Ceramics designer Louise Wilkinson was kind enough to invite me along to Home London, one of the premier trade shows for people in the homewares business. An off shoot of the infamous Top Drawer gift trade show, in just a few short years this has grown to become a must visit stop off for anyone interested in great design for the home. In the spacious environs of the soon to be razed Earls Court, I took a deep breath and headed up and down the aisles in a methodical manner. It is impossible to do more than scratch the surface at an event like this, but it was really super to catch up with familiar designers, as well as making some fab new discoveries. Go on, feast your eyes! You will soon find some of these designers on my brand new market place…
One of the first things that caught my eyes was the new (ish) Fable collection by Royal Doulton, which was designed by the talented illustrator Karolin Schnoor, featured in my first book on illustration. I love her work so was well chuffed to get a Fable Garland mug (at the top) in my goodie bag: it’s the perfect size and shape and is my new favourite vessel for tea. They retail for only £7 each which is an absolute bargain.
Wayne Hemingway oversees a vast self made empire that includes festivals, designer goods and much more (check out his Land of Lost Content website). The Hemingway Design stand included this intriguing combination of Water Butts and wellies.
This multicoloured display of pots is by Broste of Copenhagen, a large interiors brand with that special Scandinavian touch.
I have a lot of love for bamboo Biobu dishware – Snarfle uses some of these beautifully made products by the French company Ekobo Home when he visits Grandad and they are beautifully made using a very clever eco friendly technique in Vietnam. One for the homeware wish list in our own abode.
Taking acrylic to another level: these colourful cutlery sets are from the French brand Sabre Paris.
The couple behind Beast in Show have closed their shop in Oxford and relocated back to Yorkshire, the better to concentrate on their own brands. Their latest additions include a new range featuring work by the iconic 50s designer Daphne Padden, who died in 2009 leaving an amazing legacy of graphic design work.
I’ve always wanted a cockapoo (cocker spaniel poodle cross breed) and this new tea towel design would be great for other hybrid dog fans.
You know those cool Lego storage boxes? Now available as skulls. So fun.
Elegant simplicity comes in the form of an owl cushion by Zeena.
It was ace to catch up with talented Cockpit Arts designer Fanny Shorter – her unique textile designs are based on kidneys, brains and tropical leaves, and she had a whole stand to herself as the winner of the COADG bursary.
I am sad that Snarfle is just a tiny bit too old for these lovely hedgehog baby toys by Hop and Peck – who make gloriously tactile handmade wooden things. Founder Elaine has combined expert knowledge of the industry (she used to work with Mamas and Papas) with a love of toys that are worthy of being passed down the generations.
Another inimitable surface pattern print by another Cockpit Arts design company, Thornback and Peel: cushions and deck chair fabric feature bold line drawn squirrels and acorns.
This super surface pattern is by Sian Elin.
These beautiful knit cushions are by self taught designer Joy Bates of Seven Gauge Studios, and they sell in Heals (and hopefully on my new market place too).
My photo does not do these lovely teacups by Louise Wilkinson justice! It was lovely to catch up with this talented designer, whose illustrations currently adorn the shop windows at the V&A. Here’s hoping she’ll produce more of these images as prints because the ones on her stand looked wonderful.
One new discovery I made at Home London was this brand new cushion range by Iozzolino. Italian Irish designer Gabriella Strano trained at De Montfort where she discovered her signature technique, marrying the designs of antique lace and crochet with 21st century technology. Her subtle use of dusty pastels makes a refreshing change to the slew of brights currently splashed across homeward.
I am a massive fan of melamine coasters from Ramsgate based designer Jenny Duff – these ones are created from 1950s illustrations that appeared on the Country Fair magazine.
Finally, amongst the goodies found at the bottom of my VIP bag (thanks to Seen PR) I found the Mini Supoon by Dreamfarm, an Australian company that creates clever products for the kitchen which are distributed in the UK by Forma House. The Mini Supoon is especially designed to act like a spatula and a spoon in one, and is perfectly designed to get those last dregs out of jars. Genius.
Next up: my favourite finds at Craft and Top Drawer shows.
- Best New Designs: Top Drawer and Craft London January 2014 Review
- Home London at Olympia, January 2015: Review
- Top Drawer at Olympia, January 2015: Review
- Bust Craftacular: Christmas Gift Ideas 2013
- A Review of The Pattern Sourcebook: A Century of Surface Design