London Design Fair 2017: Curating the Curators

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From 21st–24th September 2017, the London Design Fair will once more host the largest collection of international exhibitions, designers, brands, country pavilions and galleries, set in one dynamic location during the London Design Festival. Launching a number of brand new show elements, this year’s exciting London Design Fair will pack a mightily creative punch.

‘As the London Design Fair continues to grow, we are adding exciting new and relevant elements, and building on already successful components: for example, our Guest Country pavilion, Material of the Year and the British Craft Pavilion. With these specialisms come the need for specialists, and the 2017 Fair will bring first-rate curating and commissions. Hole & Corner will curate the British Craft Pavilion and Sight Unseen will curate this year’s Guest Country pavilion: USA. Ariane Prin will create a site specific Jesmonite installation for our Material of the Year. As a result, we are able to offer an enhanced level of experimentation, quality and experience for visitors.’
- Jimmy MacDonald Founder and Director at London Design Fair

Here is a taste of what visitors can expect:

Guest Country USA
Assembly: Sight Unseen brings the best of the US to London Design Fair In 2016, London Design Fair added its first Guest Country Pavilion to the show’s already substantial programme: ‘This is India’ highlighted a wealth of Indian craft and makers. At this year’s London Design Fair, the Guest Country spotlight falls on the USA. Under the heading ‘Assembly’, the pavilion will be curated by Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, founders of pioneering online design magazine Sight Unseen. With a focus on a resurgent US design scene, Assembly will bring together a broad sweep of thirteen independent designers from across the USA. Included in the line-up is sculptor and designer Fernando Mastrangelo. Using everyday commodity materials—salt, coffee, sand, glass and cement—Fernando creates unique furniture designs that balance ruggedness with refinement, and natural form with crafted geometry.*Fernando Mastrangelo

Swedish Design Pavilion
 The 2017 Swedish Design Pavilion is subsidised by and facilitated in conjunction with Southern Sweden Creatives (a project co-financed by The European Union Regional Development Fund and The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth). Up to eight Swedish designers, studios and companies will share the pavilion space. Watch out for Swedish Ninja, a studio founded by Maria Gustavsson. Maria designs and produces a colourful range of lighting and furniture. Also on show is the creative Arlöv-based industrial design studio Andreason & Leibel—expect bold, geometric designs. And industrial designer and curator Petra Lilja will explore the interplay between craft and design. Petra believes today’s design processes must meet the complexity of a changing world.
*Swedish Ninja

Independent Studios and Global Brands
A breadth and diversity of design is a cornerstone of the London Design Fair. Independent studios and global brands will feature throughout. At this year’s fair, look out for a great number of inspiring, intrepid and innovative participants.

Matteo Cibic is an idiosyncratic, unconventional and exciting Italian creative studio. With an experimental and playful approach to design, Matteo Cibic’s inventive products will thrill, tease and titillate visitors. Founded by Icelandic architect Pétur Örn Eyjólfsson and Danish architect Søren Oskar Duvald, Örn Duvald focuses on architecture’s more creative corner, specialising in spatial and furniture design—visitors will want to keep an eye open for it. If making your home a jungle is an aspiration, then Polish studio Bujnie is certain to appeal. Bujnie designs handmade, aesthetic and minimal plant stands, with a mission to spread greenery all over homes and offices.


English heritage brand Cole & Son was established in 1875. Representing styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, the Cole & Son archive, with its vast array of block and screen print designs, original drawings and wallpapers, has won the hearts and minds of many. During the London Design Fair, Cole & Son will exclusively launch a new textile collection—best-loved paper patterns will now be available in fabric. Oigen has been making Nambu ‘Tekki’ ironware in Japan since 1852 and is a custodian of this traditional art. The brand’s beautiful cast ironware will bring a moment of serenity. London-based artist and designer Zuza Mengham has a deep-rooted fascination with materials. A rising talent, Zuza is currently working on a long-term series of colourful gem-like sculptures.

*Zuza Mengham

Other key independent studios and global brands to watch out for include: Marc Wood Studio, Charles Dedman, AE&Studio, Leith Furniture, Louis Jobst, Irina Razumovskaya, Bartek Mejor, Martin Albarran Studio, Ruiqi and Wik & Walsøe.

