Described by Tom Dixon as ‘a flash-market’, BE OPEN SPACE takes place at the designer’s canal-side HQ near Ladbroke Grove for the duration of the 2012 London Design Festival. BE OPEN SPACE consists of a series of punky plywood stands echoing the trade stalls of old Florence. The stalls built and conceived by designer-engineers Pan Studio and JailMake show-cased the work of some of London’s most interesting designers, on a mission to show off their work but also bring out the maker in all of us.
The richly textured, haberdashery of making is a snapshot of London’s maker scene. Hackney’s Technology Will Save Us give lessons in how to build-your-own-synth. In the next hut, Yemi Awosile, rich Op Art prints on cork are the perfect foil for Naomi Paul’s extravagant hand-crocheted lampshades. The emphasis here is on adapting and responding to mass produced products with warmth and humour. Toogood make cuddly woollen versions of basketball boots. Tikau combine contemporary Scandinavian design skills with traditional craftsmanship of India to make vibrant, cheeky woollen furnishings.
This is the eclectic world that Tom Dixon came from and which he still champions. Trace make light with the bric-a-barc of nearby Portobello Market creating an installation of secret drawers, Heath Robinson style inventions and off-kilter one-offs: soy sauce bottle necklaces, Victoriana into which images of the Gherkin has been inveigled. Meanwhile Dixon himself has made his own contribution to the show with a range of scented candles that, he says, evokes the odours of London.If you want to experience the intense passions and creative verve of London’s designer-maker scene, then BE OPEN SPACE is a must.