Thursday, 25 September 2014


I'm on the mailing list of a series of iconic buildings (partly because I've been to events at them and partly because I like the idea of communication with the built/grown environment) and the Barbican mailed to tell me about Tent/Superbrands which well the name's not promising but it was something we hadn't done before, and the cost was low and the possibility of seeing something we had not seen before was high.

And although about interiors (mostly) there were items there for the gardener:

The vase cover (above) makes a wine-bottle flower vase into something altogether more DESIGNER. It was also from a social enterprise of some and therefore one of the few items on sale for £cheep. Mostly things were in the 1000s, or unpriceable, like the beautiful abalone-covered boulders, which would look amazing on your Ballardian terrace but which I suspect would delaminate spectacularly if exposed to anything resembling damp.

The aspirational (read: unaffordable) balcony furniture in chilli hot colours and curvy shapes and the gorgeous polished concrete were both very tactile and human - silky-smooth surfaces and containable sizes. Things you could fit into a modern (read: small) space. The cooling-tower storage tables were a particular hit. You could probably dump the lid, screw it to the floor and make a tall planter of it. Kniphofia maybe, in one of the acid pop colours.

There were design projects from various different countries, too - Korea was on a pleasingly domestic scale, objects of use centred around ordinary activities (tea making, gardening, accessories). The seed markers and planting kits inspired by the Sotdae which guard dwellings and villages were especially pleasing, as was an intensely desirable blue and white ceramic cold tea diffuser designed to go on top of your plastic water bottle. The angular bar furniture (above, right) had been rapid welded and topped with vinyl floor tiles. For rugs, stitched floor tiles edged with a job lot of tassels. Quick build, but with attention to detail, and for sale at normal garden furniture prices. Pretty!

But it was in the Old Truman Brewery so nothing was following us home unless it could be carried in an exhibition bag.

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