Corinne Julius showcases a selection of cutting edge designers and makers at Decorex International.
Decorex International 2019, Olympia, London
6th October – 9th October 2019
THE ANNUAL LUXURY interior design trade show Decorex opened on Sunday 6th October in its new location – the grand exhibition halls at Olympia. For the last six years, one of the highlights of Decorex has been the exhibition ‘Future Heritage’, a presentation of specially commissioned projects by makers at the cutting edge of craft and design – curated by the renowned applied arts and design critic and curator, Corinne Julius. The show within a show was devised by Julius to meet a frustration: “I have spent my entire professional life going around people’s workshops, taking the time to understand what they do. There are so many wonderful makers out there. But interior designers and architects do not get these opportunities. I wanted to show them the work of these talented people, so that they can see how these makers could enhance their projects.”
Julius has a set of criteria for her choices: “These things are not necessarily beautiful, but they must be intellectually thoughtful and rigorously executed.” The makers are encouraged to respond to their setting – in this case, Olympia’s high-ceilinged, ornate, Victorian barrel-roofed hall – and either to express a narrative, or to pursue a technique, pushing their chosen material in new directions. Alumni who have gone on to great things include Eleanor Lakelin, Tord Boontje, Marcin Rusak and Sebastian Cox.
The Design Edit’s Five Top Picks:
James Rigler’s alluring, monumental golden furniture – a bench, tables and lighting, made from press moulded ceramic, with stone and wood – rises to the challenge of Olympia’s majestic hall-space. These pieces marry simple, curving geometries with a sensuous finish.
Lynne MacLachlan meanwhile has hung a gorgeous array of brightly coloured lamps from the ceiling. Made with new and recycled PLA plastic from renewable sources, which in turn is biodegradable, these are sustainable but fun. As the artist says, “The pieces explore colour layering, interaction, transparency and pattern.”
Fernando Laposse designs extraordinary furniture and furnishings from loofahs, sisal and other materials from his native Mexico. Here you can also see his beautiful, highly decorative panels made from marquetry constructed from multi-coloured Mexican corn husks. The material (Totomoxtle) is not just beautiful, it is virtuous – being part of a project to preserve biodiversity and support indigenous communities.
Recent graduate Gavin Keightley, shortlisted for New Designer of the Year in 2018, takes an experimental approach to furniture making – casting quirky, characterful furniture, including three major cabinets and a series of stools, in Jesmonite. He has additionally cast some door handles in pewter. The pieces are created from moulds made of food stuffs, including mashed potato, seaweed and couscous. His inspiration is the power of natural erosion – wind and rain on the land – a process he is in some ways able to replicate through his hands-on way of working.
Pioneering product design practice Studio Furthermore, who take experimentation with materials that one step further, have produced a series of new multi-coloured vessels using ceramic foams previously used in heat shields for NASA space shuttles – alongside some furniture constructed from Moon Rock, a material developed from expanded aluminium. Founded in 2015 by Marina Dragomirova and Iain Howlett, the pair are truly imagining our future heritage: conceiving of a time when lunar mining might really be required to feed humans’ inexorable hunger for new objects and technologies.