features
#031 / 2000

two-page special edition on London's 100% Design show

Show sets standards

100% Design, the United Kingdom's premier contemporary design trade show held in October in London, continues to expand by selecting the best from the rest. The 12-14 person voluntary advisory panel, including furniture luminaries Matthew Hilton, Jill Webb (Conran), Sheridan Coakley (SCP), Gareth Williams (V&A) and Aidan Walker (Blueprint, FX), rejected about 50 per cent of applicants for the show's fifth year.

The show featured a wide range of interior products (see sidebar) from British and other European manufacturers. Furniture comprised about 25 per cent of the show, the majority of which were British manufacturers. About a third of the British furniture manufacturers took smaller-size stands, indicating they were most likely a "young designer" or emerging manufacturer.

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Show Categories

Exhibitors by category: Furniture 24%, Accessories 20%, Lighting 12%, Floor/Wall Coverings 12%, Kitchens/Bathrooms 5%, Textiles/Fabrics 8%, Upholstery 6%, Seating 6%, Handles/Fittings 2%, Other 10% (includes magazines, associations, plastics, fireplaces, etc.)

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Earls Court Two

Site of London's 100% Design trade show.

100% Design actively encourages young design talent to exhibit alongside the established manufacturers which results in a show of infectious vitality. To assist young designers, group stands are organized, the British Crafts Council awards ten bursaries and, in co-operation with Blueprint magazine, awards of £2000 are given in several categories toward the cost of a stand at 100% Design 2001. This year James Gott, exhibiting with the Liverpool and Manchester Initiative - a group of ten young designers from the north of England - won one of the £2000 awards for his softwood recliner which used a unique lamination of charcoal-impregnated polyurethane foam and aero-ply (see issue #032).

Other designer/makers also used curved or laminated shapes in their furniture, and many of the most exciting designs featured veneer and steam-bending in imaginative ways. Trannon Furniture exhibited a new armchair that used sustainable coppice grown ash for its steam-bent components.

The show attracted 27,000+ visitors, almost twice the number attending North America's equivalent International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) (see John Bird's recent review of the ICFF). The total number of exhibitors at both shows is similar, with ICFF having a larger percentage of furniture exhibitors.

The next 100% Design show is scheduled for Earls Court Two, September 27-30, 2001.

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© furniturelink 1999 (text and images)