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LDF16: Ready, Made, Go!
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The 2016 London Design Festival marked the second collaboration between the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and Modern Design Review magazine. Ready Made Go 2 saw MDR editor Laura Houseley commission local designers to create a series of objects the hotel actually needed, with only the budget they would have spent buying them off-the-shelf. London-based ‘pattern pioneers’ Patternity, founded in 2009 by Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham, hand painted a graduated pattern onto the Ascension bouldering wall (above), added inspiring quotes to the walls, and even installed a soundscape to promote focused and relaxed climbing.

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Here & There is a bespoke, hand-painted typeface created by graphic design studio Kellenberger–White for the hotel. This calligraphic alphabet has been printed onto magnetic sheets, enabling the hotel to communicate events and goings on from a large metal wall in its lobby, in a lively and dynamic way.

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The budget restrictions make prototyping new designs difficult. To get around this, Attua Aparicio and Oscar Lessing of Silo Studio reappointed an existing industrial component to create their Beam soap dishes. Made from sections of extruded aluminium ‘I beam’ profiles more usually in architecture, the dishes are sliced, drilled (to let water escape) tumbled, and (optionally) anodised in bold colours. This ingeniously simple piece of design is now in every bathroom in the hotel and available to purchase in the shop.

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Now being used to clad the 7th floor bar, these ‘smoked’ tiles were designed by Turner Prize winners, Assemble at their Granby Workshop. Using a variation of traditional raku firing, they ‘smoked’ hundreds of ceramic bisque tiles burning everything from fruit skins to pine needles to create different effects.

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London fashion studio Toogood designed and hand-made quilts, influenced by the ‘gambeson’ – a form of medieval padded armor, for the hotel’s suites. The bedspread design takes its cues from the fashion world in the abstracted form of a padded jacket on its surface, with graphic hand-stitching and wadding reconnecting it with its domestic purpose. A pocket provides somewhere to tuck TV remote controls, tablets or books.

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Finally, having launched a new in-room cocktail service, Ace needed some beautiful and yet robust glasses. In another example of repurposing existing materials, glass-blower Jochen Holz took off-the-shelf tubes of borosilicate glass, cut them to size, and heat pressed them onto a textured object (he experimented with everything from cheese graters to industrial files but eventually settled on metal bars) to create the texture for the series. The resulting imperfections make every one unique.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven writer and keynote speaker championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.