"The UK's most important exhibition for emerging design"
New Designers is a yearly event that takes place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, It showcases the fresh-thinking and innovation of 3,000 brilliant graduates, providing an essential pipeline of new talent into the UK’s creative industries.
Part One of the show includes jewellery, crafts, textiles, fashion and costume, whereas Part Two covers furniture, product, spatial design and visual communication. Awards are given out in both parts by industry leaders. along with cash prices and a 'leg up' for the designers and their products.
PART TWO AWARDS - HIGHLIGHTS:
The John Lewis Award for Innovation went to Ricardo Sentazzo of Selce Studio from Camberwell College of Arts. (left) with his shelving system.
The product incorporated parallel slots and judges described it as ‘A beautifully elegant solution that demonstrates excellent reasoning and problem solving. All aspects have been fully resolved, including manufacture, usability, scalability and aesthetics.’
Sentazzo was awarded a prize of £1,000 to support development of design and production.
Josh James of UWE Bristol won the New Designers notonthehighstreet.com Award for Melt (left) - a product that uses a mix of materials effectively. And Matthew Pope of Nottingham Trent University won the 100% Design Award with his sofa Addax, (below) saying, ‘I can't believe this is happening, it has given me the drive and resolve to pursue a career in furniture-making.' Feedback from the judges was that ‘Addax is a distinctive product with plenty of potential in more than one market: adaptable for small spaces & expandable for larger ones. It is user-focused, funky, and a great 21st century product.’
Indeed, this is very much the future for furniture design at present, with the likes of Ikea unveiling a range of space saving furniture due in the summer that includes pieces that fold away, and those suitable for travel/moving home.
There was a selection of craft based, hand made and one off products available at New Designers this year.
Examples include -
Left: Handmade rug by Michal Tylicki (Artefact Rugs)
Left: Origami lighting - Hibiscus shade by Kate Colin (One Year On)
The Birmingham School of Architecture and Design had a number of graduates using batch/one off hand made techniques, including some cross over of textiles and product in a hand stitched lampshade. The materials also appeared to be chosen with sustainability in mind.
Still the colours of choice, Pip Jay King of Bucks New Uni produced a range of products set against a pastel background. Products included a coat stand and feature piece that resembled a manikins head - all of which were hand crafted in a light wood (left and below)
Joel Haran returned to One Year On with his handcrafted, upholstered stool (left) , as did Scott Millar with his mounted animal bird hangers - made from Jesmonite and mounted on a corian backplate, and hand painted with acrylic paint. (below)
3D printing and new technologies were seen in lighting by Wendy Ward (below left) and Jack Johnson (below right).
Mimy of Kingston University created some beautiful, sculptural bowls that appeared to be made from a cast ceramic, which resembled precious rock formations in a crystal like way - below. (Matching in with Josh James' plant holder - see award winners above.)
Alexander Gay created a chair named 'upholstery without fixings' that utilises felt and wood as the main materials. The simple, yet effective jointing mechanism can be seen below.
Geometric tables were in abundance, with angular, 60s legs as seen at Milan in previous years -
Left: Danny Halls' table uses a clever jointing mechanism that appears to be 3D printed and removes the need for any other type of fixing.
Below : Ingvild Funderud Bjornstad's Ester Table uses nylon string to hold the legs in position.
Rebecca Chan's Zephyr Furniture makes use of laser cut plywood to artistic effect:
And finally, Will K Man showcased a stool that although simple, demonstrated great craftsmanship:
This years show highlighted a selection of undoubtedly talented new designers, however, looking ahead it is unclear as to how many students will be completing similar courses in the future. The Department for Education stated in August 2016 that they want to make our country ‘a place where there is no limit on anyone’s ambition or what they can achieve.’ However, as the Bacc for the Future campaign points out, the uptake of creative, artistic and technical subjects at GCSE has fallen yet again. Figures published by the Joint Council for Qualifications show that creative, artistic and technical subjects have seen a further fall of 7.7% in uptake at GCSE level; a clear indication that the EBacc is already having an impact.
The figures show that in England, D&T has fallen further behind than any other creative, artistic or technical subject in terms of its entry number. Since 2010, entry has fallen by a massive 36% - that's 10% more than even the closest media report will acknowledge (20%). Course are also closing at university level (e.g. furniture design course at Bucks New Uni), so it is clear that the design industry in the UK is suffering and will face severe shortages - and in fact, an engineer shortage has been present since 2012.