London Design Festival 09 -Portobello Dock


It was the London Design Festival last week and  flat out after LFW  it was nice to take in something else, and to be somewhere different. So on Saturday afternoon we headed down to Portobello Dock, which was part of the Icon Design Trail.

Portobello Dock is one of those places we have always wanted to have a look around, an industrial Victorian building perched on the edge of the Grand Union canal, it has undergone a  recent refurb instigated by Tom Dixon and sponsored by Derwent London. Here the Design Research Studio under the creative direction of  Dixon presented the Veuve Clicquot Comet pictured above. Inspired by the ‘caves’ in France where champagne is stored , this was an evolution of the original Dixon design, the Comet Lamp. 

Although this was the launch of the Tom Dixon showroom it wasn’t all big names, there was a balanced mix. Three buildings hosted food, fashion, art, design and new media in a series of stand alone exhibitions, pop-up shops, installations and even an art and design carboot.

Pop-up shops, restaurants and galleries are all the rage but beat this, a pop-up egg bar! Studio Toogood collaborated with Arabeschi di Latte to provide a “HATCH” installation where visitors could participate, by cooking and contribute to not only the eggs but also the design of their environment and submit their own recipes. Looked like a massive hit with the kids and their design conscious parents. No wonder, Studio Toogood provided a multi-coloured Formica wonderland that left even us grownups with a smile on our faces.

I like the ethos behind the Arabeschi di Latte all female design platform, their mission is “to experiment with new design concepts that relate to food and focuses on its fascinating power to create situations and relationships.” I suppose its no wonder they are Italian.


Formica seems hot right now; we loved young designer Bethan Wood’s “Super Fake” collection of fashion and furniture. A kaleidoscope of montage retro Formica graced furniture and matching digitally printed scarves. There was plenty of serious grown-up product design so it was nice to see something fresh.

There was also a chance to see an amazing collection of twentieth century Scandinavian sliver jewellery presented by Grasliver.

After all that we needed our glass of Veuve Clicquot on the terrace where we enjoyed the canal views, they might have sponsored some of the exhibition, but certainly not the drinks, £9.50 each, ouch.

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