Collectors of high-quality contemporary craft are increasingly finding design fairs a fruitful alternative to galleries now that major fairs are devoting space to innovative artisanal work. A debut British Craft Pavilion at this month’s London Design Fair is supported by the UK’s Crafts Council, which also introduced selected British craftmakers at an in-fair feature at Design Miami/Basel in June. And groundbreaking techniques and new materials come under the spotlight this month at Future Heritage, a crisply curated crafts showcase now in its third edition at London interiors fair Decorex. As Decorex brand director Simone Du Bois puts it: “Collectable crafts were previously an overlooked area, but now the market is taking notice.”
“This is cutting-edge craft,” says Future Heritage curator Corinne Julius. “I call it ‘brain’ craft because these makers are rethinking processes and pushing craft in new directions.” She cites Jesper Eriksson, a recent Royal College of Art graduate, whose glossy black wall and floor tiles (£500 per sq m) are made from polished coal. Or take design duo Attua Aparicio Torinos and Oscar Lessing of Silo Studio, which has developed a process using dyed marble to create distinctive coffee tables (from £3,000) and is also showing its experimental Newton’s Bucket series of vessels (from £3,500, third picture) made from Jesmonite, a composite resin.
Innovative lighting is also in evidence. Hideki Yoshimoto of London-based brand Tangent is showing the intriguing Inaho chandelier (£22,000) and has collaborated on the Kihou light (£1,100) with Vezzini & Chen, who artfully combine hand-carved ceramics with blown glass.
Collectors will be particularly drawn to Ashraf Hanna’s colourful kiln-cast glass vessels (from £4,500) and dramatic yet serene ceramics (from £2,750, fourth picture). Other eye-catchers are Juliette Bigley’s chunky bowls made from silver, gilding metal and Jesmonite (from £4,700, second picture), Alicja Patanowska’s sculptural ceramic/glass vessels (from £360) and Phil Cuttance’s visually complex, herringbone-patterned vases (from £3,350, first picture), faceted coffee table (£3,500) and drinks cabinet (£10,750), all made from Jesmonite.
Appropriately, the fair’s location at Syon Park inspires several makers. British ceramicist Tamsin van Essen is showing vessels (from £1,400) based on Syon House’s plasterwork, employing a process in which porcelain is inserted to cause cracks and distortions within the ceramics. And Katie Spragg’s engaging clay sculptures (from £430) feature ceramic grasses based on those seen at Syon Park. Many makers will be on hand to talk about their work and are happy to accept bespoke commissions.