Jerry Seinfeld has this joke that says all men think they’re funny – and all women think they’re great at interior design. Well, I don’t know how funny these designers and suppliers are but all the genders presenting their work at the 100% Design event on Wednesday certainly knew what they were talking about.
The 100% Design exhibition opened at London’s Olympia on September 18th and runs until the 21st of the month. This year’s outing marks the 25th anniversary for the largest trade event for professionals from the interior design industry in the UK.
A broad area at the front of the enormous exhibition space was reserved for the 30 stands grouped under the term Design Fresh. This saw recent graduates show their ideas for creating, repurposing and reimagining interior design solutions in a world that is already overflowing with products and aching under the need for ever more materials to maintain humankind’s consumerism.
One of the Design Fresh artists, Tijana Kostić, took the task of designing in a time of environmental crisis to an entirely new level, arguing: “There is an abundance of things being produced.” She therefore decided to engage in a “designer paradox” and repurpose items we already have in our homes. Instead of buying more shelves or putting books on the coffee table for pure decoration, why not use the books themselves, as Kostić proposes in her project ‘Subversion’. It is an almost radical approach which she realises by using industrial clamps that can hold glass plates, varied in height by filling in the space with books or any material available, to create items tailored to your individual needs.
Elsewhere, the theme of environmentalism was continued by Finnish furniture designer, Tapio Antilla, whose work in collaboration with an artists’ collective brought Finnish housing for all the senses to the exhibition by creating the ‘Polar Life Haus’ pavilion that aimed to connect the visitor with nature and deliver an appreciation of Finnish design to a British audience.
“We have a problem,” said Anttila about the state of our planet, and explained: “Our design philosophy is to make long-term furniture that people can use all their life and even in the 2nd and 3rd generation.” He uses wood, as its carbon storing capabilities make it the best material to build eco-friendly products, and timeless designs to provide furnishings for those focused on sustainability and well-being.
The whole of the event is dominated by the goal to find new ways to produce and create more responsibly and live in a more environmentally friendly way. The topic of being an artist trying to make a difference in a world that is struggling with climate change, waste and sustainability was addressed both on the floor and in many talks held on the opening day.
These creatives are aiming to solve issues by being interior designers for the modern world and the 100% Design exhibition is the place to be for all of us who would like to find out more.