Saturday, 20 September 2008

100% Design 2008

Just wanted to jot down my thoughts on today's visit to the 100% Design exhibition in Earl's Court, London, before I visit a whole load more exhibitions tomorrow and the whole thing becomes a whirling design blur in my head. Next week I plan to make some sort of sense of everything I've seen (and file my multitude of leaflets and brochures somewhere other than around my feet by my desk) but that'll have to wait for now.

Despite the event's corporate overtones (think stalls manned by salesmen wearing ill-fitting suits trying to flog light fittings), there was a surprising amount of original and innovative design on show from both bigger brands such as Umbra, and a plethora of new/graduate designers and small design companies. A highlight for me was the Lighten Up exhibit, in association with (Re)Design, showcasing a highly craft-hacker-ey array of lighting made from anything from bottle tops to vintage lace. Favourite pieces included lampshades made from lace remnants fused with plastic milk bottles, by Lizzie Lee (see pic below), and the Beryl and Friends range by design group WEmake, featuring vintage lights shrink-wrapped in plastic to create an ethereal, Miss Haversham-esque vibe.

General trends emerging from the show included an influx of sustainable design (the message seems to be getting stronger and stronger each year) and a hark back to handicrafts reinterpreted for the 21st Century - think delicate lace cut-outs reinterpreted with a stronger silhouette sheet in sheet metal and felt (see Michelle Mason's Stella rug, below). Texture within wall finishes was also big news, with stunning handmade (and often eco-friendly) wallpapers in abundance.

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