From 14-22 September, London Design Festival and London Design Fair have taken over the city with multiple installations, events and trade shows. As always, LDF brings together ingenious minds able to tackle many pressing global issues, such as the climate crisis, waste and increasing urbanisation.
From everyday items made of plant-based materials to a positive resurgence of plastics, we have highlighted several concepts spotted across the city that we believe are set to reshape the future of environmental conservation and design, as far as materials, colours and social mediums are concerned.
As designers and consumers alike become increasingly concerned about materials’ origin and products’ afterlife, a collective effort for enabling a circular economy through purposeful designs was obvious. There is no place for waste. If waste does happen, it will be converted into something else, as proved by Diana Tso’s seaweed-based plant pots, Sophie Coiley’s vessels made of discarded cardboard and Chip[s] Board’s potato waste glasses. Circularity and pragmatism are then accompanied by the concept of sustainability whose newly acquired meanings go beyond physical objects.
On the same note, biomaterials have been named ‘Materials of the Year’ by London Design Fair, since sustainable thinking encouraged designers to turn to nature’s offerings for material guidance. Last year the focus was around plastic, to raise awareness about the possibilities of producing and using it in less environmentally-damaging ways.
The works of High Society, Tjeerd Veenhoven, Chip[s] Board and Fernando Laposse were displayed at the fair within the ‘Second Yield’ show and illustrated the versatility of bio-based resources. On this occasion, these have been turned into lampshades, leather alternatives, glasses frames and veneers fit for marquetry and tiling.
Nature vs nurture
We have noticed many initiatives that aim to change the way we produce and consume materials, especially plastic. Designers found innovative ways to transform recycled plastic into original new products. Curated by Barbara Chandler – editor of Homes & Property at the London Evening Standard, the ‘Design Fresh’ section at 100% Design show featured thirty talented young artists who revolve their work around the pressing issue of the climate crisis.
Hence, Milo Tonry-Brown aims to reinvent the way plastic is currently being handled by shifting it from single to permanent use. In his desire to explore the positives of this material, Milo mentioned that “plastic is an amazing material, but often used in the wrong way. I am celebrating plastic by using it as a joining method for long-lasting furniture“.
On the other hand, Huw Evans decided to give full freedom to the natural tendencies of the materials he uses to lead his designing process. Made entirely of ash and cherry wood, the “Concertina Collection” of furniture and lighting pieces use the natural flexibility of the material to create a hypnotic appearance and candid lightness.
Innovations such as Dessislava Ivanova’s hydroponics kit with concrete pots makes it possible for people to grow herbs at home in natural sunlight and replace the soil with a nutrient solution. Working as a natural air purifier too, the trend of growing crops at home is expected to cut down unsustainable food production and enable consumers to keep an eye on their eating habits and nutritional intake.
The need for taming the rising urban jungle has also been portrayed through Paul Cocksedge’s impressive installation in Broadgate. Known as London’s largest pedestrian neighbourhood, Finsbury Avenue Square hosted the gigantic ‘Please Be Seated’ undulating bench that is meant to ‘occupy the square without blocking it’, as mentioned by Cocksedge. Made of three concentric circles of scaffolding planks that rise and fall symmetrically, ‘Please Be Seated’ is tailored to its environment and offers ‘places to sit, spaces for people to walk under, or pause and find some shade’ continued Cocksedge.
A soft touch
The concept of sustainability is slowly but surely surrounding our lives both physically and emotionally. Wellness-focused spaces are gaining momentum, resulting in minimal environments that convey an aura of calmness through botanical hues and natural materials.
Soft tones of brown, beige, pink and green featured across interior design elements create a meditative atmosphere to keep inhabitants safe from the urban madness and act as reminders to slow down for a world that moves ever faster.
From the upper left corner: PORTER, Fict Studio, Esat Fisek İçmimarlık, Fict Studio, Benchmark, Domingos Tótora
From the digital to the real life environment
The impact of social media platforms, especially Instagram, has given birth to an oversharing culture. Users are interested in immersive experiences that blur the line between fantasy and reality, and personal spaces are a suitable means of reflecting one’s personality and online persona.
The ‘Insta-Interiors’ section at 100% Design fair definitely caught our attention. Six industry creatives and designers were asked to select 9 images from their personal Instagram that best express their mood and approach to interior design. Images then came to life in six different cubicles designed by 2LG, Anna Mackie-East, Benjamin Kempton, Campbell-Rey, Matilda Goad and OWL Design.
We believe that more brands will increasingly tap into experience design as a way to redeem users’ curiosity from online to real life environments.