Tradition meets modernity in design from around the world

By 16th October 2015 Cultural twists No Comments

It’s a very exciting time for the design industry, with so many new methods, processes and possibilities made possible by the digital and technological revolution, whilst having so much history and tradition to look back on.

It’s well-known that the UK, especially London, has been getting really good at design for some time now, with increasing diversification in terms of disciplines and communities, but other countries are getting ever more able and empowered to present their own design and designers – both as individual, but also collective brands – which in itself can be interesting and inspiring, but an also be a fascinating window into their respective cultures.

We did our best to get around as much of the recent London Design Festival as we could, vast and sprawling it was, and we picked up on a number of themes, in terms of general cultural and creative trends. (All our photos here on flickr). Nevertheless, for our key post, we thought we’d pull out a few Cultural Twists, notably from countries who aren’t so well known for design on the international stage (mostly at Tent London – the recurring theme here in most cases being design with one foot in the past/tradition (methods, materials), and one in the present/future (aesthetics, processes).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

INDIA : practical and primitive meets refined and sophisticated, with some chaos thrown in

13,000 bricks reflected the ubiquitous use of the brick as a material in western India, whilst old newspapers were ‘up-cycled’ into a very effective and atmospheric ceiling.

India-recycled-newspapers-and-floor-tiles5

13,000 bricks made into a floor by architectural practice ACME

Meanwhile Wall of 2oo Pieces [of stainless steel dinnerware and famous tiffin box] represented ‘India at its most resourceful’. “We like the way it induces a visual chaos akin to the street scenes of India. When parts touch we hear the sound of Indian kitchens.”

India-recycled-newspapers-and-floor-tiles9

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

KOREA : the best of tradition with modern innovation, done ‘simple, calm & subtle’ 

Under the exhibition title of Constancy & Change, the Korean products showed an aesthetically divine combination of classical and traditional crafts at work, with a contemporary appearance – in line with the concept of “Su-su, Deom-deom, Eun-eun” (simple, calm, subtle) – which totally resonates from what we’ve learned (and brought back) from our own trips to Korea!

Long line of bowls, gradually decreasing / increasing in size

Long line of bowls, gradually decreasing / increasing in size


The bowls then stack like this - a bit like Russian dolls!

The bowls then stack like this – a bit like Russian dolls!


Woven paper bowls and paper kites

Woven paper bowls and paper kites


Porcelain bowls

Porcelain bowls

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

POLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC : marrying a long heritage of craftsmanship and tradition with the modernity and inventiveness that anchors these countries in their Westernised present

Hand-crafted ceramic plates, each one telling a tale of the process of how it came into being

Ceramic plates, hand-crafted in Poland, each one telling a tale of the process of how it came into being


Hand-crafted glass lights, made in Czech Republic

Hand-crafted glass lights, made in Czech Republic


Could have stepped out of a sci-fi film - or an old hair salon - but actually lights made out of hand-made glass, in Czech Republic

Could have stepped out of a sci-fi film – or an old hair salon – but actually lights made out of hand-made glass, in Czech Republic

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

IRELANDtrue craftsmanship, a passion for raw materials and big on heritage.

Always with a twist to keep things fresh

Always with a twist to keep things fresh


Amazing shelving made out of trees brought over from Ireland

Amazing shelving made out of trees brought over from Ireland


Unusual ceramic designs

Unusual ceramic designs

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AUSTRALIA : nature meets innovation, like its vast landscape meets its progressive cities

about as realistic as floor (and wall) coverings can get!

about as realistic as floor (and wall) coverings can get!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TAIWAN : showing they care, and are (more) able (and willing?) to speak up for issues they feel strongly about (than the Chinese on mainland China). 

CASE project create everyday objects that illustrate environmental and social issues such as air and litter pollution, oil spillages at sea, and cruelty to sharks.

chalk made from  the byproducts of burning low quality coal (bituminous coal or lignite), widely used in developing countries as fuel.

chalk made from the byproducts of burning low quality coal (bituminous coal or lignite), widely used in developing countries as fuel.


sushi/sashimi dip bowls to remind you of ships spilling oil and polluting the fish in seas

sushi/sashimi dip bowls to remind you of ships spilling oil and polluting the fish in seas

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

LITHUANIA : own identity and traditions coming through now as confidence grows outside of the country, with plenty of emotion – and wit. 

mood moon loudspeaker, a multi-sensory music experience

mood moon loudspeaker, a multi-sensory music experience

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CHINA : Traditional art and culture meets modern aesthetics and hi-technology

100-design-China-chubby-chappie-totem-pole

wearable technology from China : jackets that charge technology

wearable technology from China : jackets that charge technology

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ITALY : design still stylish, modern, attractive and clever. 

hanging fruit bowls from Southern Italy

hanging fruit bowls from Southern Italy

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SCANDINAVIA : still doing contemporary minimalism with great aesthetics, using as many natural materials as possible, and always innovating.

Norwegian chandelier

Norwegian chandelier


Finnish wood-cut trees and much-loved storybook characters

Finnish wood-cut trees and much-loved storybook characters

Tent-London-Finland-LOVI-wood-cut-Moomin-characters

Leave a Reply