Designjunction King’s Cross Ninth Edition 2019 review

posted on Thursday, 31st October 2019 by Chris Jenkins

Designjunction  Trade Show 

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Annual new design festival Designjunction returned to King’s Cross this year, with a series of installations, events and exhibitions around the new Coal Drops Yard centre.
 
Held from September19-22 as part of the London Design Festival, designjunction concentrates on the work of young designers and smaller companies. Almost 100 international design brands and 70 pop-up shops too part in this ninth year of the show.
 
On returning to the King's Cross site, Director Mark Gordon says: “This year’s designjunction has been amazing and it has been fantastic how the trade and public have both interacted with the show. Having a large proportion of our event in the public domain really captured the industry’s imagination, especially when we have activated unusual spaces such as the Kings Cross Light Tunnel. Couple this with our best ever line-up of brands in our Cubitt House pavilion and first indications is that we have seen a significant increase in our trade audience.”
 
Talk To Me -Sitting Figure Portrait

Visitors couldn't miss multi-award-winning British designer Steuart Padwick's 5.5m high sculptures 'Talk To Me' (pictured above) which was the most photographed and shared project of the show. Positioned on the King’s Boulevard walkway leading to Granary Square, Padwick's sculptures towered above visitors in support of mental health anti-stigma campaign, Time To Change. As visitors approached the breathing interactive giant wooden figures, they could hear poignant and uplifting words read aloud by notable names including Niamh Cusack.
 
Yamaha Design Studio + Keechdesign encouraged visitors to rediscover the joy of play with 're/assemble', a collaborative and interactive exhibit of designed objects inspired by building blocks. The two studios challenged eight UK based designers from brands including Nikon and Hitachi, as well as from design and architecture studios including Rients and Sabotage Design, to team up and create toys that offer a new purpose or experience value.
 
Other highlights include MuDD Architects and the University of Leeds teaming up to present the innovations in material technology with the sustainable BioKnit Pavilion, mt Masking Tape's collaboration with award-winning illustrator / graphic artist, Stephen Smith to create a bold and inspiring installation at The Canopy’s entrance; Brighton based artist Lois O'Hara's colourful totem poles guided the way through Coal Drops Yard; French Design Editor Petite Friture's bold chair army marked the entrance to The Canopy and Bim Burton's playful Kaldewei tub chairs.
 
Adam _Razvi _The _Lighttunnel Main

(c )Adam _Razvi _The _Lighttunnel Main

Headline Partner Rado continued to support emerging design with the third edition of the Rado Star Prize UK. The Judges Prize was awarded to Plymouth University recent graduate Huw Evans, who impressed the judges with the clever design concept of his Concertina Collection. In addition to Huw's design, the other nine projects which were shortlisted for the prize were displayed in The Light Tunnel (pictured above) alongside installations from two leading lighting brands Anglepoise and Haberdashery.

British lighting brand Anglepoise presented six playful Giant Anglepoise lamps, inviting visitors to interact with the lamps and share their selfies on Instagram for a chance to win a Giant Anglepoise Lamp of their own. Meanwhile, Haberdashery's 'Dawn to Dusk' lamps celebrated the rising and setting sun.
 
Cubitt House played home to designjunction's most impressive brands and product launches. From the established to the emerging, brands presented the latest trends in cutting-edge design. A key theme of this year's fair was sustainability, with many brands presenting furniture made from recycled materials and products assembled from as little components as possible.
 
Ed Carpenter and André Klauser showcased a metal frame version of the Oval Armchair by British furniture manufacturer Very Good & Proper whilst Icons of Denmark launched the Crossover Chair. Leading bathroom brand VitrA premiered its latest designer collaboration, Equal by Claudio Bellini and Beem showcased a eye-catching display of LED lights on a dramatic dark surface, with the formation changing daily. Vincent Sheppard extended the collection of outdoor rattan furniture with the Rocco Lazy Chair and Solidwool made their debut at designjunction with its new Hembury Chair.
 
Jennifer Newman focused on bold and adaptable designs suitable for any home with the launch of the Huddle-Low table and James Burleigh presented a range of new launches from its first ever credenza to a brand new table and open shelving unit. 

