Following a successful Kickstarter campaign this summer, blogger Katie Treggiden and Jeremy Leslie have launched the first issue of Fiera; a biannual publication showcasing new talent at international design fairs.
Fiera aims to help readers find emerging designers and share the stories behind products and projects featured at leading product and furniture fairs. Each issue includes a ’Kaleidoscope’ section, made up of photographs from featured fairs arranged by colour, as well as creative writing, interviews with designers and articles revealing their processes, techniques and inspiration.
The inaugural issue covers London Design Festival, Designblok in Prague, the Lodz Design Festival in Poland and the Biennale Interiur in Kortrijk, Belgium, and includes interviews with new design studio Otago, Markus Friedrich Staab, Caroline Olsson and homeware brand Tiipoli.
There’s also a look at curator Daniel Charny’s Brave Fixed World exhibition celebrating the repair movement, images from Joseph Grima’s installation, SQM, which guided viewers through a derelict building, exploring the evolving identity of the home, and a series of step–by–step guides in which designers explain the making of products from ceramics to jewellery.
The magazine ends with an opinion section, in which various writers and designers reflect on design fairs, the role of design and current trends: in issue 1, Treggiden and Tom Llloyd discuss whether design has to do or say something, Elle Decoration founder Agnieszka Jacobson outlines the thinking behind Polish design school School of Form, which teaches various design disciplines alongside humanities, and It’s Nice That’s Liv Siddall discusses why she struggles to get excited about design fairs.
In her editor’s letter, Treggiden, who founded design blog Confessions of a Design Geek, says she had the idea for Fiera while on the way home from London Design Festival last year.
“There’s plenty of coverage of design fairs on blogs and social media. It’s dynamic, it’s immediate and it’s over as quickly as the fairs themselves,” she writes. “We go home, we sleep it off then we all go back to life as normal. There should be a magazine, I thought … a print magazine that collects it all up and makes sense of it somehow. That provides a lasting record of the world of design at a moment in time.”
While Fiera features some great images of luxury products, creative director Leslie says “it isn’t about big glossy photographs of aspirational items” – rather, it aims to provide a guidebook for people unable to attend fairs in person. “It’s about information and record, a biannual that should feel collectible. The smaller format suited that,” he says.
“The issue is wrapped in a front cover and endpapers that emphasise the transitory nature of the fairs – the big no1 on the cover is from outside one of the fairs – [and] the overall design reflects my interest in using the basic elements of layout design to create character and personality, rather then adding decoration for decoration’s sake.
“We wanted a clean, modern feel but I hope the end result isn’t a cold modernism. It’s based on a flexible set of parts that adapt for each of the sections, with page numbers and running heads slipping in and out as needed and column heights varying as suits. The small format allows the use of white space, without it seeming gratuitous or wasteful,” he adds.
Leslie says the magazine also aims to provide a good factual overview of fairs, while also portraying the emotional side of design – an approach he says is reflected in its signature sections, Kaleidoscope and One Hundred Words, a collaboration with writers group 26, where each writer was asked to write 100 words or less responding to a piece of design at LDF instead of describing it (texts were then illustrated by Assa Ariyoshi).
While fairs such as LDF and Designblok feature some fantastic and inspiring work, it’s often difficult to spot or find out much about emerging talent, and it’s easy to miss promising projects when there are hundreds or thousands on show. Fiera provides a carefully curated guide to some of the year’s best designs, as well as their makers and making, and is the perfect mix of visual inspiration, analysis and reflection.
You can order a copy, priced at £20, from magculture.com