Tent London 2012: A cornucopia of great design, all under one ‘tent’*
This summer London will see the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the London 2012 Olympics. It’s the only place to be. Come September Tent London will fly the flag for London with its dynamic cutting-edge trade exhibition held during the London Design Festival. Now in its sixth year at the Old Truman Brewery, Tent London has gained itself a worldwide reputation as the most progressive exhibition to come out of the UK in recent years. But Tent London are not ones to rest on their laurels: work has been underway to ensure that the 2012 show is even more diverse and unmatchable than previous years.
On arrival visitors will notice a new unmissable street presence with 70m of 3.5m high glazed street frontage. The sleek new entrance will be shared with its sister show Super Brands London. Although very much two separate exhibitions across two floors, they will share one registration area and a Talks Arena, enabling visitors to see two first-class shows under one roof.
Tent London 2012 will present over 200 international exhibitors, showing the very latest in contemporary interior products: furniture, lighting, ceramics, textiles, materials and accessories. Over 20,000 international trade buyers, high calibre specifiers, opinion forming media and design savvy consumers from 44 different countries attend the four-day event.
A fresh addition to Tent London this year is a Norwegian country pavilion featuring a fresh selection of exciting new works from Norway’s emerging and established design talent and leading interior manufacturers. Curated by Henrietta Thompson from Wallpaper* and Benedicte Sunde from the Norwegian Design Council, the exhibition will be designed by Oscar Narud (Okay Studio) and Amy Hunting.
“Tent London, as a show, represents for us the best combination of elements; contract interior products and cultural initiatives; which perfectly reflects the nature of the Norwegian pavilion in this year’s London Design Festival” Siri Aronsen, Royal Norwegian Embassy.
Other participating country pavilions already confirmed include Hungary, China, Taiwan and Japan.
Above L to R: Ngispen, Claire-Anna O’Brien and Be+Have
This year’s truly unique exhibits offer authenticity and lasting appeal while tapping into a range of current trends. The exhibitor line up is looking to be the strongest yet. There are established brands such as 3formand Ercol; returning favourites Zoe Murphy, Mini Moderns, Curiousa & Curiousa and Alp; design collectives Design Event, The Bath School of Art & Design and Goldsmiths plus an abundance of new exhibitors including Ngispen under creative direction of Richard Hutten, Claire-Anne O’Brien, Baines & Fricker. Llustre, Erika Wakely and Be+Have.Exhibiting new product at Tent London for his second consecutive year is Lancashire based award-winning designer-maker Sebastian Cox: a designer who is recognised for his imaginative use of an underused resource; coppiced hazel, from which he creates simple and elegant furniture and accessories.
Above: L to R: Curiousa & Curiousa, Mini Moderns and Invisible City
Blueprint Magazine finalist for best newcomer 2011, Charlie Crowther-Smith is making his debut at Tent London this year with a new furniture collection bearing his design trait of ingeniously mixing traditional and brand new building techniques and materials.
Based just outside Hay-on-Wye on the welsh border, young designer Robert Barnby of Barnby Designstakes full advantage of the local woodland resources, using timbers such as Ash, Sycamore and Oak felled in the area to produce his quality handmade furniture. A first time exhibitor at Tent London, Barnby Design will be unveiling several new designs at Tent London.
Above: Feature Space applicant Lambert Kamps
As well as products there will be plenty of engaging installations too; something that Tent London does so well. This year there will be four Feature Spaces for which designers and architects have designed installations; simple and complex. A call for entries was made earlier this year and the response has been astounding. A shortlist of 10 applicants will be announced this month when the public will be asked to vote for the four they wish to see at the show in September.
This year’s Bar/café will be designed by cult stylists Despina Curtis and Rebecca McEvoy, under the collaborative name of McEvoy Curtis, who have collectively styled for Cos, Wallpaper, Elle Decoration, Habitat and AmEx. The duo will be given free rein to focus their creative eyes on the Press Office also.
Tent London will also be collaborating with Mix magazine parent company Global Color Research™ to showcase The Green Trail. Drawing inspiration from the Mix trends, they are looking to explore colour beyond the typical seasonal colour stories which feature in Mix Trends book and Mix magazine. The Green Trail will bring yet another dimension to Tent London providing exhibitors and visitors valuable research through interactive installations and workshops.
New exhibitor, Incognito are bringing an arcade-style Shooting Gallery to Tent this year using the playfulBANG! desk lamp. Designed by Taiwanese design studio Bitplay, the lamp lets you literally shoot out the lights from up to 50 feet. It will be the lamps first outing in the UK.
Whether visiting Tent London for business, pleasure, inspiration or just inquisitiveness, there will be much to be captivated by.
*‘A cornucopia of great design, all under one ‘tent’ Dominic Lutyens, FT How To Spend It, September 2011.
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