Eastern promise

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Face it – Christmas shopping is a nightmare and here at Glass, we’re no better at it than anyone else.  Over the last few weeks, we have ventured out into the freezing London weather with the very best of intentions to find thoughtful gifts for our loved ones.  One for Mum, one for me. One for Dad, one for me. One for me, one for me … oops.

On approaching the East London Design Show last week, therefore, we were at the point of needing to take out our entire Christmas Shopping List in one foul swoop. And while we didn’t manage to find a pressie for Aunty Jane – who has terrible taste and insists on vouchers for Christmas – we can smugly report that pretty much everyone else was catered for. Well done ELDS.

Housed in the beautiful environs of Shoreditch Town Hall, an area of London splitting at the seams with creative and innovative talent, the East London Design show is an annual exhibition showcasing the work of both emerging and established designers. Hundreds of stalls are set up over a long weekend with designers selling everything from jewellery to posters to clocks. A design-lovers’ delight.

Since you’ve missed out on attending this year, Glass has picked out five firm favourites for you to seek out online or at next year’s show.

Sexy plumbing from Nick Fraser
Nick Fraser’s designs speak for themselves. They are fun, quirky and original whilst slick and contemporary. Made in the UK, with many of his pieces handcrafted in his design studio, Fraser’s pieces are designed to last. Glass’ personal favourites from the ELDS are his Pipework Series – a collection of brightly coloured coat racks, candlesticks and other pieces which look like the pipes in your home … but hotter.

Cool Cartography from the Future Mapping Company
Ever wondered why maps are printed in such boring colours? Map-lover and designer Marcus Kirby had the same thought and set about designing a series of wall plans which “combine the alluring integrity of maps with design”. With striking colour palettes and a graphic designer’s eye, the maps are beautiful in their simplicity.

Delicate Luxury from Vanessa Conyers
If Marie-Antoinette was a piece of pottery, she would look like one of Vanessa Conyers’ designs. Pretty, lavish, layered, textured and completely individual, her pieces look too precious to use, each one of them a work of art. Glass was particularly enamoured by her Inside Out collection – wonky espresso cups with black lace exteriors and a brightly coloured jewel-like interior.

Sew Sew Pretty designs from By Hand
Glass’ penultimate pick is one for the fashionistas, design-lovers and crafty-fingered alike.  Hoping to revive the trend for handmade clothes Charlotte Hintzen and Elisalex De Castro Peake started their company By Hand in October this year. Together they design and produce sewing patterns for retro-feeling dresses and skirts which you can make and customise to suit your mood. These ladies are as cute as the dresses and skirts that they have designed and were both at the show sporting their own patterns, tailored for the day.

Natural Beauties from Urbanara
Urbanara’s motto is “if we wouldn’t have it in our home, we wouldn’t have it in yours” – which suits us perfectly; since this is the exact same approach that the Glass team take to their Christmas shopping. Made from 100 per cent natural materials and ethically sources and traded, Urbanara seek out beautiful objects from across the globe.  Glass was delighted to spot their cosy Gotland blankets. Snug as a bug in a rug.

by Emilie Lemons

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Glass Online architecture and design writer

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