The trouble with the London Design Festival is that there’s so much on in such a short time. That’s why I’m still playing catch up with today’s post about Tent which Yannick and I visited last week. Along with Superbrands at the same venue, Tent is one of the main hubs of the festival, showing forty established brands and more than two hundred independent designers over four days in Hanbury St, near Spitalfields Market.
As usual, my focus was on the Japanese designers so Yannick and I kicked off with a visit to Crafted in Kyoto+Noma. They were showing products from six enterprises in Kyoto and Shiga Prefecture, all of them using traditional craft approaches to create original new products to appeal to western sensibilities.
It was a small and rather crowded stall – maybe next year we’ll see them back with more products and more space in which to show them – but here are the ones that caught my eye.
Yokoyama Bamboo Products weave bamboo into interesting new shapes, like this surprisingly comfortable bamboo seat.
The bamboo culture in Kyoto developed in conjunction with the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, which both use bamboo as an essential material. Tea ceremony rooms are commonly built of bamboo.
Furukawa Yosuke Syoten makes fabrics out of Japanese paper. The fabric is lighter than cotton, with no fluff and a very smooth surface. Their paper is 100% organic and though it is now machine made it follows traditional techniques.
Daitou Shingu Kogyo makes bedding and cushions of stuffed cotton.
Marushi Ceramics make large ceramics, specialising in in umbrella stands, washbasins and planters. They use thick clay from Shigaraki which is shaped on a spinning lather, fired, glazed and fired again at 1240 degrees Celsius.
Moving on, I was very taken with Reiko Kaneko’s ceramics. She’s based in Stoke on Trent and already sells through a variety of shops, including Liberty’s, as well as supplying bespoke china to restaurants. Her stacking cups are simply and practical, while her christmas decorations decorated with animal portraits are a fun and different take on the season of glitter.
It was good to see Ikuko Iwamoto, a ceramic artist I’ve covered before, showing her quirky designs again.
Our last stop was in Superbrands, to see Japanese/American designer Laura Kishimoto’s origami-inspired furniture. Her chairs are made using free-formed pieces of bent laminated ash bound with wedges to create natural curves.
The London Design Festival is a week-long celebration of design that takes place in venues all over London in September each year. If you want to get an idea of how extensive it is, scroll through the highlights on their website.