A plastic plug and a roll-up felt home are among the responses to a statistic London designers Okay Studio and Friends dug out for the London Design Festival: that “95 percent of those moving to London since 1995 were born outside the UK”.
All from outside London – and all but one born overseas – the group has first-hand experience of transient living conditions in the city. For Jorre van Ast erecting and dismantling furniture was the biggest irritant, so he designed a plastic plug that goes to the root of the problem. “In furniture joins are the most complicated part so I wanted to make a simple way of joining,” he says.
Most plastic items like phones and TVs are constructed with simple “snap fittings” and van Ast’s plug applies this technique to wood. The injection-moulded plug squeezes into drilled holes in the wooden surface, and a slit in the plug holds another sheet, locking it in with a small protruding catch.
For the show van Ast used this snap system to make a series of beautiful stained oak tables with fan-like bases but “you can make any pattern with it,” he says, so the furniture can be adapted to new places.
Roger Arquer’s response to the brief is three bar stools, “a reflection on the small spaces we live in here,” he says. The first is a wood stool with a glass seat, joined simply with ultraviolet bonding. His Sputnik stool is held in place with an inner metal structure that doubles as a footrest. But our favourite is the cantilever Stack stool, a minimal metal structure with a wooden footrest wedged into it using crimp and steam processes.
For Jordi Canudas, currently sofa-hopping after eight months backpacking, home has to be something that rolls up. His Homeless Sweet Home is a strip of felt that hangs from doors, incorporating a light, and Velcro backed amenities like mirrors and pouches. When it’s time to go, it rolls up, straps together, and can travel on your back to the next destination.