Watch This Space

After quite a few stressful weeks of searching, we can now confirm we've found a gallery space to showcase a range of fantastic new and emerging designers, including the newest additions from our New Talent Search, as well as officially launch our all singing, all dancing website!

We have already begun the exciting, although slightly daunting process of curating our newest crop, and hope to find a few more fresh faces at the upcoming New Designers and D&AD New Blood graduate shows over the coming weeks to add to the mix of illustrators, product, furniture and fashion designers you'll see on show in a few months time during London Design Festival, so, watch this space…

 

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 tomhutchinsondesign.co.uk and click Kickstarter to find out more...

Milan via Africa…


Milan 2013 is upon us, the annual descent on the Italian city is in full swing, and as one of the most exciting showcases in the design calendar, we wanted to find out what first-time exhibitors thought about taking part, and the prospect of sitting alongside some of the world's biggest design hitters...


Set to take over flagship store La Rinascente, Afrofuture is a showcase of how Africa, the world's second largest continent, is exploring new frontiers through media, events and performance.


'Afrofuture shines a modern, pan-African light on what can, is and could happen in design in and beyond Africa...and to think big about how the rapidly emerging future will see mould-breaking designers coming from radical underground to the global mainstream.' says showcase developer and writer, Nana Ocran.



Yinka Illori is a relatively new furniture designer, but since graduating his feet haven't really touched the ground. We have known Yinka for about six months now, and in that time he has shown his work in New York, London and Frankfurt, but Milan is set to be a real highlight, and he's starting to feel the pressure being under such an international spotlight.


During the week-long programme of events, on Wednesday 10th April, Yinka will be presenting, 'The Art of Storytelling' a live up-cycling session using vintage European furniture, and upholstering the pieces in Nigerian fabrics, a signature of his, and an appropriate clash of cultures for the exhibition itself. We caught up with him about his imminent trip...

How did you get selected as an exhibitor?

"Being part of Afrofuture at the the La Rinascente all came about when Beatrice Galilee, the curator, contacted me via email. She came across my work on-line with an interview that I did with writer Stephanie Baptist a few months ago on the blog Another Africa.
I invited Beatrice and her assistant to my studio, and she really liked my previous work, and workshop proposal for Afrofuture. The invitation to be part of the exhibition came soon after. It was unbelievable, I never thought that this opportunity would happen so soon! I am really excited, and at the same time nervous...more excited now it's so soon though..."

What are you most looking forward to?

"I am really looking forward to my workshop...it's the first time for doing a workshop, let alone in Milan! It's a great opportunity for me to push myself and try something totally different. If it's successful, maybe it will be something I will consider doing in the future. It would a good opportunity to give people an insight into my thoughts when up-cycling, and how I use Nigerian parables to tell meaningful stories through my work..."

"...All the action of the workshop will be curated with a special Nigerian playlist I created, including legendary artists like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade. I grew up listening to this music, my parents always played it in the house...all of their music told stories and changed lives, and that's something that I've always wanted to emulate in my work. Being able to bring these two powerful elements together is going to be a phenomenal experience!"

Have you got any plans to visit any other shows?


"I will be there for three days so I will be trying my hardest to check out a lot of the designers and their shows/installations. I am most excited about seeing The Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop, a studio established in Teshie, Ghana in the 1950s. It is known for its design coffins that became symbolic of African artistic creativity. It's also showcasing as part of Afrofuture, so something I am really looking forward to seeing..."

"...I also want to check out Lee Broom's crystal bulbs, I think they are amazing! And also Designersblock...so many exciting things to see, you should see my list, it's crazy!"



Blog it, buy it…


Blog & Buy Sale is a company with an ethos very much like our own. They offer a platform to support and promote independent designer/makers from all over the world, picking pieces and products that wouldn't necessarily be seen, and bringing them to the fore, in an on-line curated gallery of hand-made delicacies.

We have been following Blog & Buy Sale pretty much since we set-up, and they have been great supporters of ours over the past two years, so it seems only fitting to return the favour and highlight them, and the talented designers they support.

It may not feel very Spring-like right now, but on Sunday 17th March, Blog & Buy Sale launched their 'Spring Wish List' A showcase of hand-picked pieces made from submissions received over the last month or so. Along with many other talented designers, we are privileged to have pieces from our very own designers selected, namely Kayleigh Hadley, Natalie Hough and Ben Phe, and from the huge array of prints, gifts and home-ware, we thought we'd pick some of our favourites too...

