It has been a few years since I last went to 100% Design and I have to say that it wasn’t as I remembered the show in previous years, with an overarching sense of trade fair rather than anything more ‘designerly’ or seductive.
That said here are my highlights;
Heading straight for the ‘emerging brands’ section I met with Nicholas Rose whose simple but very beautiful lycra stretched lampshade caught my eye. While the forms and premise (frame, stretchy fabric shade and a light bulb) are quite classic, what caught may eye, as it did others, was the soft, ‘floaty’ hues of blues and pinks, an effect achieved by shining the fitting through an edge-lit acrylic skeleton which, in turn, transforms the white lyrca.
As if to confirm that the pastels, burnt pink and warm grey trend is still alive, were the adjoining stand neighbours, Danish brand – Korridor.
It was great to see the wonderfully minimal; Shaker influenced ‘Runcible’ (a family of American Maple kitchen tools by Mathias Hahn) – which we saw earlier this year at the Clerkenwell Festival. These, along with four other pieces, were commissioned to showcase the creative potential of other lesser-known timbers from the USA.
Staying with the minimal, I was taken by the bold simplicity of this exterior bench and table from UK abstract painter-cum-furniture-designer Jennifer Newman, which used a simple palette of black dyed, sustainable timber and brightly painted fabricated aluminum. The combined effect was bold but simple – something that UK outdoor furniture retailers seem to forget when sourcing their ranges.
Staying with the UK, my two highlights were both joyfully minimal and in stark contrast to the plethora of bling Italian brands that
surrounded them both. The first ‘Lowinfo’ from Nottingham, who make some of the most amazing poured concrete sinks and washbasins I have ever seen. The depth of richness and texture in these monolithic, geometric sinks was impressive, especially when paired with zingy Vola fittings in orange and yellow!
The second gem emerged from a florid, swarm of over-done Italian marble like a CNC’d modern day Michelangelo’s David. The objects in question are also washbasins and while they are machined from Italian Carrara marble (as is the aforementioned David) they are some of the most lovely, modernist pieces of UK industrial design I have seen for a long while – and what’s more they are machined in the heart of Manchester to only compound the perversity of it all even further!