Innovative Design

One Year On at New Designers 2017 is a widely anticipated showcase of new creatives providing a unique opportunity to discover bold ideas, contemporary styles and product innovation in the fields of homeware, furniture, ceramics, textiles, jewellery and illustration. Highlights from this year, which is the largest edition yet, include kinetic jewellery, illustrations which draw inspiration from vintage matchbox artwork, furniture made from distinctive 5,000 year-old bog oak and a brutalist inspired ceramic tea set.

Chosen on the strength of their craft, design flair and quality of product, the 80 talented individuals taking part were selected by a panel of experts from across the design industry, and are tipped to be the iconic designers of the future. We speak to Rheanna Lingham, curator of One Year On about the selection process, what to look out for at this year’s show, and to gain an insight into Shoreditch store Luna & Curious run by Lingham and two fellow creatives Polly George and Kaoru Parry.

A: You’re curating One Year One at New Designers this year. What excites you about this section?
RL: One Year On is a bit of an ‘iceberg’ exhibition, each part lasts for four days but as curator I work with the designers for five months beforehand supporting them as they gear up to showcase their work, and for many this is their first major exhibition. This guidance is what makes One Year On like no other show; the exhibitors are assisted with many areas including product development, marketing, pricing and display, vital info to help them as they start their businesses. Therefore when the show opens I have got to know the exhibitors well and also they have got to know each other, it is this that really excites me, a new community of creatives has been formed.

A: What trends can audiences look forward to seeing in One Year One? Are there any bold colours or patterns that particularly stand out?
RL: We have an exciting crop of furniture designers, 11 in total, this is so heartening, setting out as a furniture maker requires space and expensive machinery, so to see 11 brave makers willing to take on this challenge is fantastic. We also have a collection of craftspeople producing engaging non-functional pieces, small artworks in themselves. (Bethany Stafford, Bryony Applegate, Katy Gillam-Hull and Charlie Birtles). Colour and pattern can be seen across the disciplines from illustrator Ben Craven’s Memphis inspired work to Joanna Vanderpuije’s painterly clothing, from Maisie Jones striking ceramics to Alice Heaton’s marble like glass vessels, as well as bold textiles from Katy Welsh and Abbey Costello.

A: Do you have any favourite designers in this year’s fair?
RL: I couldn’t possibly have any favourites! I was privileged to meet some of the exhibitors at last year’s New Designers, I was particularly fascinated by the surface designers whose output can be very broad but adapt to working within so many disciplines, this includes Winter & Kurth whose contemporary marquetry is sensational and Theo Riviere whose wood, cork and glass objects were intriguing.

I met Jenna Coulthard as a graduate at the 2015 New Designers and invited her to take part in our Make Your Mark event at Luna & Curious for London Design Festival so it’s great to be working with her again. Luna & Curious are just opening a dedicated children’s shop, as always with a focus on British manufacture so I’m really excited to see Alma Borealis’ children’s knitwear in person, as this ticks all our boxes.

A: As the owner and founder of Shoreditch store Luna & Curious, what do you look for when searching for new works? Who and/or what inspires you?
RL: My partners, Polly George and Kaoru Parry, and I are always looking for new work to sell at Luna & Curious. We love to sell products made in the UK where possible and provenance is always considered in our selection. We never buy because it’s the latest trend, we buy from a designer because they are doing something original and producing it to a really high quality.  We work very closely with many of our designers and get to know them really well.

We are really excited to discover small manufacturers and we are currently focusing on working with small British factories producing items under the Luna & Curious label including womenswear, baby grows, homeware and many more items in the pipeline. Our latest love is Lee Broom’s collaboration with Wedgwood. Beautiful as objects alone, but the mastery used in producing the pieces is phenomenal.

A: Can you offer some advice for emerging designers and makers establishing their own creative businesses?
RL: I have learnt over the years that talent alone doesn’t always bring success. Establishing your creative business is really difficult, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades, partner up if you can’t do everything, it is better to recognise what your limitations are then let them limit your business. My advice is to be a tortoise, slow and steady wins the race, do what you can really well and grow steadily. Be polite and be generous, these traits will encourage others to support you in your journey, it’s not a competition, you never know where things may lead, a little conversation at One Year On may lead to a big project years down the line.

One Year On at New Designers 2017, Part 1: 28 June – 1 July (Awards Preview 28 June), Part 2: 5 – 8 July (Awards Preview 5 July), Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1. For more information: #ND17

1. Naomi Jacques, Mother Torso. Courtesy of the artist and New Designers 2017 One Year On.