New Designers


Its that time of year when a fresh batch of graduates leap out into the real world. After years of focusing on the final degree show; that’s it. Its over.  Done. Time to figure out what the heck to do next. Do you set up on your own or will you be plucked from the thousands of other graduates for a dream job. New Designers held at the Business Design Centre in Islington North London is a showcase for this years graduates from colleges across the UK. Its great opportunity for this years batch of graduates to showcase their work; make new contacts and find out from last years graduates, over in the One Year On section, just how hard it is out there in the big wide world.

Week 1 focuses on Textiles, Fashion & Accessories, Ceramics & Glass Contemporary Applied Arts.

Week 2 its over to Product & Furniture Design Visual Communications ans Spatial Design.

I can’t honestly say I looked at every aspect – its just too vast; but here is a taste of what caught my eye.

Eva Joly‘s Textile designs transform mundane household items into amusing contemporary patterns (1st image and below).  Using a dolls house scale to present the images of domesticity added to the sense of fun her design have. But aside from the fun;  its a commercially viable design and I’d love to see her work in various textile and paper forms.

Eva_Joly_fullhousecAnother textile designer whose work I admired was Anna Jensen from Bath Spa University. I’m afraid I can’t show you any images of her work they’ve been bought up- she’s done so well she won the Harlequin award which means they now own her work. A version of her work shown at New Designers will be produced but….  Well, hopefully it will see the light of day and not get chewed up and spat out in some watered down version.  That is the thing about graduate shows you just worry for them – or I do.


Bulrushi Ercol Marita Szkutnik is a rather happy result of a project set between Ercol and Bucks New University. Marita’s wooden bench has wood dowels with flocked “bulrush” tops that can act as a coat stand. They don’t look sturdy but are surprisingly strong and when you brush your hand across them they wave about in a very pleasing natural way.  I think ; actually I know this was my favourite of the two shows. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but then it is a tactile piece. Marita is off to Rotterdam next, on a work placement – which is fantastic, shame I can’t remember with whom!


The stand (pictured above) for the Northumbria University 3 Dimensional Design was incredibly impressive. I guess I was stuck by the graphic on the back wall and overall presentation of the stand. Any manufacturer would be proud of it never mind a University on a budget. But it was not only the presentation that was outstanding, it was the quality and craftsmanship of the work. It was all really beautifully made.

Ellen_Thomas_8_stools-degree-showI particularly liked the work of Ellen Thomas (above),she showed her MILK stools, created as a response to a brief on value and what makes things valuable. Her response it a humourous mix of traditional craft techniques and contemporary aesthetics. Each piece has a etched pattern on the underside and one leg harks back to more humble milking stools.

adi_chambers_cabinetOver on the Brighton University stand the work of Adi Chambers from caught my eye.  I loved her beautiful Chippendale cabinet made from laser cut cardboard. Just as in the 18th Century apprentices made samples in minature, this piece was the same – but you could see exactly how it could be impressively transformed to life sized.

adi_chambers_stackShe also showed and inventive piece using discarded draws mounted onto a metal frame.

This sample of New Designers is just a snippet of what was on show; and strangely I’ve selected an all female cast of high lights. This is in no means deliberate. But I would like to think that; particularly in 3D design where there has been a traditional male dominance; this is a thing of the past and we’re looking at an area of equality now.

There was so much more to explore at New Designers do take a look over on their website

One thought on “New Designers

  1. Kim Dodge

    Hi Jenny,
    This post is charming in the way that you’ve interwoven your perceptions with a sense of welcoming this year’s initiates to the design tribe.
    BTW thank you for ‘popping’ MiArtStudio on your Blogroll.
    Cheers, Kim


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