Eyes alert and lithe body darting, Omer Arbel shows the speed and form that, as a teen, won him a place on Canada's national junior fencing team. The 35-year-old principal of Vancouver-based Omer Arbel Office trained as an architect, but he's best known for his products and interiors, including contemporary lighting for Canadian manufacturer Bocci, medals for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and the design of Toronto's new furniture temple Kiosk.
At this year's edition of the London Design Festival, we shadowed Arbel on a three-day trek through the fair, taking notes on the pieces he loved. "Since the economic meltdown, designers haven't been taking risks," Arbel says. But amid the 100-plus events and exhibitions, he recognized 10 items—mainly limited-edition products and trendsetting art pieces that use materials and technologies in unusual ways—that took a chance and stood out.