London Design Fair was bigger and better than ever this year - so much so that I had to go back 3 times just to fit it all in. I blame the location, right on Brick Lane with too many bars and coffee shops to take a break in. 450 exhibitors from 29 countries you say? Yes, that's going to need a drink or two.
The Old Truman Brewery was jam-packed with emerging and established designers. A few trends I noted were the use of natural materials, an exploration of process and a return of the fun and functional. Lots of muted, earthy tones and a fair whack of monochrome with a great craft element and pockets of plants everywhere. I particularly loved wandering around This Is India on the new 3rd floor and gawping at the 10 Indian designers showcased there.
Here are just a few of my London Design Fair 2016 highlights:
1. Amy Isles Freeman
Elbowing herself into a particularly male-dominated part of the design industry, Amy's hand-painted hand-turned wooden bowls are a striking celebration of what it is to be a woman. They are bright and beautiful, with almost tribal depictions of femininity using bold lines and confident colours. Sing it, Sister.
With two new collections launched against a hand-stencilled animal print background, you couldn't miss the Safomasi stand this year. An explosion of prints from the new Safari Collection and Woven Kawaii Collection, Sarah and Maninder put on a truly eye-popping display. I was also lucky enough to watch Sarah discuss How Travel Inspires Design as part of the Super Talks programme with an expert panel, and it was so interesting to hear how global mobility can influence both design and consumer appreciation.
3. Troels Flensted
With their swirling colours and watering patterns, regular favourite Troels Flensted's 'Poured Bowls' explore the unpredictable relationship between materials, colour and manufacturing process. The mineral powder, water-based acrylic polymer and pigment used to make each piece is hand mixed, then allowed to flow together organically to create a completely unique 'frozen in time' pattern for each bowl.
4. Also Adam
Continuing the theme of exploring materials and manufacturing process, the unusual surfaces and textures of Samuel Adam Sheard's collection really made me stop and stare. How great are these wooden Charles Brown Wall Tiles with the colourful inlay?
5. Li Jie
Li's series of plates featuring painted illustrations of children's poems, all in timeless blue and white, was haunting. In China, Blue means everlasting youth and this series was beautiful in a completely eerie way, exploring themes of home and belonging.
That's just scraping the surface of the wealth of work at London Design Fair this year. If you made it over, what were your top picks?
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