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Design-Nation Awards 2021 Exhibition at The Hub

As the UK’s leading portfolio for craft, design & product we are committed to supporting the growth of initiatives around sustainability being led by our designer-maker members. So we are very pleased to be launching a new exhibition with The Hub on this theme which complements our other current partnership exhibition, Our Journey.

The Hub will showcase four recipients of awards we gave in 2021 to foster outstanding graduate and emerging designers – those who are embracing innovative and sustainable materials and ways of making. In the spotlight are glass, ceramics, furniture, and 3D printing.

Three Awards for Sustainability Innovation went to exhibitors at Green Grads, part of the Planted Cities event during London Design Festival 2021. Green Grads was organised by the redoubtable Barbara Chandler and featured 30 graduate designers whose work notably embraces sustainability and/or a love of nature. Design-Nation was delighted to partner with Green Grads. 

Overall Green Grads winner Oscar McNaughton, graduate of the University of Plymouth, celebrates the beauty of repair by replacing missing or broken parts of an object with complex 3D-printed filigrees. Oscar says, “Designers and makers have a huge potential to instigate change.”

Green Grads runner-up/high commended: Ellie Perry of Kingston University, whose award winning slip-cast vessels have satisfyingly rounded shapes, based on scientific labware and medieval kitchenware. On these vessels Ellie places experimental glazes, made from waste glass and stone slurries from local industries, rather than precious raw materials. “I demonstrate that waste can be beautiful,” says Ellie. Her recent projects include design research for Unilever.

Green Grads runner-up/high commended: Harry Peck of University of Northumbria, has used recycled polystyrene surf boards collected from UK beaches (some abandoned after a single use) for his Wave Cycle sturdy and colourful plastic furniture. These pieces are made using machines Harry designed and made himself as part of his studies, and which most recently he has been demonstrating on a research trip to Kenya. His process can also recycle polystyrene packaging foam. “Even short-life materials can now be a part of a circular manufacturing process,” says Harry, whose work has also received an award from The Furniture Makers’ Company.

Design-Nation’s fourth Award in 2021 was given to Devon-based Colin Wilkes, graduate of Plymouth College of Art. Colin is a glass maker who is deeply committed to sustainability through processes and materials, combining radiantly-coloured glass with dramatically contrasting materials such as wood. “I was previously a builder – but glass making has changed my life. Each piece is unique – and uniquely fulfilling.” Colin received the Design-Nation Making It Award as part of a partnership with Make SouthWest (formerly Devon Guild of Craftsmen) and Cultivator Cornwall.

The Design-Nation Award Winners 2021 exhibition opens on Saturday 19 March 2022 at the Hub and runs until Sunday 15 May. Visitor information is here.

Images courtesy of the makers and The Hub

News index page: glass vessel by Colin Wilkes

Carousel: ceramic vessels by Ellie Perry, glass vessel by Colin Wilkes, blue stool by Happy Peck, cup and saucer by Oscar McNaughton.

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Liz Cooper


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