Design Hub – The Urban Gallery at Index Design Series; Dubai

If you follow us on social media you will have seen the countless updates from our recent trip to Dubai… The Index Design Series is a huge exhibition dedicated to creating the ultimate design experience for visitors. It encapsulates every facet of interiors including lighting, textiles and workplace design. It brings together the globe’s most knowledgeable influencers to discuss the latest trends and techniques and it inspires through unique design spaces and experiences to keep you at the forefront of design innovation.

The theme for this year was ‘Design for the Senses‘ which demonstrates how you can stimulate the senses through design and interiors. With this in mind we worked with the show organisers to create a number of interactive spaces to encourage the imagination of the visitor, to make people think about pushing the boundaries in terms of design and inspiring through sound, sight, smells and touch.

The first of our spaces was the Design Hub: The Urban Gallery

The Urban Gallery was an area on the show floor enabling visitors to be inspired by future design trend information and enthralled by unusual, innovative product design from all around the world. Our vision for the future city scape of Dubai seamlessly blends the urban city vibe with our natural environment and cutting edge technology; with that; our aspirations and aims for the future is to create a super-sustainable lifestyle.

Each product showcased on the Design Hub has been designed to achieve 100% sustainability. Whether it is through their choice of materials or their manufacturing process; they all contribute to our environment in some way. From up-cycled textile waste rugs to bio-composite furniture; our gallery exhibited products designed with purpose.

Here is a list of all the products displayed on the Hub;

Moss Trend

Huge thank you to Moss Trend who created the zero maintenance foliage wall on the hub. The vertical gardens are made from moss and foliage that has been collected, dried and then preserved. The lush Reindeermoss grows in protected areas of Lapland’s forests and through Italian design and research they have been able to stabilize it so that no sunlight or water is required to maintain it.

Interface

Interface supplied the flooring for our Design Hub. As pioneers in sustainability, Interface advocate biophilic design and know it is critical to human health to include natural systems and processes in our buildings and constructed landscapes. Interface explore the power of biophilic inspired designs throughout a number of their collections; which directly mimic natural surfaces and textures.

STYRO

Styro supplied our ‘urban’ building plinths to act as a platform to showcase the products. They are able to create quality, attractive decoration and art pieces to give a remarkable impression at events. STYRO is a leading company in Art & Decor that specializes in theme functions, foam sculpturing and carving.

Treewise Pencils

Did you know… to make wooden pencils, forests the size of 90 tennis courts are cut down every minute to supply wood. Many pencil manufactures use wood taken from the rain forest and deforestation is a major cause of many negative environmental changes. Treewise pencils however are made from 100% recycled newspapers, they are made without using any toxic chemicals/polymers/plastic and come with a promise of no breakage while sharpening; making the pencil last longer. We were giving them away on the Design Hub! Let us know what you think if you managed to grab one!

Hemp Eyewear

This premium collection of handcrafted, sustainable eyewear proved very popular at the show. The frames are made from organic plant fibre; making them one of the most unique, eco-friendly and innovative on the market. Hemp Eyewear was born thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 which raised 150% of their funding goal.

Simple Human Mirror

The wide-view sensor mirror from Simple Human allows you to see yourself in the best light with perfect clarity. The tru-lux light system simulates natural sunlight, to show more color variation and more detail with more accuracy. This mirror can connect to your phone; the app enables you to capture light settings from the world around you and accurately recreates them in the mirror so you can perfectly apply your makeup.

Artichair by Kizis Studio

The Artichair is a furniture piece made from a bio-composite material and attracted a lot of attention on our hub. The cardoon, also called the artichoke thistle, is a thistle-like plant native to the western and central Mediterranean region, where it was domesticated in ancient times. This project has involved the development of a new eco-material, and explored possible applications for it within product design.

Twin Tables by Aperçu Design

Aperçu means an insight, an immediate impression or a brief sketch, they focus on redefining the concept of modern living in which their furniture collection embraces the beauty of imperfection. Based in Amman, this design duo create beautifully crafted furniture pieces from solid olive wood with crystalized Resin on wood support.

The Moon Chair by MBM Cork Solutions & Granorte

The Moon Chair is made from 100% Cork produced from the outer bark of the cork oak tree; grown mainly in the Mediterranean region of the world. This tree has a life span of 250 – 350 years and remains the only tree whose bark can regenerate itself after harvest; leaving the tree unharmed. It is truly a renewable and environmentally friendly resource; its exceptional characteristics makes cork a naturally sustainable product contributing to the preservation of a unique habitat in the world. Visitors who tested the chair commented how surprisingly comfy it was!

