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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Tent London 2010: Sustainable Design Review

Searching for truly sustainable design? There were some fabulous products at Tent London this year, but I wasn't convinced by much of the Danish display over at ShowHow in Dray Walk...

Written by Amelia Gregory

vuvuzela lamp tent
Tent 2010 Tomoni Sayuda photo by Amelia gregory
Tomoni Sayuda. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Tent London featured both curated rooms and areas where designers had paid for stands. In Tent Digital I loved this whimsical piece by Tomoni Sayuda even though I have no idea what it’s purpose was: ambient sounds were played when the glowing eggs were placed in different nesty holes.

Tent 2010  David Chipperfield

Kingston University had cleverly invited all their now famous alumni, medications including David Chipperfield and Ed Carpenter of the ubiquitous pigeon lamp, viagra dosage to display their designs in the Made in Kingston room – thus creating the biggest promotional tool ever known. Very very savvy. The only Kingston graduate show I had time to look at was the MA Illustration show; read my review here.

Tent 2010 Ed Carpenter

And then onto the stands…
The Modern Garden Company make exterior furniture, page and I was most taken with Rock, fun felt wool cushion seats that will even work in the great outdoors, allegedly.

Tent 2010 Modern Garden Company

Bespoke lamp stands from Alex Randall featured antlers and a swarm of stuffed rats from Susan Labarre dubbed the “most nightmarish lamp ever created…”

Tent 2010 alex randall

Beautiful abstract carpets from Danish textile designer Naja Utzon Popov are designed in her East End workshop and woven by skilled artisans in India.

Tent 2010 Naja Utzon Popov

Kitchen clocks that once graced the walls of 1970s German kitchens were lovingly sourced, repaired and displayed by London Timepiece. Confusing name though.

Tent 2010 London Timepiece

A vuvuzela lamp! Whatever next! Very amusing. From John Edwards.

The JJAM Curators Collective had put together a fun collection of designs made using the most banal everyday item – the yellow dishcloth. Stand outs included Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard, So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio, and A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes.

Tent 2010 So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio,
So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio

Tent 2010 JJAM Collective
Tent 2010 Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard
Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard

Tent 2010 A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes
A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes

Recycled fabric covered armchairs by Kelly Swallow reminded me of local shop Squint. But anyone who refashions old fabrics has got my seal of approval – there’s room for many of these bespoke designers up and down the country.

Tent 2010 Kelly Swallow

The Makaranda collection by Quirico featured vibrant brightly patterned and coloured foot stools and pouffes – although I somewhat balked when I discovered the price – a mere £425 each. Oh what it must be to have a huge disposable income.

Tent 2010 Makaranda collection by Quirico

There was some lovely delicate jewellery on display from Clerkenwell based shop Family Tree.

Tent 2010 Family Tree

Miller Goodman make wonderful wooden block games out of rubberwood for kids.

Tent 2010 Miller Goodman

Very clever plastic fold up Flux Chairs, but I wasn’t convinced of their comfort levels.

Tent 2010 Flux Chairs

And a big mention surely has to go to the huge blue rope Knitting Nancy interactive installation from Superblue that was prominently installed as everyone came in. Fabulous fun, and a serious nod to the impact of craft techniques on the entire design world.

Superblue knitting nancy

Tent 2010 Tomoni Sayuda photo by Amelia gregory
Tomoni Sayuda. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Tent London featured both curated rooms and areas where designers had paid for stands. In Tent Digital I loved this whimsical piece by Tomoni Sayuda even though I have no idea what it’s purpose was: ambient sounds were played when the glowing eggs were placed in different nesty holes.

Tent 2010  David Chipperfield

Kingston University had cleverly invited all their now famous alumni, about it including David Chipperfield and Ed Carpenter of the ubiquitous pigeon lamp, check to display their designs in the Made in Kingston room – thus creating the biggest promotional tool ever known. Very very savvy. The only Kingston graduate show I had time to look at was the MA Illustration show; read my review here.

Tent 2010 Ed Carpenter

And then onto the stands…
The Modern Garden Company make exterior furniture, and I was most taken with Rock, fun felt wool cushion seats that will even work in the great outdoors, allegedly.

Tent 2010 Modern Garden Company

Bespoke lamp stands from Alex Randall featured antlers and a swarm of stuffed rats from Susan Labarre dubbed the “most nightmarish lamp ever created…”

Tent 2010 alex randall

Beautiful abstract carpets from Danish textile designer Naja Utzon Popov are designed in her East End workshop and woven by skilled artisans in India.

