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Faye Toogood’s Trade Show

Faye Toogood mounted Trade Show during this year’s London Design Festival. Opting out of a traditional furniture fair model to launch her Spade Chair, the multi-talented British designer established a barter system with 50 of the UK’s leading creatives. The resulting showcase resembled a cabinet de curiosité.

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Photography by courtesy of Studio Toogood

Away from the endless slew of fair, festival, and design week showcases – especially in September – celebrated British designer Faye Toogood decided to take a different approach. Jesting with the double meaning of the word ‘trade,’ she established a barter system with 50 of the UK’s leading creatives, working in various domains. In exchange for one of her Spade Chairs (cast in a limited edition run of sandcast-aluminium), each of the diverse talents donated one exemplary object. Rather than a conventional furniture fair, Toogood’s result was an auto-curated collective cabinet de curiosité, mounted during London Design Festival (16 to 24 September). Painting a contemporary picture of British artistic; architectural; design- and craft-led prowess through an eclectic array of artefacts, the playful showcase championed the age old tradition of domestic collecting practices.

Trade Show also featured documentation of Toogood’s dialogue with each creative, how each employed the Spade Chair within their environments. The chair remained present throughout the exhibition; in different arrangements, playing different roles. Subtly poking fun at industry and monetary conventions, Trade Show pays tribute to the tradition of artists supporting fellow artists through the mutually beneficial swap of their creations. Rather than having to constantly succumb to the external pressures of mass or luxury consumption, talents can find solace within their own distinct yet diverse network of likeminded makers and thinkers.

Amongst the collage of furniture pieces, textiles, fashion accessories, housewares, tools, multi-purpose sculptural forms, decorative elements, video installations, and posters, highlights included Rolf Sachs’ Sisiphus shovel. Playing on the Greek myth, the apparatus was pierced with a large spherical hole; rendering it useless. The works on show ranged from Francis Upritchard’s Solicito Mamita baseball cap to Assemble’s Plaster Mould for Art by the Underground Commission Forms. Trade show also presented capsule-like pieces by TLmag favourites 6A Architects, Bethan Laura Wood, Fernando Laposse, Studio Frith, Marcin Rusak, Studio Marlène Huissoud, Martino Gamper, Max Lamb, Mototake Makishima, Peter Marigold, Soojin Kang, Studio Glithero, and The Museum of Everything,

Adding an additional layer to the holistic endeavour, food designer Arabeschi di Latte channelled folkloric superstitions to develop a bespoke incense–, dreamcatcher–, and holy-water–inspired cocktail, available during the run of the exhibition. 

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