100%Design London has never been a trade fair in the classical sense. Rather than being a business marketplace for dealers, the concise exhibition of interiors has positioned itself as a rich source of inspiration for architects and interior designers. Besides the harsh situation on the market, this is another possible reason for the absence of some well-known British manufacturers, for which powerful brand presentation is more important. Despite all this, 100%Design stuck to its holistic approach and once again presented a convincing preselection of premium manufacturers.
Tom Dixon exhibited at his new studio at the beautiful Portobello Dock in North London. In the same complex an empty office building and a neoclassicist mansion were provided for further manufacturers and young designers.
Established & Sons who had also decided to not attend at Earls Court, presented themselves at their new premises instead. Their showroom and studio look absolutely unimpressive from the outside, but turn out to be really imposing once you have entered the building.
'Tou' Chair by De La Espada, presented at a showroom in Shoreditch
The independent exhibitions many manufacturers decided to have – and this is not only a London Phenomenon – are certainly more appealing than a fair booth and, considering the economic situation, it is easily understood that the companies want to cut down on expensive fair presences. From the visitors' view though, among them many dealers, architects and press, who have travelled specifically to attend the happening, decentralisation is a huge handicap because you have spend a huge amount of your time in taxis and public transport. Therewith the principal of a fair, namely to bring together the most important players of a branch at one site, sadly lapses.
Table lamp by Hallgeir Homstvedt at 'Norwegian Prototypes'
As usual, many young designers exhibited at hired salesrooms around busy Brick Lane, or centralised at the Trueman Brewery as a part of Tent. The exhibition 'Norwegian Prototypes' by a bunch of young Norwegian designers, was a true highlight.
'Keel' stool by Oscar Narud at 'Norwegian Prototypes'