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Tent London 19-22 Sept 2013

Discover the best of home grown and overseas talent at Tent London 2013 and Super Brands London

Constantly evolving, always thought provoking; design trade show Tent London has carved out an impressive reputation as the most creative of the hubs that anchor London Design Festival, a beacon for anyone looking to discover the best of home grown and overseas talent.

Tent London has always been a show about ideas; and as such it fits perfectly with what is best about London as a design capital. In many ways Tent embodies the qualities that make the city so appealing; independent, edgy, hard to pigeonhole, a place to find the unexpected and innovative in a market that all too often proves predictable and homogenous. Despite its growth over the last seven years, Tent London still manages to feel as far away from corporate as it is possible to be, yet products aren’t art installations; they are chosen because they sell.

This balance between creativity and commerce is no mean feat and requires constant and careful curation by the show’s founders, Jimmy and Rachel MacDonald. A case in point, this year sees a big shift in emphasis away from the soft furnishings that have proved a run away success in previous seasons towards two growing market sectors. The first of these is undiscovered European talents; think Vera & Kyte, Atelier Violeta Galan, Grand, Ore?e, Philipp Aduatz and Tokio.

These labels sit well alongside UK based established independents including Studio Jon Male, Chisel & Mouse, Thomas & Vines, Suzanne Goodwin, Room39, Erica Wakerly, Bold & Noble, Inca Starzinsky, Curiousa & Curiousa and Parris Wakefield. “We are effectively hardening up the edges of the show and broadening the offer to better reflect current trends in the market,” explains show founder Jimmy MacDonald.

Super Brands London will be in the same location as last year but will be opened out, making the transition from Tent London to Super Brands London fluid and less marked. The inspired idea here is to create what is effectively a series of temporary showrooms for brands that want to broaden their exposure in the UK market. Already signed up is the cult brand Edra, best known for its collaborations with the Campana Brothers, along with fellow Italian brands Parchettificio Toscana and La Falegnami. Other Super Brands to keep an eye out for include Ginger & Jagger, Munna, Front London, Objekten, Surface View and Materials Council.

Encouraged by last year’s successful showing, Jacuzzi® returns this year to the Super Brands London fold, bringing with it the much-anticipated UK launch of the Daniel Libeskind collection. This collaboration reflects the brand’s commitment to the designer-led market with a new piece by this legendary architect, whose previous work includes the Jewish Museum, Berlin and the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre, New York. Called Flow, the project reflects the architect’s multi-disciplinary approach, a juxtaposition of two geometries with a shape that references Roman thermal baths.

One of the most keenly anticipated events during the Design Festival’s talks circuit will be Tent’s Super Talks programme, this year under the theme Mobilised. Super Talks aims to engage with audiences in a more participative and unstructured way; allowing for a free flowing exchange of original ideas, uncheckered by dry power point presentations.
The overall programme will be split into four key elements; Scenario Labs, Inspiring Debates, Supermobile and Super Exchange and will include talks, demonstrations, workshops and idea sessions. “We want to create a really audience focused programme, breaking down barriers and engendering a free and easy forum for the swapping of ideas,” says MacDonald.

Tent London’s Country Showcases have always been an essential bedrock of the show, a chance to see previously unseen work from over 100 designers and companies, hand picked from around the world. This year sees the largest collection to date, with 100% Norway back celebrating its 10th anniversary, plus Made in Bergen, a welcome second design showcase from Norway. Fresh Taiwan returns this year and is joined by the Hungarian Investment & Trade Agency, the Crafts Council of Ireland, Artesani?a de Galicia and the Ukrainian Design Pavilion.

Breaking up the booths will be Project Spaces. This is a chance for architects and designers to experiment with ideas and processes, three dimensional environments, colour, material, light and human interaction. Once again, at Tent London, it comes back to the all-important propagation of ideas; what keeps this show consistently fresh and inspiring.

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