It felt like a sprint finish to get round the cavernous halls of Earls Court on the final day of the trinity that was Home, Craft London and Top Drawer 2014, but I was well rewarded for my efforts. It was a chance to get a sneak preview of new product launches, learn more of the story behind the label, or simply a face to a name. Here are the cc edited highlights.
On the threshold of home was Plumen, sculptural lighting that is also energy efficient. After the look-at-me exuberance of the original Plumen 001, the new kid, Plumen 002, is a simpler, more subtle design. With luminosity equivalent to a 30W incandescent bulb and colour warmer than the Plumen 001, the overall lighting effect is softer, but still architectural. The compact fluorescent bulb has a lifetime of 8000 hours, or 8 years of normal usage and is recyclable. It is not yet dimmable, but they are working on it!
Just across the way was one of my current everyday joys, the Black +Blum Eau Good water bottle complete with charcoal filter. Then, I made a bee-line for Stuart Gardiner to admire the fun and informative prints on oven mitts, tea towels and aprons. Stylish aide-memoires to seasonal foods to hand in the kitchen when you need them!
Other kitchen accessories that caught my eye were the ‘wildflower’ range of utensils fashioned from beech and stainless steel (pictured left). They are simply beautiful to look at and to hold. Bojje are based in Suffolk with a passion for the materials they use, particularly wood. Combining traditional woodworking , woodland crafts and modern technologies the products have a graceful, simplicity and sensuality.
Hop and Peck’s set of platter boards (pictured right) are handmade from sustainable solid oak and finished in Danish oil, from £35.
I had a brief pause to admire Haidee Drew’s bamboo chopping boards. More tableware in bamboo fibre was available from Ekobo who were showing their range of traditional handmade bamboo and laquerware and also Biobu, a range colourful enough for all the family to enjoy eating from. I love the cool simplicity of the FAT Ceramics designed by Piet Hein Eek for Fair Trade Original. The contemporary twist provided by Piet Hein Eek’s designs still allow the traditional craftsmanship of the producers in Thailand and Vietnam to shine through.
The handiwork of veteran crafts makers from Handmade-Japan was on show at Craft London. I have been on the hunt for a good broom (and a mop) so loved the colourful ‘Nanbu Hoki’, traditional, handmade brooms and brushes made from all natural fibres.
Natural fibres such as pure new wool, jute and fair trade, organic cotton are the basis of Waffle Design‘s distinctive textured cushions and throws. New designs for 2014 also included products made from upcycled aran carpet yarn. The yarn was rescued from an old carpet factory in Yorkshire, and hand dyed in small batches in East London. Tweedmill had a whole (makeshift) cabinet of colourful recycled wool and fleece throws on show, pictured left. They also produce recycled picnic rugs, draft excluders, bags, cushions and even a garden kneeler.
And on to the bigger ticket items. Fun furniture with clean lines and contemporary shapes from Lozi Designs. The smile shelves were generating a lot of interest, and good humour (pictured right). Close by, Wayfarer Furniture offered another response to eco-urban living with two new collections on show, the Prima and Tempo. The first, Prima, uses wood, the second, Tempo uses lower grade, but also low carbon materials of fibre and corrugated board, both are a discursive response to ethical living in an urban environment.
Another Country‘s approach to sustainability is to make furniture that has timeless appeal crafted using traditional and modern techniques from responsibly sourcing materials. Good design has physical and emotional longevity, and every piece from Another Country has a simple elegance you can enjoy for a long time. The new Series 3, made from oiled beech and inspired by Edwardian industrial furniture, would work, literally and metaphorically, well at home or in the office. The new Soft Series of blankets and cushions made from 100% hand-dyed wool with UK weavers Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company in three graphic designs is a simply covetable collection.
Finally, the beautiful laser cut silhouettes of trees by Clare Cutts, pictured at the top of the page, are an elegant and evocative way to bring the outside in to any space. The designs are based on photographs of trees taken by Clare. Originally, Clare created the woodcuts to emboss tree prints on paper, but realised the woodcut are things of beauty in their own right.
And last, but not least, as I prepared for my cycle home, I was wishing for a pair of cork bicycle grips designed by Green and Blue and handmade in Portugal. Cork is durable, anti-bacterial and offers cushioning, the perfect material for bike grips. Cork is a naturally renewable, and these grips are hand made from Portuguese cork harvested in managed forests. They have beautiful form, and function.