Design Junction, Edgy & Urban

Gritty, edgy and urban!  All that I love and miss about London, and words that sum up the venue for the second ever, Design Junction event in conjunction with London Design Festival. Held in a 12,000 square foot deserted 1960’s postal sorting office on New Oxford Street, the event played host to over 100 brands from around the world – incorporating large installations, pop-up eateries, entertainment zones and workshops.

It was hard to ignore the rawness of the building (the peeling paint, the dodgy wiring, the large conveyer belts to nowhere, and the smiley face on the old bell…yes I have a thing for old buildings) and the overall hip vibe of the show. Such a refreshing change from the traditional design shows, and  a great place for me to kick off London Design Festival. Some of my favorite products and show highlights are below. Enjoy!

Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

So raw, so lovely! Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

I never did find out what this 25 foot gorilla made out of discarded tyres was doing there, but it made for a great talking point.  Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Love the juxtasposition of the old and new. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Artek gave visitors a much needed place to rest their weary legs at the 2nd Cycle Cafe. Fifty Chair 69s and twelve Table 81s by Alvar Aalto, from a prestigious Finnish building were used as the café furniture. These vintage pieces were even available for purchase on site, through the retailer twentytwentyone. And to top that off they provided free bottled “Chelsea Hell” beer and prosciutto. Much love! Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Thonet craftsmen demonstrated how the backrest of the famous 214 coffee house chair is bent to perfection using their mobile wood bending machine, two men, and a lot of brute force. This manufacturing technique dates back to the 1850s and no other chair has ever been reproduced as many times – over 60 million and counting, which made this manufacturing master-class all the more special. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Canadian manufacturer Bocci, showcased the Series 14 pendant lights by Omer Arbel with a striking installation presented by Foundry. Designed to be shown in clusters, the low-voltage pendants feature varying imperfections and bubbles that ensure each casts a unique light. Reminded me of an alien-like under sea creature – a refreshing change from the classic hanging display. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

These knitting needle inspired lamps by Vitamin Living were presented in matt plastic, walnut, ash and copper as well as the original stainless steel. Beautifully crafted with a sense of humor too. The Needle lamp is an adjustable high-power LED table lamp for use in the home environment. It is playful yet doesn’t compromise on functionality or usability. These slick finishes compliment the soft fabric cord in a range of colors. So much fun! Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

The Knot Pendant Lights are beautifully controlled blown glass forms each supported solely by a vivid colored cable tied into a monkey fist knot. The design takes a pendant down to its bare essentials- a cable, a bulb holder, a bulb and a shade, using the geometric knot as a focal point of interest. Grouped together in this display, they made a huge impact. Vitamin Living Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

I love the G&T collection by British designer Bethan Gray.  Her passion for intricate craft based techniques are evident in her leather topped, solid wood base tables which feature an intricate wax thread brogue, finished with a hand stitched detail. A technique that is traditionally used in shoe production, Beth has applied it in a unique and interesting way. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

I was very excited to see a whole section of the show dedicated to Midcentury Modern. Midcentury Modern is a modern pop-up homeware show which takes place in various locations in London but on this occasion they made Design Junction their home. The show consisted of 20 top mid-century dealers, young designers and up-cyclers displaying a mix of design classics from Wegner, Eames, Jacobsen to Nelson alongside contemporary British homewares – all available to purchase from the show. I particularly liked designer Lucy Turner’s ‘Parakeet’ sideboard and orange lamp. The Cornwall designer specialises in customizing reclaimed mid-century furniture with her own clever use of laser cut Formica laminate.  Image Source: Design Lovers Blog


Making the most of the venue. What a platform to display this midcentury modern chair! From GP Light & More. Love it! Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Recent Furniture Design & Technlogy graduate Rene Olivier presented the Tyre Furniture Collection, the creative re-use of discarded bus, lorry and car tyres. The ‘seat’ comes with a detachable metal frame which is an ‘any size fits all’ configuration, allowing the user to source their own tyres removing the need for postage and packaging. Whist I can’t see myself having these in my own living room, I can see them being used in a public, school or other commercial space. In the Young Sweden section I found this cool Boet (meaning Nest in swedish), a stool inspired by the birds´home among the trees. The legs represent the tree and in the metal bowl a soft shape of cork to sit on, warm and welcoming like a nest. Produced by Mitab for NOTE Design Studio.

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Industrial, yet delicate, this chandelier made a huge impact. Spotted in the Young Sweden section of the event. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

SOLID ID, a new store with an unique mix of vintage furniture and accessories created a pop up shop at Design Junction featuring an array of interesting finds like this large lit up anchor. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

The classic Ant chair reworked. With 2012 marking the 10th anniversary of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen (a pioneering restaurant which trains unemployed youngsters to become professional chefs) and to raise money to keep it operating for the next 10 years, Jamie launched The Big Chair Project. It is an exciting collaboration with some of the top names in fashion, art and design including  (Tracey Emin, Paul Smith, Matthew Williamson, Julien MacDonald, Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Jonathan Yeo, Quentin Blake, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen to name a few).  Furniture brand and manufacturer of the Ant™ chair, Fritz Hansen, donated twenty of these chairs for different artists to impose their own personal design upon – the brief being that it had to be food inspired.  In addition, a personally designed fabric (by Jamie) Egg chair will also be up for auction. Fritz himself was upholstering this piece live at Design Junction.  It was thrilling for me  to see this talented artisan at work. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog

Furniture maker Fritz Hansen upholstering a fabric hand painted by Jamie Oliver to the classic egg chair for The Big Chair Project. Image Source: Design Lovers Blog.
Although only in it’s second year, it was the mix of live demonstrations, incredible venue, cutting edge vendors and unique displays that made Design Junction a must see design destination for me. A showcase of some of the best designs from Europe (predominantly) and the Americas. I can’t wait to see what’s to follow in future years.
More posts about London Design Festival
Future Living with Yo! Home at 100% design
Red Exhibition at The Conran Shop 
Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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2 Responses to “Design Junction, Edgy & Urban”
  1. Awesome review of the design exhibition in London. Great Photos!

    • Jill says:

      Thank you Nikita. We are very excited about the upcoming Design Junction in London this year too! Not long to wait now.

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