First of all, the big news: Max Fraser – from the London design guide to Clerkenwell Design Week and now 100% Design. How did this come about?
100% Design was the first design event of its kind in London and I’ve witnessed it develop from its early years. My involvement has been multifarious, from initially visiting as a curious young visitor before eventually being part of the advisory committee then collaborating with the show as a strategic partner during my time working at the London Design Festival.
Today, my work as a journalist and consultant takes me around the world and I hope to bring some of those findings back to London. As the show continues to evolve in its latest home at Olympia, I am working with the 100% Design team across the content and creative elements with a particular focus on the main commissioned feature, a show highlight.
How do you feel about the new role and what are you planning?
It’s very exciting! The installation is responding to this year’s theme ‘Elements’ which considers everything from the fundamentals of design to the component parts that make up a product, the materials used in the stories and processes of development.
We will show an edited selection of iconic products from the past and present, celebrating an element of each which boasts intelligent design solutions, sophisticated tooling or innovative production techniques. The aim is to spotlight just one aspect or detail, informing the visitor about the hidden research and development that goes into a product. This could be a slender engineered leg on a sofa, the material join on a chair or the concealed tech within a light fitting. Each item will be accompanied by a succinct text explaining the specific element. The chosen products emphasize the importance of R&D and bring to our attention the exceptionally detailed elements that we might not normally notice, understand or appreciate.
There will also be large geometric shapes that dramatically cascade down from the distinctive Olympia ceiling right at the entrance of the show.
100% Design is at its 23rd edition. Apart from the your installation, what else should we see?
The Central Bar is the best place to meet, network and catch up with friends in town for LDF. The 100% Design team have picked up on the Elements theme and designed a sitting area featuring upright blocks in geometric shapes and plants which create an abstract city skyline.
Many exhibitors such as Bow and Arrow, Due, Mullan Lighting, French Designheure, Jetclass and Mambo Unlimited are presenting mid-century and art deco inspired designs in the interiors sections.
I also look forward to discovering what the fairly new Design London has to offer. It’s a carefully selected group of brands showcasing fine craftsmanship, rich textures and luxurious materials. One of the brands that stands out to me is Madheke, a leather specialist from India who is celebrating its European launch.
Also the Emerging Brands is always exciting! Mutuopia from Shanghai make stunning
tableware and accessories with literally an edge. Odddot, who were at Clerkenwell Design Week will launch new furniture and lighting products, and Grace & Thorn make stunning arrangements with plants and flowers.
The show’s ‘Talks with 100% Design’ presents an agenda-setting programme exploring trends in contemporary practice as well as the future of design. What are the main theme of discussion and protagonists?
The brilliant Jenny Stewart (PR, curator, connector and extraordinaire) has again curated the talks programme. Each day the show will open with major headliners such as Michael Young, Ross Lovegrove and Lee Broom.
Finally, how many people do you expect and from which countries?
100% Design attracted over 27,000 visitors from over 90 countries last year, from architects, interior designers, retailers and developers with a combined spending of over £3.9 billion. The show’s visitor figures have been constantly rising over the last year and of course I hope we will continue this trend this year.