The use of ultra-versatile copper is on the rise, whether inspired by the 204 copper petals forming this year’s Olympic torch by Thomas Heatherwick, the promise of the metal’s unique patina upon years of use or its ever-increasing street value. The reason for copper’s distinct resurgence is undoubtedly as varied as its numerous applications, and to highlight that we’ve culled nine examples from London Design Festival, spanning tape dispensers to classic English brogues.
Lex Pott has been reducing copper and other raw materials to their purest form since 2009, when he graduated cum laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven. The former Hella Jongerius intern plays with the medium at serious scientific levels, which is best seen in his 2010 series “True Colours,” a striking study on copper now selling from London’s premiere design shop Mint.
Channeling traditional pans for making jam, Pauline Deltour‘s embossed copper Roulé tray is a significantly more shallow version with the same exaggerated rolled edge. For its display at the Wonder Cabinets of Curiosity show at the Brompton Design District the Parisian designer highlights copper’s natural beauty by aligning it with other media in a tangible color spectrum, to reveal “surfaces and reliefs, finishing and reflections, transparency or density.”
Japanese designer Tatsuya Akita investigates what he calls “scars of production” in a range of concrete desktop items, including a copper tape dispenser. On display at Designjunction, the mundane office supply gets a subtle touch of peach shine while carrying a deeper meaning— Akita explains that the dispenser provides an “ongoing look at the unintended marks a manufacturing process leaves behind.”
Jennifer Chan‘s fixtures replace the prevalent Plumen bulb in favor of an even more energy-efficient lighting source—the candle. The RCA grad creates thoughtful objects that physically reflect daily life rituals, such as turning on a light. Chan’s Copper Candle was a natural fit for A Place To Gather, an exhibit curated by Irish Craft and Design.
Also spotted at A Place To Gather were Clancy Moore Architects‘ Strand Lamps, which are inspired and crafted by metalworkers from Portadown, Ireland. The lamp—created as both a floor and table design—flows seamlessly with a room’s decor while making a statement with its robust form.
Eclectic by Tom Dixon
Everything seemed to come up copper for Tom Dixon in 2012, and his shop at The Dock is brimming with fine metallic taste. Since launching his Copper Shade in 2005—a fixture made by “exploding a thin layer of pure metal onto the internal surface of a polycarbonate globe”—Dixon has continued to add an element of copper to his lighting collection each year, but his newly launched set of objects, “Eclectic by Tom Dixon,” marks a different direction for the designer. In it you’ll find everything from candles to a classic English Gentleman’s brogue coated in copper, for an effect that’s as elegant as it is entertaining.
As part of the Shoreditch Design Triangle, Tord Boontje‘s recently opened shop is also home to an exclusive new lighting series by the Dutch designer. The curious collection of luminaries, called “Lightweight,” offers a primitive take on the standard lamp with a Flintstones-like aesthetic. The copper baskets hold rocks that actually function to suspend the lamp.
The Santiago studio, Bravo, brought a little bit of home to Tent London with their collection of “essential containers” called La Familia. The airtight vessels are made from local Patagonian wood and copper, handsomely marrying traditional Chilean carpentry techniques with contemporary style.
At 100% Norway, the Oslo-based foursome Strek Collective gave the medium the royal treatment with Copper 58—a series of five circular wares including a sophisticated serving platter, tall candle holders and small candy dishes. Each piece is water-cut, with the crown-like copper walls silver-soldered to the base for a seamless construction.