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Design festival highlights

An upturned nose through London's Festival

Design festival highlights

London Design Festival’s a funny affair. Venues across London clamouring to get your attention and, inside each, some of the world’s finest designers competing, again, to get your eyeballs fixed on them. It can be quite a daunting affair. Three years ago one ShortList staffer, sent out to cover the event, was found huddled in the corner of a Starbucks whimpering and talking about ‘Nam! Thus, we’ve done all the hard work for you by compiling some of the best designs on show for you to peruse at your leisure. And if you do have slightly larger cojones than our easily-perturbed writer, then the event is on until Sunday September 26.

1. The 365 Knitting Clock

Siren Elise Wilhelmsen’s knitting clock gives us a warm, homely feeling in our content little tummies. Like shepherd’s pie does. The clock includes a circular knitting machine with 48 needles, a thread spool, a thread holder, and roll of yarn. The design seeks to make time a tangible, physical thing. It moves clockwise and after one year DING! It creates a scarf two meters long.

2. Roccapina Chair

Ian Spencer’s Yard Sale Project exhibits at Origin: The London Craft Fair, until September 29th. The pick of the lot is this Roccapina chair — made from 20 different hardwoods. We likey.

3. Sunday candle/lamp

A lamp combined with a light, Frost Produkt were given a week to come up with a new lamp concept and hey presto. Reading a book flick on the lamp. Sexy time? Simply flip it round and romance is yours.

4. Antlers

Volker Haug is a designer based in Melbourne, who specializes in creating unique lighting fixtures. Apparently he designed his first lamp series when he was only 10 years old. Since then he has been busy crafting lamps which are both raw and polished, incorporating industrial elements to create slick designs. His Antlers series are all made using industrial lighting receptacles, joined together to create plastic branches.

5. Braille wallpaper

Sydney-based designer Ilias Fotopoulos was once a lawyer, who became a textile designer. His current wallpaper collections inspire touch and observation. His most fascinating design, however, is “Listen and Record,” a story in Braille. "The project examines design accessibility through role reversal” he says. “A visually impaired person can touch the wallpaper and read the story. Sighted observers cannot."

6. Recycled Macadamia Nut Bowls

Every creation in the Husque line is made from the Australian macadamia nut shell, a botanical native to a small strip of land in Queensland. A highly renewable, and often unused material, the shells are put to good use to produce the beautiful Husque collection, and will not be running out anytime in the near future. Plus these would look ace in your kitchen, right?

7. Farm Chair

Designer Julie Paterson tells a tale of a recent discovery on a farm in the Southern Highlands that provided her with inspiration: Paterson had a shop for many years in Clovelly, across from which a woman ran a greengrocer store. Recently Paterson saw the greengrocer who told her about some yarn that she had found on the farm she had just bought not far from the Southern Highlands. There on the farm, in a back shed, were bales of Merino wool which had been left there by the previous owners. These bales were not just of raw unbleached wool but of already-knitted wool. The new farm owner told Paterson she could have these bales of knitted, natural and unbleached wool as a gift. When Paterson brought the knitted wool back to the city, it was full of mouse holes. And when it was put in an industrial hot wash, the holes became bigger and the wool transformed into big pieces of matted felt wool. She used this wool to upholster some bespoke furniture, patched together with hemp, over stitching and darning; she found a chair on the street that only one arm and named it Farmchair. The Farmchair is on its way to London. She's still got enough wool to do 3 more!

8. Ciclotte

Not bad, eh? This flash piece of kit is an exercise bike. The concept of Ciclotte (thumbs through press release) was born out of the need to create a product that is an expression of contemporary life; where work and relaxation, exercise and fun inhabit the same dimensions, within fluid spaces in which all objects can interact with one another. Apparently there’s a choice of 12 different types of exercise, although we doubt swimming is one of them. Instead of a chain-driven system it uses dual satellite epicycloids that feature four gears with varying cogs. Thus the bike doesn’t have a traditional drive train, but rather has gears that turn the magnetized main wheel, in turn creating a magnetic field and provising resistance. Very smart. Ciclotte will be launched in the UK at Earls Court, today.