The London Design Festival is one of the most important events in Europe in terms of interior design and furniture.

The London Design Festival (LDF) is a show that has been on since the year 2003 and that which includes events such as 100% Design, Design Junction, Decorex International, Tent London and Super Brands. Events that, over the space of a week, revolve around the world of interior design and furniture. There are also programmes on in the ‘design districts’: neighbourhoods that have a special tie to design. On these pages we’ll give you a summary of what most caught our eye. LDF isn’t the place to discover great new innovations, but it does make you pay attention to certain products that may have gone by unnoticed in Milan.

 

The London Design Festival

Alphabeta Lamps Trio designed by Luca Nichetto for Hem.

Design Junction, as is usual, was the fair which had the best quality on show this year. In this edition LDF has also worked with exhibition spaces such as Somerset House and the Victoria & Albert Museum. But let’s just get straight to it. One brand that really got us excited was Hem, who put together a pop up store in Covent Garden. Hem is a relatively new brand, created in June 2014 from the unison of two other brands: Fab and One Nordic. Their HQ and manufacturing are both in Germany. Behind the brand you have Jason Goldberg as CEO, one of Fab’s founders, and at the helm of creative direction is Petrus Palmér, a multifaceted character who was one of the people behind the creation of One Nordic.

The London Design Festival  Left. Vilda3 chair designed by Jonas Bohlin for Gemla ab. Right. Stühl chair series designed by James Stickley.

The London Design Festival  Mobile phone MP 01 designed by Jasper Morrison for Punkt.

The London Design Festival Palo 2 sofa designed and produced by Hem.

Hem is fundamentally thought-out for online sales. The experience of Goldberg with Fab in marketplaces alongside Palmér, also one of the founders of Swedish studio Form Us With Love, turns them into an explosive whirl of success. Hem started 2015 off strongly with buying the rights to the design and manufacture of more than 200 products from Italian firm Discipline. Is Hem to be the new luxury Ikea as One Nordic suggested? Their pop up store will be open in London until the 31st of January 2016. One particularly interesting product we found at LDF was the telephone designed by Jasper Morrison, a telephone that only offers basic functions such as calls and SMS. The idea that lies behind this product is that we live in continuous stress with smartphones and this new phone is a way of disconnecting and of being more productive because you can concentrate better. The worst bit about it is the price, given by the manufacturing brand Punkt, which is nearly 300 euros for a device which is just that: a mobile. We also found some chairs quite interesting, very similar to the classic Thonet model but with leather parts incorporated into their design. The brand behind it is Gemla ab and it’s a Swedish company that has been in the business for fifty years.

The London Design Festival Table AA designed by Spant Studio for Woud.

 

The London Design Festival PXR-5 watch designed by Michael Young for Void.

Woud is a new Danish brand, created in 2014, that was presented to the public at Cologne’s IMM fair in January 2015. Its founders are the married couple Torben Koed, CEO of Woud, and Mia Koed, creative director, both with ample experience in the furniture industry. At little more than a year old, they already have an extremely broad catalogue. Of the multitude of designs it contains, we’d like to highlight the Coupé shelving unit, designed by the Finnish brand Poiat, the AA table designed by Danish creators Spant Studio and the Pause chair by Kasper Nyman, from Denmark.

The London Design Festival Lamp Turn On, designed by Joel Hoff  for Wrong for Hay.

We’ve also selected the watch brand Woid for this article, which was created by David Ericsson in 2008 as part of his end of degree project. And we couldn’t very well go to LDF without mentioning a new product from sub-brand Wrong for Hay created by Hay and captained by Sebastian Wrong. This year they’ve given us the table lamp Turn On, designed by Joel Hoff. Turn On has a faceted base in aluminium and an opalescent glass screen. A twist of the base turns it on and off, but it also can dim or brighten the light.

The London Design Festival Coupé shelves designed by Poiat and chair Pause designed by Kasper Nyman, both for Woud.

The London Design Festival Plantation porcelain set by Alicja Patanowska.

Joel Hoff is a young German designer who recently graduated from the Royal College of Arts. The work of another graduate from Royal College also caught our attention, this time Alicja Patanowska from Poland with her end of degree project Plantation presented as a brand. The project consists of an ensemble of porcelain elements designed using the growing of herbs and ornamental plants using the principles of hydroponics, in other words, growing without soil but mineral solutions instead.

The London Design Festival  Table Eugene and  Imo foldable stools, both by Pinch.

Porcelain is also the material used in the project put forward by Richard Brendon, his crockery set Patternity is an example of the on-point use of graphic design. Richard founded his studio in 2012 and he gets good results by mixing crafts and design. Another brand we discovered, although actually it’s been around for 30 years, is the Swedish firm Mitab. Of the products on show we highlight the Cumulus sofa designed by Joanas Wagell. Designer James Stickley went back to Design Junction this year to exhibit his series of rotundly graphic Stühl chairs, with variations in the backs and made of metal with a brilliant reflex blue lacquer.

 Crockery set Patternity designed by Richard Brendon.

The London Design Festival

 

The London Design Festival Cumulus Sofa designed by Jonas Wagell for Mitab.

Lastly, several lines for English studio Pinch who have offloaded a huge number of furniture pieces with impeccable style. Some of their new items: wooden table Eugene that’s 2.4m long with some admirable details and finishes, the Imo foldable stools and the sculptural centre table Nim made of Jesmonite. Pinch was founded in 2004 by husband and wife duo Russell Pinch and Oona Bannon and they are based in Clapham, in the south of London.

Interview published in Neo2 issue 143 . If you want to see the complete issue you can download  for free our apps for Ipad or Android tablets. If you do not have a tablet, you can also see it in our tablet simulator online.