A focus on Britain's emerging design talent

  Thursday, 14 July 2016 08:46
A Focus on Britain's Emerging Design Talent A Focus on Britain's Emerging Design Talent

New Designers 2016 showcased the exciting work of graduate designers emerging into the creative industry, hosting two prestigious awards presentation evenings in recognition of new talent. With a nod to interior trend predictions for 2017 and 2018, design fused an exploration of recycling and colour, and evoked a growing desire for sustainability and privacy.

The show came to a close last Saturday with furniture, product/spatial design and visual communication being represented in part 2 of the show. As is ND2016 Part 1, the event is a great source of inspiration for anyone in the design sector. There were several pieces which caught our eye within lighting, furniture and surfaces.

One of the best collections on display was 'Organised Chaos' by 3D Design & Craft graduate Ellie Rains from the University of Brighton. She creates vessels that cleverly combine soft pastel blue and lemon tones with contrasting dark terracotta that disguise the chaos of scattered belongings. Describing how 'misplaced belongings in overly cluttered environments create mental fatigue, asking can we organise our lives to function better?' Especially when technology already requires most of our attention.

notonthehighstreet.com award winner and UWE Bristol graduate Josh James, created a fun, innovative and sustainable project with great potential. Entitled 'Melt' it questions waste plastic in the home. The kit enables anyone to turn waste plastic (HPDE) into unique, personalised hand crafted objects such as containers and chopping boards, through the use of a domestic oven and moulds.

Pentland Brands award winner and Edinburgh College of Art graduate Tereza Astilean also explores issues regarding waste. Made from 100% carpet waste, she has devised a transformable jacket/sleeping bag making use of the good thermal properties of the material. Not only is this product, entitled 'Verpackt', suitable for the traveller and camping markets, emphasis is also placed upon the product being used within refugee camps.

New Designers Part 1 graduate Isabel Webb from Bucks New University, was another to explore this issue. She makes bespoke handcrafted rugs which use recoloured post- consumer and post-industrial carpet waste. These products would add interest to any home environment or interior space with their bold geometric shapes and contrasting colours. It's interesting to see how each designer has interpreted the same issue (carpet waste) in such different ways.

Another graduate to create a sustainable and attractive new composite is Pom Redfearn. 'CC' is a biodegradable alternative to concrete created from mussel shell and seaweed. The aesthetic that mixes concrete and jesmonite would appeal to Generation Y (they're attracted to aesthetics) rather than the fact that this material will naturally decompose when disposed of.

One Year On also takes place within ND Pt2. Surface pattern and textile designer Rachel Howarth came away with the New Designers 'One Year On' award. The majority of her work uses key colour for 2017 - indigo; making her work very current. The brushed aluminium digital prints which mix her signature blue colours with a metallic surface finish offer contemporary and striking pieces that would fit equally well in commercial and residential interiors or exteriors.

Continuing with this theme, the work of University of Brighton graduate Indigo Rumbelow consistently uses the colour blue. This originates from an ongoing experimentation with the cyanotype process. Driven by concept she works with simple ideas and drawing techniques as a way of recording our activities in an increasingly 'sterile' and 'virtual, technologically driven world.'

Furniture and product designer (and One Year On exhibitor) Rebecca Chan takes inspiration from nature and organic forms. Her aim is to create designs that go beyond their basic function, promoting longevity and timeless design that is treasured in the home. 'Komorebi' is a Japanese term to describe the sunlight that filters through trees. The end result is fresh, sophisticated and elegant design enhanced through the use of soft birch plywood. Her earlier work including the collection 'Poetry In Design' aims to question what seating should look like through the use of different materials.

Another designer aiming to question 'what seating should look like', is Kelly Chow from Birmingham City University. The Bubble Stool is designed specifically for small space living. As the global population grows, particularly in urban areas currently +3m per week), our living spaces will necessarily become smaller. Kelly's design will multi-function as seating & storage, as they feature pockets. The piece also explores the contrast between soft and hard materials creating a tactile interest and strong visual effect. The result is a piece that is both functional and aesthetically attractive.

Katie Christian explores positive and negative space. As light passes through the piece it prevents it from becoming 'clumpy' as a traditional sideboard might. Changing patterns are created at different times of day as shadows are cast onto the base of the unit. 'The sticks are also there to create a hint of intrigue, as you only get to see glimpses of the treasures you house inside it, before they are slowly revealed to you when you walk around to the front of her furniture piece, where items are perfectly framed and showcased.'

The idea of 'intrigue' is represented in the pieces by Thomas Harwood Furniture Design. Aiming to develop quality made products that evoke a connection with the user, the cord that covers the front of the units allow treasures to be easily accessible yet the horizontal lines offer protection without the need for glass or handles. Moreover it promotes the act of touch and curiosity and gives a whole new meaning to 'thinking outside the box!'

The level of creativity shown by this emerging talent is truly inspirational. The next edition of New Designers returns to the Business Design Centre in Islington, London in 2017. Here are the dates for anyone wanting to get them into their diary: Part 1 will take place 29th June - 1st July 2017 & Part 2 6th - 8th July 2017.


Ellie Rains ' Organised Chaos'

Isabel Webb -
handcrafted rugs
from carpet waste

On trend for 2017 with
indigo, Rachel Howarth

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