Designjunction

Part of the London Design Festival, designjunctionsponsored by Masserati, was held in the old 1960’s Sorting Office on New Oxford Street, a spectacular industrial backdrop for this design event.

Featuring more than 100 international brands, there were three floors packed full of cutting-edge design, new product launches, pop-up shops and large-scale displays and installations. Exciting!

On guard at the event was a massive artwork by Thierry Guetta – a Banksy collaborator, aka Mr Brainwash (of film ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ fame). This 20ft gorilla, constructed of shredded recycled tyres, was remaining from a previous exhibition, but we didn’t question its presence in this gigantic venue.

Part of the ground floor was transformed into a series of interactive Flash Factories, where the processes of industrial production were brought to life. Skilled craftsmen from furniture pioneers Thonet demonstrated their mobile wood-bending machine, used to craft the classic 214 chair, a manufacturing technique dating back to the 1850s.

The 214, the Coffee-House Chair, was the first flat-pack chair. This revolutionary process enabled the chair to be constructed from six components and a handful of screws. As a result, it’s light, compact and easily shipped all over the world and assembled on site.

Following on, we visited the Fritz Hansen display. To coincide with the 10th anniversary of his charity, The Better Food FoundationJamie Oliver has joined forces with 20 fantastic artists to launch a fundraiser called The Big Chair Project.

Fritz Hansen have donated the iconic Ant Chairs and are featuring the decorated pieces in their flagship London store. Jamie’s own Egg Chair design was officially unveiled and was being upholstered at the show. The chairs will be auctioned in October, raising funds to give young people a chance of a better future. Take a look at a short video of the project below.

Tokyobike is a small bicycle company, founded in the quiet Tokyo suburb of Yanaka and now expanding to cities around the world.

Designed for Tokyo, the bikes have smaller 650mm wheels and slim, compact, steel frames, making them easy to handle and light to ride. They’re more about slow, than fast, and are as much about discovering your city and enjoying the ride as they are about the destination.

We met the lovely Felicia Strehmel from Lilly’s Lightbox Company who makes lightboxes from period drawers discovered at sales, in skips and in charity shops. They’re fitted with handmade acrylic slides, featuring photos and graphics and are wired with fabric cables to complete the vintage look.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Bocci operates as a co-operative community of designers, architects, craftspeople and technicians, creating innovative lighting and chandeliers.

Bocci believe that a sustainable product is, quite simply, one that is never thrown away. In pre-industrialised western societies the average individual owned less that 100 objects throughout their lifetime. Each object is likely to have been practical, beautiful, inherited and well made. Bocci create objects with the intention that they’ll undoubtedly be precious to their owners and will be loved for a lifetime. Take a look at their website – you’ll drool http://bocci.ca/

And there was more! Take a look at the designjunction website http://thedesignjunction.co.uk/