100% Design 100% Inspiration


Author: Katie Warner

As a designer I continually seek out inspiration in everything around me and each year I look forward to 100% Design with excited anticipation, a chance to indulge my senses in what is one of the largest design trade shows in the UK. Showcasing the latest in creative design and interiors, it is a wealth of inspiration that has become the benchmark event for promoting design excellence both within and outside the UK.

For me it’s a chance to explore. Everything I see, taste, touch, smell, and hear, has the ability to inspire me creatively. I have a magpie attitude, gathering from a myriad of sources; anything that allows me to think about how culture comes together. I’m always on the lookout – I observe people in the street, watch films, read, take photos. I consider the way people communicate, the colours they’re wearing, the way they’re behaving. It’s about taking the minutiae of the everyday and observing with a critical eye – building up a scrapbook which I can draw on. Staying up to date in an industry that’s constantly shifting isn’t easy, but being aware of changes as they’re happening can keep you ahead of the curve.

This is where 100% Design comes in – more than 400 exhibitors from across the globe, showcasing their designs at Olympia, with many using the event to launch new products to market. Italian furniture brand Magis showcased its new Sequoia stools, designed by Norwegian studio Anderssen & Voll to conjure up the idea of an idealised tree or a bicycle. Recently launched Singaporean brand Ipse Ipsa Ipsum showed its debut collection of furniture, lighting and accessories in marble, brass and leather, designed by Nathan Yong. 100% Design veterans Pad Home revealed new collaborations with Mind the Gap and Bethan Gray. In lighting, Vita Copenhagen’s lampshades embodied the current trend for botanical forms.

I’m always looking at design with a view as to what’s new, what on trend, what’s just around the corner, what can be reinvented, what might be appropriate for designs I am working on at present… I talked at length with Jonathan Green who has been designing contemporary cocktail bars for 20 years and whose ‘Gin Trolley’ was a bespoke masterpiece of natural and modern materials… calling to mind the many brands I’ve worked on with over the years.

With creativity in the workplace a clear trend at the show, Nowy Styl presented solutions for office layouts that lead to increased creativity, including Tapa, a colourful piece of upholstered furniture designed to take employees away from their desks. In a three-storey stand near the central bar, Scandinavian innovators Framery displayed a wide range of free standing work pods used for meetings, just the kind of thing Damco – another client of ours – might use in their offices.

100% Design gives me the opportunity to interact and liaise with other industry professionals. I found the product designs of Gdansk based Studio1:1 ingenious. They showed new, unconventional ways of interpreting everyday objects such as the coat hanger. People don’t realise that their entire lives are shaped by a designer’s work – their home, their car, their office, pretty much every object they use. Nothing is undesigned. Things are badly designed, well designed, and varying degrees between.

Obviously, technology has been shaping every design discipline and this comes across at the show too. Modern techniques such as laser cutting allows creative expressions of incredible detail, new materials can be used in previously unheard of ways and sophisticated production methods are making it easier and easier for creatives to realise their dreams. It’s an amazing time to be a designer – there’s so much yet to be explored and so much yet to be improved.

Having an immersive experience like 100% Design is a great creative boost. A few hours spent here fills my mind with a wealth of possibilities and ‘what-ifs?’. How these influences and inspirations will manifest themselves in my future designs only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, that taking time to seek out things I haven’t experienced before or haven’t taken the time to see before is undoubtedly where I will find new inspiration.

Looking for inspiration? New creative expression for your brand? Insight into target audience behaviours? To see more of the work we have done for Diageo, Damco and many other clients, please contact us. Haines McGregor 0207352832