New Designers: One Year In is a celebration of newly established and emerging talent across the design spectrum. As the exhibition returns to the Capital this month, we’re celebrating London’s very own ones to watch.
This Royal College of Art graduate creates contemporary leather specimen sculptures. Meticulously hand-crafted and fused with organic materials such as clay and wood, her nature-inspired forms are endlessly fascinating. The Welsh-born designer-maker draws on the industrial architecture of a large urban regeneration project that caught her eye, as well as the work of renowned textile artist and printmaker Anni Albers. It’s little wonder her modern monochrome pieces offer intricate textures and bold forms, mimicking the architecture of the natural world. Indeed, her hand-sculpted clay vessels, decorated with hundreds of leather discs, wouldn’t look out of place in a coral reef.
This London-based furniture maker crafts Japanese and Scandinavian inspired pieces from timber sustainably grown in the UK. Think strikingly minimal wooden stools, desks and chairs. Sand, who was born and brought up in India, spent much of his formative years inspired by its rich culture. He witnessed first-hand various pieces taking shape and developed a strong appreciation of crafts and the skilled artists behind them. It is this global outlook that continues to inspire the designer- maker, not only in his designs but in the materials he chooses to work with, too.
Based at west London’s Kindred Studios, Rachna creates hand-woven and hand- embroidered textiles, ranging from cushions to space dividers to wall art. She combines ancient techniques with unorthodox found materials, such as paper, plastic, bark, flowers and even wheat pod. Her tapestries aim to bring the outside in, adding a sense of calm to the interior space with their soft, neutral palette and tactile textures. Raw and experimental, Rachna’s work evokes the simple pleasures that nature brings – a woodland walk or a change in seasons. From loom to living room, these are beautiful landscapes.
North Londoner Richard Evans is a furniture maker with a focus on simplifying pieces without compromising their functionality or playfulness. His homewares are made from timber that’s been sustainably grown in the UK, while his work gives Japanese and Scandinavian design a knowing nod with its clean, minimalist aesthetic. Richard works with steel, too, and has developed a technique for bending and shaping the material into beautiful forms. The new designer’s 4 Point milking stools comprise tripod bases in primary brights, juxtaposed with the simple beauty of a smooth, ash seat with its arresting natural patina.
Ula Saniawa graduated with an MA in architecture from the London Met. The ceramic artist deals in both large-scale installations and ornate house jewels: hand-pinched porcelain pieces that are as delicate as paper flowers. But whatever the scale, Ula’s focus is process-based design that’s grounded in tactility. Her work is all about the honesty of the material: its unpredictability, imperfections and makers’ marks are all part of its beauty. Ula’s shell-like vessels offer an ethereal quality, each one unique in its undulating form and apparent fragility and it’s this organic, human connection – from maker to object to us – that we love.