For London Design Festival 2014 and as part of the Islington Design District, SMUG’s CAFÉ SMUG kicked off the festivities with their ‘Cocktails and Canapés’ evening on Tuesday. The café will be playing host to design enthusiasts for the duration of the festival, putting on a programme of design-led activities and workshops. Outside of scheduled events, weary walkers can also drop in for a coffee, cake and free wifi to Instagram their latest snaps.
As my palRoxanne said, “It’s very Decorenvy in here.” Pastel shades and geometric shapes are all over the shop, from cute ceramic cups and vases through to patterned cushions and textiles. I immediately fell in love with the display of ceramics at the bottom of the stairs, in dusty pinks and blues with lots of lovely angles.
SMUG’s two signature images – the shaggy guinea pig and the pineapple – have now been combinedin the form of signature prints and colourways as part of an exclusive collaboration with Thornback and Peel. I think this might overtake my former favourite (Pigeon & Jelly).
The hub of London Design Festival 2014, this year the V&A has more exhibitions on than you can shake a stick at. Nestled in corners and stairwells across all four floors of the building are cool, quirky and thoughtful installations to celebrate all aspects of Design. On Sunday I went for a little snoop around to see what’s going on. Here’s my round up of the best bits.
The Wishlist was formed when Terence Conran, co-founder of Benchmark, asked a group of established designers, “what have you always wanted in your home, but never been able to find?” Their ideas were then passed to some of the most up-and-coming names in design, to be realised.
This nifty hideaway office, commissioned by Terence Conran to Sebastian Cox, is perfect for burrowing away to do some work, blinkered to the distractions of the outside world. In addition to the work surface and chair, there’s also ample space to store books, files and stationery. Can I have one?
The perfect pencil sharpener: Norie Matsumoto created these for Norman Foster, who could never find a design which would cover a variety of different sizes of pencil. The result is these cool geometric-and-gold numbers, in a triangle, cylinder and sphere.
Alison Brooks has always wanted a ‘simple and informal stool for the social hub of the house,’ i.e. the kitchen. Felix de Pass was commissioned to create these slick responses to her dilemma, which are crafted from American Cherry wood.
Alex de Rijke had always wanted ‘a hollow pedestal table, that looks as if it has been carved from a single, laminated tree,’ which is exactly what Barnby & Day gave her. The variations in the American Tulipwood create attractive stripes across the surface of the table, which then disappear into the smooth hole in the centre. It’s a lot bigger than it looks in the first photo – shoes for scale!
New Contemporary Additions
Each year the Design Fund allows the V&A to acquire five contemporary design projects, to display during London Design Week and beyond. This was my favourite area of the exhibition, purely for the “whoa, cool!” of these two objects.
Broken Mirror, by Guillaume Markwalder and Aurélia von Allmen for ECAL. This is a motion-sensitive mirror, which snaps into place to show your reflection only when you’re standing in front of it. At first glance it just looked like a circle of scrumpled tin foil. But when you approach, the sensor detects your presence and the back of the frame contracts, pulling the material taught so that it becomes a functioning mirror. I could have stayed all day playing with this.
The Sketch Chair, courtesy of Front Projects, was an experiment to reduce the time necessary to move a design concept to a fully finished product. The shape of the chair was scribbled in thin air using motion sensors, and then converted to a 3D file to be printed into a physical seat. Cool, huh?
This is just a short round-up of things that caught my eye - there’s absolutely loads more to see when you head down there. Get the lowdown on all the V&A’s exhibits here.
It’s that time of year again – the AW14 interiors trends are coming out of the woodwork.
Spring 2014 saw the introduction of ‘chalky’ pastels, i.e. faded shades of pastel pink, blue, yellow and green. It was nice to see pastels look a little more grown-up, in contrast to the sickly shades that usually crop up every March. Well, AW14 looks set to go one step further, swapping any remotely sunny colours (such as yellow or green) in favour of darker, dusty shades. We’re seeing the same chalky effect as earlier in the year, but in autumnal peach, violet, lilac and teal. Nice, right?
It feels like quite a small adjustment as we move into autumn – more of a tiny tweak in colours rather than stark jump into the new season. Maybe it’s down to climate change? It is quite warm outside for mid-September. (I’m only half joking)