Coal Drops Yard  - Photography Credit , John Sturrock  Main

Australian based Didier brought their iconic Fable indoor range to London for the first time, with the exciting edition of the Fable Outdoor range and Actiu showcased the new Noom collection, a line of all-purpose armchairs adaptable to any type of work or contract space.
 
Leading glassware brand LSA International partnered with Vitra, String and the Botanical Boys to transform part of Coal Drops Yard into a green urban oasis with 'The Greenhouse', an immersive shop concept celebrating sustainable living. This immersive activation showcased a selection of LSA’s most timeless design pieces, alongside more recent additions to the collection including CANOPY – a range of handmade, 100% recycled glassware, vases and planters launched in collaboration with the Eden Project.
 
Visitors indulged in some retail therapy at The Canopy, London Design Festival's top shopping destination. A temporary pop-up retail venue featuring over 60 retail brands and emerging designers, The Canopy gave visitors the opportunity to browse and buy design-led home and fashion accessories, jewellery, technology, ceramics, stationery and textiles under one roof.

Rado Awards Winner - Concertina Collection

The ELLE Deco Café 4_PC The Time -Lord _Arwyn Bailey Main

Plaey Workshop collaborated with the band Hot Chip to make a limited edition Record Dolly in celebration of their new album release ‘A Bath Full of Ecstasy’. The Record Dolly design is flooded with the colourful album artwork by Jeremy Deller and Fraser  Muggeridge Studio. Live manufacturing with 3D printing was demonstrated by multi-disciplinary designer Rentaro Nishimura and Brook Studio debuted at the show to unveil the brand new Leo chair, a traditional Windsor chair defined by modern thinking. Newgate's innovative display of British-designed watches on a moving railway system captivated visitors and Harriet Caslin's oversized serving jugs and serving bowls appealed with their Scandi influence.
 
For those looking to refuel with a snack and a drink whilst taking in all the design inspiration, designjunction presented three creative cafés including the ELLE Decoration cafe designed by Matteo Bianchi in The Canopy, as well as the sophisticated Grid Bar designed by Peter J. Lassen in Cubitt House.

Among handmade rugs from Lilla, wallpaper by Baboon and relaxed, low-slung seating by Maurizio Casini, the ELLE Decoration café was the most stylish place to pause during the show. Meanwhile the Grid Bar featured a lightweight and complex system of mirrored panels and modules to house planters and design objects, alongside furniture from Icons of Denmark and beautiful lighting by Made by Hand.
 
Very Good & Proper LUPIN SOFA AND WEDGE SHELF_VG&P

Designjunction’s talks programme took place at the plush Everyman Cinema, in partnership with Clippings. Based around the show’s theme ‘Re(Act)’, the programme was expertly curated by Design Editor & Commentator Grant Gibson to explore the issues and topics which affect the design industry today from the economy and sustainability to wellbeing and diversity. Speakers ranged from Founder and CEO of Manhattan Loft Corporation, Harry Handelsman; Architect Nigel Coates; Managing Director of The Standard Bruce Robertson; Designer Elle Doran and Ab Rogers, Interior Designer.
 
King’s Cross, London’s newest creative quarter and retail destination, became a Design District for the first time. Already home to incredible design brands, the District saw some of the biggest names in the area open their doors to the public, presenting exhibitions, installations, talks and much more – as well as welcoming back designjunction. Coal Drops Yard hosts a commissioned landmark project by Martino Gamper, a playful installation which mimics the exterior of a disco facade.

Local brands hosted an array of special events including Tom Dixon's TOUCHYSMELLYFEELYNOISYTASTY festival, Granby Workshop, Maya Magal, Tracey Neuls shoes as well as Wolf & Badger clothing and lifestyle store. Fashion designer Roksanda Ilincic teamed up with Gasholders, a new development of high end apartments, to present her first interiors project inside a penthouse suite while a graduate exhibition at Central Saint Martins showcased projects themed around more sustainable futures.

Chris Jenkins

Inside ID contributor Chris Jenkins is the Editor of Arts & Collections, and a freelance technology and industry journalist...

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