The twelfth London Design Festival roared into town. This annual event turned London into a bustling design hub. For the designers, Design Week is a gateway to the international creative community; for visitors the opportunity to grasp the freshest design ideas from all over the world.
Tent Fair is a thought provoking four-day show that carved out a reputation as an anchor of London Design Week. It takes place at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane in East London between 18 and 21 September. This year 240 international designers took part, presenting extraordinary objects and ideas. Among them, talents from Poland. Contemporary Lynx could not miss the opportunity. We met designers at their stands to get insight about their objects, projects and their opinion about the Tent.
Zofia Strumiłło–Sukiennik, co-founder of Beza Projekt from Warsaw greeted us at her stand. She introduced us the Vistula Office – a project aimed at cheering up working spaces with subtle surreal elements inspired by nature and organic textures. Zofia passionately explained the concept, drawing attention to the unexpected and unorthodox use of marble; an organiser for documents, letters and small items placed on the desk is supported by an accidental piece of marble. This is a real functional sculpture. Beza Projekt’s designed objects are products but they could just as well be exhibits suitable for a contemporary art gallery. We go beyond obvious purposes and functions, and also strive to introduce certain irony into the projects, to bring about a smile on the face of even the most hardened cynics – says Zofia.
Further, we met Maria Fiter – a designer from Crea-Re Studio. This was her debut in London. Crea-Re brought the latest collection of pendant lamps called “Copernicus” made from old newspapers turned into paper pulp. Each lamp presented on the stand is of different shape and colour but all resemble in their texture dry, cracked soil or the surface of planets in space. The biggest in dark yellow shade is warmed up by the yellow light bulb. When you look insight, it gives an impression of looking inside planet Earth, with hot and burning core inside. The big yellow lamp is juxtaposed with cracked, raw, grey texture of the round one next to it.
Maria explains: Each lamp has its own story. Their titles refer to their form and colour – for example “Jupiter” dominates other lamps with its size, just as Jupiter dominates the solar system. Thanks to an ochre colour the lamp gives a pleasant and warm light.
Walking further, a familiar pattern and ornament caught our eye. We stopped by Kosmos Project’s stand. Kosmos Project is a design studio set up by Ewa Bochen and Maciej Jelski in 2008. This was Kosmos’ second time at Tent. This year, they proposed a new collection of utility objects inspired by human civilisation entitled Transition. Desk, fabric hung on wall, chair and boxes, all in purple colour merging with natural green, created a coherent set. The fabric included a mosaic of bears in a forest juxtaposed with spaceships. Maciej explained the concept behind the project; Our reality is a mosaic of the past and the new, so abstract that it’s difficult for us to comprehend. Maciej was fascinated by the clash of tremendous development of science in one part of the world with life which has not changed for thousands of years in the other.
The biggest stand among Polish designers was dedicated to graphic design and illustration. The group exhibition entitled Designing Polska was organised by Culture.pl, and curated by Olka Osadzinska. The exhibition showcased works of ten graphic designers and ten illustrators – as well as a selection of book and magazine designs, posters and fashion projects inspired by illustration and graphic design. Colourful presentation lured visitors inside and a wide offer allowed endless browsing. Presented artists included: Edgar Bak Studio, Agata Nowicka, Anna Niemerko, Fontarte, Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinscy and many more.
Overwhelmed we left Tent to take a deep breath. The area around the Old Truman Brewery is a hive of activity with market stalls and hip street party vibe. The area is full of trendy clothes, arts and craft, street art and artisan food. The location is a great context for London Design Week which draws 350,000 people, from over 60 countries to make the annual pilgrimage to the city, to celebrate London as the design capital of the world. We were pleased to see designers from Poland holding their own amid top class competition.