LDF 2013: The Endless Stair

Endless Stair_Model by dRMM (02)

American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) will be exhibiting the Endless Stair outside the Tate Modern during the London Design Festival (LDF). The European Director of the AHEC stated why he chose LDF to promote the performance and value of hardwood as a sustainable material.

“Without doubt, the London Design Festival…[is] a truly dynamic and creative event that is both good fun and a serious platform to reach global design communities.”

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Update – Event Cancelled – Design for Good at the Living Furniture Project

Sadly I have just been informed that the event below has been cancelled, however see the links below to find out about Wasteland the inspiring documentary by Vik Muniz and the Living Furniture Project in their new showroom/cafe in 22-26 Farringdon Lane. Please see our feed on the right hand column of the blog for more info on upcoming events. I will also be posting more on the London Design Festival for the next two weeks.

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA'S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT  (SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

VIK MUNIZ LOOKS DOWN AT MAGNA’S PHOTO AND PORTRAIT
(SCREEN GRAB) Artwork courtesy of Vik Muniz Studio

Next Monday, 16 September, there will be a screening of the award winning documentary Wasteland, as part of London Design Week. The film surrounds a landfill in Rio, Brazil and the lives of those that live and work on the site, while artist Vik Muniz creates art using discarded objects he finds among the rubbish.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The event will be hosted by the Living Furniture Project at their fantastic new space in 22-26 Farringdon Lane in London and will feature talks and discussions as part of the evening. The speakers include representatives from Friends of the Earth, The Living Furniture Project’s very own Donna Walker, the renowned furniture designer Paul Kelley and product designer Erin Deighton. There will also be video art by Tom Sachs, which will be screened throughout.

To register click here.

Gearing up for the London Design Festival

It’s almost time for the London Design Festival and some designers are already holding events to start off the spirit. Hendzel + Hunt will be holding a workshop this weekend surrounding their 100 hour challenge to build a number of benches along a stretch of the Regent’s Canal in Hackney, East London. The challenge appears to be inspired by a distinct lack of benches along this section of the waterway:

“Regent’s Canal is appreciated by commuters, families and tourists. On one of its busiest stretches, from Broadway Market to Victoria Park, not a single bench can be found to rest or contemplate. That is why we’ll create a 100h challenge to build 10 iconic benches which we will place during LDF.”

Limewharf multitranfbench Hackney

There will be countless fantastic events and exhibitions all over London to coincide with the festival, and while there are the obvious hot spots such as 100% Design and Tent London, a number of smaller venues will also be hosting some very noteworthy events. Our calendar feed on the right hand column of this blog will keep you updated on the hottest goings on surrounding designers specialising in sustainable and reclaimed materials. For more information about the Design Festival watch this video.

Huts for Humanity on Film

A lovely little video of Huts for Humanity created by the London Chapter of Architecture for Humanity for Clerkenwell Design Week that took place earlier this year. This shows how the huts worked in practice and features short explanations for each hut.

The Living Furniture Project – The Social Impact of Design

The Living Furniture Project is a design studio and workshop with a social purpose – creating jobs for the homeless. Located in East London, an area with a visible housing problem, the project aims to encourage training and creativity to address this growing problem. It not only highlights the issue of homelessness but also takes a positive and practical approach in attempting to solve it.

LFP's workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

LFP’s workshop and showroom in Clerkenwell

The People Behind the Project
The Living Furniture Project involves a number of design creatives and experts in reclaimed materials, these include:

– contemporary upcycling luminaries Donna Walker and Nic Parnell,
– Geoff Walker who has twenty six years experience in bespoke carpentry and has designed the stylish interiors of bars like Barrio East and Dalston Superstore,
– Sarah Baulch, who has been regularly featured in Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and on TV for her upcycled fabric designs,
– Yinka Ilori, a prodigy designer regularly asked to exhibit his furniture in Berlin, Milan and London,
– Kat Wight, an acclaimed pattern designer who previously worked for Laura Ashley,
– Kat Hamer who is an Australian eco-fashion designer and social entrepreneur, and
– James McBennett, founder of innovative furniture start-up Fabsie.com

Emerald Chair Collection

Emerald Chair Collection

Tackling Homelessness
The company works in partnership with two homelessness charities – Crisis and Providence Row, who refer their clients to the workshop for a range of paid and unpaid training and work programmes. Each Apprentice is given technical training, structured mentoring and pastoral support – a personal development programme which has been designed in conjunction with the partner charities.

The project has taken on two homeless Apprentices since launching in January 2013, and is taking on two more in May. The aim is to employ ten Apprentices by the end of the year. Apprentices will stay with the company for up to six months and are then helped with finding a job elsewhere in the furniture industry.

“The first time an Apprentice finishes a piece can get quite emotional – holding something unique in their hands and thinking – I did that.”

Donna Walker, designer on the project, explains her motivation for joining “I like the idea of skill-sharing, I use it a lot in my own work – I learn making skills from my colleagues and I teach them mine in return. So skill-sharing with the homeless is my way of giving back to the local community.”

Designer Nic Parnell adds “I like the idea that a high level piece of furniture can be made by anyone, of any skill level, if they’re given the proper tuition. I’m very excited to be part of the project.”

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Emerald side cabinet by Nic Parnell

Sustainability
The Living Furniture Project source all their materials sustainably – using reclaimed plywood or shipping pallets, or restoring old pieces they find in salvage yards, skips or on the street. The company already has a network of spotters and collectors who identify opportunities to reclaim waste in the construction, textile and manufacturing industries. Below is a short video explaining how the Living Furniture project works and how you can buy bespoke made furniture from them.

The Living Furniture Project – How to buy furniture from us from Alastair Sloan on Vimeo.

Retrouvius Take On Alpine Interiors

It’s not really the season for snow but here are some pictures of the Retrouvius design team’s transformation of a cosy chalet tucked away in the Swiss alps. They wanted to achieve a stylish and modern look while retaining some of the original rustic charm of traditional alpine architecture.

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The combination of old wooden planks and familiar soft fabrics work perfectly to create a warm colourful interior.

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The contrast of tweeds and wools used alongside a range of elegant and unsuspecting zesty greens, needlepoint tapestries and silks, add a subtle vibrancy to the home. The use of wood works to ease the impact of differing styles and textures, bringing them together through its natural tones.

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The planks also varied the panelling being highly wire brushed, while the parquet had undergone a slightly more controlled and chic treatment. Nevertheless the neutral colouring of the wood served to unify the range of styles present in the chalet, allowing a mix of modern and bright styles to exist alongside more traditional colours and patterns.

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Kelly Swallow vs Banksy

Kelly Swallow, who is best knows for her colourful patchwork chairs and beautiful upholstered furniture, has taken some inspiration from one of the UK’s best loved artists…the unknown Banksy. For those of you who came across his street art you will probably recognise the image at the centre of this design. This chair’s simple soft colours, make it very versatile and perfect for a cosy stylish home.

Kelly Swallow's Banksy chair

Kelly Swallow’s Banksy chair. Photo courtesy of Kelly Swallow.

Islington has it’s fair share of Banksy treasures, decorating the walls a number of buildings on Essex road. Who would have thought that street art and upholstered furniture would be so compatible.