Spanning interiors, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, 100% Design is an annual design trade event which exhibits design and architectural brands from around the world. Each year, a group of designers are commissioned to create installations to enliven the event space, and in 2012 we were invited to design one for the show’s ‘Kitchens and Bathrooms’ hub.
We decided to look back in history for some inspiration and landed on the interesting concept of the ‘supper box’. These popular structures in 17th- and 18th-century Britain resembled the booth-like design of theatre boxes and combined this with the service of a restaurant. Visually, they often referenced classical or ancient architecture, taking the form of pavilions, lodges, temples, mythical caves or even pyramids.
As well as providing an oasis of calm in the city, supper boxes were also spaces where local clubs and societies could meet. In their heyday, there were over 400 clubs in London, each one with a different focus, set of rules and traditions that all members had to follow. One example we discovered was the Lying Club, where “no true word” could be uttered when congregated at the Bell Tavern in Westminster. Clearly, ‘clubbing’ provided a gathering place where like-minded people could come together for work or play.
For 100% Design, we wanted to reawaken this tradition and so created the 100% Club, a structure with a supper box mentality at the heart of the Kitchens and Bathrooms exhibition. We used a repetitive latticed timber structure animated with 200 hanging tea towels to create a variety of spaces in the club and to tie in with the kitchen surroundings. Each tea towel featured a unique game of Snakes and Ladders – at the bottom of each ladder, an exciting new future trend in kitchen or bathroom design was highlighted, whereas failed ideas or past trends were illustrated at the top of each snake.
Standing out from its environment, whilst providing a moment of relief from the commotion of the surrounding event, our 100% Club had only one rule: if you sat down, you had to play!
Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London