Now, more than ever, designers and makers are addressing the future of our planet and embracing sustainable and ethical making and materials. Design-Nation is therefore very pleased to have partnered this September with our brand ambassador Barbara Chandler at Deborah Spencer’s exciting new Planted Cities event, launched at London Design Festival 2021.
At Deborah’s invitation, Barbara curated the wonderful Green Grads feature (@GreenGrads21) – her personal selection of up-and-coming design talent from across the UK, featuring the “lost” graduate classes of 2020 and 2021. More than 30 emerging talents showed their work in the impressive Samsung KX showroom at Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross London, attracting over two thousand visitors in just two days. The event was supported by an impressive array of design-championing brands and industry leaders who, like us, are keen to encourage developing makers and innovative designers.
Alongside clever domestic products and art objects, a diverse programme of the Green Grads’ own films was shown continuously on Samsung KX’s stupendous curved screen – the largest of its type in Europe.
Barbara not only easily persuaded Design-Nation and others to make awards to these deserving designers, but also commissioned striking award pieces from Oscar McNaughton of Plymouth University, who sponsored his making of the awards. Oscar took ready-made statuettes of Michelangelo’s David, artfully “broke” them, and then replaced “missing” sections using an ethereal 3D printed filigree. He celebrates the beauty of repair with these simply stunning statements. These unique Awards were presented by Lady Sorrell, co-founder of the Sorrell Foundation (1999) and of the Saturday Art Club.
Very fittingly, Oscar McNaughton then went on to win our new Design-Nation Sustainability Innovator award, comprising a complimentary year of full membership, with full access to our professional development programme and showcase opportunities. Oscar is midway through his Masters at present, focused on digital craft making with a playful aesthetic and questioning approach. Oscar says, “As designers, we have a goal to ensure that what we make/design positively contributes to the world in some form, with the responsibility of ensuring sustainable thinking, and positive social change.” He is based in south Wales, and is an Associate Member of the Chartered Society of Designers.
We also presented two Design-Nation Graduate Innovator Awards, to Ellie Perry and Harry Peck, rising stars of design with very different practices.
Ellie Perry is from Brighton and studied Product and Furniture Design at Kingston School of Art, graduating this summer. She works mainly in ceramics, both slip cast and wheel thrown, but with a design-led approach. Ellie works with sustainably sourced glazes, using by-products from the glass and stone industries instead of raw materials, to minimize the environmental impact of quarrying and excavating new materials for glazes. She says, “Sustainable design can also be beautiful design and my main drive is to bring sustainable materials and practices into the home.”
Ellie’s designs are making the news: she recently won both the John Lewis award for Design and Innovation, and the Industry Jury’s Product Design Category in ArtsThread’s Global Design Graduate Show 2021, for her Terracooler, a modern take on the ‘zeer pot’. A collection of double walled slip cast pieces designed to keep produce cool, the Terracooler is based on design concepts that are five thousand years old. “Ingenious and great looking – easy to manufacture too.” – Sebastian Conran.
Our second Graduate Innovator is Harry Peck, hailing from Devon, who’s just finished his final year at Northumbria University, studying 3D and Furniture Design. Harry’s ‘Wave Cycle’ is a sustainable plastic furniture range made from recycled surf and bodyboards. It was displayed at Green Grads along with the ingenious little machines Harry himself made to put his project into action.
Harry says, “Around 16,000 cheap, polystyrene bodyboards are abandoned on UK beaches every year often after a single use. Through my design and manufacturing process, I’m committed to supporting and celebrating environmentalism within the surfing industry. This process also recycles polystyrene packaging foam – a short life material that now becomes part of a circular manufacturing system.” The Wave Cycle range is bright and contemporary, and has already won two awards in the Furniture Makers Company’s Young Furniture Makers Awards – second place in the Design category, and a special commendation in the Innovation category. Find out more here.
We are delighted to welcome Oscar, Ellie and Harry to the Design-Nation network and can’t wait to start exhibiting their work, and supporting their further development.