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At the 2015 London Design Festival

In terms of sheer distance traversed, if not content, LDF now stands nearly on par with the Milan fair. But these days it’s also becoming equally vital as a destination for open design debate, with a strong manufacturing voice represented and a buffet of ambitious installations on offer. Guide in hand, we hit the mean – but thankfully sunny – streets of London to choose our favorites from this year’s show.
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Laura Houseley on Ready Made Go at the London Design Festival

Last week's London Design Festival included plenty of beautiful objects thoughtfully displayed on pedestals or on gallery walls. But possibly even more compelling was the setup at the Ace Hotel's Ready Made Go exhibition, curated by Laura Houseley of Modern Design Review magazine, where visitors could experience a handful of new designs by local up-and-comers actually put to work in their intended habitat.
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Norwegian Product Designers Gunzler Polmar

Gunzler Polmar, led by ceramicist Victoria Gunzler and furniture designer Sara Wright Polmar, haven't churned out a ton of work just yet, but the projects they have designed — including their new textile series launched this week at 100% Norway in London — display an eye for form, proportion, and material that certainly merits further attention.
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Norwegian Product Designers Stokke Austad

It's a bit strange to call Stokke Austad Up and Coming, especially since their current project list includes the interior design for a major new wing of Oslo's airport. But this week we're spotlighting three of our favorite studios presenting new work at this year's edition of 100% Norway at the London Design Festival, and we'd be remiss if we didn't include them in that list.
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Vera & Kyte, Furniture Designers

It's been a banner year for Norwegian design — from our perspective, anyway. Just after being thoroughly indoctrinated to its highlights, both old and new, during New York Design Week in May, we set off on a long-awaited pilgrimage to the country in June to experience its aesthetic charms for ourselves, and we were not disappointed. Yet if we think back, our Norwegian design awakening truly began at this year's Salone Satellite exhibition in Milan; that's where we discovered the work of the promising young Bergen-based duo Vera Kleppe and Åshild Kyte — aka Vera & Kyte — whose debut collection of colorful tables, lamps, room dividers, and daybeds was highly graphic, well-resolved, and of-the-moment without being too trendy. Inspired by Art Deco, functionalism, French botanical gardens, and Jaques Tati's Mon Oncle, the series made us eager to see more from the duo, a wish that was granted this week when they sent us a first look at their latest project, just unveiled at Tent London: a simple wooden armchair intended to evoke summer. Read more about the work, along with what inspires Kleppe and Kyte in general, after the jump.
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For Future Stars?, The Aram Gallery thrust forward seven exciting designers at the forefront of their creative exploits. We were totally besotted by Kim Thome’s Layer Screen (featured here), which was made up of layers of lighting gels, as well as Maria Jeglinska’s Drawn Objects series of vases and trays (above).

London Design Festival 2014

As summer turns to fall, so we turn the design diary to September and one of our favorite events: London's annual Design Festival. Now in its 12th year, LDF has evolved to include not only the city’s flourishing design community, but a national and increasingly international mix, competing against the behemoth that is Milan’s Salone del Mobile in April. But in addition to furniture debuts and high-profile launches, LDF also acts as an occasion for those lesser design-mad folks to enjoy events and workshops around the city, as well as the oh-so-tempting retail destinations offering the latest coordinating stationery necessities (yes, HAY, we’re looking at you). With the launch of our pop-up keeping us New York–bound, we sent our London correspondent Rae Blunstone out onto the circuit, LDF guide in hand and sturdy sneakers at the ready, to pick up her favorites from the week's events.
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Week of September 15, 2014

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: We're having a serious way-back moment — two collections that reference 70s-era Superstudio, a 1960s Cappellini reissue, and a mirror inspired by an engraving from the 14th century.
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Week of September 8, 2014

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: marble, fake marble, and a marbled painting made with a broom. Plus, select highlights from the London Design Festival, which started today.
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At the 2013 London Design Festival