Tent 2010 Naja Utzon Popov

Kitchen clocks that once graced the walls of 1970s German kitchens were lovingly sourced, repaired and displayed by London Timepiece. Confusing name though.

Tent 2010 London Timepiece

A vuvuzela lamp! Whatever next! Very amusing. From John Edwards.

vuvuzela lamp tent

The JJAM Curators Collective had put together a fun collection of designs made using the most banal everyday item – the yellow dishcloth. Stand outs included Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard, So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio, and A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes.

Tent 2010 So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio,
So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio

Tent 2010 JJAM Collective
Tent 2010 Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard
Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard

Tent 2010 A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes
A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes

Recycled fabric covered armchairs by Kelly Swallow reminded me of local shop Squint. But anyone who refashions old fabrics has got my seal of approval – there’s room for many of these bespoke designers up and down the country.

Tent 2010 Kelly Swallow

The Makaranda collection by Quirico featured vibrant brightly patterned and coloured foot stools and pouffes – although I somewhat balked when I discovered the price – a mere £425 each. Oh what it must be to have a huge disposable income.

Tent 2010 Makaranda collection by Quirico

There was some lovely delicate jewellery on display from Clerkenwell based shop Family Tree.

Tent 2010 Family Tree

Miller Goodman make wonderful wooden block games out of rubberwood for kids.

Tent 2010 Miller Goodman

Very clever plastic fold up Flux Chairs, but I wasn’t convinced of their comfort levels.

Tent 2010 Flux Chairs

And a big mention surely has to go to the huge blue rope Knitting Nancy interactive installation from Superblue that was prominently installed as everyone came in. Fabulous fun, and a serious nod to the impact of craft techniques on the entire design world.

Superblue knitting nancy

Tent 2010 Tomoni Sayuda photo by Amelia gregory
Tomoni Sayuda. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Tent London featured both curated rooms and areas where designers had paid for stands. In Tent Digital I loved this whimsical piece by Tomoni Sayuda even though I have no idea what it’s purpose was: ambient sounds were played when the glowing eggs were placed in different nesty holes.

Tent 2010  David Chipperfield

Kingston University had cleverly invited all their now famous alumni, viagra including David Chipperfield and Ed Carpenter of the ubiquitous pigeon lamp, to display their designs in the Made in Kingston room – thus creating the biggest promotional tool ever known. Very very savvy. The only Kingston graduate show I had time to look at was the MA Illustration show; read my review here.

Tent 2010 Ed Carpenter

And then onto the stands…
The Modern Garden Company make exterior furniture, and I was most taken with Rock, fun felt wool cushion seats that will even work in the great outdoors, allegedly.

Tent 2010 Modern Garden Company

Bespoke lamp stands from Alex Randall featured antlers and a swarm of stuffed rats from Susan Labarre dubbed the “most nightmarish lamp ever created…”

Tent 2010 alex randall

Beautiful abstract carpets from Danish textile designer Naja Utzon Popov are designed in her East End workshop and woven by skilled artisans in India.

Tent 2010 Naja Utzon Popov

Kitchen clocks that once graced the walls of 1970s German kitchens were lovingly sourced, repaired and displayed by London Timepiece. Confusing name though.

Tent 2010 London Timepiece

A vuvuzela lamp! Whatever next! Very amusing. From John Edwards.

vuvuzela lamp tent

The JJAM Curators Collective had put together a fun collection of designs made using the most banal everyday item – the yellow dishcloth. Stand outs included Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard, So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio, and A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes.

Tent 2010 So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio,
So Much Time So Little To Do (I wish!!!) by Cure Studio

Tent 2010 JJAM Collective
Tent 2010 Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard
Polish it Off! by Dora & Fullard

Tent 2010 A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes
A Word about Fashion by Catherine Ann Haynes

Recycled fabric covered armchairs by Kelly Swallow reminded me of local shop Squint. But anyone who refashions old fabrics has got my seal of approval – there’s room for many of these bespoke designers up and down the country.

Tent 2010 Kelly Swallow

The Makaranda collection by Quirico featured vibrant brightly patterned and coloured foot stools and pouffes – although I somewhat balked when I discovered the price – a mere £425 each. Oh what it must be to have a huge disposable income.

Tent 2010 Makaranda collection by Quirico

There was some lovely delicate jewellery on display from Clerkenwell based shop Family Tree.

