This year marks the 30th anniversary of the London-based New Designers show, which sees more than 3,000 design students from all over the UK showcase their graduate pieces. The finished products range from ultra-functional yet beautiful homeware and furniture, to far-out jewelry and textiles. Divided into two parts (one in June and one in July) New Designers gives an insight into what the country’s emerging designers choose to create, with plenty of innovative ideas on display. We selected four graduates who really brought something fresh to the show and were among our favorites.
At the Manchester Metropolitan University stand, Oliver Scholes showed his collapsible Clothes Bench, made out of birch-ply laminate and steel tubing. Scholes—whose design inspiration includes industrial designers Naoto Fukasawa and Konstantin Grcic—says he wanted to create a piece that would be simple to produce. The result is a smart space-saver that is both a bench and a clothes hanger, and lives up to Scholes’ aim to create objects that support the functions within everyday life.
Helen Miller, a graduate of the University of Central Lancashire, chose to do furniture in her third year. Her collection of tables, shelves and stools were inspired by the organic forms and colors of the natural landscape, an influence that was clear when you saw the smooth edges of her resin and wood-pieces. Reminiscent of sand-softened glass, the muted colors of the resin perfectly complemented the reclaimed wood.
Making everyday objects beautiful and yet useable is always a challenge for product designers. Oscar Copping, of Loughborough University, definitely succeeded with his Ritual Coffee Maker. Inspired by Japanese tea ceremonies, Copping’s aim was to create the utensils for a British coffee ceremony. His coffeepot and cups have a speckled ceramic texture that Copping created himself, and were designed to make consistently good coffee. Each pot fills the three cups, making sure no coffee goes to waste.
India Mee’s pieces stood out among the many necklaces, bracelets and rings in New Designers’ jewelry and metalwork section. Her fun, unusual glasses, called “A Psychedelic Vision in a Concrete Metropolis,” have a flower-child vibe and contain a kaleidoscopic lens that fractures the user’s vision into much smaller pieces, for an alternate view of reality. The elaborate design and delicate details made the glasses look highly accomplished, and her collection also contains slightly more subdued rings, a necklace, and even a pair of kaleidoscope binoculars.
New Designers Part 1 is on view at the Business Design Centre (52 Upper St, London N1 0QH) through 27 June 2015.
Lead image courtesy of New Designers London 2015, all others courtesy of respective designers