LDF18: 100% Design – Now in Glorious Technicolor

It’s amazing what a colorful carpet can do – 100% Design’s bright approach to its flooring seemed to light up the whole show, with a stronger selection of brands and a better mix of features, showcasing new design talent and innovative ideas, than in recent years.

Print and textile designer Diane Bresson was part of the Design Fresh – a selection of new talent partly curated by Barbara Chandler and partly an edit of the graduate show New Designers. Diane’s colorful wallpaper fitted the general vibe of the show perfectly. “I am interested in the relation between craft and technology and in exploring how they can be combined together to create playful and dynamic patterns,” she says.

London-based Emma Chesterman (otherwise known as Dead Mary’s) designs “furniture for life” such as In Memory – the chair bench combo above – the chair is angled so the person sitting on it is turned towards their companion, creating a moment of relaxed intimacy.

The design of her Within Arms Reach table is simple and elegant too – molded concrete bases provide stability to the delicate hand turned wooden tops.

Lucy Grainge was one of Barbara Chandler’s nominations, due to her colorful dyslexia-inspired work. Fabric banners and limited edition prints complement stencil-based risographs which are affordable and sustainable.

James Lewis says “good design should evoke curiosity” and his Libra Stool is no exception. Made from plywood and laminated in vibrant colors, it is robust and solid for all indoor environments, making it a great option for additional seating in commercial or residential projects.

Nancy is a wooden chair by graduate of the Fine Woodwork – Furniture Making course at the Building Crafts College in Stratford, Gaël Pellerin. Taking inspiration from Jean Prouvé, Gaël’s design started with the angled back legs and the curved back which conspire to create a dramatic silhouette.

Alice Funge’s mixing bowls are hand-thrown on the wheel. Decals created from her late grandmother’s handwritten recipes are carefully applied before the pieces are finished in the kiln. “My inspiration comes from everyday marks created during our daily routines, particularly in cooking and baking,” she says. “The words around the rim of the mixing bowls give a narrative to my work. Ever since I had the idea of producing a range bakeware, I wanted to add something special to it – my grandma’s handwriting seemed like the perfect idea, adding a personal touch to an already unique, handmade collection.”

Kingston School of Art graduate Poppy Pippin’s press-molded terracotta tiles encourage the growth of moss to improve air quality in the urban environment by absorbing carbon dioxide. Inspired by Poppy’s London upbringing, they have already won a Creative Conscience award for architecture, engineering and interior design.

Jon Wonham’s Eris Bar Stool is made from a solid ash frame, around which the polyurethane foam is cast. “Eris is a bar stool that explores how an object can cause an emotional response in the user,” says Jon. “Due to the randomness of the manufacturing process, the color, texture and shape of the foam would be different for every product.”

100% Design commissioned Patternity to create an inspiring break-out space for visitors. “To us, positive living means being more open and alive to the wonder and beauty of life,” say founders Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham. “It means feeling more connected to your inner creativity, everyday surroundings and your wider environment. It is a way of both seeing and being,” which sounds like the perfect antidote to design fair fatigue, so it’s no wonder their little corner of 100% Design was a breath of fresh air.

British furniture maker Benchmark launched the new Muse sofa by Space Copenhagen, a “tribute to Donald Judd’s radical and minimalist universe” perfect for home or contract environments, fully customizable and upholstered in British wool.

To bring it all to life, they also brought along a corner of their workshop and two talented craftsmen so we could see how it was done. The smell of fresh wood shavings together with the full-sized trees in the middle of their stand created quite the oasis.

Dare Studio launched a new collection of sofas and tables too – also aimed at the contract market with residential options. The two side tables stand independently of one another enabling them to be configured to suit your space. The striking artworks are by Sara Dare.

Initiated by Max Fraser, 100% Futures was a new feature at this year’s show shining a light on the most cutting-edge designs under the theme “designing for cities”. CupClub is a returnable packaging service for drinks sold in restaurants that combines technology into every cup so that it can be tracked across the supply chain, collected and reused.

Finally, Sana measures and tracks biometric data to get people suffering from chronic pain into deep relaxation and reduce their pain levels in a non-invasive way. The company’s founder developed the first prototype to save his own life after a car accident and is now carrying out extensive clinical trials to get FDA approval for a range of pain conditions including severe neuropathic pain.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. 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.