Discover the latest furniture, lighting and accessories from the 21st edition of the London Design Festival, from previously unseen designs from Mid-Century masters to innovative new materials.
November 21st, 2023
The London Design Festival is an immersive experience that brings the global design community together through inspiring installations, exhibitions, and events – and it’s also a launch pad for an abundance of exciting new products. The 21st edition of the annual festival took place from 21–24 September 2023 and participating brands showcased new work ranging from residential and commercial furniture to lighting, textiles, and finishes – read about the highlights here!
Many of these launches were visually interesting albeit what we have come to expect from trade shows and design fairs. Amidst these more conventional products, however, it was pleasing to see an ever-increasing number of brands and designers exploring the environmental impact of new products on our world. Most notably, Material Matters at the iconic Bargehouse in the OXO Building on South Bank was dedicated entirely to innovative and sustainable materiality.
“This year’s programme promises fresh perspectives and boundary-pushing ideas that will inspire audiences. But just as importantly, the Festival provides opportunities for emerging talent and promotes inclusivity in the sector,” says Ben Evans, Director of London Design Festival. “We are incredibly proud of the vital role the Festival plays in helping designers and creative businesses to reach new audiences and championing design’s significance in shaping our world.”
Cutout Tables by Raw Edges for Cozmo
Online modular sofa brand Cozmo is a relative newcomer to the design scene – but it certainly made an impact at LDF. The brand set up home in a new showroom in Tom Dixon’s Coal Drops Yard during the festival – and used the space to showcase two new products designed by Raw Edges. The Cutout Tables are a set of three steel nesting tables with sculptural forms inspired by Matisse’s iconic paper cut-outs that can be configured into different arrangements, from discrete side table to statement coffee table.
Cozmo also extended its popular sofa collection with the Cosy Armchair. The new chair shares the same language as the original Cozmo Sofa in a compact format designed to fit into modern living spaces.
Altar Wall Light & Chant Surface Light by Lee Broom
Lighting design Lee Broom has become a staple at LDF. This year he launched new editions of his Altar and Chant lights, which were originally showcased as part of the studio’s Divine Inspiration exhibition at Milan Design Week 2022. The collection took inspiration from places of worship and the design language or religious architecture and artefacts – and the two new editions reimagined the pendants and chandeliers as wall-mounted lights.
“Altar was inspired by mid-century churches and altars, and its fluted, architectural form is well suited to a wall mounted light,” explains Broom. “The warm wood and illuminated tube is perfect for introducing soft, subtle illumination, particularly to smaller spaces. Chant was inspired by pressed glass bricks, which can be seen in places of worship designed during the 1970s. The singular wall light creates a striking shadow on the wall thanks to the pronounced circular detail of the bulb.”
Pop Lamp by MUD Australia
Mud Australia is known for its refined porcelain tableware – and, more recently, porcelain lighting in collaboration with Australian designer Zachary Hanna. The latest additions to the brand’s Lamp Collection are the portable LED Pop Lamp, which is crafted from a single piece of porcelain, and the Flared Floor Lamp, which pairs a pivoting porcelain shade with a matte powder coated steel stand.
“The Lamp Collection grew from a comprehensive study of Mud’s existing silhouettes and forms,” explains Hanna. “Suitable forms from the existing range were identified, and assembled into arrangements that suited the dispersion of light, inverting bowls to become shades, introducing voids to allow the passage of light, and folding over edges to create a detail that allowed for ease of production and connection to the internal frame, while becoming a design detail common across the lamps.”
“The collection couldn’t have come together better,” agrees Shelley Simpson, founder of Mud Australia. “It’s a real turning point in Mud’s development to be able to move into a whole new design category.”
Beans by Elizabeth Garouste for Ralph Pucci
Luxury furniture brand Ralph Pucci launched a new collection of furniture and lighting in collaboration with French designer Elizabeth Garouste, playfully called Beans. The collection was created by Garouste in the Ralph Pucci sculpture studio in Manhattan 10 years after the designer’s first collaboration with the brand and comprises seven new works – ranging from a pod-like chandelier and wall sconce, to free-form mirrors and tables balanced atop bulbous legs. Each piece is crafted from Plasterglass, a proprietary material created by mixing plaster and resin. Garouste also introduced a new material technique to the brand, with the intricately mosaiced top of the Ara Side Table. The sculptural collection was showcased at LDF against a mural by Garouste that celebrated the vibrant colour palette and emphasised the biomorphic forms.
Portables by Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon is one of the most recognised names in the London design scene – and he didn’t disappoint at this year’s LDF with a new collection of portable lights that reimagine some of his eponymous brand’s most iconic lights as miniatures. The compact, battery-powered lamps include Melt, a collaboration with Swedish design collective FRONT; Bell, which is celebrated for its classic reduced form; and the marble and brass Stone. Each LED lamp stands less than 30cm high and has up to 10 hours of battery life.
“The Portables were inspired by the changing demands of society,” explains Dixon. “They symbolise the general shift towards flexibility and blurred boundaries between work and play, indoor and outdoor settings and increased flexibility in all our electrical devices, including personal transport, communication, entertainment, and more.”
Gunta Stölzl x Kirkit at Christopher Farr
The name Gunta Stölzl might not be as instantly recognisable as that of other Bauhaus designers, but the German textile artist was instrumental in the development of weaving – and a major inspiration to her protege Anni Albers. Stölzl passed away in 1983, but a previously unseen rug design by the prolific designer was launched during LDF by rug company Christopher Farr.
The graphic new design was showcased in the brand’s new showroom in Shoreditch and accompanied by an exhibition celebrating women and weaving titled Women Behind The Weave: Bauhaus to Bosphorus. The exhibition was hosted in collaboration with Turkish weaving workshop, Kirkit – the collective that brought Stölzl’s new design to life – and featured 15 one-metre-square artworks were woven using surplus yarn. The spectacular results will be sold with profits going to a local Turkish charity.
Rezign Veneer by Planq
Material Matters at Oxo Tower Wharf on London’s Southbank was one of the clear highlights of this year’s festival, with an exciting sense of discovery and material exploration found throughout the show – think yarn crafted from oranges, seaweed and hemp by Danish designer Tanja Kirst or pendant lights made from discarded lenses from the eyewear industry by London-based designer Yair Neuman. Dutch furniture brand Planq launched Rezign Veneer, an innovative new material that brings new life to textile waste, such as denim, military fatigues, and suits. The waste textiles are shredded and combined with bio-based fibres, including flax and jute coffee bags, then pressed into a felt using a biodegradable binder made from potato and corn starch. The resulting sheet material was showcased at Material Matters via a collection of simple yet striking furniture.
London Design Festival
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