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Held in the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour, Focus 2018 is recognised worldwide as the destination for luxury creative design. Open and free to the public, it is mainly visited by trade and retail visitors from around the world interested in talks, demonstrations, workshops and meeting skilled designers from the 120 showrooms inside the centre.
Like previous years, luxury brands from numerous countries both big and small opened their doors to show off their new designs for LDF18. Putting a focus on excellence, well-made and design led pieces. In the middle of the centre were hanging installations revolving around colour, pattern, and shape which fed through into the shop fronts. For 2018, Focus revolved the show around the idea of the ‘Journey of Colour’ shown by international artist Moritz Waldemeyer with his commissioned installation which offers an immersive experience of light, colour and movement. There was also a pop-up from House of Hackney and bright colourful designs from Romo, just two of the many brands that appeared to include explosions of colour throughout their collections. With more brands and consumers pushing the boundaries of colour and becoming braver by experimenting with their interiors throughout the home, we can expect bright punchy patterns, mixtures of colour and eye-catching shapes to be a major trend coming through in 2019.
We were fortunate to attend one of the numerous panel discussions that supported LDF. ‘Reimagination and Renewal’ with Charlotte Abrahams, in which three leading advocates from the worlds of design and architecture – Jonathan Tuckey, Rabih Hage and Edward Bulmer – discussed the creative challenges of working with historic buildings. They debated the historical importance and artistic advantage of preserving dated architecture and design, with an emphasis on the sociological implications of this practice.
Bulmer specialises in restoring stately homes and expressed his feeling of obligation to preserve historical buildings and respect the thought that went into designing them. Tuckey on the other hand works with old, worn-down chapels, bank and warehouses, focusing instead on the anthropological connection between his clients’ ideas and the buildings they have bought, and how renewing these buildings can bring the two together. Hage’s work celebrates the contrast between old and new in renovation projects that redirect old buildings to facilitate modern living. Through extending respect to the historical nature of the buildings, their charm is preserved with added functionality.
The three speakers praised restoration projects for being both sustainable and for having considerable emotional value, as they connect one era to another through architecture and design. They candidly coined this the ‘Upcycling Movement’, which they believe has a vast impact on our built environment and will soon extend to the renovation of old retail buildings into residential properties in this age of online shopping.
They advocated less waste of materials through restorative projects and criticised the speed at which properties are currently built. Buildings should defy the test of time, outliving those who built them, and as such we should look to preserve architecture and add to it in a way that can be passed onto the next generation.
Lizzie Hay & Sydney Davidson