Design-Nation is pleased to announce four fabulous new members, all of whom have joined the portfolio through its long running partnership with New Designers.
Our judges were delighted to be back at the Business Design Centre in London over the last fortnight to judge the best rising stars from the One Year In feature. We’ve missed live events like this over the last two years, and are so very happy to be supporting emerging talents and new designer-makers again.
In Week One our Winner is William Romeril, who works mainly in bronze and is ‘currently based in a Horse Shed in Jersey’. Will’s training was originally in jewellery but he has expanded his practice to a wide variety of precious and other metals through study and a grant from the Goldsmiths Centre. He’s worked on everything from suits of armour and sundials to toothpicks and more recent allegorical pieces like the Sisyphean Cups trio that our judges admired. William is no stranger to New Designers having won Runner Up in 2019, after graduating from UCA Rochester.
Our Week One Highly Commended award goes to Laura Fedus, a jeweller based in London who delights in creating hand-made rings and sees ‘a bit of magic in everything’. Laura’s designs evolve organically – she cheerfully embraces mistakes and enjoys the making journey which is inspired by her surroundings and observations. Her gleaming rings in silver and other metals are very sculptural: Laura intends that their forms and intriguing details will work just as well away from the body as when they are worn.
The Week Two Winner is Jon Christie. Jon’s award-winning second career as a furniture designer grew out of an earlier period as a dealer in classic 20th century pieces (and, we hear, also as a DJ – no wonder his motto is ‘Take Your Pleasure Seriously’). He studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, achieving a first degree in Interior & Environmental Design, followed by an MSc in Product Design. Today Jon’s Dundee studio has an international profile as he works between traditional and contemporary techniques and processes for his chairs, stools and tables, notable for their clean curving lines and everyday appeal.
A very different furniture designer completes our winning quartet – Salford-based Leon Farago, who is the Week Two Highly Commended exhibitor. A multi-skilled maker, Leon has over ten years’ experience in sheet metal engineering, medical prototyping, and fabrication. He has deep commitment to exploration of materials and his ambition for his pieces is to be striking, and both beautiful and functional – like his Monolith coffee table which is made of cold rolled mild steel and finished with hand applied patination and oils.
As we expect of One Year In, a long-standing curated feature of New Designers which showcases outstanding early career makers, the standards are high, and the skills demonstrated and products exhibited are very diverse. Our judges looked at tableware, wall-hangings, stationery, objets d’art, jewellery, rugs and many other pieces, taking their time to engage with the exhibitors and hear their stories.
Established textile designer and artist Michelle House was one of our panel and observed: ‘I found it very inspiring listening to the One Year In designers talk about their practices and the many and varied routes and journeys that got them to where they are today. From changing careers, discovering their talent and desire to create later on in life, to changing direction and developing their craft and design skills through non-traditional routes. I left feeling hopeful and look forward to seeing what they get up to next.’
Adam Thow, head of commercial activities at Kew Gardens and a Design-Nation steering group member said, ‘From high fashion accessories to wire sculptures to botanical prints the “one year in” selection was eclectic and of a really high standard. It was difficult to narrow down the selection in Week One but William’s use of materials, original design and wit shone through with Laura’s architecture inspired optical illusion jewellery a very worthy runner up.’
Our other judges were furniture and interior designer Nina Moeller, homeware designer and former retailer Snowden Flood, our membership manager Hayley Banks and director Clare Edwards, who concluded, “What a wonderful two weeks, we now have four very talented new Design-Nation members.”