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London Design Festival 2019

This September London will come alive with London Design Festival, a celebration of London as the design capital of the world, happening 14-22 September 2019. The Festival returns to various venues and institutes across the British capital. 

London Design Fair, 19-22 September 2019, Old Truman Brewery, London

London Design Fair has gone from strength to strength in recent years and is now the place to see and be seen. The exhibitors are a mix of independent designers, established brands with a cutting-edge aesthetic, and country pavilions. The appeal is such that buyers, interior designers and the press have to fight for space with design savvy members of the public making their way through the Truman Brewery. Part of the charm of this particular fair is turning up and discovering labels and pieces that you have never seen or heard of before. That being said, certain returning exhibitors can always be relied upon. Floor_Story, the London brand specialising in eye-catching handmade rugs, is a perennial COVER favourite.

COVER catches up with Floor_Story Director Simon Goff about exhibiting at London Design Fair:

Wrong Angle rug, Sebastian Wrong x Floor_Story

Wrong Angle rug, Sebastian Wrong x Floor_Story

What kind of experience is London Design Fair for FLOOR_STORY?

This is our fifth year at London Design Festival, and our third at London Design Fair, so we must get something out of it. In all honesty, it’s our favourite show and that’s what keeps us coming back. I think LDF is one of the ‘edgier’ design shows out there and this suits us well.

It’s a great chance to meet with the type of people that buy our rugs and there’s always a few friendly faces that pop along to visit. It actually generates genuine leads for us and we’ve received commissions off the back of the event, so we definitely know it works from a business perspective.

The calibre of exhibitors is high and they come from all corners of the globe; it’s a truly international design event in the heart of our home city.

Leopard in Jopling, Floor_Story

Leopard in Jopling rug, Floor_Story

What rug highlights are you taking in 2019?

Not only are we bringing some new designers to the Floor_Story Designer Collection, but also some new designs from existing capsules, including Camille Walala, 2LG Studio and Kitty Joseph.

Camille Walala’s new collection offers her usual mix of bold colour and striking pattern and we’re offering different qualities and price points, making it more accessible. For their second collection, Jordan and Russell of 2LG Studio have used their ongoing home restoration to inspire rugs on the principles of colour and shape. Fashion designer Kitty Joseph is also bringing new designs, taking her highly successful Chroma series in a new direction.

Of course, we’re launching brand-new collaborations in the Designer Collection too. Sebastian Wrong, one of the founders of Established & Sons, is using tone, scale and lines to deliver a modular approach with Wrong Angle. We’re also thrilled to launch our capsule with ceramicist John Booth. His work is known for being bright and joy-filled and his rugs for Floor_Story are certainly no different.

Marmalade rug, Floor_Story

Marmalade rug, Floor_Story

Who is your typical client?

From a commercial perspective it would be great to say anyone wouldn’t it, but I think the designs of our rugs appeal to a braver buyer, or at the very least, someone who is looking for a statement piece. I love colour and I think it’s really important to enjoy its impact in our homes, it takes away some of the drudgery of day-to-day life, and our rugs stay faithful to this. I’m pretty sure that even the most neutral of homes can do with a bit of lifeaffirming colour, but sadly it takes a leap of faith that some will always struggle with.

We are also working with a growing number of interior designers and private clients who just can’t find what they are looking for ‘off-thepeg’. We’ve always had an inclusive approach to commissions, working closely with our clients through the entire process, and I guess this is paying dividends as our reputation for making bespoke rugs grows.

Rug by Bram van Breda

Rug by Bram van Breda

Adorno: Crossovers, described as ‘a cross-cultural collectible design journey’, looks set to be one of this year’s highlights. Curators from eleven countries were invited to present works by independent designers working in the intersection between design, art and crafts. More than a showcase of product, the exhibition aims to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue on design but also wider cultural and societal topics. Bram van Breda is one of the designers invited by the curator for Belgium, Elien Haentjens. ‘With my rug collection I want to share the beauty of combining handicraft with industrial manufacturing processes,’ van Breda explains. For him, London Design Fair is an opportunity ‘to share a more sustainable way of textile design with other designers and the public’.

Modala rug by Chaccra

Modala rug, Chaccra

Furthermore, a notable product launch will come from Chaccra, a brand determined to make Nepal inspired rugs that are the antithesis of disposable culture. Chaccra’s new modular designs in renewable hemp fibre and Tibetan wool will allow for more flexibility, enabling users to create different shapes and formations. All in all, it looks set to be another London Design Fair filled with inspiring rugs and textiles.

Designjunction, King’s Cross, London, 19-22 September 2019

Reeds Berry and Jigs Lapis throws (detail), Chalk Wovens

Reeds Berry and Jigs Lapis throws (detail), Chalk Wovens

This year’s Designjunction theme is (Re)act, calling upon exhibitors ‘to react to issues and re-imagine opportunities while re-connecting with their audiences.’ Once again, the show will take place in King’s Cross, which has been designated a London Design Festival Design District for the first time, meaning the whole area is sure to come alive come September. Designjunction comprises three key exhibition spaces: Cubitt House, Lewis Cubitt Park and West Handyside Canopy. Cubitt House will host established furniture and lighting brands while Cubitt Park is the place to discover emerging talent and global brands exhibiting in London for the first time. Premium boutiques and design labels make up The Canopy. The talks programme will be held at the nearby Everyman Cinema and the RADO Star Prize awards programme will take over King’s Cross Light Tunnel. Chalk Wovens and Zuzanga, both carrying home décor lines, are exhibitors of textile interest, with plenty more expected to be revealed in the near future.

Other Events at London Design Festival, 14-22 September 2019, London

Carnival cloth, Michael Szell for Christopher Farr Cloth, Turquoise Mountain embroidery, 2019

Carnival cloth, Michael Szell for Christopher Farr Cloth, Turquoise Mountain embroidery, 2019

The problem with London Design Festival is that there is too much to see and do across the sprawling British metropolis. The V&A is the place to admire the more conceptual side of design; ‘Bamboo Ring: Weaving into Lightness’ is Kengo Kuma’s exploration of pliancy, precision, lightness and strength through the use of bamboo and carbon fibre. A pop-up exhibition in Design Centre Chelsea Harbour during Focus 2019 sees Christopher Farr and Christopher Farr Cloth collaborate with Turquoise Mountain to celebrate the skills of the rug and textile craftspeople of Afghanistan through weaving demonstrations, talks, and new rug designs and unique hand embroideries.

Plume rug, Winch Design for The Rug Company

Plume rug, Winch Design for The Rug Company

On the King’s Road, The Rug Company will launch a collection of hand-knotted rugs designed by London studio Winch Design. At 100% Design, textile-design studio Kirkby Design is set to showcase upholstery velvets derived from seating fabric used across the Transport for London network. Countless designers will also display their wares in furniture and homeware stores throughout the capital. One of them is Tamasyn Gambell, whose blankets and quilts will be at førest London in Clerkenwell.

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