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SolarAid Solar lamps: Ecobuild 2013

Michael Phiri

SolarAid is a charity that aims to bring light to some of the poorest communities in the world. At Ecobuild, we ran into SolarAid where they were demonstrating their solar lamps, which they aim to introduce to the mass market in Africa.  Continue Reading…

Ecobuild 2013

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Ecobuild 2013 opened this morning at ExCeL, London and Despoke joined the morning crowds in the sunshine to check out what the exhibition has on offer. Continue Reading…

Philippe Starck Recycled Hemp Chairs


Magis has revealed their collaboration with acclaimed designer Philippe Starck. Continue Reading…

Bamboo Tables by Jennifer Newman

Bamboo I-O (4 of 20)

Jennifer Newman studio has just announced it’s latest design. The aluminium M-Bamboo table and M-Bench form part of the Inside-Out range. Continue Reading…

Stattman Neue Moebel Opens Online Shop

Siblings, Nicola and Oliver Stattmann, operate German manufacturing company, Stattman neue Moebel from their family workshop in Aschberg, Germany.

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S11 House by ArchiCentre, Malaysia

The S11 House in Malaysia, by ArchiCentre, has been built around the existing trees on the site to provide natural shelter for the living spaces. Continue Reading…

Eco DIY Pets

The fun and environmentally conscious Eco DIY Collection, by Eduardo Alessi, features five products in the shape of different endangered species.

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Ross Lovegrove on process, organic design, technology and nature

Requiring no introduction, Ross Lovegrove is a designer and visionary “whose work is considered to be at the very apex of stimulating a profound change in the physicality of our three dimensional world”. 

On Saturday, Lovegrove, in conversation with Phaidon’s Emilia Terragni, tackled an issue of central importance to his design philosophy and work. By his opening admission, this was the “big talk” and an attempt to address the deep-seated and fundamental misconception of organic design, and try “to champion why we create form”. 

Commencing with an outline of the evolutionary phases forming design history, Lovegrove indicated three:

  1. Primary Evolution – that natural evolution, as old as the planet, and which progresses at a glacial speed
  2. Industrial Evolution – born of the industrial revolution, the birth and evolution of design which recognises and answers to the human / societal realisation “we have needs” and that we can do something about those needs
  3. Tertiary Evolution – the current burgeoning phase of design, the forthcoming moment in the not too distant future when humans “have so much knowledge they become nature themselves”

This notion of evolution becomes central to his design ethos, but there is a simultaneity in the choice of inspirations: at once ancient and modern.

Terragni and Lovegrove defined organic design through what it is not: it is not copying nature, it is not about being “inspired” by nature. Rather it’s the application of a natural process, a deep understanding of forms nature has been perfecting infinitely longer than human design has. As such, organic design is a striving towards an appreciation of and attempt to inherit and put to useful application “inner structural systems of nature… [it’s] not about the shape but about the organisation”, and new technologies when applied are exceptionally adept at this. For Lovegrove, his essential dissatisfaction with contemporary design is that “what we have today is remarkable, and we don’t produce good enough things”.

Process is of integral importance, and illustrations of “good process” were drawn from across the three evolutionary phases outlined, lending weight to the sense that good design (“organic” or otherwise) is not an inevitable and ever advancing march of progress. Through examples chosen – from hand made flints to woven shields and armour – Lovegrove alluded to meditations on design that are at once ancient, organic, and inherently modern, pushing the boundaries of potential opened up by technology, but retaining the excellence picked from myriad examples across design history. Repeated experimentation lead to some of his most iconic designs – a Kenzo perfume bottle born of many machine made iterations inspired by flints, a plastic bottle evocative of the water it contains for Ty Nant Water.


Though this is process driven work, it is absolutely not process over product, and he rejects theory without outcome. Repeatedly lauding Zaha Hadid as the architect who marries process and theory to push the limits of architecture, Lovegrove sited his ambition to “initiate a shift” in product design, but that this cannot be done in a vacuum and that the weight of history and evolution must be incorporated, indeed that “you can’t do it unless you know your history”. In this belief Lovegrove finds current design education painfully remiss, and admitted he would tend towards a kind of evolutionary plagiarism over and above any design which progresses without reference to or acknowledgement of its lineage.

A final thought from Lovegrove, which alludes to the place where organic design meets in nature and technology, ancient and modern, natural and man / machine made, and where proces gives rise to an exceptional product: “if you want a timeless idea, think about the heart of the design”

The Hubs at 100% Design

One of the great success stories of 100% Design this year has been the individual Hubs for
Interiors, Eco Design & Build , Office and Kitchens & Bathrooms the idea behind this was to allow people to network , socialise hold talks and Launch events all targeted to their specific sectors.
Every HUB has its own distinct feel which.

