Calendar Girls Do London

By chris

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The Calendar Girls hit 100% Design this weekend. The weather was
gorgeous and the mood was upbeat across the city.

Our first comment for those wanting to attend 100% is be prepared to do
some schlepping.  The offsite exhibits are spread across London and when
we say spread – we mean spread.  Imagine making your way to all five NY
boroughs to see a show…and you’ve got  the idea.  Good thing we had a
healthy cab budget and an Oyster card for the London Underground.

We decided to focus most of our energy on the happenings outside of the
fair in the London Design Festival.  We kicked off our tour at the Borough
Market for the Food with Thought exhibit.  We were intrigued when we heard
that our friends at Loophouse and SALT had taken their great design
sensibilities to market – the food market that is.  With more than half a
million shoppers passing by each day, exhibit founders Lorraine Statham
(Loophouse) and June Swindell (SALT) had a built-in audience of curious
food-lovers.  We’re also keyed into the connection between food and design
-so the pieces on display felt playful and site-specific.  Food-inspired
creations included “Creek Pendant” lobster trap lighting by Tom Kirk, Pig
to Market textiles by Timorous Beasties,  “Tutti Frutti” Stools made from
recycled food crates by Kay + Stemmer, cheeky rugs entilted Apples and
Pears from Loophouse and textural textiles from Salt inspired by the iron
gridwork of the space and Tracy Kendall’s fabric take on cutlery.   They
raised awareness about the power of design to a new audience and brought a
well-received decorative element to the soaring market ceilings.  We hope
they can keep those pieces on display for a while!

boroughmarket

"Tutti Frutti" stools by Kay + Stemmer

"Tutti Frutti" stools by Kay + Stemmer

We then headed over to Brick Lane for the TENT exhibition.  The busy block
was buzzing with design-lovers en route to the TENT.  Our friends at the
British PR agency, PR-Girl set us up with passes and party tickets.  Some
of our favorite young designers on hand were TOBYhouse with his playful
lighting created with Beachballs and file folders: Alex MacMaster‘s
curvacious lighting and coffee tables; BOEX 3S Creative Solutions Pencil
Table (yes they are actually sharpened working pencils); Esther Coombs
delicate pen and ink decorated ceramics; Jon Male’s playful hoof coat
hangers, stools, cupboards and stools; and boulder-inspired fiberglass
chairs by designer Julian Mayor.

TOBYhouse

TOBYhouse

Light by Alex MacMaster

Light by Alex MacMaster

Esther Coombs

Esther Coombs

Jone Male

Jon Male

BOEX 3S Creative Solutions Pencil Table

BOEX 3S Creative Solutions Pencil Table

Close-up

Close-up

Allison Abbate settles into a Julian Mayor chair

Allison Abbate settles into a Julian Mayor chair

Allison Abbate with the artist/designer Julian Mayor

Allison Abbate with the designer Julian Mayor

Also new this year, was a TENT Digital section with interesting digital displays including digital birdcages.

londondigital

Digital Birdcage

Digital Birdcage

We followed our TENT party night with curry down on the block
at one of the many welcoming establishments.  All in a great first day at
the festival.

Dock

Next day we started off at Tom Dixon‘s dig for the Dock exhibitions and
brunch.  The Rug Company set up a tent to display their first
collaboration with Dixon, a new collection of rugs with geometric patterns
in rich shades of blue and green.  Dixon was on hand, enjoying the
atmosphere and food provided by the Dock Kitchen cafe.  We highly
recommend this little gem – which just opened  – and will now remain open
through the holidays.  We had the Fatoosh salad and Vietnamese sandwiches
– and they were divine.  Also fun, was a car-boot art fair with artists
selling their wares from their car-trunks.  But our favorite part was the
White House Exhibit.  Jam-packed with interesting work from young
designers, set in a stately old white-washed mansion, our favorites were
Massproduction by Chris Martin and Magnus Eleback; the Field, an art
installation by Dominic Wilcox using Terra Plana desert boots, lighting by
Nick Fraser; the Andy Light made with standard hardware store brackets
from Philippe Malouin; and lampshades made from the plastic bits left
behind at grocery store plastic bag dispensers by Monica Hughes.

TomDixon

The Rug Compant tent

The Rug Company tent

White House Exhibit

White House Exhibit

The "Andy" light by Nick Fraser

The "Andy" light by Nick Fraser

Allison Abbate with Magnus Eleback

Allison Abbate with Magnus Eleback

"Field" by Dominic Wilcox

"Field" by Dominic Wilcox

Lampshade by Monica Hughes

Lampshade by Monica Hughes

Finally we made our way to the show.  We heard that is was much smaller
this year.  It seemed robust to us, with a healthy Designer Section.  We
were excited to see Royal Botania‘s Wave in the flesh – It will be making
its way to the States this year.

We focused in on surfacing and textiles.  We got to visit with our friend
Alistair McCalister from Timorous Beasties and see their colorful new
goodies.  Another favorite, Jocelyn Warner, introduced a lovely pattern of
botanical wallpapers.  Kanez Abdi showed her exotic collection of textiles
with materials like raffia and sequins.  She is currently collaborating
with kontextür, a US based company, on new shower curtains.  Finally, we
visited with our friends Ceramic Tiles of Italy and checked out tiles that
looked like cowhide, wood and textiles.

By then we were exhausted and it was time for a restorative cup of tea.

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Royal Botania's Wave

Royal Botania's Wave

Alistair McCalister from Timorous Beasties

Alistair McCalister from Timorous Beasties

Kaniez Abdi (look out for her designs for kontextür to hit the market soon)

Kaniez Abdi (look out for her designs for kontextür to hit the market soon)

One of the tiles on display at Ceramic Tiles of Italy

One of the tiles on display at Ceramic Tiles of Italy

100% proved to be an informative and festive experience.  We would highly
recommend it for a healthy dose of design inspiration.

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