Words by Emily Brooks
With earlier design shows in Stockholm and Paris postponed, in March London unexpectedly found itself the place where major launches saw the light of day for the first time in Europe. London Design Week 2022 at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour seemed to have an extra buzz to it this year, perhaps because of this added sense of anticipation, but mostly due to the sheer joy to be felt incoming together and seeing new collections in person. Here’s what Portaire has picked out as the new season’s highlights.
Experimental techniques, unusual materials and large-scale murals took centre stage. French brand Elitis debuted Bois Sculpté, a collection of textured vinyl wall coverings inspired by sculpted wood: Pignada stands out for its wavy mountain landscape design and chiselled low-relief design.
Mark Alexander’s signature style – natural materials, beautiful craftsmanship and a pared-back palette – celebrates the wabi sabi ethos of the perfectly imperfect: new wall coverings incorporate Japanese paper, hand-woven seagrass and abaca and include Sett, a checkerboard-effect of woven paper.
At Phillip Jeffries, the Urban Fringe collection is inspired by the grit and glamour of city life, although with artisanship at its heart. Its Adorn wall covering takes the Japanese technique of kintsugi (the repair of broken ceramics with a metallic seam) as its starting point, with a boldly scaled line of metallic leaf that snakes elegantly across the walls.
Belgian brand Arte looks to the classical world this season, with designs inspired by the aesthetics of antiquity such as mosaics, sculpture and classical architecture:the forthcoming Sculptura collection includes Rovine, a panoramic wall covering inspired by an etching of ruined temples.
The skill of European manufacturing is in evidence across the new fabric collections. Lelièvre Paris owns its own mill in the suburbs of Lyon, where jacquard fabrics have been made for centuries: fresh designs include Sculpture, an oversize ikat shot through with subtle metallic thread and Fauve, a classic animal print with a playful textured finish.
At Larsen, creative director Beatrice Bostvironnois keeps the spirit of the late Jack Lenor Larsen alive with matt textures and beautifully draping semi-sheers, including Allan, a linen with a small-scale pattern inspired by a Navajo blanket. For colour, look to French fabric house Nobilis: Oia has rhythmic stripes and dots and a hand-drawn feel, while Taiga attests to the continuing popularity of wool bouclé, available in eight colours including rust-red and a dark mustard yellow.
Arteriors has teamed up with Celerie Kemble to create a capsule collection that stays true to the US designer’s comfortable, liveable style: there are relaxed rattan cocktail tables giving a shot of glamour with a brass bullseye on the top, and more rattan wrapped around the clear acrylic legs of a coffee table, contrasting the matt and natural with the glossy and man-made.
Over at Ceccotti Collezioni, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon has created the T-bone chair, which he describes as “one of the most beautiful armchairs I have ever designed”. Its exposed joints recall the easy-to-read nature of traditional Japanese furniture, and it comes in ash or walnut as well as coloured versions. Head to Tollgard to discover a new name in the showroom, Cape Town based OKHA: passionate about natural materials and traditional craftsmanship, its portfolio includes the elegantly asymmetrical Repose Sofa, the 1970s-inspired Gloob 2 armchair, which sits on a brass pedestal base, and the Proxima table, which features a fractured top in leathered black pearl marble. Outdoor furniture continues to shine, too: at Ethimo, the Sling chair was designed by Studiopepe, and it has an unusual provenance – the Italian designers were inspired by the simple camping chairs of the 1970s.
Kitchens & Bathrooms
Eggersmann Design is a new name to the Design Centre, and it has opened a pop-up showroom while it awaits the completion of a larger permanent space over the road in Design Centre North. The showroom features bespoke kitchens from Eggersmann and joinery from Schmalenbach Design – both German brands that match beauty with precision of design and finish – and shows off some stunning materials, including concrete, steel, oak, quartzite and burnished copper.
Over at stone and tile specialist Artisans of Devizes, Ca’Pietra introduces DeckChair, a square striped porcelain tile in a matt finish that can be laid horizontally, vertically or in a basket-weave pattern for endless versatility; while a collaboration with The National Trust has been extended to include the fish-scale Riverlands tile.
Hadeland Glassverk has been making glass in its native Norway since 1762, and now it has opened its first stand-alone UK showroom at the Design Centre. Explore its huge catalogue of lighting, which includes revived archive products from the mid-20th century that still feel fresh: its beloved 4006 light, first designed in 1932 and with a distinctive tiered, tapering shape, has just been introduced in table and floor lamp versions to complement the existing pendant.
Elsewhere in lighting, David Hunt Lighting has introduced Scallop, a metal pendant in pretty two-tone colours, while Porta Romana has reinvented some key ceramic and glass lamp bases in new glazes, finishes and colours, including the bulbous Boublé lamp which is now available in a natural biscuit finish that lets its sculptural shape do all the talking.
Interdesign has welcomed rug brand Fabula Living to the showroom. The Danish company delivers on a ‘warm minimalism’ Scandinavian aesthetic and uses hardwearing natural materials such as wool, linen and cotton:textile designer Lisbet Friis has created the new Daisy rug in wool and linen, which has a small-scale zig-zag stripe running through it, finished with a checker board pattern around the edge.
Jennifer Manners Design has expanded its re/PURPOSE rug collection, hand-tufted in fibres made from recycled plastic bottles, and is also launching a new collection with British interior design Caroline Milns of Zulufish. At wooden flooring specialist Siberian Floors there is an expanded range of finishes of Russian white oak flooring, with two paler versions, Siberian Fox and SiberianWolf, that are perfect for pared-back interiors.