designjunction was spread across two venues this year – the basement of Victoria House where it launched in 2011, and the former Central Saint Martin’s building on Southampton Row.
I loved James Stickley’s Stühl Series in his trademark ‘graphic minimal’ style and powder-coated in azure blue. His background in television set design drove his desire to create something more enduring, and a career change to furniture design. I suspect these are going to be around for a while.
The Play Collection by Royal College of Art graduate Stephen Johnson uses a synthetic dough the designer invented while on medication following a breakdown. He wanted to go back to basics and reconnect with the fun and freedom we have as children. As well as its aesthetic qualities, the dough enables furniture to be constructed without traditional joints.
Central Saint Martin’s graduate Brook Sigal has developed a water purification system as an alternative to the ubiquitous and contaminating plastic water bottle. Sylva is a collection of reusable ceramic pitchers, bottles and tumblers with biodegradable filters – and even purification sticks you can stir into a glass of tap water in a restaurant, just as you might stir a sugar stick in coffee.
Alicja Patanowska’s Plantation collection comprises discarded glassware she collects from the streets of London in the early hours of the morning, combined with hand-thrown forms to make planters in which you can watch both roots and branches grow.
Having focused on the craft world for most of her career, designjunction was Scottish ceramics designer Lara Scobie’s first design show – all I can say is craft’s loss is our gain. I absolutely love her work and hope to see a lot more of it on the design scene.
London design brand Tiipoi have moved on from their copper and brass roots and are embracing powder-coated spun aluminium in a big way. Having been a very big fan of their debut collection which played upon the value of ubiquitous Indian tableware, I was hesitant about this new direction, but having seen it in the flesh, I have to confess, I like it. It’s bold, fun and playful.
Another designer playing with her Indian heritage is London-based Kangan Arora. Her latest collection, Fluorescent Forest is inspired by the irregularly shaped, often fluorescent vinyl offcuts found adorning the floors of truck building workshops in Punjab.
Emma Buckley graduated from Bath Spa University this summer and the Dye Lines collection was her graduate project. The pieces are fully glazed apart from a tiny hole in the base, through which ink and bleach are absorbed, directly coloring the clay.
And finally, a fab selection of products was on show on Not Another Bill’s stand – a subscription service where you receive a different surprise present in the post every month. I love the ridiculousness of the gold pineapple!