Contemporary crafts step outside the box at Decorex

The Future Heritage showcase champions boundary-pushing interior design

Argon and mercury-filled neon table light by Jochen Holz, from £1,800
Argon and mercury-filled neon table light by Jochen Holz, from £1,800

The huge success of Future Heritage, the contemporary crafts showcase within interiors fair Decorex, lies in its DNA. Instead of just presenting work to buy, its curator Corinne Julius actively encourages exhibitors to explore concepts they’ve never tackled previously. This approach generates ideas that homeowners, interior designers and architects can develop through their own commissions – and has created a thrilling new level of sophistication in craftwork.

Copper, glass, sea fern and plastic Aquatopia water vessel by Katrin Spranger, £1,450-£5,200
Copper, glass, sea fern and plastic Aquatopia water vessel by Katrin Spranger, £1,450-£5,200 | Image: Sylvain Deleu

For this year’s edition – the fifth, from September 16 to 19 – Julius has selected a diverse mix of skills. Jochen Holz is one of very few glassblowers specialising in lampwork using laboratory-grade borosilicate. Expanding upon his usual tabletop wares, Holz employs free-flowing glass forms to create dramatic neon sculptures (table lights from £1,800). In contrast, London-based designer James Shaw has produced a fountain (£7,500), console table (£4,500) and stools (£800 each) that build on his experimental Plastic Baroque series, in which furniture is made from recycled plastic using a hand-operated extruding gun. 

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Equally experimental are Katrin Spranger’s Aquatopia vessels (£1,450-£5,200), in which electroformed copper combines with glass to conjure the appearance of growth and decay – a commentary about the human impact on fresh water supplies. Time, nature and interconnectivity are considered in London Studio Ayaskan’s Trace clocks (£27,000), which employ a UV-activated, light-sensitive liquid to throw cycles of colour on walls, ceilings and tabletops as time passes.

Hand-modelled ceramic Four Seasons sculpture by Kaori Tatebayshi, from £12,000
Hand-modelled ceramic Four Seasons sculpture by Kaori Tatebayshi, from £12,000

Meanwhile, the natural world is given a new twist by Japanese ceramicist Kaori Tatebayashi. Inspired by flowers found in Syon Park, her delicate, hand-modelled sculptures (from £12,000) are likely to spark ideas for decorative wall treatments. Plant life is also explored by design duo Glithero, whose new series of bespoke tin-glazed botanical tiles (price on request) originate from hand-drawn images of weeds collected on London pavements. Foraged seaweed, applied to the photosensitive surfaces of huge vases (from £6,450), activate the porcelain’s silvery salts to create permanent monochrome images.

Porcelain and seaweed UV-print Silverware vase by Glithero, from £6,450
Porcelain and seaweed UV-print Silverware vase by Glithero, from £6,450

Also breaking the mould is Tord Boontje, whose glass/metal disc light (£6,000) and metal strut chair (£3,600) are distinct departures from his usually delicate approach. And – encouraged by Julius – jeweller Marlene McKibbin has collaborated for the first time with textile designer Alison White to create resin table lamps (from £380) with colourful fabric shades.

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Curatorial input like this makes Future Heritage an unmissable show in autumn’s design calendar.

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