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September 10, 2015, 07:35 PM

Oak perfume and esoteric reuse at London Design Festival

By Thornton Kay

Retrouvius interior refit for Perfumer H in Marylebone [photo Retrouvius

Berts Bigger Box at Decorex [photo LDF
Chesterfield Table by JamesPlumb [photo LDF

London North West, UK - Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans started the London Design Festival in 2003. This annual event aims to promote creativity, drawing in the country's greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to a deliver an unmissable celebration of design.

It is now known as one of the largest and most innovative design events in the world. Over 350 events and installations are on offer from 19th - 27th September.

Among events at the Victoria and Albert Museum is a display of Robin Day furniture designs photos tools. Not part of LFD at the V&A is a small display of blue and white printed ceramics.

Olympia has 100% Design this year on colour trends for 2016, and DesignJunction takes place at the now vacant St Martin's college of art.

Decorex returns to Syon House in Isleworth with Bert & May Spaces featuring Bert's Bigger Box - a simple and tactile tiny salvaged space reusing reclaimed wood.

One of the two most esoteric reuse design events is Oak by Retrouvius and Perfumer H in Kensal, NW10:

Oak is a multi-sensory celebration of material created by Retrouvius in association with Perfumer H in an enclosed oak chamber. Oak's scent, texture and lustre to be heightened by fragranced Oak furniture wax created by Lyn Harris's Perfumer H.

Honourable usage of precious natural resources to be at forefront of installation that proposes artful recuperation of 'waste' materials. Working with reclaimed material from diverse sources - including sea defence oak, shelving, architrave, doors, drawer bottoms and parquet - Retrouvius has explored multiple applications for the material including cabinetry, tables and flooring designs.

Sections of the oak used in the installation have been treated using Oak furniture wax created by Perfumer H, infusing the space with a heady scent evocative both of a wild woodland environment and the grandeur of a room clad in rich, aged, panelling.

Working entirely with reclaimed oak taken from Retrouvius warehouse stock, the Oak installation will show the material in various processed stages - from the abraded, patinated 'raw' salvaged material, through sanding, polishing and waxing - and will celebrate the hardwood as a precious resource. Cognisant of the considerable material wastage often involved in working with salvaged wood, the design studio will present panels of flooring made using oak offcuts inspired by the pattern structure of Versailles parquet. Rather than creating a uniform surface, the variations in colour associated with the age and treatment of the reclaimed oak will here be used to graphic effect.

The Oak fragrance created for this installation by Perfumer H is a celebration of the collaboration between Retrouvius and British perfumer Lyn Harris- -the design and outfitting of Perfumer H - a library of scents and bespoke perfume laboratory in Marylebone for Lyn Harris to operate from.

The Oak fragrance evokes the autumnal scent of a British forest: damp earth, moss, leaves and bark: and will be available both as a beeswax-based furniture polish and a scented candle, made in small batches using natural ingredients at the Perfumer H workshop in London.

The notion of a nourishing, scented, balm for wooden furniture taps into the Retrouvius philosophy of working with respect for materials. Reclaimed hardwoods such as oak are a finite resource, and their deployment in any design project should be undertaken with a custodian's instinct, reducing the cutting of the material to a minimum, and making judicious use of treatments to enrich and preserve the wood.

JamesPlumb is slightly more delphic in describing its Burnished Indigo exhibition in Shoreditch:

The inspiration for the collection was the discovery of a destroyed 19th Century leather sofa. Entranced by the patina and complexity of colour and texture of the ancient material the pair embarked on a pursuit to find a fabric with the same intriguing beauty.

Avoiding the notion of the fake and deliberately distressed, the desire became an obsessive quest. Interesting discoveries were made but nothing satisfied their yearn until the encounter with a small antique piece of burnished indigo textile. The search was over.

Every possible shred of detail was pored over. Intense studies into the material revealed a strange origin and history.

The process was first recorded in the 12th Century. The word "Process" denotes a practical method. The creation of Burnished Indigo is more of a ritual of primitive alchemy. A ceremony where fabric is repeatedly submerged in indigo and catalysed with layers of egg white, ox or pig's blood and potent fermented fruit juices. Numerous mythically mentioned ingredients were added.

Throughout this balming the material is severely beaten with wooden mallets on top of smooth stones. It is placed under huge, smooth rocking stones.
The result, the invocation of the rite, is a colour of hypnotic depth and elemental beauty. Indeed, the colour has atavistic significance. Revered in ancient Eastern civilization for it's purifying and stabilizing effect on the soul. Indigo is referred to as the last colour. The colour of the infinite.

Chesterfield Table is a distillation of essence. All that JAMESPLUMB practice is present in a subtle dislocation of the classic. The burnished indigo fabric is handworked into a sumptuous, deep buttoned Chesterfield form. The piece honors the proportion of the original object that silently mused the collection.
JAMESPLUMB then boldly disrupt with the intervention of a dramatic table. Brutally slicing through the stately elegance of the sofa. The table is created from oversized lengths of church pews. The antique timber rich with a deep patina of age and wear.

There is sly intelligence at play. The ChesterfieldTable is an intriguing visual work. Furniture as seen through the eye of early Expressionism. It's unorthodox beauty would sit comfortably into the set of Dr Caligari's Cabinet. It is, though, a very clever piece of practical equipment for living.

Lassco Ropewalk in Bermondsey is holding a photographic exhibition of materials and objects.

Catchpole & Rye is launching a range of new copper and nickel bateau baths and show how the finishes are produced.

Mallett Antiques celebrates 150 years with Bodo Sperlein's jewellery, Pomellato from Milan's special Pom Poms, and non-repeat wallpapers by Calico from New York.

Antiques emporium Guinevere hosts Alidad and Gabby Deeming from House & Garden with tips for timeless classic style.

London Print Studio on Harrow Road has an exhibition of 50 innovative magazines entitled Print is Dead, Long Live Print.

Twitter hashtag #LDF15

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Please inform us if you wish your London Design Festival reuse event to be included

Lassco Ropewalk photo exhibition for London Design Festival

LASSCO Ropewalk

James Plumb




Catchpole & Rye

London Design Festival 2015

Story Type:  News

ID: 91548

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