Up to 27,000 architects, designers, specifiers and members of the public attended 100% Design at Olympia last week. The UK’s largest design trade show ran from 20-23 September as the commercial heart of London Design Festival. Combined visitor spending power reached more than £3.5bn.
More than 400 exhibitors from across the globe showcased their designs, with many using 100% Design to launch new products to market. Highlights included a new collection for Gufram from star British designer Michael Young, who when opening the show called 100% Design “one of the most interesting design events both in London and worldwide.”
Daren Newton, Event Director at Media 10, comments:
“There was an intense creative buzz about the show this year, and we were really pleased with the mix of brands across the board. The Interiors section in particular looked the best I’ve seen it in years and the feedback we’ve had so far is that the quality of visitors was high and with a focus on project specification.”
Interiors, the longest running section of the show, saw strong presentations from new and established international brands. Italian furniture brand Magis showcased its new Sequoia stools, designed by Norwegian studio Anderssen & Voll to conjure up the idea of an idealised tree or a bicycle. First seen in Milan, these polyester-painted steel seats made for a colourful display at the front of the show. Recently launched Singaporean brand Ipse Ipsa Ipsum showed its debut collection of furniture, lighting and accessories in marble, brass and leather, designed by Nathan Yong. 100% Design veterans Pad Home revealed new collaborations with Mind the Gap and Bethan Gray, as well as stunning new Hive and Nest scraplights by Graypants, handcrafted from recycled cardboard. Director Nik Fulton said, “In what is a busy week in London Design Festival, the show continues to provide a great platform for companies to meet people and showcase products.”
In lighting, Vita Copenhagen’s lampshades embodied the current trend for botanical forms, with the floral VITA Carmina and VITA Aluvia, as well as the new VITA Eos Up, made from all natural goose feathers. British lighting manufacturer Original BTC’s new Minster wall lights combined a prismatic glass shade mounted on a Stoke-on-Trent-made bone china wall bracket, to create a stylish yet discreet light with high levels of diffuse illumination – perfect for kitchens, bathrooms and hallways, while French lighting manufacturer Designheure made an impact with their new geometric Mozaik range, designed by Davide Oppizzi.
Design London, a showcase of the very best in high quality design, detail and craftsmanship, returned to Olympia for the second time as part of Media 10’s international design showcase that includes Design Shanghai and Design Joburg. With Michael Young‘s disco-inspired Roxanne chairs for Gufram placed in the centre of the show, bold colours and playful seating were strong themes throughout. Another highlight was Steuart Padwick‘s HaHa chairs, 2D versions of the classic Victorian Balloon Back Chair with a colour palette taken from Tintin comics. Baines & Fricker and first time exhibitor Wilful Ink brought similar exuberance with their surface pattern products.
Making their Design London debut, Portuguese brand Branca drew much interest for its range of expertly crafted wooden furniture from local Portuguese producers. Demonstrating craftsmanship from the UK, London-based studio Carmen Constantine launched a new range of sculpted cabinets, the American Walnut collection; while East Sussex studio Binocular revealed its new Trisaurus desk lamps, made from pickled and gun-blued steel, English oak and oak tanned leather – also available in American Walnut.
Kitchen and Bathroom launches
In the Kitchens, Bedrooms & Bathrooms section leading Italian brand Smeg made its 100% Design debut to coincide with the launch of its new UK flagship Regents Street store. Their presentation combined designer appliances with its latest high end range for architectural specifiers. Polish brand Concraft presented the Concraft Flexile, a new range of thin tiles for walls and floor, and Swiss specialist Küng Sauna launched its award winning freestanding outside sauna at the show.
Vivian Di Marco, working with Italian bathroom designer Antonio Lupi Design, comments: “Our new products were noticed immediately, great response. We met many architects and designers, the quality of visitors was high and everyone was quite interested which we appreciate greatly!”
New materials and processes
Material and tooling innovation could be found in abundance. In Bathrooms GRAPHENEcore demonstrated its new unique shower trays made from the eponymous super-material, while UK furniture brand Solid Soul Design presented a new GRC range of furniture using Glass Reinforced Concrete, a material that experts believe reduces the Carbon foot print of a product by 40% as compared with standard concrete. In Design & Build new German company Decorus Tubes demonstrated how they can machine profile tubes in all metallic materials to designer specifications for a wide variety of applications in interiors, architecture and infrastructure. In the Emerging Brands section, Cuco showed leather-look lamps and furniture covers made from a sustainable cork composite and fellow Portuguese studio Se7e Life Design revealed “Nuvem” (Cloud) a new lightweight foam wall and lightning option with amazing sound-proofing qualities. It looks solid, but is surprising to touch.
The luxurious use of concrete was a recurring theme, with a vast range of applications including everything from wall tiles and flooring to dining tables. Concrete LCDA from France – Europe’s leading fibre-reinforced concrete interior fittings specialist which has provided interiors for Dior, Givenchy, Foster + Partners and Ateliers Jean Nouvel – launched a new, easy to install Panbeton® lightweight concrete wall cladding. The trend was also acknowledged in Kaza Concrete’s themed installation for Kitchens, Bedrooms & Bathrooms, which arranged a variety of luxury concrete tiles forming the word ‘Elements’.
Smart living solutions
Smart solutions and systems management continue to evolve at 100% Design. German brand Gira showed its ranges in this area, which includes automatic light control, time-dependant temperature control and convenient door communication. Automation specialist Nice UK demonstrated a similar ethos, showcasing its Era Inn internal blinds system which uses variable torque and speed motors to ensure that all blinds maintain perfect alignment, regardless of size. In Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms Californian brand Simplehuman showcased a range of ingenious appliances for improving everyday kitchen tasks, including a voice and motion controlled bin. Juliet Coleman from Simplehuman comments: “As a first time exhibitor, both the quantity and quality of visitors to the stand surpassed our expectations.”
Plants and greenery
Highlighting a growing desire for the benefits of living plants in both interiors and exterior spaces, the central bar, designed by Sally Hogarth, featured greenery supplied to specification by Patch cascading from geometric shapes suspended from the Olympia ceiling. In Design & Build Wallbarn launched a new modular green roof systems, while MOSSwall and Mobilane each showcased their organic, living walls and ceilings. In Emerging Brands, East London florist Grace & Thorn offered plant styling and fitting for offices.
100% Design’s Workplace section, the only of its kind in the UK, showcased a selection of international exhibitors at the forefront of new ways of working. With creativity in the workplace a clear trend at the show, Nowy Styl presented solutions for office layouts that lead to increased creativity, including Tapa, a colourful piece of upholstered furniture designed to take employees away from their desks. In a three-storey stand near the central bar, Scandinavian innovators Framery were able to display a wide range of sound proof work booths, used by visitors for meetings, phone calls and secluded work throughout the show. French Basque brand Alki‘s stand centred on a beautiful wooden communal desk, with modular partitions and seamless placement of plug trays, creating a warmth and conviviality combined with contemporary style. Award-winning Spanish design collective Actiu presented a series of modular seating and desk systems, respectively titled Bend and Link, allowing for creative repositioning and flexibility. Orangebox introduced its new Eva chair, emphasising user experience with a self-weighing mechanism that automatically provides the right amount of resistance as they recline.
In their bloggers lounge, Arper hosted digital press in a tranquil space to network, hold meetings, and recharge. Now in its second year, the Lounge also welcomed speakers including 100% Design Content Editor Max Fraser.