Well what a treat last week was, the annual London Design Festival which sees several ‘Design Districts’ across the capital play host to everyone from the world of interior design, craft, designer makers, homewares and more. It’s an absolute feast for the eyes and really does showcase what our beautiful city has to offer with installations popping up to add a bit of colour and quirk.
Sometimes though it’s not what you discover at the bigger shows, but the smaller popups that catch an eye and that’s exactly what happened with Kam Ce Kam who found a little home close to Shoreditch High Street station for a few days last week. I received an email from them inviting me to their launch event last Tuesday evening which I couldn’t make as it clashed with something else, but I made a beeline for them when I popped back for more events later in the week and I’m so glad I did.
If you know even a little bit about interior trends and the world we live in, you’ve probably been aware of two things lately. One, sustainability is becoming ever more important – taking the time where we can to really choose carefully considered pieces for our home that won’t just be throwaway, items we cherish and that have a story. Two, cane/rattan however you want to refer it is having a monumental comeback. It’s cropping up all over the place and despite identifying it as a thing I hated decades ago, now it’s adding such a natural charm to homes and proving so versatile. I’ve seen people making headboards out of it or drawer and wardrobe fronts and to me it looks like a design idea that’s here to stay for a while.
So how does this tie in to Kam Ce Kam and what exactly does that mean? Kam Ce Kam translates to “at the very least” in Hindi, as Creative Director of the brand and designer of the launch collection Jehanara Knowles explained when we had a little chat at the Shoreditch pop-up which displayed her inaugural pieces last week. She grew up between New Delhi and London and you can see that cultural juxtaposition shine through in the range. “’At the very least’ we encourage people to acquaint themselves with crafts rooted in the history of traditional culture by creating designs that relate to their every-day living” is the philosophy behind the brand and it makes so much sense.In a world where we expect everything to happen with such immediacy, how lovely to appreciate a return to a more mindful way of producing furniture.
Here’s a little more about the ethos:
Each piece is inspired by a component of traditional craft whilst telling the story of the maker and the materials used. Beginning with the skilled history behind the artisan, the designs incorporate age-old techniques such as cane weaving and stone carving. It continues onto the materials where timber, stone, leather and cane are organically fused with seat pads filled with coir and table-tops created from marble offcuts.
A conscious drive to utilise natural and sustainably sourced materials lies at the heart of Kam Ce Kam’s production. Visually, the pieces respond to pieces seen in the colonial era, adapted to suit today’s contemporary lifestyle. It is a perfect medley of the cultures of India and Britain, being brought to life in the 21st century.
I absolutely loved listening to stories of the craftsmen not just moulding the cane webbing in a form that we would be familiar with, but rather creating that webbing from the actual canes themselves. If that’s not a traditional craft I don’t know what is.
The launch collection is small but perfectly formed, a stunningly curated capsule of chairs, mirrors, tables and the absolutely stunning screen. Immediately I could think of about ten people I know online who have the perfect homes to accommodate such style, pairing black and that natural cane materials. It’s simple yet sophisticated and offers pieces that would work well in any setting from a living room to bedroom, hallway to office.
I’m always in complete of anyone who runs their own business, let alone designs and produces an entire collection borne from their own ideas and passions. It’s so hard and many people wouldn’t even attempt such a feat. However I think Kam Ce Kam have a bright future ahead of them and I’m excited to see what comes next for this young creative talent.