Our favourite cards...


Our favourites for children...



Our favourites for men...



Our favourites for the home...




Our favourite gifts...




And finally...our favourite prints...



The Spring Wish List runs from 17th March to 5th May...

In London with Love…

With Cupid primed to shoot his arrow next week, we look ahead to the launch of the Valentine's pop-up, Love.Make Designs at Craft Central's Corner Shop in Farringdon, London.

Running from 11th-17th February Love.Make Designs is showcasing four fine independent designer/makers based in the U.K who are working together to turn the Corner Shop into a Valentine's inspired treasure trove, guaranteed to melt the coldest of hearts!


Dual Nation Jewellery, one of our very own featured new designers Zoe Richardson, will have a mix of handcrafted jewellery inspired by her British and Australian heritage, which has a vintage quality and bold narrative that translates effortlessly from day to night...



Designer Rebecca Desnos launched her eco-conscious business just under 12 months ago after failing to seek out eco-friendly accessories with a luxury appeal. Each of her pieces is hand-made in London using Fair Trade organic cotton, and with a touch of love and respect, each accessory is a beautiful one-off investment piece...



Boodi Blu was set-up a few years ago by Sarah Marafie after spotting pieces of broken ceramic whilst taking her dog for a walk. After gathering quite a collection, she decided to turn these unique shards into beautiful one-off pieces of jewellery. Sarah combines the china with metals, gemstones and freshwater pearls to create jewellery that could definitely tell a story...



London's first ethical underwear brand Iris 'encapsulates beauty, elegance and femininity...' They feel strongly about keeping things local, with every piece designed and made in their London studio. Iris also take sustainability very seriously, with there repeat fabrics all from factory waste supplies. They merge classic craftsmanship, and an understanding of the female form to create luxurious lingerie for fashion-forward women...


We are very excited to see these amazing, unique offerings from four truly talented creative, independent designer/makers next week, it's time to celebrate the best of new British design for 2013...

For more details visit:
LoveMakeDesigns

Follow:
@LoveMakeDesigns

‘I never liked the term pop-up…’



Not an opinion you expect to be expressed at a Pop-up networking event, but this was the gut feeling of Dezeen founder Marcus Fairs at the 'We Are Pop-up' meet-up on a cold and frosty Monday evening in East London...

The setting was Modern Jago just off Arnos Circus, with a crowd formed a mix of seasoned pop-up-ists, fresh faces first-timers, and an army of supporters of the cause. 'We Are Pop-up' our hosts, have grown quite a following in a relatively short space of time, bringing a close knit community and creative hub to not only London, but also across the pond.

Monday evening was a great opportunity for pop-up or pilot store lovers to get inspired for 2013 with the evenings speakers.


Marcus Fairs spoke about his online presence and how Dezeen was able to translate into a successful offline, physical offer as well. 

The origins of Dezeen, the classic design blog, relied heavily on advertisers to fund their work with the majority of content free to all. With the idea of branching out into retail always being on the to-do list, the Watch Store was born.


The idea to start with small, manageable products was key and to set themselves apart, by approaching individual designers and graduates, from London to Hong Kong.

'...The key was to find a product that you couldn't find in Selfridges or at an airport...'

On-line was the natural starting point, with exhibition stands to test out the market. The surprise for them was how quickly the pieces sold.

'... Trade fairs historically are for prototypes, for retailers to place orders for newly launched products, no one actually sells anything...the thing is, we sold a lot!'

With its solid foundations as one of the leading on-line design resources, and with its first publication hot off the press, Dezeen opened its first pop-up. Never a fan of the term pop-up, they branded the store as 'The Temporium.' Although a creative endeavour,  it was still very much business focused. Combining their own pieces with smaller spaces that were able to sub-let to individual brands and designers.


Having tested out several areas in London, it was clear that location, and a strong customer base was key.

'..Shoreditch  is a great place, full of creativity, but no one really spends money there...'

Striking up a solid relationship with Seven Dials in the heart of London has been key in maintaining their retail offer. The Dezeen Superstore allowed them to experiment with different product, and it was the first time they brought in a retail consultant to over-see the process.


What was evident as Marcus spoke, was the fact that even though he had the strength of his brand behind him, there was still the need and desire to experiment, make mistakes, to evolve the retail offer, be playful, but most of all be passionate, and certainly for us, this was inspiration in abundance for 2013...