100% Design

The London Design Festival is an incredibly busy time of year, with a whole series of events taking place over London. We visited 100% Design, which we’re happy to say has had a welcomed face lift and was back at its best, featuring innovative design, with the return of iconic brands such as Vitra, Knoll and Herman Miller.

First off we had a tour around the show to orientate ourselves, led by Willam Knight, the newly appointed events director. He explained the creative theme behind the show this year is “Connections”, of brands, products, ideas, design and people. The layout facilitated this through a series of social hubs, in each of 4 dedicated sections: Office & Workspace, Interiors, Eco Design & Build, and Kitchens & Bathrooms. Also featured is an International Pavilion, which included dedicated group stands from countries ranging from France to Korea, Chile, Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Shenzehn and Austria. The brief for the hubs was to exude a sense of energy and fun, with the intention of being welcoming and approachable social gathering places.

Aberrant Architecture created a distinctive space for the Kitchens & Bathrooms area, inspired by Victorian London Lunch Clubs. A contemporary wooden meshwork built a lofty open structure, draped with graphic tea towels, depicting the ‘rules’ of the establishment.


By Thomas Matthews Design, the Eco Design & Build hub experience was structured as an auditorium and hosted a programme of talks.

Through efficient use of materials and by creating structures that have a use after the show, the design displayed eco-credentials. Also featured in the hub were low energy Plumen bulbs, and Tip Ton Chairs, by Vitra, winner of the Product of the Year, FX Award 2011. Manufactured from a single cast, with no mechanical components, they are practically indestructible and 100% recyclable.


Simon Woodroffe who started the Yo Sushi chain was there to present a unique proposition – the first prototype ever, on the first day ever, of Yo Home.

Simon was influenced by stage scenery, he loves the way it moves around to transform a space. He wanted to use that same mechanism, using simple counterweights, to maximise limited floor space and create ingenious multiple usage of the restricted living spaces typical of apartments in most cities. The scheme featured a bedroom, which rose to reveal a full sized sitting room underneath.

The kitchen appeared when floor and wall panels were opened, the shower floor opened to reveal a bath below and fixtures and fittings were compact and out of sight. In effect an 800sq ft apartment transformed into a 6-7000sq ft flat. Simon is committed to more efficient use of space and sees no reason why this sort of technology can’t be used in everyday situations. His vision is to have mainstream housing built in this way.

Continuing on – there were so many awesome things to fit into our day – here are some of the highlights, our favourite brands, people and designers who’re working in sustainable ways.

The Great Recovery stand, by the RSA, incorporated redundant electronics to make a point of the unnecessary waste that’s happening today, when repair could be the answer. Bright Sparks were featured, a company that provides a service of affordable repairs and creates training and volunteering opportunities for the unemployed.

They also contribute spare parts to designers. Gaspard Tiné-Berès incorporates repurposed electrical components into new kitchenware items, which are specifically designed to be easily repaired.

The Eos lampshade, by Vitaradiates a wonderfully soft, cosy glow and that’s because it’s made from real feathers, a by-product of the Chinese poultry industry. Each is carefully positioned on a paper core by hand. Vita also featured the Silvia, a shade made from environmentally friendly polypropylene, designed to be put together at home in less than 15 minutes. By making it flat-pack they’re able to reduce their packaging volume and can fit more products on each shipping pallet, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions.

CDC were there showing an extensive collection of products from designers in Portugal, including plenty of eco-friendly cork and the striking slatted furniture, by designer Marian Slastan, which will be produced in sustainable materials.

We’ll have plenty more of what we saw at 100% Design, coming shortly, and from the rest of the London Design Festival too…In the meantime, take a look at these websites; http://www.100percentdesign.co.uk/ http://www.londondesignfestival.com/