News and must-sees at the London Design Fair

Interview with Jimmy MacDonald, director and founder of the London Design Fair

Last year you have presented “The new London Design Fair”, born from Tent London + Super brands London. How was the experience? And what are the new elements of this edition?

After ten years in the making, the newly presented London Design Fair shone as a beacon of design during last years Festival. London now has a Fair which is internationally recognised for its diversity and quality of content – this had been our aim for the last 10 years and I’m delighted to say that we delivered.
As for what’s in store this year, we are adding exciting new and relevant elements, and also building on already successful components: for example, our Guest Country pavilion, Material of the Year, Botany as the inaugural show theme and the returning British Craft Pavilion.

This edition is very international, because will host a lot of countries, like Usa, Sweden, Finland, Poland… Why they choose your fair?

The London Design Fair has always been known for its international focus. Last year for our 10 year anniversary we invited India to exhibit as our inaugural Guest Country in This is India. The aim was to create a pathway between the UK and the chosen country and to provide our visitors with direct access to the products, pieces and designers they may not otherwise have had the chance to see and meet first hand. In addition, the new third floor hosted the Trentino Collaborations, a groundbreaking venture connecting London based designers with Trentino based manufacturers. These global initiatives are part of the reason why so many international talents choose to exhibit at the Fair.

From independent studios (there is also “our” Matteo Cibic) to global brands. How you select the designers and the brands involved?

Here at the London Design Fair, we recognise that design is for people and people make design. Breadth and diversity in design is a cornerstone of the London Design Fair – a place where Independent studios and global brands sit comfortably side by side. Matteo Cibic, as you mentioned, is an unconventional and exciting Italian creative studio, who’s experimental and playful approach caught our eye right away.
We also work with other dedicated curators to ensure the Fair will showcase first-rate design talent. Hole & Corner will curate the British Craft Pavilion and Sight Unseen will curate this year’s Guest Country pavilion: USA. Ariane Prin will create a site specific Jesmonite installation for our Material of the Year. As a result, we are able to offer an enhanced level of experimentation, quality and experience for exhibitors and visitors.

London Design Fair presents its inaugural Material of the Year installation at Old Truman Brewery, to explore and celebrate the materials. Can you tell about it?

For 2017 we decided to launch our Material of the Year, a new initiative intended to explore and celebrate materials which are having the biggest impact on the contemporary design world. We have selected Jesmonite which is a material whose near-limitless versatility has seen an explosion in its use among designers and which has formed – or been incorporated into – many of the most vividly colourful and finely detailed products of the last 12 months.
One maker who has been taking advantage of the material’s flexibility is product designer Ariane Prin, founder of PRIN London, who has been working with Jesmonite for the last four years. We’ve invited PRIN London to push the limits of the material and technique still further, by creating a site-specific installation that responds to the architecture of the Old Truman Brewery.

Last year you told to us “We stand out as a fair, because we understand the design industry and we are passionate about it”. What are the main features of London design fair, that the public never find in others fair? How do you communicate with the design industry? 

Our understanding and passion for design and our global focus is what sets us apart at The London Design Fair. We spend most of the year scouring the globe for new names in design. We focus on fostering partnerships across the design world, in order to bring together a great number of inspiring, intrepid and innovative designers.
In turn, we are able to host the largest collection of international exhibitions, designers, brands, country pavilions and galleries, all set in one dynamic location during the London Design Festival.