Rubber Crumb Stool by Architecture + Other Things & Macron Seat by Kalo

Both products were created for Dubai Design Days 2017. The project (commissioned by Bee’ah) aimed to explore the full potential of using locally recycled rubber crumbs from old car tires in the design and manufacture of innovative furniture. Bee’ah sets a benchmark in sustainability, for cities and communities everywhere. As part of its mission to adopt a holistic approach to environmental protection, Bee’ah encourages recycling for the purpose of recovering waste into valuable resources.

Kalo mixes wood shavings in with the rubber crumb which are created during the process of making the wooden legs, giving the rubber seats a contrasting speckled look.

Sugarcane Trading Co

“The world is small and precious” – Sugarcane Trading Co nurtures this truth with rugs meticulously handmade from upcycled clothing offcuts; textile waste that would otherwise end up as landfill. Their commitment is to support artisan communities who product products with the lightest environmental impact.

Welsh Slateware

Hidden beneath the mountains and valleys of North Wales in the UK lies the world’s finest natural slate. The 500-million-year-old stone is carefully quarried and shaped to craft exceptionally luxurious, natural products. This unique bowl has a multi-hued natural veining making each piece individual – bring natural materials into your home.

Salt Rock Candles by Sirocco Living (Dubai distributor – Hansson Living)

Compressed through thousands of years in the underground around the oasis of Siwa in the Sahara Desert is a dense layer of salt. From great blocks of this salt the artisans are able to carve shapes and form beautiful pieces of saltrocks e.g. to be used for candlelights. Visible in the salt are stripes of grey-brown sand, these stripes are remnants of the great sandstorms roaming the area throughout the years. The light filtered through the salt crystals is amazingly soft and pleasant.

Fish Skin Leather Cushions by Sirocco Living (Dubai distributor – Hansson Living)

At the tannery located in Iceland they have produced fish leather for around 20 years. The tannery is recognized for sustainability and for being eco-friendly. The production of fish leather from non-endangered fish species (e.g. salmon and cod) is a by-product of all of the fish caught and consumed, making Sirocco Living products sustainable and a good example of environmentally friendly producers.

Rose Petal Coffee Table by The Study

This table was made as part of a group The Study Beirut; a collaboration aimed at experimental design and material research. “Exp 01: Synergy” delves into the sensory world of traditional Lebanese remedial herbs and culinary spices, recapturing the seemingly ephemeral experience of spice shops. The outcome being a coffee table that showcases an age-old trade and tradition. These organic and recycled materials function as the building blocks of not just sustainable living but living as a product of sustainability.

Check out our Instagram for more photos from the show.

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What’s new in the World of Stationery?

This month we visited and gave trend talks at the London Stationery Show. This show is full of exciting new products, workshops and seminars, a perfect show for the stationery enthusiast!

(Thank you to Artsynib for the calligraphy workshop)

Here are my favourite top ten seen at the show, check them out;

Elmo Paperstories

A newly established brand specialising in luxury wedding stationery. The use of pastel colours with metallic gold detail is subtle yet stylish. Materials such as soft velvet and natural linen gives this collection a beautifully fresh, pretty and elegant aesthetic.

Origin One

As a millennial who travels often, Origin One really caught my eye. From travel journals to road trip planners and even expedition pencils; this brand creates collections specifically designed with the global nomad in mind.

The Trigg Life Mapper

This kickstarter project is designed to transform your goals into success, bringing planning, mindfulness and creativity into one journal. It enables you to plan, prioritise and reflect while inspiring you along the way. In our fast pace, digital world it is refreshing to find a brand reminding us of the importance of health, wellbeing, mindfulness and above all recapturing happiness in our lives.

Alice Scott at Portico Designs

Over the past 2 years we have been presenting a trend that reflects the emergence of new attitudes amongst womenkind, promoting a rise in independent, powerful and strong women around the world. We shared this information at last years stationery show and now we see it come into fruition (report still available to buy at discounted price). I am sure you have all picked up on the female power fashion currently on the high streets and stationery is no exception. I have picked this particular brand because of their female focused quotes and inspirational tag lines.

Feminist journal packed with inspirational quotes available at Abrams & Chronicle

Notable Designs

A distributor of designer stationery and lifestyle products. I loved the styling of this exhibition stand, there is a utilitarian sophistication that demonstrates crafted design being functional, robust and stylish. I particularly liked the concrete collection, a perfect addition to create a minimalistic and contemporary desk space.

Off Lines

Their tag line ‘Online was yesterday’ sends a powerful message of going back to basics and appreciating analogue products once again. Beautifully hand crafted leather notepads and solid walnut and oakwood paper stations are modest, functional and aesthetically pleasing. This is perfect confirmation of our trend talk last year which also relates to our recent Pinterest board release; Analogue Workshop.

