London Design Festival 14 – 22 September

100% Design kicks off the series of high profile events

by Malcolm Clark
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Last weekend saw the beginning of the 11th London Design Festival with the opening of dRMM Architects' Escher-like “Endless Stair” outside the Tate Modern, the former power station which was transformed into a museum by Herzog & De Meuron Architekten in 2000. The Staircase, originally planned to be erected next to St. Paul's Cathedral but then moved to its more prominent site outside the museum after discussions with the London Design Festival Team, is the brainchild of architect Alex de Rijke, founder of architects dRMM and Dean of Architecture at the Royal College of Art. He worked to a commission from the American Hardwood Export Council, with engineering carried out by ARUP. While providing several platforms which offer views down towards the Thames, the serious purpose of the project is to showcase the potential of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels made from American tulipwood. This method exploits the structural properties of timber to create panels that can form buildings quickly, efficiently and sustainably.

This week the London Design Festival begins in ernest with the three major design shows. The longest running event, 100% Design, sets the ball rolling on Wednesday 18th, with its biggest ever show, attracting over 350 exhibitors across 20,000 sqm.

100% design has been divided into sections to make it easier to navigate around, with Emerging Brands along each boulevard and a newly extended International Pavilion. The main hall is split into four industry sectors: Interiors, Office, Kitchen & Bathroom, and Eco Design & Build.

Each of the show's five halls has been built around a custom-designed hub to serve as a meeting place and creative inspiration, with an additional five spaces dedicated to innovation and technology.

Many companies have selected 100% Design to launch their new and innovative product lines. Bulo is officially launching its Jules Wabbes Editions Collection in the UK. Jules Wabbes was the main representative of Belgian design in the 1950s until 70s. Three decades later when collectors are paying large sums for his pieces, Bulo have bought the rights to his designs and put a selection of his original works back into production.

French outdoor furniture brand FERMOB also releases new products to add to their collection of bright designs. Prestigious German manufacturer Dornbracht, premiers its game-changing Smart Water technology. Inspired by smart phone interfaces, new digital controls give total precision to each water outlet. The Sensory Sky rain shower combines rain, fog, light and fragrance for a unique experience focused on wellbeing and elements of nature.

HI-MACS® solid surface by LG Hausys Europe returns to 100% Design. A high-quality product with excellent thermoformability properties, it can be adapted into an almost infinite range of designs.

This year 100% Design has invested more than ever in seminars, workshops and will feature 10 installations by award-winning designers and architects, showcasing the most innovative thinking for each sector of the industry.

Richard Rogers will open the Talks programme on Wednesday 18th September with ICON Presents In Conversation with Chris Turner. It will provide a unique opportunity to gain insight into Richard Rogers’ architectural practice from a career spanning over five decades and perfectly timed to coincide with a retrospective of his work at the Royal Academy this year, Richard Rogers RA: Inside Design.

Giulio Cappellini, the Italian design luminary, is a name that remains synonymous with the world’s most innovative contemporary, avant-garde design. Whether nurturing emerging talent (a young Tom Dixon and Jasper Morrison, the Bouroullec Brothers) or working with established names (Paul Smith), Cappellini is always at the forefront of creative product design.

Royal Academician, Eric Parry, who has worked with ceramics for over a decade, will explore the relationship between form, colour and texture through the evolution of the design of a number of projects. These include the coloured glazes at the Wimbledon School of Art, the over glazes at the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath and the silk screened transfer technique at Eagle Place in Piccadilly. In conversation with Rory Olcayto, the editor of the Architects Journal, the talk will explore the extension of craft into artifice through dialogue with a number of prominent artists.

100% design takes place at Earl' Court from 18-21 September. Archilovers and Archiproducts are media partners of the show once again this year.

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References
Endless Stair 35

Endless Stair

London / United Kingdom / 2013

Tate Modern 43

Tate Modern

London / United Kingdom / 2000