Designersblock and 100%Design, LDF 2010

Across the Thames, Designersblock delivered a convincing return to form, taking over 5 floors of the Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank. Known for pioneering the use of transitional architectural spaces its setting was the perfect backdrop for its two stand-out projects. Imogen Luddy’s laser cut stainless steel table and other interior products use antique lace, doilies and embroidered samplers as a starting point, ‘digitising’ their structures and reproducing them in unexpected ways. Recent Royal College of Art graduate Anirudha Surabhi is surely on to a winner with his cycling helmet laser cut from cardboard. Four times impact absorbant than a conventional helmet, 100 grams lighter, recyclable and cheap to produce, it is custom-moulded to your head shape via a nifty balaclava 3D scan. Its potential for use with community bike schemes in cities across the world, is huge.

100%Design celebrated its 16th birthday and brought us a varied bunch, including 14 dedicated international pavilions (Australia was conspicuous by its absence). The strength of this year’s offering was undoubtedly those that emphasised risk-taking and possibilities for the future. Tom Cecil’s ‘Rotating Squares Table’ was a favourite, drawing crowds to see this 480mm square table unravel to 1.4 times its size though clever manipulation of geometry and hand-stitching of wood with nylon. Equally engaging, his stretched steel topped 2m long table held in place under 30 tonnes of tensioned force by a single ratchet strap.

The entire novel on one poster. Lovely idea.