London Design Festival 2015

September is a big month in an interior designer's calendar as it brings with it The London Design Festival or, as it's colloquially referenced on Twitter, #LDF15.  LDF stretches over 10 days and is full of interior design trade shows at venues located all over London. It's a great time to learn, find inspiration, and catch up with colleagues in the interior design world and I thought it might be quite fun to give you a peek into this world and share what The London Design Festival is all about. 

To start, the festival includes of a number of trade shows. The giants and originals are Decorex International, 100%design, and Focus/15. Some new cool kids on the block are TENT LONDON & designjunction. In addition to these big design shows, many design showrooms throughout London throw open their doors to welcome the international visitors that come to see what we have to share. Designers at the top of their game give thought provoking talks, new products are launched and a million brochures and business cards fly between designers and suppliers. At the end of the festival, our shoulders always hurt from the weight of paper we have carried and our feet are sore but the train ride home leaves me feeling elated by the new wealth of design possibilities that come from these shows. 

With so much going on, it's impossible to make every show, so each year I select three. First on my list was Decorex International, which was held in Richmond. I like Decorex as it has a more classic edge, which suits my style, and much of it is focused on furniture, textiles and lighting. I also made sure to hit up designjunction, which was held in the old Central Saint Martins, and was split between two buildings with one focussing on accessories and the other exhibiting some stunning contemporary lighting and furniture brands. My last show was 100%design is Olympia. This show combined contemporary furniture, cutting edge office furniture suppliers and kitchen/bathrooms. 

By seeing so much, you leave with a great feeling of what is going to shape the interiors market for the following year. This year, three trends really stood out to me for home interiors in this coming year. They are: 

1. Brushed Brass – Chrome is dead, baby! The warmer metals have been pushing themselves forward for a few years now and this is the year of brushed brass. Brushed brass was featured on beautiful lights at SCP, was used as an elegant design element in the Julius chair from Duistt Design, and was even used in the tiniest of details, like the knob on the Norma Side Table by Iqrup+Ritz.

LDF Design Trends – Brushed Brass.jpg

Clockwise from top centre: Agnes Chandelier by SCP, Julius Chair by Duistt Design, Norma Side Table by Iqrup+Ritz

2. Nana Chic – This is the nickname I've given the fabric trend that immediately evokes memories of childhood visits to elderly relatives. The boldness that Timorous Beasties hit us with a few years ago has been picked up by many other designers with their own take on the trend and with digital printing allowing big bold fabric design to more easily be created, we saw this being used by so many fabric houses for their new launches. I especially loved the fabrics by Decorex Best Product Winner, Blackpop. Their fabric is created by deconstructing portraits of the Tudors and I loved Mary, which shows Mary Queen of Scots in a completely different way and can be found on the walls in the National Portrait Gallery Café. Clarke & Clarke also ran with big bold flowers reminiscent of the '70s and Black Edition shocked with gorgeous velvets.

Clockwise from top centre: sofa by Black Edition, mustard chair and floral cushions by Clarke & Clarke, chair and cushions by Blackpop.

3. Modern Craft – I am always very excited to see stunning traditional craft meet modern style to produce phenomenal pieces and was pleased to see this demonstrated at all the shows this year by so many exciting companies. As I mentioned a few months ago, I love supporting new talent and craftsmanship in my work, and there was so much to choose from this year! These skills were artfully demonstrated on these exquisite board games by Alexandra Llewellyn Design which I'm already hoping to find under my Christmas tree. I also loved the straw marquetry on a blue end table (with matching dressers, too) which just oozed skill and beauty! I unfortunately lost the designer's information but if you have it, please do let me know! However, my stand-out craftsman from the shows was Tom Raffield at 100%design. Raffield artfully twists wood into tables, benches and lights and I was blown away by the simplicity and ingenuity in his work. I'm already a big fan and I hope he gets the success he truly deserves with his products. 

LDF Design Trends – Modern Craft .jpg

Clockwise from centre: Lily Backgammon board by Alexandra Llewellyn Design, I cannot remember who made this beautiful blue straw marquetry end table but will update as soon as I find it!, and a gorgeous table by Tom Raffield

The 2015 shows are now over but they have not been forgotten. Though many hours of product filing lies ahead, I have left the festival feeling inspired and exited by the direction design is flowing for 2016. I cannot wait to integrate some of these trends and beautiful pieces into my work in the year ahead.  

Are you planning a design project for 2016? Now's the perfect time to tell us about it! Please don't hesitate to get in touch