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Gold bugs, concrete bog roll holders and frolic-friendly furniture: What IS it with designers?

The weird and wonderful gather at Olympia

100% Design The 100% Design Show is all about innovation. This year there's a strong emphasis on things pretending to be other things, and furniture made out of stuff you wouldn't normally expect it to be made out of. Some of it's even quite comfortable...

App One Design

App One don't make apps, which is confusing in itself, but rather furniture made out of giant Lego bricks. Which isn't all that weird in itself, until you realise that the Lego itself is hewn from blocks of solid Italian marble.

App One table. Pic: Steve Caplin

An App One table, complete with lumps of solid granite Lego

The €11,800 table is constructed from blocks piled assembled with more of a sense of playful exuberance than design efficiency, topped with a heavy glass surface out of which eight holes have been drilled to hold the lugs on top of the bricks.

You can reassemble the components in any way you like, explains Andrea Giovannetti in halting English, but weighing in at more than 100 kilograms, it's not something you'd want to reassemble every day. The marble Lego-style chair is comparatively a bargain at €6,500, as long as you realise that it's designed more for looks than sitting in.

App One chair. Pic: Steve Caplin

Marble chair: More of a throne to impress with than a comfy perch

Marble may have many qualities, but armchair squashiness isn't among them. They don't yet ship outside Italy, but keep an eye on for details of when they're going global.

Ben Barrell Sculpture

If you find marble seating just too ostentatious, you might like to check out Ben Barrell's pebble seats, each one lovingly hand crafted from pure concrete. That's shiny concrete, you understand, with each outsize pebble polished to a deep, lustrous shine.

Ben Barrell, designer. Pic: Steve Caplin

Ben Barrell: The man himself poses on one of his pebble chairs at 100% Design 2015

They're really rather beautiful, and their curved surface is surprisingly comfortable. For concrete. The man-size XL model will set you back a weighty £4,800, but you can pick up a little pebblette for the kids for just £1,900. See the full range at

Lyon Beton

Concrete is clearly where it's at this year, with Lyon Beton specialising in the stuff. You can show off your toilet roll collection in true brutalist style with this custom concrete holder for a bargain £115 – and there's a smaller model available for those with stronger bowel control.

Lyon Betton at 100% Design 2015. Pic: Steve Caplin

Lyon Beton: This is exactly what it looks like; a concrete bog roll storage solution

Alternatively, brighten up your home with a Banksy image printed onto an inch-thick concrete slab, from £105 to £315 depending on the size. Check out this and several more design innovations at

Next page: Aqua-Chic

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