Scottish designers are showcasing the future of the hybrid home at London Design Festival

Edinburgh-based Local Heroes curatorial studio shares a sneak peek of its London Design Festival show which seeks to establish what the future of our homeware might look like.

25 August 2021

Now that working from home might look like the new normal for many of us indefinitely, what does this mean for the future of our homes’ interiors? How do we begin to accommodate a new workspace in our living spaces?

15 Scotland-based designers have presented 40 new design objects for a vision of this novel hybrid home including furniture, lighting and collectible craft as part of Brompton Design District at London Design Festival. The Future of Home curated by Local Heroes hopes to convey a sense of curiosity and discovery which it says can be found within Scotland’s dynamic design culture. It hopes to do this through new materials, innovative processes and designs on show courtesy of emerging designers and their latest products. The rising designers include Jeni Allison, Walac and Urpflanze.

Stacey Hunter, director of Local Heroes, felt it is important to highlight the new fluidity between workspace and living space for many people, especially those who don't live in large homes – “It's more important now than ever to maximise the utility of furniture and lighting. So why not have a dining table that's also a beautiful work desk?”

Hunter, talking through a few pieces, explains that, for example, the addition of a hidden drawer makes Simon's Harlow's piece “multifunctional as well as beautiful,” whilst Walac x Juli Bolaños-Durman have collaborated to create The Isles of WonderGlass, a series of one-of-a-kind lighting sculptures. Hunter relays they are “composed of piled-glass towers and fluted loops, reminiscent of funfairs and abstract scientific devices”, bringing “joy and fantasy into a space as well as the functionality of providing light. So many of the objects are about finding some happiness amidst the scarcity and isolation of the pandemic.”

Apart from these design elements, the show is about making our homes brighter, more tactile and more individual, says the director. She continues that “Nicholas Denney's side tables have this amazing condensed pattern that replicates the systems of natural geological forms – you can get lost in it. The Glasgow Triptych by James Rigler uses the language of grandiose buildings but splices it with humble object types: a shelf, a light, and a bench.” With this collection, it’s about the immediacy of design whilst prioritising comfort.


Rueben Paris: The Isles of WonderGlass by Walac x Juli Bolaños-Durman, The Glasgow Triptych by James Rigler, blanket by Jeni Allison (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)

For Hunter, the main challenge when curating “is the same one that most creative people are facing right now.” She claims that Brexit has created chaos so it was very hard for her to plan an exhibition or even a photoshoot because sourcing is difficult at this moment. It’s been interesting, though, for her to see how designers are adapting to this by becoming ever more resourceful. “For example”, she demonstrates, “Chalk Plaster, as well as producing its own pigments from minerals found on the beaches close to its studio, also use gypsum from recycled plasterboard and lime from oyster shells washed up along the coast of the Firth of Forth in order to produce its own, hyper-local materials.”

Although the design industry can be very “trend-led”, Stacye Hunter found it refreshing to have unconventional forms and approaches, “like Myatt-McCallum's concrete indoor/outdoor furniture and Bespoke Atelier's ‘no-rules’ wallpaper that doesn't need to be matched.”

All the exhibitors were chosen personally by Stacey Hunter. When I ask her to pick just a few to highlight, she explains that the Monstera-inspired chandelier by Urpflanze is “just amazing; it's so irreverent and unique. I love designs that have an irrepressible glee about them.” Whilst she says Mirrl's Fossil material is adaptable – “they've made a table for us but it could also be a kitchen counter or a statement shelf, and the narrative of the little inclusions or 'mini histories' as Mirrl put it, is so compelling.”

Another of the pieces, one of the first to be completed, was Walac's Proposition Numéro Un shelving system, “I fell in love with it immediately and can't wait to see it installed in the exhibition which has a lot of natural daylight which will show off its playful use of shadow and light.” Studio Sam Buckley's rug produced in collaboration with cc. tapis of Milan has very unusual topographic qualities, points out Hunter, and Pavilion Pavilion are creating a custom stained glass window for Local Heroes at the gallery entrance.

The show will run from the 18 to 26 September at the London Design Festival.


Rueben Paris: Blanket by Hilary Grant (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: Proposition Numéro Un by Walac (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: The Glasgow Triptych by James Rigler (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: Chandelier by Urpflanze (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: Furniture by Chalk Plaster (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: Wallpaper by Bespoke Atelier and Blanket by Jeni Allison (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)


Rueben Paris: Shelf by Walac and chair by Myatt-McCallum (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)

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Rueben Paris: Furniture by Urpflanze, Simon Harlow and Chalk Plaster (Copyright © Local Heroes, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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