Tent 2010 Family Tree

Miller Goodman make wonderful wooden block games out of rubberwood for kids.

Tent 2010 Miller Goodman

Very clever plastic fold up Flux Chairs, but I wasn’t convinced of their comfort levels.

Tent 2010 Flux Chairs

And a big mention surely has to go to the huge blue rope Knitting Nancy interactive installation from Superblue that was prominently installed as everyone came in. Fabulous fun, and a serious nod to the impact of craft techniques on the entire design world. Read about the LAB CRAFT exhibition at Tent here.

Superblue knitting nancy

Tent 2010 Zoe Murphy
Painted tables by Zoe Murphy.

Now for the best of sustainable design at Tent London, ailment which was dispersed throughout the exhibition and included the exterior exhibit ShowHow, showcasing Danish design, in Dray Walk.

Furniture Magpies collect old furniture and put it together in unconventional ways – so for instance chair legs become a lamp stand, and an old drawer becomes a desk with a liftable lid. Their designs don’t always work – sometimes the results just look a bit too clunky – but I really liked the bravado of these designs, which often use brightly coloured fabric trimmings.

Tent 2010 Furniture Magpies
Tent 2010 Furniture Magpies

The Nogg chicken house is the latest in avian des-res. And you can’t beat it for a stylish bit of garden sculpture – it’s the most modern chicken coop you can lay your hands on, made of yummy smelling cedar wood as well. Great for rearing your own eggs.

Tent 2010 nogg chicken coop

Zoe Murphy is based down on the south coast in Margate, where she no doubt sources all her retro furniture for a pretty penny – but it’s her beautifully painted designs which make these pieces an absolute joy. Not something most people would be able to replicate at home. *You can see why she sold most of her designs to Liberty in the first half hour.*

Tent 2010 Zoe Murphy
Tent 2010 Zoe Murphy

era was founded only this year with the aim of challenging our preconceived notions of sustainable design. Chairs and tables are based on a honeycomb design which is cheap to make but has an extremely strong cellular structure. The structures are held solid by a stiffening tube of steel and they currently have a patent pending on this technology.

Tent 2010 era sustainable design

The Rod desk lamp is made from hazel rod and fibres, an excellent example of how very simple unprocessed materials can be used to make something very beautiful and useful. Sebastian Cox from the University of Lincoln makes all of his products from coppiced hazel, a strong, light and entirely renewable material that grows in abundance in the UK, and was once used to create many things. This is truly sustainable design.

Tent 2010 Rod desk lamp Sebastian Cox

What about a cardboard rocking horse, isn’t he pretty? The Eco Rocker from Shell Thomas is a flat pack cardboard horse made from 100& recycled paper board.

Tent 2010 eco rocker Shell Thomas

Now over to ShowHow… where I met the lady responsible for the project – curator Iben Hansen of the Danish Design Centre in Copenhagen. She was very keen to explain her principles of sustainability, which for me really stretch a definition: apparently anything that is really good design and built to last is sustainable. I think that’s one aspect of sustainability, but there’s a whole lot more to being properly sustainable – such as making use of materials that are not harmful to the environment either in manufacture or disposal. And just not consuming vast quantities of new stuff all the time. Her attitude is very much of the ‘we must carry on enjoying the luxuries in life’ school that excuses consumerism – Green Capitalism in fact. I don’t entirely disagree, I think we will always crave new stuff, and people will always want to make lovely new stuff (eg. me) but this has also to be tempered with the careful use of resources that truly sustainable design should tackle.

Oficina Creativa acapulco chair
The Oficina Creativa Acapulco Chair

Amongst the Arne Jacobsen design classics on show at ShowHow there was an ethical beauty product range from Unique, and some samples for me to take home in teeny tiny wasteful plastic bottles. And I wasn’t impressed with some intelligent fabrics that require less water in washing from huge chemical company Novozymes, again accompanied by the most insane amount of gumph; a big box of huge promotional cards, destined to go straight in the bin.

justyna Piotrowicz_show how

I rather liked the gorgeous blown glass LED lights from Justyna Piotrowicz and the wonderful Acapulco chairs made by valued Mexican artisans out of brightly coloured plastic wires for Oficina Creativa. Oh so comfortable to sit in.

Oficina Creativa acapulco chair

I suspect there was a serious amount of big company sponsorship money infiltrating this exhibition: it was a shame that ShowHow didn’t find space for more of the truly grassroots sustainable designers that I am sure abound in Denmark.

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