Gifts Today magazine

Tent London triumphs

Busy stands, a great atmosphere and plenty of exciting new product on show for both buyers and consumers alike made this edition of Tent London the best yet

Now firmly established as East London's anchor show, 443 exhibitors gathered from 29 countries all over the world and were visited by a record breaking 24,392 visitors. Max Fraser, Deputy Director, London Design Festival commented: “I feel almost proud to see how much the show has flourished and grown, it's become moremature, the quality of the exhibitors has risen so that there's a nice synergy between young independent designers as well as more established companies.” mature, the quality of the exhibitors has risen so that there's a nice synergy between young independent designers as well as more established companies.”

Founder & Director Jimmy MacDonald agreed: “Tent 2014 was a show I would certainly want to visit. The line-up of exhibitors from small established independent designers through to museum quality exhibitions provided visitors with an amazing snapshot of the breadth of what we call the design industry. I just wish I had more time to see everything in full. We have already had an overwhelming response from exhibitors and visitors alike. “

Discover the highlights from the show:

Super Brands London
Packing a punch from the get go, AfroditiKrassa's much anticipated bold new collection of tiles, wall panels and lighting delivered a pared down elegance, while Graham & Brown revealed new wallpaper designs by 60's icon Barbara Hulanicki. There was much lauded lighting at Ochre and high quality natural stone at Marshalls along with on-trend natural forms from Vezzini & Chen. Balancing on the cusp of art and design, Super Design Gallery showed a beguiling mix of work ranging from Hanna Kruse Studio's delicate ceramics to Ben Storms' mastery of stonecrafting.

Tent London
Vera & Kyte drew attention with its clever new chair Prop Up, inspired by a reclining garden chair. There was also stand out design courtesy of the Galvin Brothers' new collection Cross Lap, including tables, benches and stools, and reflecting the current interest in upcycling, Studio Loftstrum's painted and reclaimed wood cabinets. These were intersected with installations from, among others, Pepe Heykoop & Tiny Miracles Foundation, Second Sitter's radical upcycling of old upholstered chairs, a Concrete Focus Area and the first ever co-designed press office, courtesy of Studio TILT. For anyone wanting to follow up on a particular collection, the show guide is online as a handy reference tool.

International Pavilions
From the bold visual statement made by outsized Korean brass bowls, to Japanese augmented reality screens viewed through iPhones, this was a vintage year for Tent's International Pavilions, with the best design from, among others, Japan, Poland, Norway and Ireland showing highly contrasting yet individually compelling work from all over the world. Tokyo Designer's Week included many interactive exhibits including Kumi Koda, described by Jonathan Ross as the Christina Aguilera of Japan, debuting the world's first virtual reality music video: 'dance in the rain'. A live demonstration of basket weaving by Joe Hogan was a highlight of Design & Crafts Council of Ireland's Weathering show, along with the swirling marbled Siren chair by Nest Design.

Super Talks

Ideas were exchanged and debate generated at this year's Super Talks, curated by Design Exchange. Focusing on the broad theme The Future, talk ranged from the consumer of tomorrow to nature's influence on the design process by a stellar panel of names including Oliver Heath, Giles Miller, and Oliver Marlow, creative director, TILT. David Morris, Director, Design Exchange comments: "45 speakers, 10 Chairs and just 4 days; Tent /SuperBrands' Supertalks was an ambitious endeavour. Yet by drawing together practitioners from the realms of Design, Art, Architecture, Science, Engineering and the creative industries, we at Design Exchange were honoured to witness the kind of frenetic magic that can only occur through the cross pollination of ideas.”
Watch the talks online here

Shop the Show!
Launched earlier this year, Shop Tent's innovative online retail platform for past and present exhibitors from the show has already proved a runaway success, providing the ideal link between design labels and consumers throughout the year. Exhibitors have certainly embraced the concept: over 300 products by 60 designers were shot live at the show and will be available to buy online in the coming weeks.

Watch highlights and interviews from Tent London 2014

Tent London 2015 dates - 24th September to 27th September.

[Image credit] Sophie Mutevelian

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