Individuality & Creative Expression in Design - London Design Week 2018 @ DCCH
Can you believe we are already approaching the end of the first quarter of 2018? Time has gone insanely fast this year so far in the Mode & Motif abode. Apart from enjoying the intense but fulfilling design course, those who follow my Instagram would probably notice... yes, we've literally just moved back to LONDON, after only 15 months in Singapore!
More on the move, travel and house hunting some other time. But one thing that I was particularly excited about moving back is that I'll once again have access to a wealth of design resources and inspiring trade shows and festivals at my doorstep. For any professionals and enthusiasts in the creative industry, it is an incredible privilege to be in London. I was lucky to arrive just in time for London Design Week 2018, the spring showcase at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Spanning over 6 days in March with over 100 free events dotted around DCCH aka the nerve centre for interior design, there's something for everyone. As soon as I walked in, my jet lag was immediately left behind those glass doors...
The rise of individuality and creative expression...
...is the theme this year, and it is not hard to notice wherever you look. The entire place is buzzing. From the informative blogger talk by the interior design PR wizard Milly Burroughs at Top Floor by Esti, to the live demonstration of artisan passementerie techniques by Wendy Cushing's team at Jason D'Souza (who knew it would be so therapeutic to watch how tassels and trimmings are being made by hand), it really makes one's mind racing filled with project and craft ideas. Over at Romo, we heard from Zinc Textile's brand director Justin Marr and styling guru Arabella McNie on the process of creating the perfect image to showcase the new fabric collections - the colourful, bold Geromino, the playful, boho-chic Salamander and the sophisticated Malibu (all available soon) It was amazing to see how the products and a well chosen location for the shoot compliment each other and it was fascinating to hear the stories behind the scene (which involves hanging the fabric up a 8-metre wall in the courtyard of a house in Majorca, salamanders, and cardboard pillars...) Arabella is also the brain behind the giant aerial installation 'Canvas of Creativity' in the centre of the Design Centre which adds a touch of whimsical fun to the modern design of the building.
Are we still talking trends?
One of the unmissable things to do at a trade show is to of course find out what the latest trends are. But in recent years it seems that we are trying to break away from it. So how do the leaders in design define themselves in Spring/Summer 18? Becky Metcalfe from DCCH gave us a comprehensive report on what to look out for. In the time of change and uncertainty, people are longing to create homes that allow them to disconnect and recharge, to create space that is empowering and true to themselves. Cosy but connected areas are gradually replacing the vast open-plan layouts. Convenience and technology are still at the core of our lives but we now want more of that human touch and nature - colours, patterns and materials inspired by different cultures and travels, craftsmanship and signs of imperfection and age, embracing nature in both calming and uplifting ways (I would definitely try Tropicana x Country Garden in my new home, channeling our life in the tropics in the past year and soon to be in idyllic English Countryside!) mixing classic designs with bold, innovative modern masterpieces. It's all about telling our own story and curating a space that expresses who we are and what we are about.
The Old World as seen in a New Light
Armed with this insight I set out to explore further and had a glimpse of what's on offer from the 100+ stores... it is of course not possible to see all the new product launches in a day or two (that's why you need to go back regularly and be inspired each time!) but I was most excited by the new handmade encaustic cement tile collection 'Jigsaw' by the amazing Neisha Crosland for Artisans of Devizes. Listening to her Q&A session with the lovely Kate Watson-Smyth from Mad About The House was simply refreshing - Neisha talked about her inspiration behind the collection, her passion for patterns since the young age, the art and history of the Ottoman Empire that grabbed her imagination in the first place, her love for classical music and the importance of hand drawn process in the initial stage of her creations. Some other launches that I absolutely love also include the 1940s-inspired Moreau Cabinet by Julian Chichester and the eclectic, exotic and opulent wallpaper collection by Martyn Lawrence Bullard for Cole & Son that fabulously mixing motifs from the East and West.
Legends at DCCH
Feeling you could only afford window shopping for the moment? They got it covered too. The 'Legends at DCCH' initiative sees the collaboration between international tastemakers and brands to create spectacular displays to unlock your imagination and inspire your very own creative expression. And here are some of my favourites:
There's a lot to talk about Design
Apart from having the first glimpse of the latest products, the absolute highlight (and delight) from LDW must be the Conversation in Design series where top-notch designers and speakers discuss industry insights and their own journeys. I am so lucky to be able to attend 3 (out of 9!) inspirational panel discussions. In ‘Rooms of Our Own’ (with Charlotte Abrahams, Sophie Ashby, Hubert Zandberg and Susie Atkinson), the speakers explored what individualism is, how to translate that into designs and the designers’ role to help curating client’s collection, adding emotional value to their homes and nurture long-term partnership; Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson talked to David Nicolls from House & Garden on designing hotels and homes that have soul, mixing the old and new, bespoke designs and always think outside the box; and last but not least, the legendary Kit Kemp shared her insights on how to turn the once neglected buildings into the neighbourhood’s trendy hot spot. Her daring use of colour combinations, layering different textures and being sympathetic to the local culture and arts are just. You could imagine the room was absolutely heaving and everyone wanted a piece of exclusive advice from this wonder woman of the design industry.
It was thoroughly enjoyable to spend some time at the London Design Week - what an excellent way to reconnect my London life with all the fabulous new ideas and inspiration! There's so much to cover so I'll also put some other highlights in my Instagram feed and stories so do hop over and stay tuned :)
Don't despair if you couldn't make it this time. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour opens all year round so do make sure you go check it out if you're in the area. Later in autumn they will also have Focus/18, another important showcase for the industry. You can always find out more from their website.
Till next time,