Research: London Design Festival 2014 – Sculptural Vessels

Research: London Design Festival 2014 – Sculptural Vessels

At London Design Festival (LDF) I took so many photographs and collected lots of business cards, that it’s taken me a while to go through them all and pull out of selection of my favourites. As I was doing this I started to notice a common thread between designs and businesses that I found inspirational. In this blog post I have pulled together a selection of homeware products that I liked for design reasons. A similarity between each piece is that they are all 3-dimensional vessels, and I have been considering taking a sculptural approach to my own work.  In a few cases I was also inspired by the brand values and ethics.


Quinoa Paris at London Design Festival 2014

Quinoa Paris: photo taken by Kate Mawby on 18 Sept 2014 at Tent London.

QUINOA PARIS[1]Quinoa Paris (2014) Quinoa Paris [Online] Available from: http://www.quinoa-paris.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Tent: The simplicity of the designs is what I like about this fashion and home accessory brand. Classic, modern and functional pieces that can be put together and taken apart by the user. Made from a single piece of leather, folded into a 3-dimensional shape with seamless construction, raw edges and held together with metal hardware. The collection is very focused with a clear image of what their brand is about. When I researched them online I discovered that ethics and sustainability are part of their brand values. ‘Quinoa Paris aspires to an ethical, fun and sustainable design. Through the choice of raw and noble materials (certified vegetable-tanned leather & solid brass accessories) the brand strives to communicate and share its values. Design must be a source of positive inspiration that combines beauty with respect for the environment.'[2]Quinoa Paris (2014) Quinoa Paris brand values [Online] Available from: http://www.quinoa-paris.com/valeurs/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].


Pepe Heykoop at London Design Festival 2014

Pepe Heykoop vase: Tiny Miracles Foundation (2014) Pepe Heykoop and the Tiny Miracles Foundation [Online] Available from: http://pepeheykoop.nl/en/about-pepe/foundation [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].

PEPE HEYKOOP[3]Tiny Miracles Foundation (2014) Pepe Heykoop and the Tiny Miracles Foundation [Online] Available from: http://pepeheykoop.nl/en/about-pepe/foundation [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Tent: Dutch designer, Pepe Heykoop, is working on an ambitious project that I find incredibly inspiring. Working in collaboration with the Tiny Miracles foundation, he has set up his own workshop and production line in Mumbai. They work with a community in poverty, teaching them skills, enhancing their self-esteem and providing them with work producing high-end interior design products. Their dream ‘is to enable one slum community to break out of the poverty cycle and become middle class citizens by 2020′[4]Tiny Miracles Foundation (2012) Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Foundation: collection 2012 [Online] Available from: http://www.tinymiracles.nl/the-work-projects/studio-pepe-heykoop [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]..

I really like this video[5]Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Foundation Mumbai workshop (2014) [Vimeo] Heykoop, P. Available from: http://vimeo.com/87283619 [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. that tells the story behind the project and would love to be involved in something like this. However, from my own experience working in Peru and after speaking to Heykoop at Tent, I am aware of the many challenges this type of project faces.

The black leather vase is the first design he worked on for the project, it’s made from old dented water containers that were used in the local community. Heykoop offered to replace the containers with new ones, if he could have the old ones which he then bought new life to, by covering them in leather and making a feature of the battered shape by adding more texture. Although visually this design is very appealing, it isn’t one of his most successful, because it is bulky to ship which increases the cost, making it an unsustainable source of income for the workers. His more recent designs are all flatpack.


Otago at London Design Festival 2014

Otago vases: Otago Design (2014) Otago [Online] Available from: http://www.otagodesign.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].

OTAGO[6]Otago Design (2014) Otago [Online] Available from: http://www.otagodesign.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Tent: Otago collaborates with marginalised communities in Africa, preserving and enhancing their artistic traditions by creating a range of contemporary interior products. Their focus is on ethical sourcing, but without sacrificing design or quality. They work with the artisans keeping ‘them up-to-date with new ideas and design techniques’, which I think has resulted in a great balance of ethnic techniques with modern design. I think this vase is a good example of how they have used the skills of basket weavers to produce a contemporary design, by adding an abstract colour blocked pattern and playing with the shape.


Slow Design by Natalia Yanez Guzman at London Design Festival 2014

Slow Design by Natalia Yanez Guzman: photo taken by Kate Mawby on 18 Sept 2014 at Tent London

SLOW DESIGN by Natalia Yáñez Guzmán[7]Yáñez Guzmán, N. (2014) Slow Design [Online] Available from: http://natyanez.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Tent: “Slow Design” is a trend that is part of the slow movement, aiming to take a holistic approach to design. I was drawn to Natalia Yáñez Guzmán’s work because of this. She believes in ‘developing value-added products, connecting innate skills of traditional artisans with the creative potential of the design discipline'[8]Yáñez Guzmán, N. (2014) Slow Design [Online] Available from: http://natyanez.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].. Her products combine weaving typical of Southern Chile with contemporary materials found in the local market. I like the mix of traditional craft with unusual materials.


Krasznai at London Design Festival 2014

Krasznai ceramic vases: photo taken by Kate Mawby on 18 Sept 2014 at Tent London

KRASZNAI[9]Krasznai, R. (2014) Krasznai [Online] Available from: http://www.krasznai.co.uk/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Tent: Initially I was attracted to Krasznai’s ceramic vases because of the colour. This particular design has no uniformity, each piece is slightly different. I really like the raw unfinished look, with the uneven edges and visible seaming at the sides. Also I love the combination of the neutral matt finish on the outside, with a pop of high gloss colour on the inside.


Leah Jensen at London Design Festival 2014

Leah Jensen vessel: photo taken by Kate Mawby on 16 Sept 2014 at Brompton Design District

LEAH JENSEN[10]Jensen, L. (2014) Leah Jensen Vessels [Online] Available from: http://leahjensen.co.uk/tag/vessels/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014]. at Brompton Design District: Skill and technique is at the heart of Leah Jensen’s designs. Each porcelain vessel is painstakingly hand carved with intricate patterns. It’s a time consuming task, but with wonderful unique results. I love the combination of the porcelain with black charred wood which creates a lovely contrast and highlights the texture and pattern.

References   [ + ]

1. Quinoa Paris (2014) Quinoa Paris [Online] Available from: http://www.quinoa-paris.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
2. Quinoa Paris (2014) Quinoa Paris brand values [Online] Available from: http://www.quinoa-paris.com/valeurs/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
3. Tiny Miracles Foundation (2014) Pepe Heykoop and the Tiny Miracles Foundation [Online] Available from: http://pepeheykoop.nl/en/about-pepe/foundation [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
4. Tiny Miracles Foundation (2012) Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Foundation: collection 2012 [Online] Available from: http://www.tinymiracles.nl/the-work-projects/studio-pepe-heykoop [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
5. Pepe Heykoop and Tiny Miracles Foundation Mumbai workshop (2014) [Vimeo] Heykoop, P. Available from: http://vimeo.com/87283619 [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
6. Otago Design (2014) Otago [Online] Available from: http://www.otagodesign.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
7, 8. Yáñez Guzmán, N. (2014) Slow Design [Online] Available from: http://natyanez.com/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
9. Krasznai, R. (2014) Krasznai [Online] Available from: http://www.krasznai.co.uk/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].
10. Jensen, L. (2014) Leah Jensen Vessels [Online] Available from: http://leahjensen.co.uk/tag/vessels/ [Accessed 19 Oct 2014].

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