The artful curation of this year’s 100% Design – complete with a dramatic 45m-long, LED-lit tunnel, and a luxurious central bar hub at the epicentre of four distinct design zones – was certainly in keeping with the shifting emphasis and ambitions of the show as a whole.
The new Emerging Brands sector, in particular, placed a marked emphasis on the increasing significance of young talent within the design industry, a notion which is complicit with the show’s overarching theme of Future Living.
Indeed, the show’s seminar programme emphasised the potential of design, as a means of diversification within a competitive market, as an integral tool for and source of sustainable living, and as a crucial catalyst within a challenging economy.
Young & Norgate, one of the exhibitors in the Emerging Brands sector, has incorporated this ingenuity into its increasingly-visible furniture brand. Now in its second year at 100% Design, the company works from a converted cider press on the south coast of Devon, where the majority of its materials are sourced and made to order.
The show saw a series of fresh takes on the materials and colourways of the company’s existing collection, while the Animate writing desk – recognised for its design excellence earlier this year – featured on the Design Guild Mark stand. The desk is made from black American walnut, with a maple leather-lined drawer available in a choice of blue or red. Both aesthetically striking and comprehensively designed, the internal mechanisms of the drawer system are exposed to interesting effect.
The company’s efforts to preserve traditional methods of furniture making, alongside the exclusivity of the service it provides – each piece one of 100 – are integral factors in the appeal of this furniture brand.
MARK Product, a furniture manufacturing company based in Cornwall, also unveiled new designs at the show, including pieces from long-standing collaborators Tomoko Azumi and Gala Wright.
The Verso chair by Tomoko Azumi, in particular, is 2012’s major new launch for MARK, and was previewed to great acclaim earlier this year. The design has, in fact, already been specified for a canteen project in Mile End, East London, by Ab Rogers Design.
Refined in appearance, the design is also highly versatile, with three ranges and multiple colour choices available. This utilitarian elegance certainly ensured that MARK stood out from its competitors at the show.
Ochre also had some particularly striking pieces, including its Eternal Dreamer modular sofa, and Panther set of drawers. The company prides itself on the considered use of luxurious materials, ensuring that the potential and limitations of these materials are fully analysed by specialist craftsmen, and that traditional techniques such as hand weaving and brass work are incorporated where possible.
The Eternal Dreamer modular sofa is symptomatic of the understated elegance for which the company is known. The curved and straight sections of the sofa blend seamlessly, with deep seats and a luxurious eco linen upholstery, finished with bespoke braid. Mirrored steel legs provide a unique, modern edge. All sections of the sofa are available in 110 and 90cm depths.
Ochre’s Panther set of drawers marry handcrafted techniques, with contrasting gessoed front, three graduated drawers, and a tarnished steel plate top and edges. The chest is available in 107 x 64 x 76cm dimensions.
Bark Furniture shares a similar passion for traditional methods of production – creating furniture inspired by the mid-century modern era. The new Acorn II seating range, designed by husband and wife team Jonathan Walter and Lakshmi Bhaskaran, was on show at 100% Design, along with the popular Kustom armchair, newly upholstered in black leather.
The Acorn II seating range comprises a leather upholstered dining chair and a dining bench made from black walnut. Both items are designed to complement the Acorn dining table, which is available in 165 x 90 x 73cm dimensions.
All of Bark Furniture’s products are handmade from sustainable wood, in the couple’s studio in Bude, North Cornwall.
Continuing in the vein of hand-crafting, Paere Dansk’s attention to the materials and methods used in the creation of its vintage furniture is certainly noteworthy.
The Stealth desk is Paere Dansk’s first piece to be designed and made in England. Designer Jack Pearson made use of traditional craftsmanship, without borrowing too heavily from predecessing designs. One of the biggest challenges faced was to find timber which was sufficiently uniform, or that matched adjacent timber, to ensure that the desktop was as seamless as possible.
Deadgood, by contrast, makes use of technically progressive manufacturing methods. The Deadgood Ribbon stool, by British designer Nick Rawcliffe, is a rotationally moulded stool manufactured from recycled plastics.
Produced in a 500 x 415 x 320cm format, a cutting edge rotational moulding process is used to create an inner core of material, which is then fully upholstered to maximise comfort levels and widen the potential for colour specification.
The shape of the stool is suggestive of charity awareness ribbons – its smooth sculptural form consciously designed to be thought provoking. The stool has, so far, been specified for a broad variety of commercial applications, from Google office spaces in London and Madrid, to the National Gallery.