Top Drawer London 2013: my day in photos
You know when you really want to do something or go somewhere and every year it comes around and your desire builds to be able to just go? Well I’ve had that feeling for the past 2 years when it comes to Design Trade Shows in London. You can relate to my yearning to go and soak up the design world if you feel the same way about stationery shops; Paperchase, ORDNING&REDA®, Fred Aldous and pretty much any local art shop, they all have that draw for me (excuse the pun).
This isn’t a post just about stationery shops however, this is a visual feast of design, colour, products, gifts and stationery all under the Top Drawer London Olympia roof. Yes finally, after 2 years of trying to justify a trip I finally felt that the time was right to visit Top Drawer as research and development for Pink Blue & You. The wait was well worth it, the show lived-up to my expectations, the whole day was one great big fat dose of design inspiration for me. I likened it to being fed ideas, advice, solutions and stimulus for 5 hours, sounds a little extreme, but this was me out in London for the day and I was there to make the most of it!
I chatted to designers, asked questions about their businesses and experiences, took photos and soaked up the buzzing colourful atmosphere in the cavernous hall inside London Olympia. And in order to give you a snapshot of what that felt like, I’ve uploaded loads of my photos to give you an idea of my day, along with notes on each stand, it’s an epic post but you can always just scroll down and “ooo” & “ahhh” at all the colours.
Aarevalo contemporary home and lighting accessories. Bathed in sunlight, this stand blew me away with all the colours. Heaven for the executive toy-lover, as well as stationery geeks like me Oh and I love the trestle table legs.
‘Green Pin’, below, you’d want the astroturf in your office too!
Timbergram wooden cards. A company I’ve been interested in for a while, they print cards onto wood as people used to many moons ago. I had a chat with Jack, one of the key guys there about printing my montages, watch this space for more news on that.
Londji toys and games. I drew a sharp intake of breath when I saw this stand, I loved everything about it. The Londji brand is Spanish, with a really lovely ethos and feel about it, just looking at their website you get a sense of what they’re about: Art, toys and games for kids from 3 to 103 years old.
I grabbed this from their website, no wonder their stand was busy with retailers wanting to stock their products.
- Imagination at its best.
- We claim the right to be kids without being discriminated for age reasons.
- We educate kids’ stetical taste, they are our future.
- We give toys the dignity they deserve.
- Sharing is part of the game. Playing is spending a good time with the people you love.
- We bring back forgoten toys. They always appreciate it!
- We want to be honest as our grandparents taught us.
Loving the idea of a reversible jigsaw puzzle, and with these illustrations they definitely bring out the inner kid in me. I want to play!
Forgive me, I didn’t make a note of this stand but I did have a feel and a play with these rubber-clad notebooks in all their fab colours!
Katie Leamon greetings cards. The precision of Katie’s stand made me stop and stare, lots of card stands were designed in this way but I loved her cardboard lettering and bull dog clips.
Lovi DIY wooden figures. Yes there’s a theme running through these photos, I am slightly obsessed by wood! I bought my husband one of these intricate Lovi birds for his birthday, it comes as a flat piece and you assemble it yourself. I love the mix of plain birch plywood and the bright bold colours, simple yet elegant, and on my Christmas list.
Art House Meath cards and wallpaper. As well as wood I’m also a big fan of neon, which is why this stand appealed to me initially. On closer inspection I found out that Art House Meath is a social enterprise celebrating artistic talents of adults with epilepsy and learning difficulties. I just love the illustrations, the colours and the meaning of what this is all about; these cards should be stocked everywhere, they’re cute, creative, colourful and quirky and I love them.
Ruth Jackson’s Pencil Shaving cards. At first sight this stand confused me a little, I saw the pencils and the lady sat sharpening them and then I saw the display of cards behind. The penny dropped when I looked closely at the rows of designs, each with a tiny section of sharpening and a simple illustration and caption. These innovative cards are made with a small section of a pencil shaving carefully placed within a drawing! And it’s someone’s job to sit and sharpen coloured pencils all day!! Weird thing is the pencils don’t get used, there’s a children’s story in there somewhere I reckon.
Chatty Feet socks with tongue in cheek characters for men and their boys; father and son, uncle and nephew, grandpa and grandson. I got chatting to Gil, Co-founder of this fun-loving company, who is very passionate about his socks. Chatty Feet is the perfect antidote to growing up and feeling like an old man! Characters include Murdoc Socks, Prof. Brian Sox Socks and Mr Zukkato Socks, and now they come in children’s sizes as well as grown-ups. Cute, and perfect for Christmas presents, Father’s Day and Birthdays.
I’m all for adding a pop of colour to your walls, and here’s another fun way to do it with Burger doodles colour-in wallpaper. Keep your kids entertained for hours! I asked why it’s called Burger and it’s simply because the business was set-up by Mr Burgermann.
Top Drawer wasn’t all designer products and gifts, this stand was all about a brand new idea for an umbrella. This is the Rainshader; a brolly that covers your shoulders and lets you see where you’re going. Good idea, but will it catch on?
One of the friendly ladies I chatted to was Rachel from Lollipop Designs on her stationery stand, look at these cute origami notepaper characters…
and her rubber bands that wrap around the box as you would ribbon, clever hey!
Stencilling in wood by Victoria Eggs, mounted on this hugely popular grey background. (Hmm, I like this grey background, note to self for Pink Blue & You stand).
Kutuu hand-made trinkets and jewellery. This was my absolute favourite stand, what a beautifully unique way to showcase her solid pewter trinkets, jewellery and gifts. The combination of black chalkboard, rustic wood, yellow bunting and clever lighting make her small products stand out like gems shining in the night.
Spot the single item and it’s luggage tag placed in the centre of the huge chest, instantly adding value and intrigue.
Cool hey? Thanks to all the creative peeps who chatted to me about their businesses, as you can tell I loved my day at Top Drawer and have loads of ideas for developing Pink Blue & You. And yes, I did imagine being at the show with my future designs, one day!!