Seek And Yee Shall Find

05 Feb 2014|Added Value

Every year, for the last decade, London has provided us with a spectacle; a homage to the world of creativity. It’s a collection of the world’s most talented designers at the vanguard of style and creative thinking. But amongst this haystack of expressive talent that is the London Design Festival, there emerges a golden needle. And this year was no exception, thanks to 19 Greek Street’s inclusion of the Studiomama and Marc by Marc Jacobs collaboration.

The challenge posed by finding something truly great in this industry is in fact the ubiquity of design. For one overwhelming week, an abundance of creative types flock to promote their wares. The fuel to this fire being the powerhouse exhibitions that are 100% Design and Design Junction.  Alluring as I’m sure they are, designers set up shop in search of exposure, fame and fortune. But the unfortunate downside to exhibitions such as these is that they become a breeding ground for mediocrity. Forced by the commercial pressures to fill space, these events often buckle and adopt an open-door policy, allowing in designers who represent the broadest spectrum of quality and talent, desperate to make their mark with something ‘new’ and supposedly unseen before.

But to really be inspired; to find collections that truly excite us and make us question more; then we have to look beyond the confines of the clout offered by these goliaths.

Tucked away on the fringes of this festival resides the smaller, more carefully-curated shows. A clear highlight this year came in the form of the humble chair. Or a series of chairs in this case.


Aptly named ‘Re-imagined’, Nina Tolstrup of Studiomama remodelled and reinterpreted unloved and discarded pieces, and through the use of vivid colouration married with bold checks from the Marc by Marc Jacobs 2013 collection, transformed and elevated these products into something more of iconic status symbols. Delivered with vibrancy and swan-like elegance, this range offers the Holy Grail of sustainable design – style satisfaction but without the sacrifice.


Look even further afield and you stumble across the likes of Tom Dixon and Establish & Sons, delighting us with their subtle brilliance and quality that goes largely unmatched. These demigods of the British design world succeed in showcasing the very best in beautifully-crafted objects that serve a real purpose. They pay no desire to the demands of being fashionable, but seek something much more pure. Something of real worth. Something quite timeless.

It’s no surprise that Studiomama’s efforts awarded them a Designer of the Year nomination by the Design Museum. Nor is it a shock that Tom Dixon has amassed such a string of design accolades throughout the years, including an OBE for services to British Design. Or even that Established & Sons is held in such high regard throughout the world, despite only being eight years old.

The basis of such success can be attributed to many things. But look beyond the awards, the countless press columns and glamorous parties, and there lies a simple yet careful balance of impeccable quality, real usability and a touch of wonderful imagination. For these are the foundations upon which great design is born.

Written by Joe Heard at Added Value UK

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