Designs of the times

Rubber floors, sliding boxes on springs and chairs that change to suit the sitter: just some of the eye-catching exhibits at the 100% Design Show.
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The Independent Culture
For a preview of new millennium style, head for the 1999 100% Design Show, which opens its doors to the public next week. 100% Design is the largest and arguably the most influential annual event for contemporary designers. Although big names will be well represented (Philippe Starck, Jasper Morrison and Antonio Citterio will all be showing new work), the Crafts Council Bursary, created in 1998, also ensures that talented up- and-coming designers, all new to the show, are able to exhibit at a reduced rate. So you can expect some surprises, for example, from first-time exhibitors Curve & Co, displaying on the Hille stand, who claim to have completely revolutionised the chair. Almost all the objects on display at 100% Design will be available to buy, and anyone who still can't find exactly what they're looking for can commission directly from many of the designers. The following stands are well worth a visit:

Stand E54: Dalsouple will be launching "Granita", rubber flooring with a hammerblow texture, giving the impression of a plain, solid colour but with the extra slip resistance of a textured surface.

Stand F9: Eurolounge, a new exhibitor, is celebrating the European launch of the new Block lights by Tom Dixon. Star-shaped, they can be stacked or built into a wall. The stand will also feature Michael Young's new Stick light and Tom Dixon's other recent designs for lighting, all using polyethylene.

Stand H70: Gitta Gschwendtner and Carl Clerkin are new exhibitors and recipients of one of the Crafts Council's bursaries. Of particular interest are Gitta's sliding boxes, mounted on a spring mechanism, which move when loaded down with weight.

Stand E32: Go to the Inflate stand to see the first UK showing of the Memo chair designed by Ron Arad. Memo can transform itself within seconds from a soft bean bag to a hard seat, memorising the sitter's imprint (try it in public if you are fully confident about your "imprint"), or even be shaped into a paddling pool. They can also be produced in the customer's choice of size, shape and fabric; examples in leather and hi-tech sheepskins will be on the stand.

Stand H42: New exhibitor Oyl is launching its Light Year 2000, a sculptural light combining the firm's trademark woven wire with a light source and a spun aluminium cone base.

Stand A26: The Big Bean rotation moulded plastic rocking chair from young design company Sponge has just been chosen to appear in the Unesco-funded Chic Chinois exhibition, to be held in Beijing over the millennium. Look for the CD rack (pictured, right) made out of wire cubes welded together to form an architectural tower.

Stand F30: Viaduct will celebrate its tenth anniversary at this year's show as the primary source of European contemporary furniture in the UK. New products to be launched include stacking chairs by Philippe Starck.

100% Design opens to the public on Sunday 26 Sept at Earl's Court Two, London, 10am-6pm. Tickets booked in advance cost pounds 8; on the door, pounds 12. Call 08709 040050 for details, or visit