Trends to Take From 2023’s London Design Festival
Find out the key themes influencing designers who exhibited at this year’s LDF
An acknowledgment of the lasting appeal of classic design was apparent at LDF this year, as a few brands took the opportunity to display revived pieces or items inspired by the craftsmanship of classic designers.
Ligne Roset, for example, reintroduced its chesterfield-inspired Kashima sofa, originally designed by Michel Ducaroy in 1976. Carl Hansen & Son exhibited its Nature Collection, which pays tribute to the work of the early 20th century Danish designer, Kaare Klint, while Aram introduced three new rugs inspired by architect and furniture designer Eileen Gray’s gouaches (pictured).
The sensitive use of technology
The Material Matters exhibition featured some great examples of designers combining tradition, sustainability and technology. The Wicker Story, for example, displayed woven products designed using technology to create complex patterns that are then crafted by skilled artisans. The technology helps to ensure that handwork and natural materials can be used effectively and wastage is reduced.
The use of 3D printing is also becoming increasingly widespread, and HagenHinderdael showcased its 3D-printed sugar and wood objects at the exhibition. These included the new Kofika coffee tables (pictured) – a collaboration with Novavita Design using 3D-printed sugar, recycled milk packaging and coffee waste.
Vibrant shades of lighting
A number of lighting designers are embracing colour this year and some of them showcased their vivid creations at the festival.
Established & Sons’ playful installation, Love at First Light, displayed a new addition to its colourful Filigrana Light series (pictured), and also showed off the Mark Light by Martino Gamper, a Venetian, mouth-blown glass pendant light with colourful accents.
Mud Australia introduced its collection of three porcelain lamps designed collaboratively by Zachary Hanna and Shelley Simpson. The collection features designs that are multifunctional and portable, and come in a range of soft pastels.
Decor that brings us together
An overriding topic at this year’s show was that of collaboration and, indeed, the Brompton Design District named its theme Conviviality – The Art of Living Together.
Fels introduced its Farm Shop project, where designers were invited to take part in a residency on Grymsdyke Farm, Buckinghamshire, to design an element of a dining collection. The idea was to think about how the setting and community help to inform design and how it connects us to those around us.
Similarly, The New Craftsmen’s Join, Assemble, Hold project showcased two cabinets by makers Bibbings & Hensby and Matthew Raw. These are an overflowing pantry and a welcoming drinks cabinet (pictured), both of which provide a focal point for gathering.
At the Greenwich Peninsula Design District, meanwhile, there was a panel discussion called Shaping the Future: The Importance of Creative Collaboration, which looked at “the importance of physical and digital spaces for collaboration”.
Spaces that make us feel good
There was a time when interior design’s impact on wellbeing was a secondary consideration, but that’s changed somewhat in recent years, and now the psychological effect of our surroundings is taken more seriously. This is so much the case that a few exhibits focused on it at this year’s LDF.
A group installation, An Exploration of the Aesthetic at Home, for instance, looked at the importance of joy and beauty in the home. The organisers wanted visitors to consider what they surround themselves with and whether it boosts or impedes wellbeing.
Similarly, Metculture’s pottery exhibit, The Preciousness of Superfluous Things in the Space – Ceramic Craft and Artistic Pottery, encouraged us to cherish those small items, such as utensils, that we use every day.
And at Shoreditch Electric Light Station, Morag Myerscough’s installation, Nice to Meet You Again (pictured), played host to a panel discussion celebrating colour and looking into its impact on our psychological health.
There was a focus on how lighting designs can help to manipulate the light they emit, and products that allow the user to change the shapes that are cast from the light were on display at the festival.
Motarasu showcased the Dawn wall light, designed by Danish Bly Studio, which is a simple oak beam supporting a circle of washi paper. The paper can be opened and adjusted to cast light in the direction it’s needed. The light is designed to be placed on the wall above a bed, so two people can use it for reading at the same time.
On display at The Truman Brewery in Spitalfields was Serendipity Design Studio’s Virtue Collection of bamboo lighting (pictured). Circles of bamboo can be positioned at varying points along the light fitting to cast unique patterns on the surface below.
Warm, optimistic hues
Colour palettes at LDF this year reflected tonal trends we’ve seen emerging recently on Houzz. Burnt orange, soft pinks and various shades of purple were popping up all around the festival.
The hues on this wall installation by Monica Correia (pictured) are those at the more vivid end of the spectrum. Elsewhere, however, there were softer versions of the colours, with the orange becoming a pale coral and the purple a gentle lavender.
Did you go along to the London Design Festival this year? Which designs stood out for you? Share your thoughts in the Comments.