New Designers 2012 – Part One

I’ve just had the most incredible time at New Designers 2012 at the impressive Business Design Centre in London. This year New Designers celebrates 27 years of promoting design graduates work to the industry at large.

My head is swimming with inspired designs, new products and expertly crafted furniture. It’s going to take me a while to reset  my eyes back into their sockets. To help me re-adjust to normal functioning I’ll share with you the highlights from the event as I saw them.

I didn’t have time to take in the entirety of the show, I would have needed a few more days and possibly a few clones of myself. So to preserve my time I focused on two main areas: Furniture and One Year On.


The first thing I noticed upon entering the furniture arena was the sheer quality of craftsmanship on display. The use of discarded and reclaimed materials was also a big focus for a lot of student’s work.

Vicky Gilbert from Plymouth University impressed me with her ‘Eternal’ Chair, made using discarded cow hide from the abattoir and 16 meters of steel tube. I also thought Vicky’s ‘Dizzy’ side table was well designed and wouldn’t look out of place in many retail outlets.

Here’s a little video of Vicky talking about them:

Hugh Leader-Williams from Loughborough University won the 100% Design award for hisSpun furniture’. Describing his furniture as clean and unfussy, they consist of powder coated discs of spun steel connected by magnets to an ash frame, making it easy to remove the tops and store away. The Judges commented: “Cool looking product, well presented with lots of commercial and development potential.”

Ella Hopps, also from Loughborough University, had created this rather lovely and aptly named modular ‘Storage unit’.

Whilst on the Loughborough University stand I also noticed Harris Chapman’s ‘Wayfarer’ shelf system which uses construction grade material, (Chipboard, as I like to call it) which is enjoying some popularity within Interior Design schemes currently.

Close to Loughborough, both geographically and stand-wise is Nottingham Trent University. Two pieces leapt out at me here; both chairs. The first chair is by Daniel Edwards. It would compliment any room it was placed in (especially my living room).

The other chair is by Oliver Hrubiak and actually won the John Lewis Award. I really liked this chair too, albeit for different reasons. Think functional, comfy waiting or reception room chair.

Jordan Cottee on the bucks new university (sic) stand received a lot of interest in his nesting tables featuring a reclaimed log in the centre of each. His table also used reclaimed wood that was regarded as unusable due to a large crack in it. Jordan simply ‘stapled’ the gap with steel rods to nice effect.

Ian Revely’s minimally constructed but very strong 636 stools are designed to fit together like a honeycomb.  Ian explains how he stumbled onto the design in the video below.

The Makahiya Chair / Footstool made by Assa Gonzalez from London Metropolitan University’s Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design is inspired by the closing leaves of the mimosa plant. The folding leaves of the chair allow it to be used in a variety of configurations.

Minnie Birchall from Leeds Met University had designed something quite different for her final year project. Noticing that more of her friends had taken to sitting on the floor or lying on a bed whilst studying, she developed a colourful, modular floor seating arrangement that targets schools as well as the home.

Stay tuned for part two when I’ll be reporting on One Year On.

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