic teapot, originally made from red clay discovered in Stoke-on-Trent in 1695 but much copied, has seeped into British and global culture. McIntyre has also… Read More

LDF17: Creativity and Inspiration in the Shoreditch Design Triangle

The Shoreditch Design Triangle is one of the London Design Festival’s more established design districts and this year was absolutely buzzing with creativity and inspiration. Described by its organizers as “a cultural event that celebrates the creative industry in East London,” it is active during LDF, but also at other key times throughout the year. One of the stars of the show this year was London-based designer, Yinka Ilori, who specializes in up-cycling vintage furniture, inspired by the traditional Nigerian parables and Dutch wax fabrics that are part of his family’s heritage. He had two projects in the Shoreditch Design Triangle – one was Estate Playground outside citizenM Shoreditch inspired by the playground on the North London housing estate on which… Read More

LDF17: Three Floors of Design and Innovation at the London Design Fair

The London Design Fair (encompassing a number of country pavilions, Tent London and Super Brands London, but not be confused with the London Design Festival, which is the London-wide event) was back at East London’s Truman Brewery for another year, this time filling the three floors and feeling like a much more cohesive offering. The exhibitors were of the usual high standard and included the likes of Katie Gillies Surface Design (above) showcasing her bespoke surfaces, all handmade in the UK. Kana London was founded by fine artist Ana Kerin, who turned her hand to pottery after a background in sculpture. The resulting ceramics are handmade, functional, tactile and very much bear the ‘mark of the maker.’ Kana London was part of the… Read More

LDF17: Max Fraser Joins 100% Design as Content Editor

100% Design is working with former deputy director of the London Design Festival and editor of the London Design Guide, Max Fraser, as its content editor. To celebrate this new relationship, Max curated an ‘entrance feature’ bringing together an edited selection of products past and present to represent the best of design. One of the products included was David Irwin’s M-Lamp, produced by Brooklyn-based Juniper – a cordless lamp with rechargeable battery inspired by the miners’ lamps of 19th century England. Another was the already iconic TipTon chair by British design duo Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. Originally designed to help school children concentrate, the forward-tilt position of the chair straightens the pelvis and spine and improves circulation to the abdominal and… Read More

LDF17: V&A and Brompton Design District

The London Design Festival returned to the Victoria & Albert Museum as its ‘hub’ for another year of events and programming that sees the museum receive more visitors than at any other time of year. Each year designers are invited to submit proposals for installations that respond to various spaces within the museum. This year one of the absolute highlights was Australian lighting artist and designer Flynn Talbot’s Reflection Room in the Prince Consort Gallery, which saw the 35-meter-long space filled with Talbot’s signature blue and orange lighting to magnificent effect. While We Wait by Bethlehem-based architects Elias and Yousef Anastas in Room 64b of the the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries is a large, lattice-like, self-supporting structure made from stone… Read More

LDF17: Faye Toogood’s Trade Show Exhibition

Turning the concept of a ‘trade show’ on its head, Faye Toogood selected 50 leading creatives, from a wide range of disciplines, from furniture design to art and photography and presented each of them with one of her signature Spade chairs – created for this project in a special limited-edition sandcast-aluminum. In return, she asked them to donate a piece of their own work – the donated work formed her Trade Show exhibition at the London Design Festival in the Garage Gallery in Brompton, where Toogood launched her debut furniture collection – and the original Space Chair – in 2010. As well as a play on words that subverts contemporary design festivals, The Trade Show draws on the tradition of artists supporting each other through mutually… Read More

LDF17: designjunction2017 Expands to Five Sites

2017 saw designjunction return to King’s Cross with five locations: Cubitt House and Cubitt Park, the Canopy, Granary Square and The Crossing. 200 furniture, lighting, accessory, material, and technology brands exhibited alongside pop-up shops, installations, and interactive features. These are a few of our favorite finds – first up, Ham’s mural on the side of the Canopy featuring newly launched designs from the brand, whose founder we interviewed back in August. Grace Souky’s Domestic Collectables is a series of 12 tableware objects that explore the connections between users and everyday objects, the different ways people interact with things around the ritual of food. “Each element fits in more than one place and serves more than one purpose,” says Grace, “resulting in a fun and… Read More

Made in London: Catarina Riccabona

This is the latest in our Made in London series of films about London-based makers by filmmaker William Scothern. This month’s video is about hand-weaver Catarina Riccabona. Watch: South London-based Catarina Riccabona is a textile designer and weaver, who makes throws, cushions and blankets by hand. She uses unbleached and undyed linen in the warp; and linen, hemp, wool, alpaca and second-hand or recycled yarn in the weft. She also uses waste warps from fellow weavers – the final meter of a warp on a loom which cannot be woven and is usually thrown away. She adds color using plant-dyed wool from Finland or recycled linen from a UK company which processes industrial surplus into new yarn. “The technique essentially hasn&#… Read More

Design Duo Färg & Blanche is a Force to Be Reckoned With

Creative childhoods turned Fredrik Färg and Emma Marga Blanche into designers, but it was finding each other that turned them into Färg & Blanche – and a force to be reckoned with. Fredrik Färg grew up in Sweden and was attracted to woodworking from an early age. “I loved making boats, as a child I spent all my free time in my father’s workshop making everything from small sailboats to later on radio-controlled motorboats and ice boats,” he says. He spent two years studying at a fine cabinet making school, and then completed a BA and MA in design at HDK design school in Goteborg, before working as an architect. But alongside that, he always had an interest in fashion, in particular, the… Read More