Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
Tom Dixon’s west London canal-side HQ was the venue for BE OPEN’s first off-schedule event at the 2012 London Design Festival. Following BE OPEN’s theme of exploring the five senses and described by Dixon as a flash-market showcase of young design talent, BE OPEN SPACE consisted of eight site-specific raw-wood stands conceived by designer-engineers Pan Studio and JailMake. Each of the huts showcased one of the five senses, while their solid, practical construction made reference to pine art-transport containers and the old trade stalls of Florence’s Ponte Vecchio.
At one hut, Wallpaper* favourite Faye Toogood and her Studio Toogood design team rolled out an industrial overlocker and donned aprons to create cheap, cheerful ski chalet-friendly high-top slippers from recycled cloth.
Next door, Trace channelled the nearby Portobello Market with a junk-shop environment that, on closer inspection, revealed a chaotic display of multisensory and entertainingly eccentric one-off items: teapots made from recycled tea tins; a hand-carved wood SLR camera; floppy rubber carpentry tools; even a room fragrance that smelled of Notting Hill.
We loved the old-school bleeps emanating from the build-your-own-synth set up by London solderers Technology Will Save Us, but were ultimately lured away by the textile-inspired works of Bricolage designers Yemi Awosile and Naomi Paul. We coveted the earth-toned geometric print on Awosile’s cork wallhanging and placed an order for one of Paul’s hand-crocheted, mercerised-cotton Hanna lampshades.
We were introduced to the Finland-meets-India woven crafts by Helsinki-based Tikau while snacking on Dixon’s rapidly melting Rococo-chocolate sculpture of the Brixton skyline. Dixon was also debuting his new line of Eclectic scented candles. ‘They smell of London, the River Thames and brick dust,’ he explained, daring our olfactory sense to conjure up such an exotic odour.