our findings from the 2014 London Design Festival

13th November 2014

bursting bubbles

There was a strong presence of objects and furniture with bubbly, overflowing, growing shapes, featuring organic forms and textures. This often gave a sense of living materials that were still growing and expanding, but often being constrained by an external structure or force. The aesthetic evoked a feeling of flesh-like bodies, with textures and materials many times resembling skin. 

In a time, when the body is under harsh scrutiny, both in terms of body image and ideals, and also through implants, extensions and modifications, it is only natural to see designers, makers and artists exploring the blurring boundaries between what is considered inside and outside our bodies, and challenging notions of what is natural and what is artificial.

refined geometry 

Bold geometric shapes have been prominently featured for the last few years in art, design and imagery. This year’s shows exhibited a slightly more sophisticate and minimalistic take on the longstanding Memphis tradition. The strong shapes and bold graphic aesthetic is softened by warm pastels and textures.

Playfulness and modular solutions are at the heart of this theme, satisfying the urge to experiment, customise and personalise objects and the environment around us. When user needs and demands are ever changing, being able to quickly alter and evolve experiences is key, which is expressed aesthetically and functionally through this trend.


Textile expressions are becoming more noticeable in products and furniture, creating a familiar look and feel. Strings, yarns and textures are translated into functional and aesthetic features that are soft and inviting.

Playing at the intersection of old and new, designers are exploring alternative methods of construction and assemblage that allows for modular systems, easy mending and DIY. It also responds to the call for products to be accessible and understandable to counteract the black boxing of recent years.

finding time and space

These projects are illustrating a reflection on time, presence and awareness of our place in the universe. It is not about measuring and tracking in a precise, scientific fashion, but much more about the subjective understanding and experience of these realms.

The forms are geometrical and materials traditional, reminiscing of antique scientific instruments and long trusted approach to empirical knowledge. This nostalgia can be understood as an expression of uncertainty when people are questioning existing beliefs and exploring new territories.

experimental process

Experimentation in manufacturing processes in craft and smaller production runs sometimes leads to innovations and discoveries on a larger scale. These projects show some of the interesting production methods spotted during the week.