Aberrant Architecture designed the kitten and bathroom HUB the supper box facade was an inhabitable landscape and its interior is a kitchen laboratory with daily food artists , theatrical performers providing live content plus a great place for a coffee and a chat.

Continue Reading…

The Great Recovery: A Design Rescue Project

The Great Recovery

Not long after exploring the exhibition aisles and hearing the wise words of speakers and exhibitors do you realise that sustainability, ecology and social responsibility are the buzzwords of 100% Design this year and a core focus for everyone involved in design today.

The Great Recovery is an RSA project that embodies these concepts, and is certainly one stand worth dropping in on (E351).

Our current linear design setup of ‘take-make-dispose’ is now the cause of major environmental challenges. In response to these challenges, The Great Recovery seeks to fill the knowledge and innovation gaps associated with designing for a circular economy model.

One of the core aims of the project is to develop new professional networks between designers, material scientists, brands, manufacturers and recycling and recovery experts in order to shape new industrial opportunities. Head over to the stall to chat with the team, watch demonstrations and to discover how products and systems can be better designed.

While you’re there you’re also welcome to bring along small electrical items to be repaired or reused. A team from Bright Sparks in Islington are on hand to give these items a new lease of life and keep them out  of a landfill.

Find out more about these projects at /

Material Lab to launch its own pop-up gallery at 100% Design


Material Lab will be exhibiting at 100% Design this week , showcasing the latest innovative surfaces and materials.

They will be teaming up with Coba Europe, Formica Group, Johnson Tiles, Karndean Designflooring, modulyss and Tektura – turning their exhibition space into an unusual pop-up gallery of new products and trends using recycled crates and stands to mirror the look and feel of a real gallery.

When you are at 100% Design make sure to find them and get involved in their Instagram campaign if you take photo’s via Instagram of their stand and Tag your picture with #100MatLab they’ll display them during the event. They’ll also be a ‘What’s in the Crate?’ photo booth where you can have your picture taken with friends.

100% Design (19-22 September) come find us at stand E360 in Earls Court, London.

Luke Wilcox from The International Dialogue Network Talks to Despoke about their Seminar at 100%Design

What is the International Dialogue Network ?
The International Dialogue Network helps organisations in the Built Environment make global connections to develop their international business

We do this by fostering collaboration and communication between individuals, organisations, professions, sectors and cities across the globe; providing platforms that deliver market intelligence to understand and identify key markets and sectors; creating opportunities to network with like-minded organisations; providing access to industry and sector experts and thought leaders; creating opportunities to visit key markets and meet key contacts .

There has never been a more urgent need for cultures, communities and professionals to share their experience and expertise and the we enable firms to start to make sense of the opportunities in markets and sectors around the globe.

Can you tell us how your seminar will be structured ?
There will be 3 short presentations (5 minutes each) each about the panellists and their firms, where they are working overseas and more importantly why they targeted those markets and how they went about winning business there. These presentations will then lead on to a fuller discussion about how UK firms can best exploit the opportunities that exist overseas and the nuances between trying to win work in different cities/countries/regions. It will finish with audience Q&A.
Continue Reading…

FIXBOT from Sugru

The Future Needs Fixing.

Our starting point for this project was the excitement amongst inventors like ourselves about amazing new technology that can help us fix and make things in entirely new and advanced ways. What’s really the future of fixing though? We suspect it’s simpler than it seems – and it’s in our hands.

If the video has made you excited you can find out how to make one here:
You can see Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh the inventor of Sugru at 100% Seminars at the Seminar :CONNECTING COMMERCE – A NEW NEGOTIATION BETWEEN MAKERS AND MARKETS 15:00 – 15.45 Friday 21st September


Jonas Lindvall answers Despokes Questions

What made you want to become a designer in the first place?
I started out studying art, I found myself feeling a bit isolated doing that so I
changed direction a bit and started to study Architecture and Design.

Where did you study design?
I started out in Gothenburg, then I was a guest student at the RCA, and after that I was a guest student at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen.

What was the first thing you designed?
A telephone.
Continue Reading…

Nautilus II Table by Marc Fish

A wonderful combination of nature and computer power has produced this experimental table from Marc Fish.

Description from Marc Fish:

Nautilus was born in an environment of artist freedom: an experimental piece that has embraced modern computer aided technology and combined it with innovative constructional techniques. The layering of over 4000 individual pieces of walnut and sycamore veneer has created the logarithmic spiral found within the Nautilus shell. The proportions of the Nautilus shell never change, no matter how large their growth: these proportions follow the classical order of the Golden Ratio. A more perfect form might not be found. This perfection commonly found in nature is often the source of Marc’s inspiration. The table has a texture which replicates the outside of the shell, created by hand carving the fluted growth patterns. Inside a satin sheen has been created which runs smoothly round into the chambered area replicated in Japanese lace paper.


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