New Designer’s Part 2 – 2016

In a second whirlwind visit to the Business Design Centre last week, Part 2 of New Designer's brings together graduates from furniture, product, interior and digital, as well as a second helping of illustration. And as always, the array of work on offer, the quality and craftsmanship was of the highest standard.

When scouting for new talent and potential designers to work with, it's not simply about the end product, but the research, inspiration and detailing that catches my eye. On a personal level, I'm often drawn to sketch books, doodles and scribbles that a seed of an idea may have originated from, which then in turn leads to a final solution. Four designers in particular caught my eye this year, already showing huge promise and potential as up-and-coming designers with their commercially aware products, and interestingly, three of whom are graduates from the same university.

Francesca Moutafis, a product and furniture graduate from Kingston University, has comprised her final collection with a series of furniture and minimalist ceramics. Her sensitive touch with both mediums has given her the opportunity to create a cohesive, decorative and functional range of pieces.

Northumbria University, provided a well-rounded and professional collection of work that wouldn't be out of place on the shelves of Heal's or Habitat, and one of the stand-out areas of this year's part 2 exhibition. So unsurprisingly, I have chosen three graduates from Northumbria as my ones to watch.

Specialising in lighting design, Emma Graney has used architecture and geometry to influence her urban inspired pieces, with a mix of concrete and glass, combined with the fluidity of a traditional filament bulb. She intends to continue to grow her body of work, not only in lighting design, but would also like to experiment with furniture using timber. A hint of softness perhaps to compliment the brutalist lighting elements.

George Riding made the switch to the BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design, after feeling limited in his creativity studying a BSc in Product Design and Engineering. Making the move has allowed him to look deeper into the emotional aspects of design, and creating a positive experience for the end user. His Indoor Watering Can was one of several pieces on show, focusing on functional and minimal aesthetic qualities.

Also graduating from Northumbria is product and furniture designer Olivia Post. Her Spin Lamp combines timber and copper and was designed to be functional and playful. Inspired by the child's toy, a spinning top, the interactive nature of the piece means it can act as a task or ambient light feature.

An impressive selection this year that not only motivates me as a designer, as well as a supporter of new talent, but inspires me too. The confidence with which new designers now promote themselves and their work is wonderful to see, setting up an online presence has become second nature with a plethora of self-titled studios and workshops already popping up across the country, it seems that creative endeavours won't be slowing down any time soon.

Designers from Left to Right...

Top - Emma Graney/ George Riding
Bottom - Francesca Moutafis/ Olivia Post


A Creative Kickstart…

We first came across Tom Hutchinson's work during our annual scout of 'New Designers'. Sat quietly in the corner of the Islington's Business Design Centre, three simply crafted and beautifully minimal glass,  timber and felt pieces were on show, and immediately caught our eye.

Tom of course made our shortlist, and having been in frequent contact about stocking his elegant wares, he told us about his Kickstarter project to take his first collection from the workshop to full scale production.

Based in the heart of York in the UK, Tom and his business partner JJ are passionate about beautiful materials, quality craftsmanship and thoughtful design. After graduating in November 2013 with a degree in Product Design and Business Management, he set about creating his first homeware range, Obtineo, combining contemporary design with traditional manufacturing methods, and all entirely crafted in the UK. The simplicity of the range gives it amazing versatility, from classic kitchen storage, to a place to keep your keys.

His Kickstarter project hit our inbox a little over a week ago accompanied by a short film and a selection of his pieces to pledge for. Instantly spoilt for choice we are keeping our fingers crossed that in a few months time, not only have Tom and JJ reached there goal,  we also have our very own piece of the Obtineo range!

Tom's story is exactly why we do what we do. New design talent in the UK shouldn't be overlooked, dreams shouldn't be put to one side. Passion, persistence and the belief in an idea is all you need to do something that you love…

If you would like to support Tom's project, visit and click Kickstarter to find out more...