Stools are the Compact, Perfect Furniture at London Design Festival

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Tent London is the east end venue for London's Design Festival and it is a treasure trove. From the first step in the door there were stands full of stylish, well-designed and environmental pieces of furniture, textiles, lighting and some very odd things as well.

With over 200 exhibitors, where to start? Let's begin with stools: they seem to be everywhere. In fact they are the perfect piece of furniture: light, compact, can double as end tables and they take up little space in small apartments.

They can be made out of any material: there were benches of felt, cork, bamboo, car springs, tea cups, rice, oh yes, and wood.

1. Wooden Stools

This Spring Stool is made of maple or oak that has been found in the forest. The car spring that makes it bounce is from old Land Rover cars.

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This utilitarian stool, cum magazine holder, is British, made of cork, birch plywood and with branches of hazel from coppiced trees. Called the Copse Cube, it has a waterproof top and comes in several colours.

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Not quite a stool, but a minor quibble when it is so beautiful. Made from coppiced wood, the hazel poles are held in position by solid ash ends, which are scorched to give a dark colour and deep grain texture.

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Called the Tea for One tea table, this solid ashwood stool is fitted with a ceramic plate for your tea cup. The legs are finished with a traditional saddle stitch for that added touch.

2. Bamboo Stools

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Taiwan had a large contingent of craftspeople showing their wares. They had a very different and graceful aesthetic. This beauty, called Bouncing Bamboo, is made of bamboo and its structure demonstrates the elasticity of the material.

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The Ru-Ju stool takes its inspiration from ancient jade. It is a combination of wood (the seat) and bamboo (the curved legs).

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Another from Taiwan, this one is made from bamboo tubes, woven together on the top to form a seat.

3. Rice Husk Stools

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Yes, it is made of rice, from an area of Taiwan which consists of 70% rice paddies. The straw that is left over is recycled by the Jenju Village Community into arts and traditional crafts. Made of rice husk and rice stalk, the Rich-harvest Stool has an interesting texture but lacks long-term durability so an epoxy resin preserves it and makes it last.

4. Cork Stools

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This little gem would be perfect in the bathroom, for the towel, clothes or your bathrobe. Made out of metal, with a cork top, it is a handy addition.

5. Pom Pom Felt Stools

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Directement from Paris, this steel stool is decorated with wool felt balls that give it a certain je ne sais quoi.

Tags: Bamboo | Designers | Furniture | London | Recycled Building Materials