Part 2 of New Designers is always one of my favourite design shows to attend. I have been for the past couple of years and I always find it immensely exciting to see what the new generation of young designers is bringing to the table. When you walk into the room, you’re faced with stand after stand presenting all manner of design from product and industrial design to furniture design, visual communications and spatial design. There is a great sense of anticipation that somewhere in the room will be new and innovative ideas and products that may, one day soon, be snapped up and taken into production available for us all to buy. The hopes and dreams of many young people are on display for all to see and there is an overwhelming sense of optimism and enthusiasm.
This year I attended in good company as I was there with none other that fantastic design writer extraordinaire Katie Treggiden, or as many of you will know her confessions of a design geek. We had a fantastic time checking out what was on show and having a good design-led natter.
But I guess what you all want to know if what little gems we spotted and which new designers caught our eye. So, in no particular order here are my highlights from this year’s show.
I loved the Ark table & chair designed by Henry Williams, particularly the sensuous and organic way that he has manipulated the wood that he has used for the legs of the table (if you can call them legs) and the chair back. I found this design to be particularly eye-catching and it really stood out for me.
This writing desk by Michael Sutton is made from sycamore and is inspired by Leonardo’s glass cube. I really liked the way that Sutton had played with the design contrasting sharp, angular edges with smooth, curved lines. I found it really beautiful and I just love that little drawer that is embedded between the desk surface and the legs.
I was intrigued by this gorgeous product designed by Mike Sewell. Made from oak veneer laminate this gorgeous coat and shoe rack for the hall way also doubles up as a sculptural lighting installation.
Rebecca Thomas of Plymouth University exhibited Lily Pad, this delightful little dressing table. Again I loved the curves and the use of wood and I particularly liked the way the mirror slotted into the surface of the dresser.
This library workstation designed by Josh Snell also really grabbed my attention. I was particularly fond of the colours used as well as the materials. And again the sensuous use of sweeping curves was present here. I was particularly interested in how Josh had embedded magnets within the wood so that the back surface could be used as a magnet board to keep all your notes tidy and to hand.
Nicola Williamson was the designer behind the Impact Hall Mirror which I was especially fond of. It is a very simple idea but yet it looks so elegant and sophisticated. I would certainly be proud to have this in my hallway.
I had a nice long chat with Chris Newman on his stand. He explained to me that his two products were the result of projects that they had been set in conjunction with SCP and Ercol. Chris apparently has an aversion to drawers, hence both his furniture pieces featuring a distinct lack of them. These were definitely two of my favourite pieces at the show.
The Club chair by Daniel Edwards was a great piece of design in my opinion. I loved the choice of materials and the chair was extremely comfortable. Those chunky arm rests look gorgeous and I would totally like to grab a good book and settle down in this chair.
I loved the ingenuity behind the Captain Hook Lamp by Dan McMahon. When the lamp is unhooked ready for use, the light automatically comes on. But the moment it is hung up again the light goes off all of its own accord. I thought this was a superb idea and I also liked the way that the lamp looks. This was a great find!
Admittedly this last product was in One Year On but I just had to include the Spargo Articulated Lamp by Felix McCormack. They are completely handmade from concrete and turned oak, two materials that I think complement one another enormously.