If someone was going to attend the London Design Festival in our place this year — a circumstance that normally fills us with a mix of raging jealousy and resigned disappointment — we're super glad it was Matylda Krzykowski, one of our favorite fellow design bloggers, who on her site Mat and Me manages to nail the same up-close-and-personal vibe we hew to here at Sight Unseen. She captured the perfect overview of the fair for us, even though she only had one day to explore it: Her plane in from Hong Kong landed at 5:40AM this past Saturday, at which point she quickly took a bath, rearranged her suitcase, and bolted back out the door by 9:30AM to begin her reportage. "I had literally had six 6 hours that day to look around before departing to Switzerland the next day for my duties at Depot Basel," she says. "I started off in South Kensington, then hit the Brompton Design District, then Central London, and finally the East End." How's that for dedication? Check out the things she spotted, and the people she said hello to along the way, after the jump.
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LDF 2013: So Sottsass at Darkroom London

Had we thought of it ourselves, "That's so Sottsass" is a phrase we might have used hundreds of times over the past five years to describe all the designs spawned by the recent mega-Memphis revival. Crazy colors, clashing patterns, geometric shapes on shapes — it all came rushing back in homage to Ettore and his crew, a fact which the intrepid duo behind our fave London store Darkroom chose to acknowledge this week with the debut of their So Sottsass collection. Launching last night — day one of this year's London Design Festival — the installation includes both Memphis-like objects by outside designers and new pillows and wrapping papers conceived by Darkroom owners Rhonda Drakeford and Lulu Roper-Caldbeck as part of their ongoing in-house collection. There's also an amazing window display by up-and-coming Italian stylists StudioPepe. Drakeford took time out of her crazy LDF schedule to not only share photos of So Sottsass with us, but to tell us the inspiration behind the collection: "At Darkroom, we've always had a penchant for maximalist modernism — bold colour palettes, big patterns, and brave combinations," she says. "In a decade of 'greige,' we love exploring how being bold and playful with design can fit into modern life."
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At the London Design Festival, Part IV

Less than a week after we left the London Design Festival, it already feels like a distant memory — mostly because as of yesterday, we've already shifted our focus to making plans for the next edition of our own design showcase, the 2013 Noho Design District. And yet to some degree, we're also already drawing on what we saw at the LDF for inspiration: While we may not have access, in the middle of downtown Manhattan, to the kind of stunning 150,000-sqft. former mail-sorting facility that Designjunction had the luxury of spreading out in last week (incorporating multiple cafes and a pop-up version of the new online shop FAO, pictured above), we do have a few new talents on our hit list, a few schemes cooked up over drinks with old friends, and a few programming strategies to mull over. Meanwhile, we're offering you one last chance to see what we saw at the festival, which though it was by no means everything, will hopefully give you something to mull over, too.
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At The London Design Festival, Part III

When you visit the show Image for a Title, curated by Study O Portable as part of the Brompton Design District, you can just about conjure the illusion that you’re in a world-class design-art gallery in some chic back alley of Paris, rather than a sunlight-starved basement at a hard-to-find address that happened to be printed incorrectly in this year’s Icon Design Trail guide. The show looks — and reads — so impressively that you start to believe what you want to believe rather than the reality, which is that many of the LDF’s visitors are likely to inadvertently miss out on seeing it, and that when it's over many of the pieces will, shrugs co-curator Bernadette Deddens, probably just wind up in storage. Welcome to the placebo effect, or at least our crude metaphorical approximation of it: the ability of humans to bestow a pill, an object, or in this case an exhibition with the qualities they expect or desire it to have. Deddens and her partner in crime, Tetsuo Mukai, invited a handful of designers to join them in exploring the possibilities of placebo thinking, producing an installation so well resolved that we’re going to go right on insisting it’s one of the top gallery shows on offer this week. Although, being more realists than dreamers, we’ve decided to help actualize our version of events by publicizing the show here on Sight Unseen. Check out each of its five projects below, and if you still have time to go see them before it closes at the end of the weekend, make sure to map your way to 8 Edgerton Gardens Mews.
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