100% design, we 100% love it!

You will have seen from all our feeds that we are at 100% design in Olympia. Showing our Neon lights to a completely new audience. It’s our first big trade show, and our first outing to London.  This is the culmination of a lot of work and a lot of planning. 100 % design has been an annual event in London’s design calendar since 1995, when it began in a tent, just off the Kings road. It began as the “London contemporary design show” and was to some extent the original London design event. Many other venues followed, and events were scheduled around it. Today that has grown to a huge week long, city wide celebration of design and interiors throughout London, attracting exhibitors, visitors and buyers from around the world.


 I am completely in love with this event. I have heard some suggestion that in recent years it had slightly lost its edge. Clearly the organisers have worked hard to steer this years happening back to its roots. Discovering, supporting and promoting all that is fresh and exciting in interiors and design. This is decreed upon your very arrival at Olympia. Immediately you are greeted by 100% forward. an exhibition that presents seven (yes, we are one of those eeck!!)  new and emerging design talents. We have all identified and nominated by designers who have made their success from the very beginnings of 100 % design festival.

100% forward, has been curated by Barbara Chandler, design editor of Homes and Property at the Evening standard, who says “Indeed the life blood of 100% design, is new talent, new designs, new production, new brands, new networks. 100% forward proudly continues in this tradition.”

We have been so fortunate to be nominated for the event by Philip watts from Phillip watts design, I met Phillip when he visited one of our first ever exhibitions at the Lilliandaph store in Saltburn. Phillip said “as a maker and an interior designer, I’m impressed with Light up Norths quirky mix of graphic design and lighting. The work is bursting with narrative, something I look for in interior pieces and always add to my own projects. I am also a sucker for someone who is genuinely making great work in the North. This is good commercial design that should do really well”

For our stand in 100% forward Light up North has worked with Divine Savages to illuminate wallpaper. Using neon wire to light up the design. We are claiming it as a world first, and it looks fantastic. In the tradition of 100 % design, we have pushed a boundary, showed a new technology and another possible use for our product. We have literally brought new light to wall paper.

It’s a thrill to be here, I’ve had to pinch myself several times, and give myself a few stern talking too. But you know, the best way to beat imposter syndrome is to kick it up the arse. Yesterday I had to sit on a panel in London with Philip Watts, Jocelyn Warner and Barbara Chandler, Design editor of the Evening Standard. All mega giants in the industry and all individuals who have built their careers over time and with experience, knowledge and skill. I had to share a platform with them for an hour and discuss from “Launch to brand”

On the panel we discussed a wide range of things, from launch to brand, the journey from dining room table, to taking a stand somewhere like 100% design. Not least what’s the point of being at a trade fair? For me its been two things. Firstly, I cannot lie, it is wonderful to stand here and have people walk past us, all day saying “that’s cool” or “I Love this” Stopping for selfies and tagging us all over on social media. Its nice, it really is. I do not mean this in a braggy, self-indulgent kind of way. Just that It’s reaffirming, it gives me a huge boost of confidence.  It shoves all the doubt back into the cupboard for a bit longer. But certainly, even better than that is meeting the visitors. architects, interiors designers, buyers, press, people actually in the design industry. Face to face discussions with people that gift us so much feedback. What new ways could we use our neon wire?  This kind of interaction is priceless. Questions that push my knowledge and discussions about ways we could work in the future.  Its all huge learning for us and massive brand development. Its epic. El neon wire is at the beginning of it potential. It has problems and limitations right now but should develop, improve, become better.


We are here till Saturday so still plenty of time to come and see us.  I need to get home and take my children bowling.  Buy my sister a huge treat for looking after them. My brain is bursting with ideas, my notebook is crammed full of new contacts. I have a tonne of work to do when I get back to the workshop in the North east, maybe even more than we had before we left, but so worth it. Thankyou 100% design, for putting on %100 forward and giving 7 new cool companies a seismic opportunity. Please have us again. I must thank The Divine Savage’s, Tom and Jamie, you have been a pleasure to work with and I’m sure this is the start of plenty of great things for us all. Thankyou to Barbara Chandler, you have been so supportive and encouraging. Whilst delivering us a massive opportunity. Thanks for getting our exhibition right at the front!! And last but not least thanks to Philip Watts, Thankyou for picking us. I hope that we have made you proud and glad that you did.  I very much hope that between us, we have brought a little more attention to the great things that are happening in the north, the brilliant opportunities that are available up there. It’s nice to visit London, but well go back up North, to the fresh air, and carry on with creating our fantastic custom neon signs. See you next year London design week, we know how it all works now!



Light up North x Divine Savages. 100% design. Olympia.