Towards the end of September, the Truman brewery on Brick Lane played host to the first of its new hybrid event, London Design Fair. A fusion of Super Brands and Tent, this event spanned three floors, showcasing designers’ work from across the country. I had the opportunity to work as a steward on this event, giving me the whole of the four days that the event was taking place to explore each of its halls. At points, it was over whelming how much there was to see, but the standard of work on show was exceptional.

Prepared with my sketchbook, a pen and a bagful of questions, I scouted around for those designer-makers that really grabbed my attention. Refreshingly I found that there was an even split of male and female makers, and I appreciated the chance to stop and chat to each of them about how they had come to be exhibiting; not forgetting to mention that they and their work would be featured on This Girl Makes.

Here is merely a snapshot of some of the work from the fair.

  • Lucy Kurrein’s Trentino collaboration with expert leather workers, Molinari. Her cylindrical chair echoes the durable, and crafted nature of traditional punch bags. The way the front legs compress into the material is reminiscent of the way some boxers grab the bag between blows, inviting the user to wrap their arms around in a similar way. The collective is also made up of other talented fledglings, Max Lamb and Sebastian Cox.
  • Camilla Lee’s Resound design definitely seems like it could be the next popular household item. Her quirky gramophone idea allows sound, played through a portable music device, to be emitted around a room, through either a sculptured ceramic horn, or a constructed timber one. Each of the gramophone’s elbows are individually turned on a spindle lathe by Camilla herself, before being reconstructed into the attractive curve shape. Her studio is part of Cockpit Arts (North London), which if you haven’t heard about, is well worth a google!
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ showcased some really interesting work from all its students, but particularly some of their young women. Eva Fly’s interior products included a light, an upholstered chair and a storage piece, which were designed based on the characters of the Tintin comics. Her thesis explored the role of personality within furniture, and using three characters as a basis for abstraction and exploration of their qualities. Camilla Wedelboe Monseud (of The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’) also explored furniture in a unique way. Her thesis investigated the role of the urn, as the ‘final piece of furniture in our life’. Her designs were contemporary imaginations, which make their concept a lot more appealing.
  • The Scottish Craft & Design Hall had a large range of talent, with a majority of the work coming from female designer-makers. A few honorable mentions are: Kate Colin’s geometric paper lights; Jennifer Gray’s unique table mat centre pieces; Jode Pankhurst’s shamelessly playful homeware ceramics, using her background in illustration to ‘embrace naivety, rather than fearing it’ (an idea I’m sure many makers would benefit from); and Annette Sopata’s design label Diggory Brown, which applies locally sourced materials to unique textile pieces for men and women.
  • Studio LW, which is an extension of the East London School of Furniture Making, demonstrated some truly elegant examples of design and craft. Both their slatted chair and small storage pieces were simple and honest, but very memorable.
  • My favourite exhibitor from the independent business stands was Amy Isles Freeman’s collection of illustrated ‘useful objects’. I was drawn in by her colourful artwork and not disappointed by the individual quality in each of her planters, platters and side tables. An uplifting combination of 3D and surface design.
  • There was a vast array of ceramics on show but the collection from designer Sue Pryke caught my eye several times, as I walked around the second level. Collaboration between herself and John Tildesley makes up Wild+Wood, a ceramics company with a contemporary and blissfully refined aesthetic.
  • A quick mention for the beautiful quality of Sophie Glover’s illustration on display at, designer-maker, Heather Scott’s stand. A beautiful depiction of Heather in her workshop.

For further information on those designer-makers featured in this post, please follow the links provided.