London Design Festival 2017, and what a great few days I’ve had! Awash with colour, texture, the quirky and the conventional, I feel like I’ve experienced a whirlwind of design heaven. But, in addition to my sore feet, I’ve also been left with a real sense that, this year, authenticity and craftsmanship is really at the forefront of design.
I’ve met an awesome collection of artists, makers and curators, and seen some really creative and innovative products and a host of wonderful suppliers. What I love most about this week is meeting the people behind the products; hearing their story. Because, let’s be honest, people are right at the heart of interiors; both the products and the spaces we design.
When I design for a client, I’m always trying to transpose their personality into the design. We may enhance certain characteristics, or challenge and be more daring, but fundamentally the finished space needs to reflect who they are. Otherwise it’s just not authentic, and that doesn’t work. It needs to feel like home.
So the focus on the maker, the artisan is really refreshing. It’s also a perfect antidote to mass commercialism. Yes, factory-produced design will always have its place but it needs to make space for craftsmanship; for the artisan. With Ikea apparently due to be introducing a range of rugs made by Syrian refugees, it shows that the big corporates are beginning to recognise this too. It’s all about collaboration.
Simple lines, organic shapes, natural materials were abundant this week. Texture; both rustic and refined, are all at the heart of creating a home. Pieces that demonstrate true craft; those which display the perfect imperfections of natural materials.
But embracing this ethos doesn’t mean a utilitarian aesthetic. Whether it was a touch of pastel, or deep and vibrant clashes; colour was everywhere. These rich, deep tones were some of my favourites.
So on one hand, pared back simplicity and on the other a riot of colour. But all inspired designs, all with integrity, and all with a person behind them; with a story to tell. And that’s what I love so much about design.