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Connecting the Dots at the London Design Festival

The Dutch promoter of  Dutch design Connecting the Dots presents 12 brands at Tent London as part of this week's London Design Festival.

By Katie Dominy / 20-09-2012 spoke to founder David Heldt on today's opening morning of the show about the choice of designers for the London event that forms part of Tent London at the Old Truman Brewery, East London.

“We wanted to show a very broad view of Dutch design – not just this idea that people have of the type of design from the 90s until now; it's not all conceptual and unique pieces. Also, designers now are concerned with selling. After asking about showing with us, the next question is 'Will I sell anything?' So we have a more art-based side, with Studio Re-Creation and Imme van der Haak, as well as sustainable products, such as Versaflex flooring system and new craft, from, for example, Rik ten Velden.”

Imme van der Haak is a recent graduate from the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art and her graduation project Beyond the Body is concerned with the human body as its ages and looks at ways to blur the boundaries between them. Shown as a video, dancers wear simple long flowing shifts in silk chiffon printed with images of the human body and gradually uncover the layers of fabric, as a play on age identity. Tomorrow night there is an opportunity to see the project in action as two dancers will perform Beyond the Body in the exhibition space.

Amsterdam-based Bo Reudler has used in the festival in London to launch his bamboo Windsor chair. Designed in collaboration with bamboo-architect Olav Bruin, the chair shows how bamboo can be given a new aesthetic – in this case one with a British heritage. The bamboo used by Reudler is solid and quite heavy (bamboo type Dendrocalamus strictus) – unlike the lightweight hollow material one normally associates with bamboo furniture. Used in combination with bamboo plywood and rattan, each chair is slightly different, due to the irregularities of the bamboo stems. Coated in natural linseed oil paint – here white black and red – the chairs make a strong impact.

Jólan van der Wiel's Gravity Stool was first shown at last year's London Design Festival and generated a lot of press and interest, as it also did in January at imm Cologne where the Gravity Stool won first prize in the [D3] Contest for young designers and in Milan this April. To create the pieces, van der Wiel built a wooden-framed machine with integrated magnets that shapes a soft plastic into otherworldly shapes. Gravity Stool can also be seen at the design store Mint in the Brompton Cross area of the city.

Rik ten Velden is showcasing his Single Knotted Wire collection. Visiting Rotterdam's Harbour museum, ten Velden was fascinated by the craft skills of the two old fisherman employed by the museum to demonstrate fishing knots. The designer then spent three months at the museum with the fishermen perfecting the knotting techniques.  The result is a series of lamps and a chair that are created using a single wire. For the lamps, the shade is knotted around a mould using copper wire inset into synthetic hemp, while the chair is knotted using a wire that is then pulled out when the rope is all in place.

Teun Fleskens talked us though his new product line Barrels 1, 2 & 3. Designed from rubberwood, a  by-product of the rubber industry (the tress are normally thrown away), the three sizes of coffee table can be used for storage and are ultra-simple to assemble, as all the slats are loose, and are held together by wide elastic bands.

Eindhoven-based Dennis Parren plays with colour and light. At Milan Parren launched his CMYK wall lamp in 3D printed nylon that projects a dramatic patterning of lines onto a ceiling in cyan, magenta and yellow and for London, Parren has designed a version, CMYK up, for tabletop and floor.

We marvelled at the practical beauty of Versaflex flooring system that allows for individual porcelain tiles to be taken up from a floor to access underfloor cables or replace one if cracked. As the tiles can be taken up and moved, the system is fully sustainable. Working at the opposite end of the commerce-art spectrum, but keeping the sustainable element in mind, Nikola Nikolov of Studio-Re-Creation is launching The Scrap Staffies at the festival. Made, as previous sculptures, from parts of Nikolov 's first car, an old Lada, the designs are inspired by the artist's recent addition to his home in the shape of a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy.

Connecting the Dots also includes Anon & Co, Bathroom Mania!, The Cottage Industry and Tiago Sá de Costa and continues until Sunday September 22 2012 at Tent London.

Main image: Connecting the Dots
Other images 1. - 2. Connecting the Dots – foreground  CMYK up,  Dennis Parren, background Beyond the Body, Imme van der Haak 3. Single Knotted Wire, Rik ten Velden 4.  bamboo Windsor chair,  Bo Reudler 5. Beyond the Body, Imme van der Haak 6.  The Scrap Staffies, Studio-Re-Creation

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