British Craft Pavilion
The British Craft Pavilion makes a welcome return to the London Design Fair. In its second show edition, the pavilion will double in size, hosting over forty choice makers. Representing the full spectrum of craft disciplines and specialties, the British Craft Pavilion will be curated by Hole & Corner, the magazine that celebrates craft, beauty, passion and skill: ‘We are delighted to have been invited by the London Design Fair to curate the second edition of the British Craft Pavilion.Together, we have selected a range of talented makers across disciplines, including furniture, textiles, leather, print and ceramics, with the aim to create a lively and interactive hub that represents contemporary Britishbased makers.’ - Julia Jarvis, Events Curator at Hole & Corner magazine

Featured at the British Craft Pavilion, Stoke-on-Trent-based ceramicist Reiko Kaneko will showcase her distinctive, expressive ceramics and glassware. Reiko’s work embraces Japanese craft traditions, including Kintsugi and Wabi-sabi. The east London studio Forest + Found adopts an investigative approach to craft. Established by Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge, expect sculptural wooden objects and large textile pieces, created using traditional craft tools. Stoff Studios, a partnership between textile printer Carys Briggs and furniture designer–maker Andrew Mason, employs long-established craft methods in its work. The studio will present a range of tasteful and harmonious textiles and furniture. Other featured designers at the British Craft Pavilion include Tom’s Studio, Kana London and J.Elbourne.

*Stoff Studios

Scotland: Craft & Design Pavilion
2017 sees the welcome return of Craft Scotland and Emergents to the London Design Fair, where they will present the second edition of the ‘Scotland: Craft & Design Pavilion’. A range of talented makers will represent ceramics, lighting, glass, mixed media, furniture and textiles. Taking part in the pavilion, Hynd and Halliday will present projects that combine ceramics, leather and metal with good design. Hynd and Halliday is a collaborative partnership between furniture and textile designer Eve Hynd and ceramicist Myer Halliday. Also participating, potter Patricia Shone will show her incredibly imaginative and functional ceramics. Living on the Isle of Skye, Patricia’s wood fired and raku fired boxes, bowls and jars are evocative of the rugged landscape that surrounds her.

*Hynd and Halliday

Finland: Finnish Form
Presenting a selection of Finnish brands, Finnish Form will be curated by ALVAR, an east London based style and culture magazine with a Nordic twist.

As part of Finnish Form, Hakola, a third generation family business, will present its Nordic designed wares. Hakola maintains that wonderful Finnish tradition of using local materials; the brand seamlessly connects traditional carpentry with aesthetic, functional and long-lasting design. Also partaking in the Finnish pavilion is celebrated Finnish brand Iittala. A stalwart supporter of lasting design, Iittala started life as a glass factory in 1881. Working with famous names such as Kaj Franck and Alvar Aalto, Iittala’s myriad products are original, combinable and multifunctional, allowing for individual use and expression.


Poland: The City of Łódź
Łódź Design Festival, Poland’s foremost design event, is organized by Łódź Art Centre, one of the country’s largest international art centres. ‘Poland: The City of Łódź’ represents a range of Polish studio’s, reflecting this industrial city’s influential design credentials. One participant in the Polish pavilion is VOLA, a company making, decorating and embellishing glass and porcelain with passion and panache. When creating its artistic collections, VOLA works in collaboration with Polish producers, prizing the revival of Polish traditions and craft.


About London Design Fair
 Located in Shoreditch, the creative heart of London, the London Design Fair is a four-day industry event that brings together 500 exhibitors from 28 countries, including: independent designers, established brands, international country pavilions, features and exhibitions. Launched in 2007, the London Design Fair has earned itself the reputation as the go-to trade show during the annual London Design Festival, hosting the single largest collection of international exhibitions, designers, brands, country pavilions, features and galleries throughout the festival. Each year, over 27,000 influential retail buyers, producers, architects, designers, interior designers, press and design-savvy public, will attend to see the very latest in furniture, lighting, textiles, materials and conceptual installations, from all around the world. Building on its prodigious reputation, visitors to the 2017 London Design Fair can expect a first-rate design exhibition. This year, the London Design Fair will launch its Material of the Year—Jesmonite— as well as its inaugural show theme—botany.


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