Saturday, September 24

Gems in London...whirlwind glimpses of design at London Design Festival

take a look at the gems I'm finding at
Because London Design Festival is literally spread out throughout the entire city, we are inundated with the unique English manner of design and life.  First, a stop into the V&A Museum which brings the English sensibilities right front and center.  An incredible combination of juxtaposing the high end detailed style that is so famously quintessentially English with a pared down comfort.  The V&A has implemented many installations that combine these two polar opposite principles to encourage guests to relax in the space, interact with the exhibits and just plain have a good ole English time. 

 painting the town red with a talented group of designers and writers, a smart, talented bunch.
street style, London
beautiful architecture
The view from Sir Terence Conran's headquarters, cocktails by

learning the ins and out of London

The Savoy Hotel, The London Eye
After the beautiful sightings, long walks and a few TUBE rides, we took in many wonders, ate great food and headed over to one of the many enticing design venues spread out throughout London during this week:
cutting edge wares at Tent London showcasing
works from emerging artists and craftsmen. 
I have not seen a design show quite like this before.

a typical red phone booth served up London style
 My favorite find at Tent London: 

 love the textures and patterns of the paper and fabrics from wallpapers to art to textiles in London. This fabric company offered up something beautiful, almost asian in feel as if taken from a silk kimono.  The colors are vivid yet the patterns subtle and elegant.  When chatting with Suzanne I learned she had lived in NYC years back and learned the trade in the fashion industry while working for fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi
In addition to unique fabrics and textiles, I noted the wonders of paper used in many ways at Tent London, from origami art displays to unusual wallpapers! A play on old traditional papers but with a new twist from

cut out map of NYC!
wallpaper has come back into popularity quite some time ago after a bit of a dry spell.  At Tent London there was an emphasis on wallpapers, stencils, paper in art and interesting yet unusual plays with textures and fabrics.  Ever since my very first design job in 1993, I have loved wallpapers, and maybe it is how it promises to entirely transform a space.  I especially enjoy using wallpaper in small spaces like bathrooms, offices and even closets.  Of course I have my very all time favorites from the classic high end designs of Clarence House but the unique papers at Tent London are like a breath of fresh air.  Lots of one color toile papers and hand painted unique looks.  
quite an enticing group of fabrics and papers from
 Original Little Bird.  Maps yet re-configured into cool patterns, wallpapers and even hung art

delicate linen print of the beautiful "Pony Girl"
wallpapers caught my eye.  These papers from the British Isles are very stylized
"Owls of the British Isles is a graphic design featuring 10 different owls. The barn owl, eagle owl, hawk owl, snowy owl, Tengmalm’s owl, scops owl, little owl, short eared owl, long eared owl and tawny owl.  5% of profits from this wallpaper will go to The Barn Owl Centre ( to advance the conservation of the barn owl and other species of owl."
Next, we've been whisked off for cocktail parties, talks from journalists and design field experts, and even a champagne breakfast at Poggenpohl showroom in Waterloo 

stop back in a few days for more
from our travels through London: 
Flowers, Vintage Wares &
more notes from
London Design Festival


My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Great look at your first days in London and I love the hand-drawn wave patterned wallpaper by Abigail Edwards. I have such admiration for Sir Terence Conran and that must have been quite a highlight! I'll be checking back, soon. ; )

Heidiopia said...

You must just be soaking up loads of inspiration with all that beautiful architecture and design! Looks like lovely weather, too. Thanks for sharing. :)
Heidi @ Show Some Decor

Tamara Matthews-Stephenson said...

Heidi and Barbara -- it's been lots of fun and of course my feet are tired from all the walking. Sometimes you need a few days to settle in and reflect back upon such a whirlwind of events in order to truly appreciate all it's content but I did want to get this post out while these fabric and wallpaper companies were fresh in my memory. xo tamara

Art Style said...

It was such fun keeping track of what you were seeing via Twitter. Thanks for reporting on everything from Banksy to barn owls to that special brand of modern-trad English design. More pics and your thoughts when stateside!

Safe travels today.

WA Blog Team said...

What a great peek at London Design! Thanks so much. ;)

The Buzz Blog said...

Such fun to see the LDF through your eyes, Tamara! Getting inspired by home decor from different countries is always a highlight and I guess that's why I follow so many French, English and Australian blogs. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm sorry to have missed you at WNWN!

Anonymous said...

What a fun trip and now I have to figure out how to get sponsored. Oh Tamara please show me how to blog! wishing for London, Janice

cynthia at TheDailyBasics said...

LOVE the photo of the dandelion Gabrielle! WOW!!!