Treewise Pencils

Chosen for their fantastic recycled and sustainable product. The Treewise pencil is created from 100% recycled newspaper; harming no trees in the manufacturing process. It is made without the use of toxic chemicals and comes with a promise of no breakage when sharpening.

The gva

Another great sustainable brand with a green-value attitude towards design, it is their passion to create stationery and giftware with eco friendly materials. Products include notebooks, phone cases, postcards and eyewear all made from bamboo. Even their business cards are made from bamboo!

Castelli Italy

Luxury brand Castelli caught my eye with their beautiful new Midnight Floral collection; made in Italy. The texture compliments the print beautifully to present a very sophisticated and lavish notebook… whilst also looking gorgeous on any desk.

Two Little Boys

These bright, humorous notebooks make perfect gifts for all occasions, I love the film references, quotes and generally amusing narrative. They are bold, colourful and great statement stationery!

Don’t forget you can still visit the Manchester Stationery Show held on the 31st October – 1st November. Click here for more details.

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Exhibition Review: Top Drawer 2017

Last week we headed to Olympia, London for Top Drawer 2017, one of the first major UK trade shows of the year, presented are products for the Spring/Summer season. The show focuses on Home, Gift, Fashion and Craft by a range of both emerging designers and established brands from the UK and internationally.

Here are some of the pieces that caught our eye:

Firstly the ceramics by Sue Pryke, she creates stunning home ware ceramic collections.  Her background firmly rooted in crafts, is clearly evident to see in her practice as each piece is individual manufactured by hand. The navy and charcoal sit well with the pastel hues of faded pinks, lemon and duck egg blue, creating an elegant and contemporary palette perfect for spring/summer.Grey and beige remain a prominent combination for display styling as seen in the stand by Sue Pryke and also Blomus. The German retailer focuses on unique, elegant and minimalist design. The collection presented at Top Drawer featured a bathroom collection of a faded low-contrast palette offset with neutrals and anthracite, ideal for creating a muted and calming tone.
In contrast, the vibrant collection by Jansen+co brings a bold and fresh approach to kitchenware. The stand out colours of the cooking and dining products compliment with the functional natural terracotta.
Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2017 ‘Greenery’ was also represented at the show; it was hard to miss. A symbol for new beginnings, health, growth and positivity it will be interesting to see how designers and retailers adopt this colour particularly within products for interiors. We will have to keep an eye out for the Autumn/Winter edition of Top Drawer taking place 10—12 September 2017 as well as other events taking place this year.

Exhibitions are changing, visitors give more time and attention to those companies that have stands that provide experiences, not simply information, products & sales people. Just as they do in today’s retail environment. If you’d like to have a stand/booth that attracts, holds and excites more visitors than ever before; get in touch with Phil …..  Don’t leave it too long, exhibitions are too expensive and improving conversion rates is the key to a better return on your investment.

 

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Surface Texture & Material Design Trends 2017

Designers, graduates and well established brands are continuing to explore innovative ways of manipulating and experimenting with materials to create unique textures and effects for the interiors market.

Here are a few that we’d like to share with you showcased by Material Lab at the Surface & Materials Show in Birmingham. These specific textures and materials relate perfectly to our 2017 Surface Trends…

Evan James Design

This surface design company combines traditional quality craftsmanship with new technologies supporting & encouraging customer individuality for the commercial and residential sectors. They challenge whether a wall has to be flat and also, whether a wall has to permanently stay the same? This bespoke structured surface offers limitless possibilities of pattern, colour and texture. It’s designed to compliment any interior style.

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Our 2017 Trend – In Motion – explores the power of the virtual world being integrated into our everyday life; consider high shine and glossy fluidity that creates dynamic light effects and surfaces with movement. Spirograph, optical grids and dark iridescence are key aesthetics  here.

in-motion-ss17

Solomon and Wu

A luxury, surface brand crafting beautiful textures and contemporary architectural design features for interior spaces. Their unique collection of textured finishes and sculptured surfaces have been installed in retail stores such as Christian Louboutin and Alexander Mcqueen. We’ve also showcased their samples many times on our Trend Hubs around the world! Colors and finishes across the whole collection can be tailored to add stunning, bespoke elements to your design scheme.

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2017 will see a favor towards refined luxurious rawness, combining gritty and distressed textures with blush silvered metallics. Desert inspired textures appear chalky and matte; parched linens, dried reptile skins and rustic weaves. Gradual colour shifts and tonal hombre’s in indigo tones and sunset shades compliment refined metallics and naturally raw surfaces.

