Sustainability and storytelling, the keys to longevity and connection in design from London Design Fair 2023.

Here are our insights and reflections from our experience at London Design Fair 2023, where sustainability and storytelling intertwine to shape the future of design. London Design Fair is not just for visual design inspiration but also gave us valuable insight into the keys to longevity and connection in contemporary design.

Storytelling in design creating a powerful bridge between users, the environment and products.

Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, founders of London-based 2LG Studio were named “the rising stars of the interiors scene” by The Sunday Times. Their talk at London Design Fair 2023 was titled “Narrative matters: how interiors can (and should) tell stories.” They discussed their style known as ‘Joyful Minimalism’ and how storytelling plays a huge part in their interior design projects. They do this by including the history of the space, the experiences and identity of the clients and a bit of themselves in each design. The spaces they create evoke positivity with a strong emotional quality, and can be identified by their signature use of colour and pattern.



One of the highlights of the design fair was the concept space by 2LG Studio. The story they were telling with this installation was trying to break into the design industry and inclusivity. The space was curated like a dining room, with a long table and chairs designed by emerging designers. The designers who are different races, nationalities and genders were invited to bring their creations together for ‘a seat at the table’ Textile brand Granite + Smoke, also produced colourful blankets, hung like wall tapestries with the message ‘you can sit with us’.

During their talk, 2LG discussed beginning their careers as designers nearly 10 years ago. Having started their careers on different paths, finding their place in the design community took time and hurdles they had to overcome. Hence why they wanted to provide a platform for others to come together and showcase their designs.

This was perfect example of how storytelling in design creates a powerful bridge between users and products. We believe by infusing retail design with compelling stories, it transforms spaces into dynamic brand experiences, leaving a lasting impact with customers that goes beyond aesthetics, forging a meaningful and enduring connection.


Sustainable material innovation.

Sustainability was front and centre in many displays at London Design Fair, very evident in the materials on display. Ranging from materials made from waste products, recycled and also natural biodegradable matter. As retail design specialists, we seek any opportunity to learn about new sustainable materials and technologies. Incorporating sustainable material choices in retail design not only reduces environmental impact but also communicates a brand’s commitment to responsible practices, resonating positively with eco-conscious consumers.



A new and completely sustainable material is by Seastex. Byssus, also known as mussel beards, is a natural fibre formed in mussels, it is inedible and becomes waste. They have developed an all-natural treatment process that effectively cleanses this waste product and transforms the fibres into a uniform sustainable material, referred to as ‘Seawool’ This breakthrough textile is produced into boards that can be used as a sustainable alternative to traditional insulation, and is excellent for acoustics and heat retention.

MushLume are lights that are grown, not manufactured, using hemp and mycelium. Mycelium is the roots of a mushroom, it is very fast growing and the process of biofabrication, growing and moulding the light shades is far more sustainable than traditional manufacturing techniques. The beautifully designed light shades are organic in appearance and will change colour as they age over time.



The Cork Senses Lounge with walls and furniture created from cork by Spectroom, was visually striking and encouraged interaction between the sustainable material and visitors. Cork is a fantastic sustainable material, with multiple uses including wall covering, flooring, contemporary furniture and insulation.

In the world of retail design, the incorporation of cork can be a versatile and sustainable solution, adding both aesthetic appeal and sustainability to retail design. Cork, derived from the bark of the cork oak tree, is a renewable resource, as harvesting the bark does not harm the tree and allows it to regenerate. Its natural texture and warm tones create a visually pleasing and tactile experience for customers, adding a touch of organic elegance to retail spaces. Beyond its aesthetic allure, the environmental benefits of cork are significant. This sustainable material boasts low environmental impact throughout its life cycle, from cultivation to production. Cork is also a great insulation, contribute to energy efficiency. It is durable ensuring longevity and reducing the need for frequent replacements.

In conclusion, our key takeaway from London Design Fair 2023 was the profound impact of storytelling and sustainability in design. 2LG Studio highlighted the power of narratives in their ‘Joyful Minimalism’ style. Their concept space was not only the most eye-catching exhibition but also championed breaking barriers within the design industry. As we explored the fair, the prevalent use of sustainable materials, innovations like Seawool and MushLume, underscored the importance of developments in sustainable practices. In our own approach to retail design, we recognise that developing a compelling brand experience is done through storytelling and now more than ever including sustainable choices throughout the design process. Creating not just spaces but enduring brand experiences, that engage customers and lead to business success.


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