London Design Festival Day 4: Young, Hip & Happening

Text & photographs by Zahira Asmal

A refreshing and fun day across London commenced with a casual breakfast presentation by It’s Nice That, whose work is very nice indeed. Founded in 2007, It’s Nice That is a publishing platform that encompasses several different online, print and events offerings as part of its mission of championing creativity across the art and design world.

We met with Will Hudson (Founder & Director) and Alex Bec who took us through their work and projects. The website – which is updated daily with at least nine new articles – attracts a loyal, international readership of around 350,000 unique users a month. I see a collaboration with It’s Nice That and 2050 in Cape Town.

We then went to the OKAY Studio to see the Loose Thread exhibition at the Ben Sherman Mod_ular Blanc Space. OKAY Studio is a collective of individual designers sharing a workspace and design ethos. Each has broken their own ground, with some also working for leading design studios while others work on consultancy projects. As a collective, they create projects that they exhibit both locally and globally – in line with their cosmopolitan make up. They also produce work with their own clients and exhibit in galleries and museums internationally. All designers at OKAY Studio met while studying on the Royal College of Art’s Design Products course, and have continued to work alongside each other, sharing resources and sometimes collaborating on client work and exhibitions.

A considered, multidimensional exhibition and sensory experience, Perfume, sir?, in Shoreditch with Jerome Rigaud and Alex Bettler – is a journey through taste, smell and visual delights with design. For LDF13 DesignMarketo specially commissioned objects revolving around the peppercorn and scents, designed objects inviting a range of designers, scents, flavours, workshops and cocktails inspired by and infused with pepper.

Around the corner from Perfume, sir?, we had a quick and very delicious pasta lunch at Burro e Salvia before an onsite meeting with the UK Crafts Council at Design Junction – a busy trade fair full of quirky and beautiful items. The concept that interested me was the NOT ANOTHER BILL. The packaging and concept are fun and delightful. You can subscribe from £17,50 per month including P&P to have gifts sent to yourself or a friend. The subscriber gets a surprise present in the post and it makes the letterbox a more interesting place – their promise – “We’ll help you discover great artists, designers and brands”

We went on to Somerset House – the home of London Fashion Week for the British Council round up of 10 Emerging Talent. There was such good work presented, too many to mention in a humble blog, check out:

Code Club
Launched in September 2012, this organisation helps teach kids how to programme. It is a volunteer led organisation for 9-11 years old. They already have 1,146 clubs in the UK comprising of 40% girls and 1,213 clubs worldwide – particularly impressive considering the programming industry. Check out their fun videos featuring top geek celebrities and royalty.

That evening I popped in at the Graphic Africa exhibition at the Habitat Store organised by Trevyn and Julian McGowan – a showcase of 20 pieces of new contemporary furniture by 16 designers from 10 countries in East, West and Southern Africa. The designers represented did very well with many selling out on the opening night.

Then on to the V&A party where I joined Neville Brody, Daljit Singh and Lynda Relph-Knight for a good catch up and chat about future projects.

Today’s designers reminded me that design work can be beautiful, informative and fun.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter as I will be tweeting everyday as well as sharing our journey on Facebook. Twitter hashtags include #ConnectZA and #LDF13. Make sure to also visit British Council’s Back of the Envelope.