Maison & Object

Wow – what a year! This time last year I had just made the decision to leave my day job, follow my dream and see if I could make a living as a design writer. A year later, I can confidently say that I can! I feel very privileged to be able to say that.

I’m often not very good at celebrating my successes, or at taking time off, so in an attempt to do both, and to say a few thank yous, this will be my only post this week. It’s a round-up of everything that made 2012 an awesome year for confessions of a design geek, which will hopefully keep you going until Monday 31st December when I’ll be back.

2012 started with a ridiculous amount of international travel, first to Paris and to Maison & Objet. It’s a huge show and I was very lucky to be sent as Editor at Large for Design Milk – a massive thank you to editor Jaime for that! The ‘Interiors’ and ‘Now’ halls were definitely my favourites and I’m looking forward to going again in 2013 with the lovely Zoe Brewer, aka My Interior Stylist, and Heather Jenkinson.

Stockholm

Then in February it was off to Stockholm for Stockholm Design Week with Kate Baxter aka fabric of my life. I was blown away by the quality of the student work there and am really hoping to go again in 2013. I love meeting young designers and there’s no international trade show to rival Stockholm in terms of its investment in new talent. Big thank yous to Kate for coming with me and again to Jaime from Design Milk for making the trip possible.

New York City BlogTourNYC

New York for BlogTourNYC was definitely one of the highlights of the year. I was chosen by Modenus as one of 15 bloggers from around the world to go, and it was five days of exhausting, inspirational, back to back design. I met fellow design geek Stacey Sheppard of The Design Sheppard, who instantly became a firm friend and we’ve both been chosen again – this time to go to Cologne in January.  A massive thank you to Veronika and Tim at Modenus for New York and in advance for Cologne – I can’t wait!

Marni at Milan Design Week

Then in April it was off to Milan for Milan Design Week with Ellie aka Something Nice Today. I have been wanting to go to Milan for years and it was everything I had hoped for and more. There was design everywhere you looked from Zaha Hadid installations to Lee Broom pop-ups. It was sunny, there was gelati and espresso and we could have stayed forever! Heartfelt thanks again to Jaime at Design Milk for yet another amazing opportunity and to Ellie for keeping me sane!

Clerkenwell Design Weel VG&P

I love Clerkenwell Design Week. Somehow the sun always shines, it’s compact enough to do in a day, and yet bursting at the seams with fabulous design, like the VG&P chairs above. I used to sneak out in lunchbreaks and after work and dream of the day that wondering around Clerkenwell snapping gorgeous chairs in the sunshine could be my day job.

Vitra Haus

In June Vitra very kindly invited me to Design Miami/Basel and to their Summer Campus Party, which meant a trip to VitraHaus, the Vitra Design Museum, the Zaha Hadid designed Fire Station… I was in heaven. Big thank yous to Jo and Jane at Vitra UK.

New Designers Matthew Cox Elasticated

There are two types of design that get me particularly excited – design by new, young, student or recently graduated designers, and design that makes people lives better. For the former, New Designers is the place to go and where I discovered this fabulous chair by Matthew Cox – one of my top finds of the year.

Maggie's Gartnavel and my new Maggie's column

For the latter, I can’t think of a better example than Maggie’s. Maggie’s provide emotional, practical and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends from striking buildings within the grounds of specialist cancer hospitals. I’ve never experienced design that has been created with more empathy and insight. It’s incredibly moving to speak to the architects and designers who create the Centres. In August I started writing a column featuring a different Maggie’s Centre a month, to spread the word about what they do. I also made the decision to auction off all the press freebies I’m given in aid of Maggie’s once a year, so keep an eye out for the first auction next year.

Number 126 and fox knocker

On a far more frivolous note, I also launched a new column called photos of numbers that features, um, well… photos of numbers. That I collect them was my most geeky confession to date, and I was overjoyed when lots of you confessed your geeky photo collections too – man hole covers was my personal favourite!

London Design Festival V&A

Then it was the fortnight of the year all design geeks live for, London Design Festival. To quote the New York Times, “Apologies to Milan and Tokyo. Regrets to Stockholm and Paris. Forgive me, Eindhoven, Berlin, Barcelona and, most particularly, New York. But London is the design capital of the world.” And wasn’t it just? Basking in the glory of the Jubilee and the Olympics, London delivered and all credit to new Deputy Design Director Max Fraser for that.

Vector CMY Boost

I was very grateful for the opportunity to be involved in the Southbank Centre’s Boost initiative, as the official online media partner (and not just because that meant my little logo sitting next to offline media partner The Observer’s logo on the website!) Boost was a mentoring programme in which six designers or design teams were selected and mentored through the design and making process right through to having their products stocked in the Southbank Centre shop. A massive thank you to Keith and Mark at Mini Moderns for recommending me for the gig and to Head Buyer Adam Thow for saying yes!

And possibly the thing I am most proud of this year, was the confessions of a design geek bursary. I want to do as much as I can to promote new designers and so the opportunity to put together a bursary worth over £5,000 was incredible. The winner, Jessica Hogarth, will receive a 3m x 3m stand at Home London, mentoring with Mini Moderns, Seen PR and HAM, and a photo shoot. The four shortlisted designers will be on the confessions of a design geek bursary stand at the show too and also have the opportunity to pick the brains of the mentors.  I cannot thank Tim and Ian at Home London, Keith and Mark at Mini Moderns, David at Seen PR, Jo at HAM and Yeshen Venema enough.

confessions of a design geek bursary winner

No further reading today – devices off for some R&R! All that remains to be said is Happy Christmas and all the best for an ass-kickingly good 2013! And one last thank you – to you, without whom all of this would be possible, but incredible futile! Happy Christmas! Katie x