The Makers’ Market will see a host of design-led brands and makers in residence at The Royal Exchange from 20-24 September, as part of the 2021 London Design Festival (LDF). Created in collaboration with the LDF team, the event will showcase eight independent brands, encompassing a range of goods and disciplines – from glassware, furniture and fabrics to woven jewellery and leather goods. The brands will exhibit and sell their unique, handcrafted products in a specially created pop-up space on the mezzanine level of the grand central courtyard.
‘We’re excited to see The Makers’ Market come to life in this historic space and shine a spotlight on British craftsmanship,’ says director and co-founder of LDF, Ben Evans. ‘The carefully curated selection of designers will present new work from across a wide range of creative disciplines. All the products will be handmade and handcrafted in the UK, using craftsmanship techniques and classical materials including textiles, leather, ceramic and wood, many of which will be used in new and innovative ways.’
The Royal Exchange celebrates its 450th anniversary this year, founded by Sir Thomas Gresham as one of the first specialist commercial centres in the world. One of London’s most iconic buildings, it was officially opened in 1571 by Queen Elizabeth I, who awarded the premises its royal title and a licence to sell alcohol and valuable goods. ‘The building has a rich history as a destination for handmade products and luxury collectibles, and The Makers’ Market will be drawing on this tradition,’ says Evans.
The Makers’ Market celebrates the ability to combine traditional skills with visionary thinking, by providing a platform for today’s pioneering makers. Each exhibitor has been selected for their innovative interpretation of traditional crafts and materials to create unique and distinctive pieces – see below for details of the exhibitors taking part.
The Royal Exchange
Evans co-founded LDF with Sir John Sorrell in 2003, with the ambition to create an annual event that would promote London as the design capital of the world. ‘We aimed to bring together some of the country’s greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to deliver an unmissable celebration and to provide a platform for designers to tell their stories,’ says Evans. ‘Nearly 20 years on, our objective hasn’t changed. If anything, the festival is more important than ever this year to ensure that our thriving design scene can get back on track to where it was prior to the pandemic.’
From its prominent position at the heart of the City of London, The Royal Exchange community reflects the changes that are taking place in the City with regards to diversity, purpose and equality, through projects and initiatives that promote and support creativity, philanthropy and thought leadership.
‘London is an incredibly vibrant city and a cultural powerhouse, with 1 in every 6 people employed in the creative sector,’ says Evans. ‘Although the City of London is the commercial centre of the capital, it is uniquely situated only a stone’s throw from many of London’s leading creative businesses and studios and is a melting pot of ideas and personalities. As such, we have found that the area has a captive audience with a strong appetite for design. This is what makes the festival unique. We’re not only catering to designers and design businesses but to as wide an audience as possible, who we hope to inspire in new ways.’
MEET THE MAKERS:
Blackpop is a unique, timeless, and quintessentially British patterned print and home decor design house and will be showcasing some of its cushions at The Makers’ Market. All its designs have stories – mostly culturally significant – for example, Blackpop’s ‘Tudors Deconstructed’ Collection was made in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, where it chose to deconstruct their world-renowned Tudor portraits; blackpop.co.uk
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Blackpop founder Maxine Hall here.
Rekha Barry is an architect based in Glasgow. Rekha Maker was started during lockdown to explore and test architectural motifs in a playful way. Alongside her assistant, Rekha creates slow-made and sustainable homeware. Rekha will be showcasing her architecturally minded, sustainable range which includes a water tower-inspired vase, minimal candle holders and plant stands; rekhamaker.com
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Rekha Maker founder Rekha Barry here.
Allaster Grant is an artist based in South Wales; he also practices in London, Brecon and throughout Europe, analysing and recording the places that he encounters through the mediums of drawing and photography. While showcasing at The Makers’ Market, A|G Drawings will be selling internal and external drawings of The Royal Exchange, as well as drawings of the Temple Bar area and wider London; agdrawings.com
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Allaster Grant here.
Hung Studios, founded by Tamzin Lillywhite, creates leather plant hangers and home accessories. It uses responsibly sourced leather, buying everything from local suppliers in London, and also offers vegan options; hungstudios.co.uk
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Hung Studios founder Tamzin Lillywhite here.
Studio Mito is a London-based weave studio focusing on slow design. It is run by Millie, who believes weaving is an important way to keep craft alive, consciously making and sustainably producing. Millie will be showcasing hand-woven jewellery, including cuff bracelets and earrings, at The Makers’ Market; studiomito.co.uk
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Studio Mito founder Millie Thomas here.
Samantha Sweet makes glass using the human hand and judgement, aiming to create objects that are more personal, relatable and enjoyable to use. Samantha will be showcasing her new recessed light chandelier at The Maker’s Market. Sweet Spot is a new concept in lighting, transforming an LED recessed light into a pendant light and back again. It can be changed in minutes, making it a great solution for modern interiors. This recessed light chandelier is a versatile fibre optic design ready to shimmer when you want it to. Samantha will also be showcasing her hand blown and individually engraved crystal bottles; samanthasweet.com
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Samantha Sweet here.
Rye & Moor
Rye & Moor will be selling pieces from its collection of furniture, textiles and homewares featuring its own contemporary bold graphic prints – simply designed and thoughtfully made. This show will see the inclusion of its newest line ‘Roddy’, a strikingly simple birchwood footstool, handmade in Lewes and unholstered in a selection of Rye & Moor’s signature prints; ryeandmoor.co.uk
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Rye & Moor c0- founders Alex and Lucy here.
London-based hand embroidery artist Susannah Weiland incorporates mother nature in her beautifully detailed decorative cushions, furnishings and wallpaper. Combining a a background in fashion and graphic design, Susannah’s elegant designs explore her love of tonal black and white pencil drawings offset by colourful details of delicate hand embroidery. susannahweiland.co.uk
Meet the maker: read our Q&A with Susannah Weiland here.
All products will be available to purchase from The Royal Exchange Makers’ Market during London Design Festival.
The Makers’ Market at The Royal Exchange will be in residence daily from Monday 20 September – Friday 24 September 2021, 10.30am – 6pm