Saturday, 17 September 2011

Guest post:
Katie Treggiden's London Design Festival highlights



Last week I wrote my Independent on Sunday Insider column about the London Design Festival – it was kind of a beginner's guide to the sprawling, capital-wide event which kicks off today. And for tips, I went to LDF old-hand, Katie Treggiden, who writes the award-winning blog, confessions of a design geek. 

She was so knowledgeable that I thought I'd tap her up for some tips on hot new designers showing their wares at the event. Which you can now read, below... so I'll leave you in Katie's capable hands (but not before pointing you in the direction of her brilliantly useful navigation of the Festival on her blog in case you're thinking of hitting the capital's streets this week – and don't miss her new book either, details below)...

Being Blease Loop mirror, £145


Katie Treggiden, aka the Design Geek
I write a blog called confessions of a design geek so it won’t come as a surprise that I’m obsessed with design and a bit geeky.

But you don’t need to be either to love the London Design Festival. If you’re into interior design, LDF is the place to be. Whether you’ve got money to spend or are looking for inspiration, nothing beats the rush of spotting a trend for yourself or finding a new designer to fall in love with.

With 133 events on the first day alone, it can feel overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you dipping a toe in. Here are five things I’m excited about:

Geek power some of Katie Treggiden's favourite things: (clockwise from top right) Jack Smith's Bird Box, £23,  part of the Today's Specials stand; Guardsman egg cup, £6, by Martha Mitchell Design, at ContemporaryLab; Moji Salehi cushions, £55 also ContemporaryLab; work by Clare Knox-Bentham; "Leaf" fabric, by Sarah Jayne Guest, at ContemporaryLab; "Beech & Butter" doorstops, £5.50, by Jack Neville, at Today's Specials




1. ContemporaryLab, TENT, Hall T3, Stand M12
Showcasing the best in new graduate design, ContemporaryLab was founded by undergraduate Emma Brocklesby in May 2011. In a proactive move to provide opportunities for herself and fellow graduates, Emma has curated a collection of homewares and accessories that will appeal to buyers of all budgets.

2. Tom Gyr / Tercel Design, Decorex, Stand J319
Tom Gyr is a furniture designer with a passion for British manufacture. Working in forge to create contemporary furniture using traditional methods, he has created a new range; 'Thames' with Tercel Design. Drawing upon the iconic river's shape, it features products from furniture to lighting, each one handmade by the forge's blacksmiths.

2. Today’s Specials, Netil Market and Portobello Road Market
Today’s Specials run two market stalls, supporting new designers by creating a retail space without expensive overheads. They champion products that are ethically produced in the UK with an emphasis on handmade. Their line-up for LDF includes the slick, the quirky and the downright gorgeous.


3. Being Blease Loop Mirror, Hidden Art ‘Inspiring the Future’ collection, Stand 68, 100% Design
In line with their ethos of supporting new designers, Hidden Art will be launching eight products from independent designers at 100% Design. My favourite is the Loop Mirror (see main image, top) from Being Blease, founded by CSM graduate Paul Blease just this year. It comes in range of colours that will tempt even the most restrained interiors nut into buying the whole collection.

5. Clare Knox-Bentham Stand D50, Origin 
Doing incredible things with heat-extruded plastic, Clare is definitely one to look out for. Her installations defy definition. Clare starts with hand drawings and transforms them into a brightly coloured, three-dimensional forms.


Katie Treggiden's book, Interviews, featuring eighteen interviews with designers from big names such as Wim Crouwel and Anthony Burrill to newer talent including Hannah Dipper of People Will Always Need PlatesZoe Murphy and Furniture Magpies is out today to coincide with the start of London Design Festival. The book, which covers graphic design, furniture and product design, is the first in a series in a limited edition of 1,000 and will retail at £10. It will be available from www.confessionsofadesigngeek.com, the Design Museum Shop, the Scene Shop at designjunction and other design retailers, independent books shops and pop-ups. 50p from the sale of every copy will be donated to Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.

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