London Basin Company
When interior designer Anna Callis couldn’t find painterly handfinished porcelain basins for her commissions, she and her daughter Nathalie decided to have them made. The results she now sells online are eyecatching, exotic, high-quality porcelain washbasins, for around £600.
Made in the home of porcelain, China, in 8-10 weeks, each of the 10 designs is inspired by the orient and nature. This rustic-sideboard look is a welcome update to hard-faced white bathware.
Crowned young designer of the year in 2012, Naomi Paul’s woven-textile lighting designs are hand-crocheted in her east London studio in Hackney Marshes. The waxed Egyptian cotton thread comes down from Lancashire, then her highly skilled young team makes them into silhouette shades in soft colours for pendant, wall and table lights.
Relaxed, practical and hand-crafted to order, Paul is the antithesis of the bling lighting of glass and metal that was still out in force at the show. Organic, natural-looking lampshades were also spotted at talents-to-watch Sebastian Cox in Greenwich and Pinch in Clapham.
An even bigger presence in this year’s show than previously, The New Craftsmen opted to show some of their portfolio of makers in four hubs around the exhibition. Visitors wandered up to installations on the themes of working, eating, sleeping and bathing.
In contrast to many of the sleek and groomed roomsets of the show, sleep was broken down into a deconstructed nap pod with drapes and eiderdowns. Founded in 2012, The New Craftsmen’s creative director, Catherine Lock, moved from high-street brand development to championing British luxury handmade. The company never fails to come up with a dynamic approach to craft that’s exciting and fun.
It was rugs galore throughout the show. These often chimed with the current vibe for abstract patterning, which is finding its way onto everything, from cushions to sofas and pottery.
The most spectacular of the rug dealers this year was Front, a Latvian company in Mayfair that opened at Chelsea Harbour in March, showcasing how rugs on walls are contemporary tapestries. The three textile artists they represent are making stunning artworks on a huge scale, from distressed to an exciting twist on tweed (above). Zoe Luyendijk, from Canada, is inspired by the natural world, using hand-knotted Tibetan wool, silk and linen to make art you want to run your hands over.
Where craft becomes art, Future Heritage is a curated collection of 14 of the most exciting craftspeople in Britain today. Pulled together by the applied arts and design journalist Corinne Julius, it was the originality of the work that stood out in the show: whether it was the majestic solidity of Ashraf Hanna’s powerful glasswork, the organic delicacy of Katie Spragg’s sprouting pottery (above), or the complexity of the digitally printed fabrics of Emma Jeff’s wallpanels. Julius encourages interior designers to incorporate one-off pieces into their commissions and the show had all the more personality for it.