Widely renowned as the place to be if you’re a young designer wanting that lucky break, New Designers was back for another year and unleashed an array of talent at London’s Business Design Centre. Students from universities and colleges across the country, flocked to the event to exhibit their work and win over the New Designers Awards judging panel.
The high standard of craftsmanship and innovation shown at the event was impressive. Students were keen to speak to visitors and the media about their designs, demonstrate use, functions and originality. Although it was noticeable that some designs were based heavily on past iconic pieces, in the most part, students had really broken the mould and developed some revolutionary products.
Luke Diaz from Bucks New University, scooped the New Designers Habitat Innovation Award for his storage cabinet which was held together without using a nail, screw or drop of glue. The judges “admired his innovative construction and use of material …this is a product with soul.” Luke used hemp twine to hold the cabinet together and taught himself how to weave it over small bars to create the doors.
Michael Carroll from Plymouth University also designed products without the use of glue or nails. He used melted down metal from 24 pewter tankards, to hold a wooden chair together and two metal bars bent to look like a mouse trap, for the table. A popular trend could be developing here.
The creativity didn’t stop there, a quirky children’s stool designed by Taiwanese born Product and Furniture Designer Jo-Yun Wang, took visitors by surprise with a hidden feature. When a child sat on the chair and swivelled around, out plays a delicate tune. Wang said she wanted to create a product which had and output function like playing music as well as an input.
The upper level of the event was home to the One Year Onhall curated by Jethro Macey. It housed 25 specially selected designers who had set up their own business with the last year. Amongst them all, was textile designer Imogen Heath who attracted lots of attention with her mid-century feminine fabrics and prints, inspired by her love of geometric composition, art deco and contemporary art.
One of this years big winners was Oskana Akishyna from the American InterContinental University, London. She picked up the New Designers InteriorDesign Association Award for spatial design with her urban music hall design. Oskana wanted create something which made classical music more accessible, informal and popular. To emphasise this, she created a public passage in the middle of the building. The judges said her “portfolio showed refreshing clarity, mesmerising presentation that was refined and at a professional level.
Across the way from Oskana was another talented Interior Designer, Henry Parker from De Montfort University. He devised an apartment which is flexible and adapts to any lifestyle and perfect for the renting tenant. Roughly the size of a two bedroom apartment, Adaptaflat has manoeuvrable partition walls which run on circuits attached to the ceiling. This allows a tenant to change the layout of the apartment to suit their needs such as adding an extra bedroom or adjusting the size of a room.
The time and effort spent students spent on their projects, press packs, and branding was faultless. This combined with inventive, colourful and attractive stands really made this event a success. It was clear the students and visitors alike, really felt the charismatic atmosphere of the event and thoroughly enjoyed showing off their talents.
New Designers certainly upheld it’s reputation as the design market for the future and the propeller of budding careers in all disciplines of design.
Images: New Designers, Imogen Heath, National Design Academy