At its inception, Tent London, an exposition for fresh and emerging design talent, had just 80 exhibitors. Still, this proved a firm foundation and the trade fair’s reputation grew exponentially. As well as independent designers and studios, Tent London was enticing various respected global brands. In order to facilitate the increasing numbers of these prodigious design ventures, Super Brands London was created in 2010. Moreover, Tent London recognised the valuable contribution of design from individual countries. As a consequence, it introduced new country pavilions, beginning in 2011 with 100% Norway.
Fast-forward to 2015 and Tent London, Super Brands London and the Country Pavilions have established themselves as must-see exhibitions at the London Design Festival, their combined contribution pivotal to the Festival’s year-on-year success. Twelve country pavilions participated in 2015’s Tent London show, each one presenting up to 50 designers and companies in a coherently curated format. In all, last year Tent London collectively hosted 451 exhibitors - independent designers and studios, global brands and country showcases - from 29 different countries worldwide. It is the London Design Festival’s most comprehensive and international show.
From the beginning, the Old Truman Brewery, sited in London’s eclectic and energetic East End, has been home to Tent London. Part of a thriving creative scene, one encouraged by huge areas of urban development, the Old Truman Brewery is east London’s primary destination for independent trade fairs. Occupying a mere four spaces in 2007, Tent London and Super Brands London took up residence across nine halls over two floors at the Old Truman Brewery in 2015. This year, a third floor with the capacity of 3,500 square metres will be added to the show, taking the overall size to a momentous 12,500 square meters.
With ten years in the making, it is a perfect time to think about the next phase of Tent London. As an exhibition, it has become adept at championing new designers, attracting global brands and showcasing countries. What’s more, it has proven successful in connecting designers and brands with buyers, users, agents, media and specifiers. Tent London and Super Brands London have nurtured the sole aim to provide London’s most ambitious and pertinent design trade fairs. Fulfilling this aim on every occasion over the past ten years, it is now time to combine brand and function and present the new “London Design Fair”.
This is an exciting and hugely significant development for the organisers of Tent London. Founder and Director, Jimmy MacDonald, explains: “The London Design Fair is an umbrella brand for Tent London and Super Brands London alongside the other shows we host, for example, 100% Norway and the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland. With the addition of the third-floor space at the Old Truman Brewery, we will be hosting further group shows, country showcases, and themed exhibitions, affording these key facets even greater visibility. For our new name, we decided on the London Design ‘Fair’, in part drawing inspiration from Europe, a region where we carry out a great deal of business and where ‘Fair’ is a familiar term.”
The London Design Fair is the place where different countries will launch their designers and brands, introducing new products to the UK market. A partner of the 2016 London Design Festival, the London Design Fair will now include two days for trade visitors only, followed by two days for trade and the public. The Fair will provide a wonderful platform from which to build fruitful relationships: retail buyers and agents will discover a wealth of new brands; architects and interior designers will spot imaginative trends and ideas; and the design-savvy or curious visitor will have their creative cravings sated.
With a new name, a clear vision and a plethora of keen design developments, the London Design Fair is perfectly poised and ready to captivate visitors to this year’s London Design Festival.
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Shoreditch Town Hall
380 Old Street
Old Truman Brewery
26 Hanbury Street