Entrance to designjunction

I was really pleased when confessions of a design geek was chosen as a media partner for designjunction this year, and having written so much about the show in the run up, I couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh. I’ve told you all about the venue and several of the exhibitors, so I’ll skip straight to my best bits.

Four hand thrown lights

I am a big fan of pottery, so I loved these lights by Aditi Studios. Everything they do is hand-thrown, hand-sculpted or otherwise hand-assembled using traditional methods. I loved the raw, unfinished look of these. Definitely on my wish list!

wooden light with extendable arm

This light was on the desk that the Another Country team were working on, so I’m not sure if it’s from their current collection, but I really liked its almost childlike simplicity and obvious functionality – I like being able to see how things work.

red, blue and white lights made from tights

Nipping into Tramshed, which was very much part of designjunction this year, these lights by Benjamin Hubert caught my eye. Tenda are in prototype stage and made from the same material as tights.

Blue blown glass sphere with knitted cable

I’m in love with Bocci‘s 28d lamps. They are designed to be hung in clusters, but I want them sprawling all over my floor! They are blown in a complex process that involves alternately introducing and withdrawing both heat and air pressure so that each one is unique.

Copper cage style lightshade

More lights lolling about on the floor – definitely a trend on its way. I had a great time chatting to the boys at Dare Studio and some of their work really caught my eye, especially their copper creations – this light and a fabulous cage-inspired coffee table were my favourites. Hoping to see lots more from them in the future.

Maggie's Joy Of Living

Without doubt my absolute favourite thing at designjunction was the Maggie’s Joy of Living stand, designed by Anthony Dickens to mimic a Maggie’s Centre. Maggie’s were the official charity partner for designjunction and worked with Max Fraser to bring about the Joy of Living Part Two. I covered Part One last year – this year’s brief was to customise a piece of domestic design inspired by “the joy of living,” which comes from something Maggie’s founder Maggie Keswick Jencks once said: “Above all what matters is not to lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.” The resulting designs from over 50 of London’s best designers were moving, inspirational and just plain gorgeous.

Maggie's Auction pieces as described below

Four of my favourites were the Uniform Wares watch, the People Will Always Need Plates plate with the words “The urge for good design is the same as the urge to go on living” around the top, the joyous MARK net chair customised in rainbow colours by Sam Johnson, and the lovely Lee Broom’s Crystal Bulb – in yellow! But there were so many incredible things. A select few were auctioned on the opening night and the remainder were on sale at a fixed price throughout the show. £15,000 was raised for Maggie’s, which is fantastic.

Me infront of a big screen saying "good design makes people's live better"

As part of Maggie’s presence at designjunction, I was honoured to be asked by Aidan Walker to take part in a panel debate about design for wellbeing, alongside Max Fraser, Anthony Dickens and Maggie’s London architect Will Wilmshurst. I spoke about my belief that good design makes people’s lives better and showed two examples, Design for Dementia and Maggie’s interiors. Max spoke about the Joy of Living project, Anthony spoke about his stand design and also a cubicle ‘lock’ he developed to give hospital patients more privacy and Will spoke about the architecture of Maggie’s London. I was really interested in what everybody had to say and touched by the empathy they each put into their work.

Pop-Up shop - all white with triangular and square shelves

It was very exciting to see FAO brought to life in the form of a pop-up shop having tracked their progress for almost a year now. They had a wonderful selection of delectable goodies, including a little book by yours truly  which was exciting!

orange yellow grey and white hexagons making up a wall covering

Form Us With Love were on fine form, exhibiting Hexagon and Button alongside other Young Swedish Designers. The former is a sound absorbant wall covering, the latter a stool made from fabric off-cuts. I loved them both.

Botton shaped stool made from triangular fabric offcuts

Next, the light switch that made my day, from John Galvin. I realise that this picture doesn’t quite do it justice – it was the tiny mechanical click as you pressed it down to turn the light off, and as you did the same to turn it back on. Pure craftsmanship – it sent shivers down my spine.

John Galvin

It was fab to see Outline Editions – I’ve missed them since they closed their gallery on Soho’s Berwick Street. They were showing their usual fab selection of graphic art and design. Check out my interview with Creative Director Camilla Parsons.

Man photographing graphic prints on his iPhone

Following the design of the new London bus, Thomas Heatherwick Studio and TfL have collaborated on this delightfully geeky chair and sofa range using moquette upholstery.

Chair and sofa inspired by London Bus

And last but not least, more lighting – these hand blown glass shades by Vitamin are held in place only by the “monkey fist” knots in the brightly coloured cables.

Vitamin lights

Further reading for the especially geeky:

With thanks to Ed Reeve for the first image.

Declaration of Interest: I am very privileged to work part time as a writer for Maggie’s, an incredible charity who provide emotional, practical and social support for people with cancer and their families and friends from stunning buildings set within the grounds of specialist cancer hospitals. These are my opinions; not those of Maggie’s.