Form&Seek shares their top picks from London Design Festival 2017

The Highlights Reel

By Form&Seek

As a cultural and creative hub, London never fails to bring together a great mix of interesting people, great design, and fresh ideas. But when it comes to September, and a lost summer shows us a very late warm smile, London really turns into something special. Because for one week, London Design Festival spreads its wings over many of the city’s boroughs, filling small galleries and great venues alike with design from all over the world. And besides the joy of seeing old friends at busy opening nights, the abundance of inspiring products, installations, talks, gatherings, and exhibitions makes one feel a week is not enough to experience it all. 

For our collective, Form&Seek, this particular edition of LDF was a special one. Form&Seek has developed a new and disruptive model for independent designers like ourselves that allows us to collaboratively produce, market, and sell our work. We chose this very week to launch our first collection via a Kickstarter campaign, aimed at supporting a group of highly talented, up-and-coming designers from a new generation of artistic, process-driven innovators. With an exhibition as part of the Dutch Stuff pavilion and a buzzing launch party, our campaign got off to a flying start.

In between insightful conversations with visitors to our show, we managed to pop out and see some of the other exciting events going on during the week. We noticed an underlying theme of exhibitions revealing the current climate of entrepreneurial designer-makers—those independently organizing themselves to create and reveal their ideas and thoughts to the world!

Here are some of our favorites…


Dutch Stuff

It would be an injustice not to start with the people that surrounded us for the duration of London Design Fair. Not because they were our friendly neighbors or dear friends, but for the simple fact that some of the work around us was, in fact, some of the strongest we encountered. With a diverse selection of Dutch designers and brands curated by London Design Fair’s own Jimmy McDonald, this floor showed a good overview of Dutch design today: experimental, colorful work, both upbeat and raw, tasteful and abstract. Exhibitors included Studio Truly Truly, Dutch Invertuals, Rive Roshan, Isabel Quiroga, Vij5, and Klaas Kuiken.



We went to see the Water exhibition in a familiar place: the Bussey Building, a location where many of us and other Form&Seekers started our own design studios. The exhibition included work by 13 designers exploring the theme of one of the most common yet important elements in our lives: water. The experimental pieces in the exhibition included Cloud, a piece of sculptural lighting transforming liquids into solid mass by James Patmore; Landscapes of Water by Kirsi Enkovaara, a further exploration of her existing marbling techniques resembling movements of water taken to a three dimensional tactile level; and the Domestic Sea Collection by Form&Seeker Cindy Strobach of design studio Unit Lab, a surreal range of ordinary objects turned into sensory experiences of the sea. The show was a great escape from the hustle and bustle of east and west London and a fresh look into what experimental designers of our generation are doing today.


Re-Make by Material Driven at Smile Plastics

Further up towards Waterloo station, Material Driven hosted an educational exhibition and panel discussion on the future of Circular Design in the showroom of Smile Plastics. The exhibition told the story of the most innovative products and processes emerging from the re-appropriation of materials by six designers from diverse realms. At the exhibition’s core stood a backdrop of Smile Plastics materials, which are made from recycled plastic waste. Their beautiful material ranges from surfaces made of yogurt containers to a rich black charcoal surface made of recycled plastic packaging.

What struck us most during this event is that recycling as an attitude to find new exciting materials and applications is a bottom-up force with more potential to connect with people than a top-down incentive with no connection to a material’s second life. To see and experience these re-purposed materials in innovative and unique ways creates a powerful argument for the environmental case.


Unfolded Landscapes by Jule Waibel

All of us at Form&Seek love the work of Jule Waibel. She’s one of our earliest exhibitors and has collaborated with us numerous times since our first show. Her pleated universe came to life in the Unfolded Landscapes exhibition at Play Ground Gallery, Dalston. Her beautiful, playful process of folding turns all materials—from paper to cork—into clothing, accessories, and furniture, showing an ongoing and deepening interest in the pleating process and a promise that this journey has only just begun.


Making a Living by Max Frommeld at the Aram Gallery

Over at the Aram Gallery (one of our favorite galleries in London), Making a Living, curated by Riya Patel, explores the theme of Max Frommeld’s experience of working and living as a designer—one that resonates with many designers today. The handmade and self-produced pieces come together to create a beautiful, raw, intuitive atmosphere, with each item exploring unique and new processes. The exhibition continues until the 28th of October, so there is still some time to see it!


Assembly by Sight Unseen

Finally, we were lucky enough to be just on the other side of the wall from the Assembly exhibition, an overview of design coming out of the US curated by Sight Unseen for the fair’s Guest Country Pavilion. It highlighted the creative, fun, and unique processes being explored by designers in the States. It was the first time we were exposed to the work of John Hogan, and we fell in love with his experimental use of glass and color to create mystical objects. The exhibition also included the kinetic sculptures of Ladies and Gentlemen Studio, such as Full Moon Mobile and Half Moon Mobile, which intricately, elegantly combine different materials.

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      Form&Seek is an international design collective founded by Bilge Nur Saltik, Golnar Roshan, and Ruben de la Rive Box. They're passionately dedicated to supporting emerging contemporary talent that reflects diverse perspectives.

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