Designjunction 2015: highlights
The use of maps and geographically-influenced prints has been an enduring fixture across the design spectrum, proving versatile in their function and purpose; whether as prints for textiles and ceramics, wallpapers or 3D sculptures.
Now in its 7th year of trading, London and Kent-based RetroMaps showed at the Victoria House B1 site of designjunction. Sourcing products from map dealers across the EU and the USA, pieces across the RetroMaps portfolio date from the 1930s to the 1970s. Company owner Alex Tyrie explained how the maps have an historical value, tracing fascinating political and geographic change when compared to a modern context. Further gastronomic influence and references in some of the maps are reflected by their availability to purchase at Toast.e.d. Bistro on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich. The RetroMaps collection includes botanical, anatomical and “kids go retro” alongside geographic and gastronomic themes, with prices ranging from £40 to £700.
Specialising in prints, jewellery and stationary, Tom Pigeon design studio was founded in 2014. Based in Cellardyke in Scotland, the Tom Pigeon brand is a joint venture between husband and wife Pete and Kirsty Thomas established on their combined wealth of creative experience across a range of disciplines. Using a positive, uplifting and simplistic approach to their design processes, and inspired by the tranquillity of rural Scotland, Pete and Kirsty seek to create “simple, crafted objects for people to enjoy” using locally sourced materials. Indeed, a guiding principle of their design ethos is to make pieces that they themselves would like to own and incorporate into their own lives.
Tom Pigeon has featured in exhibitions, publications and on TV as well as delivering commissions and consultancy services to an international customer base. 2013 saw Pete’s work with design consultancy firm Uniform shortlisted in the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year exhibition.
Banton Frameworks is the design baby of Lucy Ross and Jamie Bartlett, both graduates from Glasgow University (2012). Now in its third year, the success of what was originally a university project, focussing on the concept of customers creating eyewear to their own specifications has seen the company’s portfolio extend to more than 250 design combinations. Using materials like wood and acetate, Banton Frameworks offers a bespoke design service in glasses and sunglasses accommodating prescription lenses and is proud to be one of the few companies manufacturing eyewear in Britain.
In the four years since its 2010 opening, Gelupo has been serving what has been named the best gelato and sorbets in London (Foursquare, TimeOut) from 7 Archer Street in Soho and more recently its new location on Cambridge Circus. Catering at designjunction with a mouth-watering selection of flavours from the menu, Gelupo’s Chiara described how all the products are made from scratch every day using fresh, premium ingredients
She explained how intense flavours are achieved in the strong ratio of ingredients; for example, the raspberry gelato contains 50% volume in fresh berries, with no artificial flavours or additives. Gelupo is sister to Bocca di Lupo, executive chef and company owner Jacob Kennedy’s acclaimed Italian restaurant, sited along Archer Street at number 12.
Working with textiles in screen printing, embroidery, drawing and felt, this year was Manchester University graduate Georgia Besson’s second outing at designjunction. With ten years’ worth of experience using print techniques, geometric prints form the basis for much of her recent work. Originally from London and now based in Bermondsey, the company is a family-run operation, maintaining a small production team in keeping with the brand’s ethical stance.
She explained that after graduating in 2010, her first showing at the event in 2014 provided a valuable earning experience in refining her aims and expectations of the brand. Reflecting the organic focus of her work and choice in materials, she went on to say how none of the pieces are identical, with variations in patterns arising from the design and production methods she uses. Georgia’s goal is to create a fully organic collection; her preference for linen over cotton (less pesticides and water waste involved in the fabric’s production) being one factor in shaping the overall look and feel of the Georgia Bosson brand.
“I have taken what I know as a graphic designer and incorporated that into my love of illustration. It’s a happy combination.”
Illustrator, designer and wordsmith Vic Lee took to the blank canvas of Victoria House to create a focal piece following the success of his 2014 appearance at the event where he produced six murals across the course of the event. This year’s demonstration featured a huge installation piece using Faber Castell pens and acrylic which developed from the preview on Wednesday 23rd to the end of designjunction on Sunday 27th. As well as his trademark murals, Vic has styled packaging for brands like Famous Grouse and Brompton Bicycle.
Former teaching assistant Archie Proudfoot is a north London-based sign painter and gold leaf artist. Creating bespoke signage and ready-to-buy products, he took up sign writing a few years ago, taking a week-long course with Joby Carter to master the basics and learning traditional skills and techniques from books and craftspeople across the city. Archie cites vintage graphic design and various 20th century art as inspirations to his work; artists Ed Ruscha and Steve Powers also acted as influences. All of Archie’s signs are entirely painted by hand from start to finish, and can be found in commissions for shop windows, unique pieces and have been used at weddings.