The London Design Festival

September 28, 2012

The London Design Festival

This was an amazing city wide exhibition of design of all types and styles.I was not intending to go to the show this year until one morning I opened my e-mail and discovered that I had an e-mail announcing the launch of Yo ! Home by Simon Woodroffe, the creator of Yotel – a hotel that I love to stay at in New York. I was hooked. I had to see what Simon had created. The teaser video stated it was a 2 bedroom home that would fit in a squash court. Given my passion for creating efficient living spaces in limited square footage, I knew that I had to go, so at the last minute, flights were booked and hotel rooms found and off we went for 4 days.

I was not disappointed. Simon demonstrated the luxurious protoype that was quite spacious. It actually is larger than a lot of the small condos that are being built here in Toronto. He has included many interesting space saving and double duty pieces. I had seen them all before but it was interesting to see the manner in which he had put it together.

Check out the  video here  to see the features of this creative unit. My favorite part of it was the revolving storage and bookshelf. I also loved the pocket doors that pull out and hide the kitchen. I question the practcality of the rising bedroom above the sunken living room – what happens if the power fails? I also wonder about the dining room that folds out of the floor. I think human beings are basically lazy and I don’t think I would open the floor to create a dining area…or if I did, I would be too lazy to put it away again.

The entrance to the 100% Design was an incredible 46 meter tunnel with a constantly changing light show…very dramatic.This is the 10th year of this event and was revamped to be a design experience in itself , not just a trade show.

The Design Festival encompassed the entire city from larger exhibitons such as  100% Design at Earl’s Court to Tent London at the Old Truman Brewery in East London to Design Junction on New Oxford St  to many smaller venues, pop-up shops and  design showrooms thru-out the city.

Tent London featured 200 exhibitors, respected designers of furniture, lighting and interior objects from over 26 countries.

Aside from being seduced by all the great design in interior materials and objects we were thrilled by the new architecture and building that has happened around London. Buildings clad in corrugated steel in rich retro colours of mustard, avacodo , cobalt blue and Frank Lloyd Wright red. We ate in great new restaurants like Cantine who created a new menu of a modern interpretation of British fare  just for Design Week.

We discovered a new hotel called Citizen M very close to the Tate Modern. It takes your breath away…completely furnished by Vitra and has only been open for 9 weeks. That is definitely on my list to stay there when I go back to London. Here is the link to Citizen M’s website:

Our other exciting surprise was to get off the tube at Shoreditch and discover  a mini shopping mall created entirely from shipping containers – Box Park Mall. It was wonderful ! I have long been fascinated with shipping container buildings and it was great to investigate this endeavor, talk to the tenants and check out the installation.

Box Park Mall

All in all an exciting and invigorating trip, too short to take everything in but long enough to whet the appetite to return.

To see more pictures, check out the photo album 100% Design Show In London on our Facebook page:


Interesting wall applications from sound absorbing three dimensional felt and texured, coloured concrete to dramatic  LED installations.

When you want to nest.

Search for the Mercedes…I know it’s in there somewhere.

Colourful new architecture.

Design Junction