This year’s London Design Festival felt bigger and more comprehensive than ever—with galleries, museums and showrooms all over the city opening their doors to an enthusiastic, design-savvy crowd. Two of the threads that ran through the festival were playfulness and interactivity, with Memphis-inspired designs something of a favorite and many designers creating colorful, captivating pieces. Established names and newcomers alike played with neon and pastel colors, black-and white prints, and quirky patterns for products that evoked the ’80s, but still feel entirely fresh and new.
Camille Walala in da House
One of the best-known purveyors of the style, Camille Walala, used LDF as the launchpad for her new collection of furniture, ceramics and prints, made for Islington boutique Aria. Walala is no stranger to product design, but “Walala in Da House” takes it up a notch. The supercharged collection features everything, from prints and plates to a coffee table and pouffe, in her signature pastel and monochrome hues. The result is a joyous Memphis homage.
Sabine Marcelis’ “Voie”
Among the many innovative lamps at London Design Festival, Rotterdam-based studio Sabine Marcelis‘ “Voie” light series at Brompton store Mint stood out. More an art piece than a light source, Voie is made from neon to which cast polyester resin has been added. This diffuses the light path and boosts the resin’s color properties, giving the usually unforgiving neon tubes a soft, dreamy feel.
Woman in Paris by Matteo Cibic for Scarlet Splendour
India’s Scarlet Splendour tapped Italian designer Matteo Cibic for the gorgeous, art deco-esque ”Woman in Paris” table. The vanity table features three mirrors and was inspired by the Indian craft of inlay. Its simple shape and clever design is enhanced by the contrasting black stripes on a pale yellow background that resembles horn. Handcrafted in India and very much a luxury piece, Woman in Paris looks playful and romantic.
Much of the focus at LDF is on furniture, but there are always a lot of fun accessories to be seen at the shows. Mercer Mercer’s graphic vases, showcased at the Tent tradeshow in the Old Truman Brewery, look designed to confuse the viewer, with patterns that make them appear lopsided even though they’re straight. The glossy finish and stark color combinations added extra interest to the design duo’s pieces.
Designer Lorenzo Cereda combined Carrera marble and polished steel (from his uncle’s workshop in Italy) to create his eye-catching chairs, coffee table and floor light, which we also saw at Tent. Inspired by the Memphis group, Cereda developed his prints based on the Peano curve. “The Memphis group used handmade patterns; I wanted something digital,” he explains. The polished steel in contrast with the graphic prints made for an accomplished first collection.
Kirkby Design + Jon Burgerman
Artist and CH favorite, Jon Burgerman applied his doodles and graffiti scrawls to soft furnishings for his collaboration with Kirkby, a fabric resource library that specializes in affordable textiles. Burgerman told us the biggest challenge for this, his first interiors collection, was working on a larger scale and having to create repeat patterns. Being surrounded by Burgerman’s bright, detailed prints felt like gaining an insight into the slightly surreal mind of the artist.
Images by Cajsa Carlson