Tent London 2015

Posted on October 6, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

100% norway tent 2015

Facade of 100% Norway at Tent London


For some reason, the design trade shows that I attended this year at The London design festival appeared to be quieter than usual. At Tent London, the atmosphere was a far cry from the chaos I experienced last year... not sure if it was the time of the day or if attendees have dropped this year.

As always, one of the biggest stand at the show was 100% Norway with 26 designer/manufacturers exhibiting furniture and products inspired mostly by the country's nature.


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Top: 100% Norway; Bottom left: Constancy and change in Korean traditional craft; Bottom right: Cutting boards by Trefjøla at 100% Norway


The main trend of the show was handcrafted designs made of natural materials like wood and clay, and this was evident at the Irish stand, O Design ad craft from Ireland. I was most pleasantly surprised by the simple, beautiful and well crafted work on display. I especially love the range of nature-inspired homeware by Superfolk, the cute wooden toys by Saturday Workshop, and the extraordinary stone sculptures by Helen O'Connell.


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Top left: Mourne textiles; Top right: Saturday workshop; 2nd to 4th rows: Superfolk; 5th row: Adam Frew; Bottom row: Stone sculptures by Helen O'Connell


This year, there was no sign of Tokyo design week, and the overall Asian presence was less visible than the previous years. The largest stand from Asia was EATAIPEI, an immersive stand that promotes Taipei, which will be the World Design Capital of 2016. One of the most fascinating designs on display was the plastic ceramic tableware by Pili Wu. Inspired by traditional Chinaware from the Song dynasty and disposable plastic wares used in many taiwanese roadside restaurants, the range of plastic tableware could easily be mistaken as ceramics! Cool.

Another Taiwanese stand that caught my eye was Case, a new design studio that raises awareness on environmental and social issues through their thought-provoking products. The ceramic Toxic Tuna sauce dish features a sinking ship and comes with a map of worldwide oil spills, which reminds us of the hidden health risks from consuming the toxic seafood. There are also candles shaped as plastic waste, which reminds us of the poisonous released when plastic is burned. It is encouraging to see new brands like this using design to raise consumers' awareness, I hope they will continue to keep up with the good work.


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Top row: Eataipei - Plastic ceramics by Pili Wu; 2nd row left: Eataipei -  2nd row right: Case project; 3rd row: Suruga from Japan; Bottom row: JiaHao Liao


I also spoke to Paris-based Singaporean designer JiaHao Liao, whose furniture and designs express a subtle Eastern influence and detailed craftsmanship. The 'ADAPTable' is inspired by the Chinese mahjong table and can be used as either a dinning or coffee table. The '1+1+1' is a 3-piece multi-configuration furniture inspired by traditional Chinese furniture from the Ming dynasty, which can be used as a coffee table, stool, chair or armchair. I particularly like 'lightscape', a versatile and playful lamp that is made up of 3 geometric shapes in 3 different raw materials, wood, iron and stone. The design encourages the user to interact with and to compose various “landscapes” resulting in different lighting positions and graphical composition.


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Top row: Julian Jay Roux; 2nd left: Sarah Tran's textiles; 2nd right: Xuezhi Liu's ceramics; 3rd row: Tortus Copenhagen; 4th left: Weeds by Karina Marusinska; 4th right: Julian Watts' wood carvings; 6th row: Lofstrom; Bottom left: KIWI by Agnieszka Tomalczyk


At trade shows like these, the display of the stand is very important as it has to catch the visitors' attention immediately. I was drawn to Lofstrom's stand because of its simple but effective mix of typography and photos its the wall. I spoke to Swedish interior designer Mikael Löfström and learned that it was his first show in London. His new jewellery collection features handmade necklaces composed of various sized and coloured recycled wood with typography on it. The collection reminds me of wooden toys for children, very simple, creative and playful, just like his stand.


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Etsy's 'Four Corners of Craft' - 2nd row: Ekta Kaul's Embroidered London Map Quilt; Bottom left: BaileyTomlinShop; Bottom right: Ron Arad and Patrizia Moroso at Supertalks


It is always entertaining to attend talks by architect/designer Ron Arad. At Supertalks, he was invited to discuss his successful 25-year collaboration with Patrizia Moroso. It was especially 'entertaining' to see how he reacted when he was constantly interrupted by journalist Jonn Elledge. The vibe was awkward and I felt embarrassed for the journalist. Was it a good idea to invite the editor of CityMetric and New Statesman to chair a design talk? Maybe not.



This post was posted in London, Business, Trade fairs, Design festivals & shows, Contemporary craft, Design and was tagged with design show, talks, Tent London, Taiwanese design, contemporary crafts, London Design Festival, Irish design