MY TOP PICKS FROM DECOREX INTERNATIONAL at Syon Park, u.K. - SEPTEMBER 2018
I loved to be back in London last month for Decorex International - the leading event of the London Design Festival, that gathered this year over 300 exhibitors at Syon Park. Visiting Decorex has become a tradition for the interior design professionals and an enjoyable way to keep pace with the latest product launches, whether furniture, lighting, hardware or fabric, rugs, wallpaper which were showcased at the event over four days.
As every year, the show offered a broad panel of events, exhibitions, talks and a lot of inspiration. Here, I met some of the most creative minds from around the world and talked with makers and suppliers I appreciate and learned about their products.
With so many beautiful products on display it was tough to make a selection, yet here are my favourites for this year’s show.
The winner of the 2017 Elle Decoration British Design Award for Accessories, Louis Jobst was present this year at Decorex with his debut series The Monument Collection, along with his latest lighting designs.
An architect by profession, Jobst reveals his passion for elegant geometric shapes through this collection of sculptural lighting, which bears a resemblance to miniature arches, columns and monoliths. These exciting forms combined with a contrasting palette of materials, textures and colours shape his distinctive style. Nevertheless, an object’s function and the choice of material for creating such object also play a crucial role in his work. Thus, the process of creation becomes as meaningful as the end result for Jobst. He likes to feel ‘a material’s rawness’, the connection created between the robust matters he chooses to work with and the rigour required to shape them. The result is an ‘raw’ yet distinctive look that, in contrast, unveils the grace and subtlety of the elements.
Experts in crafting remarkable contemporary furniture, Blackbird Bespoke showcased last month at Decorex International a stunning collection of tables, mirrors and lighting.
The pièce de résistance was the Luna convex mirror, with a luxurious verre eglomisé surface and white bronze mild-steel frame, measuring 1.25m in diameter. Inspired by the shape of the moon, the Luna Mirror makes a beautiful centrepiece, creating an exciting chiaroscuro effect and incredible energy.
Another highlight was the Origami Console Table made of one sheet of mild-steel which adds depth and texture to a space, reflecting light from every angle.
I loved its eye-catching geometric form inspired by the ancient Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes,
The Mosaic Dining Table with a top surface blending industrial tones and textures, is composed of 141 individually patinated mild-steel and brass tiles which create an exciting mosaic effect. Also available in a coffee table format and can come with or without a glass top.
I took an instant liking to the Hepworth table lamps which caught my attention with their simple yet striking metallic shape, softened by elegant green silk lamp shades.
Blackbird Bespoke receive commissions from private clients, architects and designers looking to give life to their visions or customise the existing designs by size, colour and finish for a completely bespoke result. All their pieces are handcrafted by a team of skilled artisans in their Central London workshop where they have been based for 60 years.
Faolchú is a Scottish furniture company established by craftsmen Derek Wilson and John Galvin, with a passion for designing refined and unique pieces of furniture.
Every item is handcrafted in their Glasgow workshop by a small group of talented craftsmen, led by their head designer Derek Wilson, using traditional methods combined with innovative techniques.
Looking closely at their furniture it’s the details and the choice of materials that are the most striking, not to mention the elegance of their designs.
True artisans at heart, Faolchú understand the importance of craftsmanship. Therefore they work with expert local foundries, mills and tanneries where they source the highest quality leather and textiles for their pieces.
They select the finest hardwoods from around the world, although they favour native species from Scotland, sought after for their distinctive traits, which further are hand-polished with natural oils and waxes to intensify the beauty of the wood.
Their design ethos is respect and understanding of Scotland’s rich heritage - noticed in their choice of materials, keeping in mind the function and not just the form, and an infinite passion for creating excellent quality and durable products.
Talking to Gavin at Decorex about their stunning furniture collection I learned that ‘faolchú’ means ‘wolf’ in Gaelic - a very inspirational name for a company deeply rooted in the spirit of Scotland.
Tollgard carefully selected the pieces for OKHA’s Curated Collection that comprises the STM swivel and the Miles armchairs, the Barnett dining chair and Lean side table with dark wood structure and marble top - inspired by the Nordic red thread aesthetic which is the essence of OKHA designs, with form and function seen as a whole. The collection is available at Tollgard design store in London.
“Luxury for luxury’s sake is no longer valid, integrity & sincerity should be the root of today’s concept of luxury” – Adam Court
Originally from Cape Town, where its design studio and gallery are based, OKHA is defined by artisanal craftsmanship, excellent quality and outstanding design. OKHA’s name derives from an old Xhosa word meaning ‘the bringing of warmth to hearth and home’, which makes perfect sense in this context . Adam Court, OKHA's creative director and designer, has a background in fine art and film which helped him approach the design process from a new perspective. For Court, a piece of furniture is more than just a mere object; it becomes a sculpture made of wood, steel and leather, charged with emotion during the crafting process. He works only with natural and noble materials, such as carefully-sourced leathers, brass, marble and timbers, emphasising the importance of high-quality artisanal craftsmanship.
