LDF19: Focus/19 Highlights

For fans of interiors, Focus’19 does not disappoint. London Design Festival’s Focus event returns this year to Chelsea Design Centre, situated at the heart of Chelsea Design District, an area of London renowned for its community of innovative and brilliant designers. Each of the partaking showrooms is a celebration of new collections, of the top design trends of the moment, and of paving the way for the future of interior design. The atmosphere of the Focus’19 was spirited, as all faculties within the design sector congregated in their enthusiasm for the craftsmanship and creativity on display.

Focus’19 presents a multitude of 120 showrooms and over 600 international brands, both housed in the design centre and temporarily exhibiting. Alongside these, talks, workshops and demonstrations and for the first time, additional pop-up stalls of an array of guest designers are established in design avenue; expanding Focus’19 to be inclusive of tastemakers from the wider interior design world.

In terms of the obvious takeaways, the force of the ‘inspired-by-the-natural-world’ trend is not one to be reckoned with. Botanicals adorned wallpapers, cushions, rugs and wall hangings in a vast number of the showrooms. Championed for its restorative powers, nature’s botanicals in interiors is the newest angle in the largely influential focus on well-being in the home trend. Cole & Sons and Nobilis Paris shone, with their own interpretations of the trend. The new Pearwood wallpaper collection by Cole & Sons showcased enticing block-printed florals which proved to be one of the busiest showrooms exhibiting. Similarly, Nobilis Paris didn’t shy away from the salience of evoking nature with their conspicuous yet charming window display displaying vividly saturated autumnal leaves. If the botanical prints were missing, the more subtle nod to the predominant trend was to be found in the earthy natural palettes and the tactile natural materials. LF trading’s pop up displayed their popular curtain range Douce and its array of new natural hues, including earthy oranges and greens.

Velvet of course remains a sure choice for luxury décor and its use was abundant, but the new collection Burlington by Fox Linton and the Ceccotti Saturn chair in mustard velvet seen in Tollgard Design Group’s popup showroom, demonstrate how colour-trends influence the choice tones of this much-loved material. The materials emerging as were reflective of the current global climate, as sustainability has developed from a buzzword into a call for action. The vested interest in environmentalism has seeped into the world of décor, with the aesthetic appreciation of the natural world coming from a deeper appreciation of its material offerings and their much-needed preservation. For this reason, use of natural fibres from hemp, sisal and albaca were all integrated into Mark Alexander’s new wall-hanging range, proving to be a resounding success with its wonderful woven intricacy.

“This emerging new age of consideration is evidenced in the enthusiastic use of materials that might previously have been deemed too humble for high-end contemporary use – rattan, jute, bamboo, cork – which positively resonate with tactility.”

Michelle Ogundehin, former editor-in-chief at ELLE Decoration

A personal highlight of focus was chatting with the team at Christopher Farr about their latest project with Turquoise Mountain, with four beautiful commissions. As a non-profit organisation, Turquoise Mountain was founded in 2005 to support a new generation of artisans sustain and reinstate the traditional Afghan textile industry. Christopher Farr’s pop up presents the exceptional results of this collaboration and underlines the potential for the design world to be a force of good, encouraging others to consider where best to source their products.

“This is an incredibly important moment in Afghanistan – an opportunity to support a generation of skilled artisans and weavers and help them preserve exquisite traditions. Turquoise Mountain is proud to be working with Christopher Farr to produce carpets that represent the best of Afghan craftmanship”

Shoshana Stewart, CEO of Turquoise Mountain

All in all, Focus’19 is the perfect event for those wanting to experience the talent and calibre of many of the finest designers and their products.