NoChintz team travelled down to London for a full and inspiring day trip during LDF 2019.
We began with a visit to Shoreditch to view ‘The Arcade Collection’, curated by Relay Design Agency. Designers were encouraged to work outside their usual remit to produce limited edition and unique design products with a focus on experimentation of material, process and application. Recycled marble terrazzo, oxidised metals and burnt brass were showcased in the exhibition from designers such as Robin Grasby and Silo Studio.
We then took a stroll down Brick lane to take a look around the London Design Fair space before heading over to Kings Cross for a guided tour around the newly opened Standard Hotel. The brutalist former Camden Council building has been re-imagined with a fun 70’s inspired interior, described by designer Shaun Hausman ‘as if California rebels had taken over a government building and made it more free-spirited.’ The first physical guest touch-point; an illuminated red sign reading ‘The Standard’, sits directly outside the main entrance, upside down in the flower bed, offering up a clue of what is to follow.
The lobby to the hotel features a ceramic feature wall designed by artist Lubna Chowdhary. The pop-inspired blue and turquoise tiles have both the essence of machine fabrication, with a crisp geometry, and simultaneously traditional handmade glazed earthenware. A striking duality between modernity and craft.
Selective Memphis inspired furniture pieces give a sense of optimistic retro-futurism. Seventies inspired library shelves feature neat rows of categorised books complete with classification labels, an analogue nod to a simpler time. Consequently this space feels like the perfect place to switch off your phone, listen to a record, read a book.
Fully transportative and detail driven, the entirety of the hotel submerges the visitor in extremes of pattern and colour, whilst severe brutal finishes are softened by cosy textures and undulating lines. Deep pile shaggy rugs overlay rigid grid tiling, plump velvet seat cushions are fixed to highly polished chrome frames. The over-arching theme of The London Underground can be witnessed at every turn; heavy duty steel stair nosing, endless tiling, terrazzo slabs, functional way-finding, train upholstery inspired carpeting; Central Line Red & Victoria Line Blue.
After our tour of The Standard we headed over to The Everyman Cinema to attend a talk hosted by Sleeper magazine. The discussion examined the changing face of Kings Cross; once a derelict and industrial wasteland and now a cultural crossroads; not only in London but with the rest of Europe. The expansive plans for the area have included the relocation of Central Saint Martins University, providing a fresh influx of young creatives to the area, 2000 residential homes, multiple restaurants, retail developments and outdoor spaces.
Upon exploring Coal Drops Yard after this talk we were able to see first hand the abundant energy and creativity the area has to offer. The existing 19th Century coal warehouses, canals and industrial features of the landscape have been retained and glorified, an architectural layering which feels authentic and timeless.
It seems fitting that Tom Dixon would open his headquarters there, amongst the enduring relics of the Industrial Age. For LDF 2019 his flagship store hosted an event titled ‘TOUCHYSMELLYFEELYNOISYTASTY.’ Visitors were encouraged to experience the flavours, fragrances, sounds, colours and textures of the future, following a mapped out journey around the hub. Amongst other unconventional activities, this included sampling the juice from several varieties of heritage carrots!
As a studio this is something we consider during our design process, envisaging not only the shape and form of our proposed surroundings but engaging more abstract elements of the visitors journey. Scents, tastes and haptic senses are all taken into consideration with the aim of creating a full and enriching sensory customer experience.
Continuing our theme of multi-sensory environments, we ended the trip with dinner at Audiophile bar ‘Spiritland’; a place to experience music of all genres and eras on one of the world’s best sound systems. Inspired by Japanese vinyl rooms, the informal setting encourages music lovers to discover new records and new music whilst drinking, dining and socialising. An excellent way to round up the day!