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Grace Gallagher

Grace Gallagher, a British designer, produces surfaces and objects for interiors, that demonstrate a preoccupation with materials and process. There is a mixture of traditional and contemporary techniques, with an honesty to the rawness and irregularity of the chosen material. The monochrome pattern was inspired by the Barbican building in London where each panel is hand crafted using a process of revealing layers.

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The appreciation of everyday materials will be a key attribute of design in 2017, consumers will begin to see beauty in ‘the ordinary’ and value ‘time earnt’, slowly acquired skills. People will embrace traditional techniques with a modern twist to create surfaces that are unpretentious but precise with a hand crafted aesthetic. Think about using saw cut, end-grains and chiseled wood effects for retail outlet design, exhibition booths, kitchens, flooring and workplace furniture. Denim, leather and cork create mixed material surfaces that will look stunning and be desirable in all interior spaces including hotel lounges and restaurants. 

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We are currently carefully selecting the most innovative and revolutionary surface materials for our 2017 International Trend Hubs. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter now to stay informed of our next events, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily updates from the team. Email Phil for more information about our ‘show reports’

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London Design Festival 2016 – designjunction Review

This year, designjunction was held for the first time at its new long-term home Kings Cross, having made a partnership with the University of the Arts London. The destination is set to become a new creative district as well as an international business hub for design in central London. Coal Drops Yard, an exciting retail space that brings together industrial heritage and contemporary design is set to open in 2018.

designjunction in it’s 5th edition featured 180 different brands as well as more than 50 carefully selected design led pop-up shops as well as numerous installations and collaborations.

Here are a few of our favourites…

Foldability: We were drawn to the 3D geometric pieces (see post on New Designers) and the work by Foldability, located in Cubitt House, was no exception. The London based studio creates bespoke installations and products inspired by geometry and origami, all of which are created by hand. The technique itself is quite simple – essentially meticulously folding by hand before securing the folds with heat. A truly versatile material, it has applications in wall covering and lighting for various sectors of the interiors market as well as set design and textiles. This links strongly to the A/W16-17 trend: Native with its main themes of craft and technology. This is further emphasized by the materials used, a cardboard base onto which natural and synthetic fabrics are heat set.

Foldability

Another Studio: Another Studio is a craft-design practice that creates products for the home and workplace covering lighting, stationary and accessories. They are also inspired by origami as well as the craft of tailoring, not only within the construction of each piece but also in the aesthetics. The company works with flat sheet materials like wood, metal and paper to create intriguing and playful 3D forms. Created are equally functional and aesthetically stunning designs that we love and will add interest to any room or desk space.

Another StudioOlivia Aspinal Studio: Olivia Aspinall creates bespoke handcrafted surfaces for use within the interiors industry. Her work links strongly to the terrazzo trend. Terrazzo isn’t a new idea, originating in 15th century Italy, however recently the material has now been reworked into flooring, wall and home accessories.She predominantly works with the material of Jesmonite, a material that allows her to translate her ‘textile aesthetics into solid materials.’ A successful Kickstarter campaign enabled her to exhibit at her first solo show. It definitely goes to show if you are an independent designer you can successfully exhibit at high profile showcases through the help of support from around the world.

Olivia AspinallKirkby Design: Kirkby Design, a brand situated under the ROMO group presented their latest collection of fabrics suitable for the home and contact furnishing market. In a blend of contemporary design, minimal and monochrome graphic grid patterns are combined with quilted velvet and a rich jewel palette. The company also created new versions of its Piccadilly textile design exclusively for MADE.COM. It was designed in collaboration with Transport for London to help them celebrate over 150 years of transport design history.

Kirkby DesignGRID: The GRID design is also reflected in the external cladding of Cubit House which we love. Designed by Peter J Lassen, the flexible structure blends together exterior and interior as light passes through the simple structure that is filled with mirrors and vegetation. Bringing the outdoors in has become increasingly popular across all sectors; retail, hospitality and leisure. This was further represented by exhibiting stand bloomon. The company has recently collaboration with & Other Stories with the aim to bring fresh flowers direct to the consumer.

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Lastly, one of my personal favourite pieces…The knot cushion by Icelandic-based designer Ragnheidur Osp Sigurdardottir which has gone into production with Swedish brand Design House Stockholm. The soft statement design, which is available in multiple contemporary tones, is made from knitted strips where the start and end seamlessly merge into one.

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We thoroughly enjoyed visiting many events over the fortnight and are very much looking forward to next years event when many more exciting events will be showcased across the capital. We certainly will be keeping an eye on the website from May when events are uploaded!

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