NDA visits New Designers 2012

As an Interior Design School it is important to keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry, and that means attending some of the many events associated with our field of work, the latest of which was New Designers 2012.

New Designers brings together the best of recent design graduates who are working in a variety of disciplines. Split into two parts, it is part two that is most relevent to interior design as it includes furniture designers, interior, archtectual and spatial designers and graduates who are developing thier new businesses.

Here are some of the highlights from our visit:

Furniture Graduates

The quality of craftsmanship on display at this years show was fantastic and it was great to see so much pride being put into british manufacturing. The use of discarded and reclaimed materials was also a big focus for a lot of student’s work.

Vicky Gilbert from Plymouth University created her ‘Eternal’ Chair, using discarded cow hide from the abattoir and 16 meters of steel tube. Vicky’s ‘Dizzy’ side table was well designed and wouldn’t look out of place in many retail outlets.

Hugh Leader-Williams from Loughborough University won the 100% Design award for hisSpun furniture’. Describing his furniture as ‘clean and unfussy’, they consist of powder coated discs of spun steel connected by magnets to an ash frame, making it easy to remove the tops and store away. The Judges commented: “Cool looking product, well presented with lots of commercial and development potential.”

Ella Hopps, also from Loughborough University, had created this rather striking and aptly named modular ‘Storage unit’.

Whilst on the Loughborough University stand I also noticed Harris Chapman’s ‘Wayfarer’ shelf system which uses construction grade material, which is enjoying some popularity within Interior Design schemes currently.

Nottingham Trent University  had two excellent chairs on display. The first is by Daniel Edwards and would compliment any room it was placed in.

The other chair is by Oliver Hrubiak and it won the John Lewis Award.

Jordan Cottee on the bucks new university (sic) stand received a lot of interest in his nesting tables featuring a reclaimed log in the centre of each. His table also used reclaimed wood that was regarded as unusable due to a large crack in it. Jordan simply ‘stapled’ the gap with steel rods to nice effect.


The Makahiya Chair / Footstool made by Assa Gonzalez from London Metropolitan University’s Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design is inspired by the closing leaves of the mimosa plant. The folding leaves of the chair allow it to be used in a variety of configurations.

Minnie Birchall from Leeds Met University had designed something quite different for her final year project. Noticing that more of her friends had taken to sitting on the floor or lying on a bed whilst studying, she developed a colourful, modular floor seating arrangement that targets schools as well as the home.

One Year On

This area is dedicated to recent design graduates who have been plugging away at getting their designs, talent and new businesses noticed by the industry at large. As you can imagine, these designs and products are very well developed and for most of them, it is only a matter of time before they reach a wider audience.

James Uren, winner of the Furniture Design prize at Interiors UK 2012, was here with his modular Chaise Longue, the Luso Lounger. Alongside his prototype was a new purple upholstered version, demonstrating the variety of colours and timber types that it can be made with. James is now approaching retailers to supply his designs.

Another award winning designer is Louise Tiler. Her intricate hand-drawn and hand-painted designs are inspired by vintage patterns and historical textile design. Her product range has expanded to include greeting cards, art prints, lampshades, cushions and, exclusively launched at the show, her new wallpaper range.
She is also looking for stockists.


Another impressive wallpaper collection launched at New Designers is from designer Rachel Powel. Inspired by mid century design and the Great British countryside, her designs create a perfect balance between the style and personality of retro print and the simplistic nature of rural living. Rachel also produces sustainable etched veneer retro lamps and tea towels that are well worth a look.

Kristel Erga of Erga design produces three dimensional wall treatments reuseing waste material from the fashion and textile industry. The Zero-Waste Land collection is a magnetic modular wall decoration which brings the exterior into the interior by using nature as inspiration. The hand-made, hand-painted products can be customised to any colour, size and overall design.


Marisa Sanvito is a textile and knit designer who hand knits beautiful cushions, vases, art and  anything else a commission may ask of her. One such request was to make sound proof knitted panels for a client’s private cinema. She believes in her craft and is not interested in mass manufacturing her items, so each one is incredibly labour intensive, but the finished items are worth the effort and the price tag.

Felicity Dessewffy exhibited her Taper furniture collection. Comfortable to use, they have an elegant sculptural quality.

Felicity’s Sliding collection introduced a modular drawer and shelving system that can adapt to suit changing storage requirements. The units are designed to be free standing or wall hung. The Sliding collection also includes desks, bedside tables and credenzas.


For fresh and inspiring ideas, New Designers is a great show to visit. There is a lot more to see than is included in this report. Were you at New Designers 2012? What did you like? Leave a comment!

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