It’s a shame that on its 25th Anniversary, 100% Design seemed smaller and less relevant than it used to be. There were plenty of small exhibitors - particularly for the home environment - but it was hard to find a theme or centrepiece. Most of the more recognised supplier names were absent; perhaps it’s a reflection of current Brexit uncertainties and marketing budgets have been slashed?

However, it was worth beating a path to Olympia to uncover some new products and suppliers; here are a few that caught our eye…

Boss Design

Boss introduced their rather lovely new chairs, Ola and Saint. Having invested in their own tools and moulds, they can now produce shells in 6 colours - and mighty refined they are, with neat detailing throughout. Add their new 4-star base and matching painted frame options, and you have a flexible range for a wide range of applications for today’s ‘agile’ workplace.

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Rigg

Birmingham based Rigg design and manufacture their own products in wood solids, ply and steel. They exhibited some thoughtful designs that demonstrated their ability to work with a wide range of surface finishes. Not fearful of specials, we were impressed by their knowledge and attitude.

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10 Tables

A third UK maker, 10 Tables, is based in Lewes, West Sussex. Traditional quality joinery skills are combined with thoughtful design; we were particularly impressed with an ‘executive table’ that converts in a few moves to a table-tennis table, with hidden storage for the nets, bats and balls.

Thors Design

Thors Design

… and talking of tables, this whopper from Thors could be a fabulous rustic centrepiece! This maker utilises patinated harbour wood, reclaimed from Danish harbours.

Benchmark

Benchmark – a regular at the UK shows – returned with a large stand that demonstrated the aesthetic continuity of their approach through different product types. It was interesting to see the characteristic soft-edged wood solids of their ‘Sage’ range applied to ‘technical’ products such as sit/stand desks and tables. We’re told that Sage is made with only natural, sustainable and non-toxic materials, with a focus on wellbeing in the workplace.

Actiforce

Sit/stand desks and tables are evolving at quite a pace. Malaysians Actiforce demonstrated a neat way of hiding the control boxes within the thickness of the worksurface, giving a clean under-desk finish. They use highly-regarded Logicdata controllers and actuators, a further innovation being a telephone app that allows the user to control heights and set memory positions via Bluetooth.

We also like their telescopic lower beam on twin workstations; this allows desk sizes to be modified later without having to replace the frame.

Jess

Jess caught our eye but not our attention – funny how some exhibitors seem content to watch you looking at their products without attempting to say hello. Actually, we really liked the way they combine interesting leathers and metals to create a chic ‘New York Loft’ vibe. In their own words (from the Website!) “Jess produces designer furniture with a unique character: reliable, pure and with a touch of audacity”.

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EVOline

We’re always looking for neat solutions for electrical and data cabling. The refinement of EVOline’s solutions is impressive, and being German-made, the quality is excellent.

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Design Junction 2019

At the other end of town, King’s Cross hosted Design Junction. Like many people at this time of year, most of us were just too busy to get there, but our intrepid Account Manager Fiona Tmava did manage to find some time, and here’s what she thought was good to share…

Isokon +

Isokon Plus instantly caught our attention with what seemed like plywood forms seamlessly wrapping together creating a collection of tables and chairs. Whilst no screws or joints were visible, it was instantly clear to us that only a skilled maker could craft an Isokon piece.

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Solid Wool

With only four chairs on display, Solidwool stuck out with their use of a strong and unique composite material, wool. Solidwool had access to this material and wanted to find a use for it. They were looking for something which would reinvent wool and give it value once again. Solidwool believe in taking the unwanted and making it into something beautiful.

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Object

Definitely one of the more strikingly dynamic pieces within the show. Object are continuously looking for different ways to push boundaries with their collaborations, with products that looked too precious to touch, once we finally took a seat on the ‘S-Chair’ it was very comfortable! Three words, art meets function.

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Modus

Although launched last year, Simon Pengelly’s VTable, consists of a simplistic design that allows the natural beauty of timber to stand out. This award-winning British brand produces clever, practical and inspiring contemporary furniture, and this was present within their subtle display.

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Friends & Founders

A contemporary design with a strong focus on architecture, art and craft. The couple behind Friends & Founders share a desire and ambition for their family-owned company, hence the name. It is evident that this devotion is illustrated within their products, from details such as textures, colour and form, the La pipe Lounge chair gave us this feeling that it was founded in romance.

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At Interion, we aim to always maintain our knowledge of what products are out there, what’s happening in office design, and what’s coming soon. If you’re serious about progressive office design, contact us and share our knowledge!

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