Emerging designers on show in London

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 September, 2011, 12:00am


Opening in London tomorrow as part of the wider London Design Week, 100% Design is one of the most important dates in the city's contemporary-design calendar.

More than 400 exhibitors are taking part in this year's show at Earl's Court. It will explore different elements of design, with exhibitions on interiors, innovative surfaces and cutting-edge new talent.

'100% Design isn't just another trade show,' says award-winning architect and interior designer Julieann Humphreys, who is curator of this year's Director's Cut. 'It's an opportunity to uncover emerging talent ... and to introduce new brands to an ever-changing design world.'

Headlining top designers such as Kenneth Grange, Nigel Coates, Marc Krusin and David Chipperfield, Designer's Cut also showcases work by Hong Kong-based designer Michael Young (www.michael-young.com) and specifically his recent collaboration with Trussardi in his East Meets West furniture collection.

The British designer, who set up a studio in Sheung Wan five years ago, has been credited with strengthening links between contemporary design and the technical skills of Chinese industry.

Also taking part in the four- day exhibition is Channels (www.channelsdesign.com), the furniture company founded by Hong Kong-born Samuel Chan that has been the recipient of an unprecedented six Design Guild Marks, awarded by Britain's Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers to reward excellence in the design of furniture.

Chan will be presenting the new Monty furniture collection, a series of smaller items made with the hand-finished woodcraft typical of Channels, and the Gillespie Lamp Table, a development of Channels' award-winning Gillespie Side Table, distinctive for its trumpet leg and seamless wood and glass top.

With a host of free seminars, events and workshops over the four days, 100% Design is a magnet for design lovers. The show also allows young designers to showcase their work to a wider international audience. This year, for the first time, the show boasts 14 dedicated international pavilions and will have significant representation from Shenzhen, Taiwan and South Korea.

Shirley Feng Changhong, secretary-general of the Shenzhen Industrial Design Profession Association (SIDA), says: 'For Shenzhen designers, 100% Design is a very good platform not only to show local design but also to see advanced design concepts from around the world. It's important because it helps to narrow the distance between the level of local and international design.'

With 300 members, including design companies and manufacturers, SIDA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping Shenzhen companies set in motion international co-operation at home and abroad. SIDA's goal is to improve innovation, communication and co-operation so that the focus is less on 'Made in China' and more about products being 'Created in China'.

Showing in the Shenzhen pavilion is Chinese designer Zhang Zhoujie (www.zhangzhoujie.com), who graduated from London's Central Saint Martins design school with a master's degree in industrial design and founded his eponymous digital design business, Zhang Zhoujie Digital Lab, last year.

The company has two operations: one in the heart of Shanghai and the other on the city's outskirts. Zhang's work focuses on exploring new methods of creating digital forms by combining handmade techniques with the latest digital modelling processes.

Among other pieces, Zhang is debuting two pieces of furniture at the show: an elegant arching stool and a chair that boasts a sharp fractal beauty. Despite their sparse architectural aesthetic, these pieces are surprisingly light and comfortable. These items and bespoke personalised chairs, created according to measurements taken from the customer, can also be ordered from the website.

Rone Furniture (www.rone.cn) is a custom furniture design company established in 2003. 'With China's economic development, the trend for customised furniture has grown,' says a company spokesman. 'Attending 100% Design means we can learn more about creativity abroad and show our products to the world.'

Asian design is all too often associated with hi-tech electronics, homogenised products and mass manufacturing. Designers taking part in 100% Design are committed to changing this perception.

Junggi Sung (www.junggisung.com) is a Korean industrial designer, based in San Francisco.

'I am hoping to get some positive feedback because I am one of the few Korean product designers working in the US so I feel a strong sense of responsibility.'

His award-winning work has also been exhibited in Milan and New York. For Sung, showing internationally is important 'because my design is very conceptual with a distinctly Korean perspective'.

Sung is also the founder of Positive Piece (www.positivepiece.com), a website dedicated to showcasing contemporary design. His designs include a range of stylish bathroom products that explore the concept of 'Uncomfortable'.

His work is part of Korea's Next Generation Design Leaders in London, showcasing the country's emerging design talent.

Other Korean designers taking part in 100% Design include NJ Lighting (www.njnj.co.kr), which specialises in ceramic and low energy LED light fittings. Each light is made of pure clay with no chemical additives. They can be found at various outlets in Hong Kong.

Korean interior-accessories-designer i-dix (www.sangsanghoo.com) specialises in multifunctional furniture and wall vinyls, such as the Graphic Furniture Branch, a shelf made of patterned wood and available through Cubic's (www.cubics.com.hk). I-dix will be showing at 100% Design at stand B60.

Taiwanese design companies taking part in 100% Design this year include Qisda (www.qisda.com), which will introduce three new products at the show.

They include the Coral Table Light, an LED unit featuring an adjustable lighting platform activated by a touch dimmer on the stand, and the Piano Light, an LED fixture composed of independent units that work separately or in harmony, allowing users to 'play' the light like a piano.

A sister to the London show, 100% Design Shanghai, will run from November 3 to 5 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.

Bringing Asian design to a wider international audience, 100% Design looks set to further expand the horizons of the region's talented designers. With that behind them, Asian designers are ready to take their place among the world's finest.