Anthony Hughes is a young surface designer and trend forecaster who has recently graduated from Huddersfield University with a BA Hons in Surface Design for Interiors & Fashion.
He was selected to exhibit at New Designers this year and his work was shown at Part I. Whilst I was unable to go see Anthony’s work in person at the Business Design Centre in London (I only went to Part II), I knew that I had to feature his work as soon as I came across it. So I put some questions to Anthony about his studies and his designs and below you can read his responses.
You have recently graduated from the University of Huddersfield with First Class Honours in Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors. Can you tell us a bit more about the course and the skills that it has taught you?
AH. As the course is for fashion and interiors, you design for a variety of end-user products in your first year and then begin to specialise in your chosen area from the 2nd year.
For me this was interiors, specialising in printed surfaces. Traditionally, the course gets you to develop your own style using drawing, CAD, embroidery and screen printing. By combining all these together, you create a creative and innovative range of surface solutions.
Skills wise, I have learnt a broad scope of technical proficiencies, from using different design software to digitally printed fabrics, screen printing techniques to expressing your own style through drawing.
Why did you choose that particular course?
AH. I chose the course at Huddersfield for its excellent facilities, the course structure and its location. It also does some fantastic live briefs with industry and I felt that that made it stand out from the others. It’s been a great experience!
When did you first discover that you had a passion for design?
AH. Both my parents are quite artistic and stylish, so I think I inherited a lot from them. I did graphic design at school and continued that into college, but soon became bored. I took up fashion and textiles whilst there and that’s when I discovered surface design, bringing together my passion for surface textures and patterns with my graphic background.
Industrious Senescence is a range that you developed. Why did you choose to focus on flooring and wallcoverings?
AH. I’ve designed a lot of applications where the work is seen for its aesthetic qualities ie glass and wallcoverings, but I wanted to take a risk… something more challenging. I used to hate standing on my work, now I can sit, walk, do headstands on it! It’s changed my attitude to my work slightly, I’m not so protective anymore.
What was the inspiration behind the collection?
AH. The flooring and wallcoverings were inspired by industrial structures and deteriorating surfaces. I am interested in decay and its beauty, the layers peeling away like old wallpaper and I wanted to do something that reflected that within my work. I feel the industrial imagery gives the project structure and pattern and a very masculine theme and feel.
Can you give us a brief overview of the flooring collection?
AH. Industrious Senescence is a bespoke printed and textured flooring collection. Offering a richly patterned and textured design concept, Industrious Senescence provided a sensory underfoot experience. Dyed and sanded to reveal the natural grain, the wood is hand-screen printed and embellished with deep flocks, bronze foils and soft suede. Slowly wearing and fading away with time and use, Industrious Senescence is a truly unique and original product.
And the wallcoverings?
AH. Six large-scale wallcoverings were designed to complement the flooring collection. They can either be used as a stand-alone piece or as an accompaniment.
You were recently selected for New Designers. How important is it for you as a new graduate to take part in such a high-profile show?
AH. It’s an honour to be selected for New Designers as it showcases the best of graduate talent. Taking part in the show means I get to meet the industry and introduce my work to them, broadening my contact base and networking skills and to also meet other graduates from around the country. It’s also a great opportunity to get some real feedback and thoughts on pushing the concept further.
What is the plan now that you have finished your studies?
AH. I really want to push the flooring concept further, either working with the flooring industry or alone. I’m keen to see what opportunities arise from New Designers and to take them forward. I’m just taking each day as it comes.
Do you have any plans for what you are going to design next?
AH. I’m still really into my flooring at the moment, what with all the great feedback and hype around it. Saying that, I do want to create a range of reflective wallcoverings inspired by cityscapes and skyscrapers. Geometrics and symmetry also greatly inspire me.
You also dabble in trend forecasting. Can you enlighten us as to the trends we can expect to see in the design world in the coming months and into 2012?
AH. There is a growing trend to celebrate your heritage. With the Olympic Games fast approaching, there’ll be a lot of Britishness around. But heritage isn’t just about Britain, other cultures will celebrate their own at this time. The recession has also had an impact, we look to our own pasts, our own heritage, for reassurance and as a means to move forward. Expect to see a great cultural influence on interiors in the coming months.
How do you come up with your trend forecasts?
AH. I research into what forthcoming events are taking place in that season, say A/W 12/13 right now and also look at the last three previous trends. Once I have a clear picture of what will be influencing us and how we want our interiors to look, I begin to research key colours, shapes, products and features relevant to the theme.
Images courtesy of Anthony Hughes