“OKHA has a unique take on furniture. It can be architectural, sculptural and geometric but without being minimal. Still warm and textured and indeed still very inviting.” – Staffan Tollgard
Staffan Tollgard founded the eponymous award-winning Tollgard Design Group eleven years ago, featured on the House & Garden’s List of top 100 leading designers, with projects in London, Europe and beyond including the USA and Saudi Arabia. At their design store on Grosvenor Waterside in London they offer a curated selection of contemporary furniture, lighting and home accessories that address the demands of a discerning clientele, counting interior designers, architects and design connoisseurs.
Anna Gravelle is a textile designer and artist fond of texture and devoted to reviving the lost technique of tufting which she uses to create charming and sensual pieces. Her creations include textile artworks, acoustic panels, fabric, furniture, home accessories for domestic interiors and public places.
The artist often works on bespoke commissions for interior designers, architects and private clients, as well as a lecturer and creative mentor.
Anna founded her studio in 2013. One year later, she was selected for the illustrious Crafts Council Hothouse programme which promotes emerging designer-makers, followed by a nomination for the Perrier-Jouet Arts Salon Prize in 2015. Her work has been featured in major design festivals and craft exhibitions. Today she lives and works in a quaint cottage on a National Trust estate in Bristol.
The artist showcased this year at Decorex International her innovtive 'Aerial' and 'Murmuration' series of textile panels inspired by the landscape of reedbeds and the murmurations of starlings she observed in the picturesque Avalon Marshes in Somerset, England.
The outcome is an interesting and surprising series of three-dimensional form, visual impact and textural wall art.
I have been familiar with Reiko Kaneko’s work for several years and was happy to meet her in person at Decorex 2018, where she exhibited for the first time an original collection of fine bone china, blending innovation with tradition and craft.
On display was a beautiful selection of wave plates inspired by Hokusai’s Great Wave, Shotoku hand-blown glasses - well-known in Japan for their delicate strength, and kintsugi ceramics - inspired by the traditional Japanese technique of fixing broken pottery using gold, along with other tableware and interior objects.
Nevertheless, the focal point was her new large-scale series of tile murals she just launched at Decorex last month. For this distinctive collection, she used an innovative glazing technique using a brush or a Japanese broom - her favourite tool for producing such innovative work.
“As I developed the brushwork glazing on plates, the blue glazes became more and more reminiscent of Hokusai’s Great Wave, and I found myself studying the image. Holding the brush, I have in mind the great energy and tension of that image and of crashing waves. Those familiar with Hokusai’s image will notice it’s the reverse of the famous print. That’s just how my arm curves”. - Reiko Kaneko
The Kintsugi collection was born from the desire to give a second life to ceramic pieces broken in the glazing process using fire, and emphasise the hidden beauty of imperfections and cracks using lacquer and precious gold.
Initially starting out as a lightbulb manufacturer in 1922, Shotoku Glass have honed the craft of blowing very thin yet strong glass along the years, today being reputed for their glassware less than 1mm thin and delicate rim finish. Shotoku glasses enhance the taste experience regardless of your choice of drink - whiskies, beer, juice or water. Reiko Kaneko Ltd are the sole European distributor of Shotoku glasses and just added to their selection wine glasses, lightweight tumblers and Shiwa glasses with light dimples on the glass surface to ensure an ergonomic grip of the glass.
A design graduate from Central Saint Martins, Reiko has been designing sophisticated yet functional objects in fine bone china, glass and terracotta, since 2009. Following her graduation, she established her eponymous company - Reiko Kaneko Ltd which recently received the Creative Enterprise prize 2018 for UAL’s Not Just a shop. However, when she started working with the ceramicists in The Potteries and discovered the tradition of making fine bone china, she decided to focus on ceramics. Since 2012, the British-Japanese ceramicist has been experimenting with reactive glazing on fine bone china. Based in Stoke, England but very much influenced by Japanese aesthetics, Reiko specialises in ceramics and glazing which she uses to produce unique studio pieces or bespoke work.
I was delighted to meet Marie’s Corner team at Decorex International after a successful collaboration on my recently completed South of France project, when they delivered an excellent service and seamless design experience. Marie's Corner is a Belgian high-end furniture company with 25 years of expertise that has established itself globally as a valuable “Made in Belgium” brand where quality, craftsmanship and elegance are fundamental. The company offers a comprehensive collection of 200 exclusive models of customisable furniture and sofas and 300 luxurious finishings and upholstery from fresh Belgian linens to sumptuous velvets and Italian yarns, which can be translated into individual creations.
Quintessentially Belgian, yet with an international mindset, the company embraces various European trends and reinterprets them to shape its unique style and touch, tailored to accommodate every desire. Their iconic designs are showcased in some of the most elegant private residences and finest hotels and restaurants in Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland and beyond.
Shortly Marie's Corner will open a show apartment in London's coveted High Street Kensington where they will display their new innovative and refined collection.