Pulse & May design series in London

Posted on May 31, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

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Main: Taste Taiwan at Pulse 2013; Bottom left & right: Our Taiwanese supplier, 25 Togo's products on display


May is packed full of trade events in London, so I had to run around town even though I had lots of work to be completed at my desk!

I met Ashley from 25Togo in Taiwan and one day I received her email invitation to their Taste Taiwan opening at Pulse, an annual design-led gift trade show in Earls Court. I am impressed by Taiwan's effort to promote its local designs because less than a month ago, I was at the Taiwan design booth at the Hong Kong gifts fair, it seems that they are trying hard to reach the global market.

At the show, Ashley kindly introduced me to other Taiwanese design companies, whose representatives were all eager to show me their interesting work. Since I started the business, I came to realise that the U.K. market is more conservative than the U.S. and European markets ( in terms of how consumers buy and how retail buyers place orders). I think it would a struggle for these designers or companies to receive large orders from U.K. retailers due to the environment of the market and the cultural differences in certain products that may not translate well.

As much as I would like to support them, there is a limit to the products that our small e-shop can carry. This is the reason why we need more independent shops or etailers because we are more likely to take risks than most department stores or the more mainstream retailers whose buyers would spend most of their time checking the numbers on their spreadsheets.


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Top left: Fun installation by Inflate; Main: Architonic; Bottom left: The Bibliochaise by Nobody & Co.; Bottom right: Karim Rashid giving a talk on design


A week later, I visited a new interior trade show called May Design Series in ExCel. One of the highlights of the show was a talk given by the high-profile multi-disciplinary designer, Karim Rashid. I can't say that I am a fan but I was curious to hear what he had to say. As expected, the seminar area was packed and I felt like I was at a film premiere waiting for the celebrity star to appear.

Karim is charismatic and energetic in real life ( not surprising). He insisted that designers need to break away from the archetype and find a new design language by observing what is happening now rather than looking for inspiration from the past. However, the woman next to me was not impressed because she kept yawning and looking at her watch throughout the talk, a sharp contrast from those who queued up to take photographs with the designer after the talk!

Aside from the regular booths, there was a Material Xperience section displaying a wide range of materials where visitors were encouraged to touch and feel. Elsewhere, I was drawn to Dutch designer Ernst Koning/ Ilias Ernst's quirky designs like the Nail cloud lamp. But the most interesting was seeing some upcycled furniture produced by a new social enterprise, The living furniture project. It is an organisation that reduces landfill waste and provide jobs and training to the homeless. It teams up with different furniture designers to produce unique pieces on commission. It is great to see more social enterprises ( and merging with design) starting up and working towards making the society a better place for people to live in. The world definitely needs more of them!


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Top left & middle left: Material Xperience; Helen Amy Murray's sculptural textile; Middle middle: Ilias Ernst's Nail cloud; Middle right: Ilias Ernst's illumimate; Bottom left: Ilias Ernst; Upcycle furniture by Nic Parnell at The Living furniture project



This post was posted in London, British design, Business, Trade fairs, Design festivals & shows, Taiwanese design, Design and was tagged with London, design show, Trade fair, British design