October 24, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
The author, your’s truly, in the arms of Design Junction’s gorilla. Photo: Jill Seidner.
Set within the raw industrial environment of the 1960’s Sorting Office, Design Junction was less a traditional trade show, but more a creative exploration of design that inspired ideas in an atmosphere that invited visitors to engage and connect.
Near the entrance, we were greeted by an (800lb?) gorilla made of tires, above, driving (no pun) home the notion that much on exhibit there would be fabricated from recycled materials or upcycled directly from reclaimed objects, as in student designer René Olivier’s Tyre Furniture Collection, below.
Made from discarded car, bus, and truck tires covered with decorative fabrics, Olivier’s seating was a big hit, evidence that she is is off to a good start as the recipient of the Mixology 2012 Student Furniture Designer of the Year award.
Designing for Charity
Though the fair showcased some major international brands, there were also some fabulous smaller cutting-edge labels, design shops, large-scale installations, cool temporary restaurants, bars and cafes, and even working flash factories. One of the highlights was the pop-up shop, Joy of Living, above, a very inspirational and cutting edge charity project that brought together over 100 major talents in the design community to generate support for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.
Design Juntion and Joy of Living invited some of the major creators of the design industry, including Samuel Wilkinson–whose Biome garden terrarium we’ve featured–and whose Vessel is shown above–to customize and donate a domestic product as part of a charitable fund raising effort for Maggie’s Centres, a network of cancer caring centers throughout the UK.
A highlight for me Joy of Living exhibit was Sam Johnson’s Rainbow Chair for Mark Furniture, above, which features 13 different color threads wrapped around a frame.
As Urban Gardens continues to explore the ever-expanding conversation between indoor and outdoor spaces, I’m more than ever on the lookout for designs that work equally well inside and out.
London-based sculptor and designer Alex Chinneck’s concrete rug for The Sculpture House was one of the most innovative concepts I saw during the festival. Kind of a blend between concrete tile and pavers, the rug is made from 112 to 376 pieces of standard council concrete paving slabs. He produces version of the rug for both indoor and outdoor. The indoor rug has an oak tray and for outdoors, there is a steel tray to withstand the elements and allow drainage.
Contemporary product designers and distributors, Authentics, showcased designer Alex Bradley’s new Dry table and stool, below, a versatile occasional table and stool-cum-side table which compliment each other for use inside or out, throughout the home or the garden.
Seeing some recurring themes here? I’m seeing more and more upcycling, recycling, and designing for multiple uses–products that perform double duty and work for urban and smaller spaces by offering the flexibility of placement indoors or outdoors, mixing funtionality with style.
Urban Gardens would like to thank all the Modenus London BlogTour sponsors for their generous support which made possible my participation in this special design event and visit to the London Design Festival.