Gallery: London Design Festival 2008: Inhabitat’s Highlights


This year’s London Design Festival was an incredible event that showcased some of the world’s most acclaimed designers in addition to a host of upcoming talents. From innovative furnishings and lighting solutions to clothing and accessories, this year’s event featured a variety of cutting-edge concepts in sustainable design. Read on for our highlights from the event!

Marking 20 years since the fall of the Berlin wall, several innovative designers selected to represent the Best of Berlin. Heike Buchfelder and Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag partnered up to present Urban Inversion B, a lamp object which doubles as a sound installation. Placing your head inside the feather-lined lamp, you enter the ‘hermatic subspace’ that broadcasts the slowed-down sounds of reverberations in the city of Berlin. Buchfelder frequenlty works with feathers, championing their durability and the unique way they diffuse light.

Norwegian designer Elisabeth Nossen based her Topi Footstool upon a Salvation Army thrift shop purchase. The environmentally aware designer is looking forward to working with more sustainable materials in the future, since beginning next year “the disposal of textiles in the garbage will be illegal in Norway”. The Topi Footstool was displayed as part of the outstanding 100% Norway exhibition.

Beyond the Valley were the early birds at this year’s design festival, throwing an opening party complete with popcorn, jelly sculptures and gin. The atmosphere was abuzz as guests drifted between the three stores in Soho. Most had to restrain themselves from sitting down on Farm Design‘s fabulous Piano Bench, a humorous re-interpretation of the overlooked institutional park bench.

We loved Beyond the Valley ‘s 3-d wallpaper sections made from recycled cardboard.

Tomas Kral‘s “Upgrade” glass jars and bottles for Gallery Libby SellersBeau Sauvage‘ at Liberty were truly exquisite. Described by Sellers as ‘the perfect embodiment of the raw and the beautiful’, the Swiss-educated designer has documented their design process at his website. Kral explains: “The idea is to use traditional decorative techniques for crystal glass like cutting, engraving, gilding to “upgrade” existing industrial glass packaging like milk bottles or jars for tomato sauce. I join together the industrial and the craft. I started simply with application of traditional decorations and finally I develop my personal “upgrades”.”

With responsible design at the forefront of TEN designers mind’s, they regroup every year to try to adress issues surrounding our consumer throw-away culture. Now in their third year at 100% Design, TEN designers worked on a brief to create sustainable wooden products for the home or garden. We loved Tomoko Azumi‘s Transport Lamp (pictured above).

Wood will go on to tour nationally thanks to the Crafts Council, with the aim of showing the world how sustainable ‘can be beautiful’. All products will be available for purchase from twentytwentyone, as soon as they find a manufacturer that fits their criteria: ‘Our quest to find a manufacturer capable of economical batch production, using qualifying material and employing resourceful processes proves to be an arduous task. TEN + twentytwentyone aim to offer a design-led product range, utilising sustainable material and with the intention to provide lasting, functional objects with an understanding for contemporary social and environmental concerns.’

Nod Ahead‘s 100 Prayer Pot took stood out at the Seoul Young Designers Pavillion with its humble and thoughtful narrative. Each prayer pot is formed from shredded notes with prayers written on them and then bound with glue oxhide. The Transplantable Paper Pot bio-degrades into the soil leaving the plant to grow free.

Exciting new Cornish furniture and lifestyle brand Mark Product named their Shaper Table after the surfboard shapers who handcrafted the table. Working with manufacturers who are dedicating themselves to creating the ultimate in eco-friendly surfboards, Mark offers buyers the option to purchase a Shaper Table made from biofoam.

UK designer Christopher Raeburn‘ s created a beautiful clothing range made from recycled parachutes. The fabric’s grid and opacity are amplified by the structural skeleton, and the collection is said to have been inspired by army clothing.

Shiu Yuk Yuen‘s Eco Umbrella was on display as part of Kithkin Presents, at Designersblock. What made this product particularly relevant to us today was the use of a materials commonly seen and discarded in day to day city life: free newspapers and plastic bags. Shiu Yuk Yuen‘s motivation was to encourage society to take part in recycling by engaging with it on a practical level.

Pushing bamboo to new limits in furniture design, RCA graduate Tom Higgs developed an innovative construction technique that uses strips of bamboo to create functional furniture. Higgs describes his process: “Bamboo is currently made into panels and blocks by butt-jointing and laminating rectangular bamboo strips together. Instead, by using these strips to create I-beams, rigid lightweight structures suitable for furniture can be achieved. This chair requires no expensive tooling, just a few basic jigs with processes minimized by repeating angles throughout the structure. This chair is strong, lightweight, sustainable and promotes the use of bamboo in new ways.”

For more photos check out our London Design Festival Flickr Feed >

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