The London real estate market is arguably one of the most expensive in the world, even with top London estate agent Savills predicting that the central London house prices will fall by 9% by the end of 2017, followed by two years of flat prices.
Still, with central London 3-bedroom flats in excess of £700,000 in some areas, and foreign investment from clients with some mega-bucks, it is only natural that high end products were going to be needed to dress all these properties - whether you're planning to live in or let. After all, you cannot buy a penthouse in Imperial Wharf and not have it dressed up properly (the one below is on the market for £8,500,000 apparently, from Foxtons).
Photo: Foxtons, an Imperial Wharf penthouse apartment
SO WHAT'S HAPPENING AT OLYMPIA?
This September sees the inaugural edition of Luxury Made, London's newest design show which, according to its Director William Knight, takes an editorial approach to showcasing some of the best contemporary decorative interiors. Because, as per the intro, there are some seriously expensive properties in the UK that need some top products!
Inspired by Olympia's Pillar Halls, the show has the look and feel of a boutique. A small number of makers are invited to exhibit and you don't get the bustle that you would expect next door (100% Design) or London Design Fair. It also aims at putting West Kensington permanently on the map during LDF.
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Forget they typical bustle of trade shows. Luxury Made is more of a curated collection of designers that inspire, in a relaxed environment, just like a boutique. An expensive boutique that is. Entering the ground floor there are beautiful carpets, flashy chandeliers, luxurious fabrics and lots of well dressed people. Right in my element then!
Above: Julian Chichester
I had some really nice chats with the designers over there. Just because a product is branded as "luxury" don't expect uptight and snobby designers, everyone's really friendly. I was really impressed with the mix of well established names and lesser known designers.
THE OBVIOUS NAMES
Cassina and Poltrona Frau both had stands, and we know these companies are striving for the highest quality through a combination of industrial technology and artisan manufacturing procedures. Cassina never seizes to amaze, for a 90 year old that is! Julian Chichester's English eclectic elegance adds a contemporary touch to classic designs.
Left to right: Cassina, Poltrona Frau, DUISTT
Another super-brand, Poliform can provide everything from furniture to kitchens. I have never passed their Kings Road showroom without a huge sigh.
MEET THE BRANDS
Already with her silk scarves inside LIBERTY of London, Royal College of Art graduate and award winning designer Emma Shipley is likely to take the world of interiors by storm, with her animal and bird inspired printed fabrics, available in a number of contemporary colour ways.
Emma tells me there's an upcoming collaboration with a MAJOR wallpaper & textiles company to launch her first wallpaper collection, next February. If you're planning to put wallpaper up - W A I T !
Furniture designer and maker Thomas Whittingham is inspired by the flowing shapes of the British countryside. With a background in product design, he creates furniture which is both beautifully crafted and fulfils its functional requirements. All of his furniture is made and finished by hand ensuring it meets the clients expectations and Thomas' own high standards. The rare burr olive ash dressing table and stool below took two months to complete. It's a piece of art.
Rachel Bates (est. 2012) has notable design collaborations under her belt, including her decorative botanicals range for Nina Campbell. Rachel carries a very strong sense of colour in all of her designs. Rahel Takle Peirce of RAMECH WALL DECOR will provide colourful prints and wallpapers drawing inspiration from her rich Ethiopian heritage.
TREE COUTURE is unusual in its uncompromising use of solid, hand-selected premium-grade hardwoods, and its avoidance of veneers and MDF. I loved the story that Troo Heath-Crew, the designer behind Tree Couture, had to tell about her travels and what had inspired her for making each piece.
Photo: TREE COUTURE
KEVIN STAMPER impressed me with the technique he uses to dye tiny squares of sycamore veneer to create a pixelised effect on his furniture. He was kind enough to show me the images that had inspired each piece on the show too. His 'Storm' cabinet deserves it's own page in VOGUE LIVING and the FT's HOW TO SPEND IT.
Photo: KEVIN STAMPER
NOVOCASTRIAN are designers, architects and metalworkers who make bespoke furniture. Metal is their obsession.
MEET (SOME OF) THE DESIGNER-MAKERS
WANT TO VISIT?
Nearest station: Kensington Olympia.
Tips: flat shoes + big bag. Have some champagne and enjoy the music on the ground floor. For VIP/Press pass holders: enjoy the Bang & Olufsen VIP Lounge.