Above: Tyre Furniture Collection, René Olivier / Garment, Benjamin Hubert / Pop Up Cinema, The Decorators
This year’s designjunction during London Design Festival was held at The Old Sorting Office in Holborn over three floors. ARTS THREAD went to investigate.
The ground floor included Flash Factory (new to this year’s designjuntion), whereby craftsmanship and design processes are shown off and celebrated. The German company Thonet demonstrated its mobile wood bending machine in action, creating its classic 214 chair - the first mass produced chair in the world. A crowd gathered around to watch the process in action – four men clamping and twisting the wood into place.
designjuntion had created four different cafes over the three floors. The second floor café/restaurant was designed in a collaboration between award winning restaurant group Canteen and Transport for London (TfL) and was based on a workers’ canteen from the sixties with a classic twist. designjuction’s creative director Michael Sodeau searched though TfL’s design achieves to draw inspiration for the cafe.
Canteen & TfL, designjunction
The canteen was very believably retro, with continuity throughout. Customers queued at a long cafe bar behind which was a full length window giving a fantastic skyline of London. Once served, they could then sit either at high stools and tables or at long tables reminiscent of station waiting rooms. The grey, brown, blue and white theme was striking and created an atmosphere of stepping back in time. Even the specials boards had been themed.
Factory 1.0, Simon Hasan, The Tramshed
The Tramshed, formally a separate show for the last two years, came under the designjuntion roof this year exhibiting a wide selection of work from different companies both established and emerging. Simon Hasan’s pieces were beautifully laid out in the exhibition space and showed his latest work – the first range of items to leave the gates of Factory 1.0, ‘an evolving manufacturing facility in a small corner of a South Bermondsey industrial estate.’ Simon’s signature leather-hardening process is combined with polished metals for stools and pendant lighting and functional glass pieces have leather detailing.
Tenda, Lighting, Benjamin Hubert, The Tramshed
Benjamin Hubert exhibited known work- with an eye-catching display of lighting with the raw material for each item displayed on a plinth below. New to the show was the lighting range Tenda, made from fibreglass rods and stretch fabrics from the sportswear and underwear industries.
Tools for Everyday Life, Designers in Residence / Magnifying Glass Task Light, Danny Duquemin-Sheil
Designers in Residence programme at Northumbria University showed a selection of work entitled Tools for Everyday Life, including designers we saw this year with One Year On at New Designers, including ARTS THREAD portfolio members Danny Duquemin-Sheil, Tatsuya Akita and Neil Conley.
Chronovora, Tatsuya Akita / Submariner, Neil Conley
The Crafts Council exhibited their new touring exhibition called Added Value? at this year’s designjunction, a look at makers’ work that ‘questions the value of contemporary craft within the current landscape of branding and luxury.’
Oliver Ruuger’s Night at the house of Epicurus is a briefcase in naturally tanned leather, sheepskin, wood, gold-plated brass and nylon. The piece shows Oliver’s interest in the highly labour intensive manual processes combined with contemporary technologies and uses – wait for it – engraving, marking, laser-cutting, washing, waxing, plotting, 3D-printing, heat-moulding, hand-stitching, casting, CNC-milling and gold-plating.
Night at the House of Epicurius, Oliver Ruuger / St Paul’s Jelly & Moulds, Bompas & Parr / Boiled Leather Mannequin, Simon Hasan
Bompas & Parr showed off their St Paul’s Jelly & Moulds, created using copper, silver, nylon, resin, 3d-printing and electroforming. Simon Hasan’s work Boiled Leather Mannequin was commissioned by Fendi in 2011 and uses Fendi’s discarded leather. The set of three mannequins were commissioned to celebrate the opening of Fendi’s new London store. To create the pieces Hasan boiled the leather and moulded it while it was still pliable and then added a gilded panel of 22ct gold. Simon uses traditional and modern techniques alongside each other to create his noticeable pieces.
Bunk Pod / Doddle Box, IO Kids Designs
Back in the main show, IO Kids Designs is a young product design company for children’s furniture. The company’s Bunk Pod is an all-in-one place for children to sleep, store and study. It can be transformed into various configurations thoughout the day for different needs. The beds can be used separately or together.
IO Kids Designs also produce a product called the Doddle Box which is a mobile drawing and play unit for children. Inside there is a roll for paper and this then can be pulled though a slit on the side of the box to enable children to use the top of the box as a drawing board that can be tilted up and down. IO Kids Design base their products on the needs and desires of their own children and so the products are well thought out and have great usability while at the same time having a underlying simplicity.
Michael Czerwinski / Myung Nam An, Camberwell Ceramics
Camberwell Ceramics showcased work by thirteen of Camberwell College of Art’s alumni from the ceramics department, which sadly closed this year. Graduates spanned a 20 year period and also included three makers from 2012.
The brightly coloured wall pieces of Myung Nam An’s work stood out with its mixture of shapes and sizes and colours. The ceramicist looks at human beings and their everyday life though the medium of clay. Other exhibitors included Michael Czerwinski and Jessica Joslin.
The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design, designjunction
Publishers Phaidon had created a huge display to showcase The Phaidon Archive of Graphic Design that features 500 graphic designs including newspapers, magazines, posters, advertisements, typefaces, logos, corporate design, record covers and moving graphics from around the world, each chosen as a benchmark for excellence and innovation.