Friday, 29 June 2012

Exhibition Review: New Designers Part 1 2012

Yesterday, we went along to New Designers at Islington's Business Design Centre to check out the fresh contemporary talent from some of the most well-known university institutions across the UK. This year's show exhibited an impressive range of up and coming designers, as well as companies such as Absolut Vodka and sewing workshops with Fine Cell. As artists and teachers we always jump at the chance of going each year (our own contributor Claire Platt was even in it a few years back) to suss out which universities are crowning the new blood. There is always one problem with a trip like this though - the vast choice of cutting edge work on display and for sale. Where do you even start to make a purchase yet alone write a review on the amazing design on offer. Most people snap up the hottest trends on the private view but be prepared to know your budget and what you want before you go in.

The best of all the exhibitor stands had to be Leeds, Portsmouth and Sunderland. We really enjoyed going around the show talking to the graduates (all of whom were dressed immaculately) so, here is our selection of favourite designers whose work was that little bit extra special:

We fell in love with Emily Calland's crude illustrations and printed textile pieces. The combination of bold colours with harsh written slang makes you think and laugh at society. She may not be a household name yet and you may not of even heard of her, but we predict Emily Calland will be slowly taking over the world with her fun loving illustrative prints.

It was also nice to see some faces we recognised this year - god bless one year on with it's gloriousness. Amy Logan was at New Designers last year and thankfully the capital gets to witness her incredible jewellery once again. We had admired her pieces online this week and had no idea she was exhibiting so it was a lovely surprise when we stumbled across her stand. Amy uses simple lines to create iconic forms that are stunning, yet simplistic in their design - it was really refreshing to see her heavy reliance on traditional materials rather than digital laser cutting like we're often seeing in jewellery designs at the moment. Her long chained necklace looked amazing full size and hung on the wall ... sigh... how can you not love her work!

This year, we preferred the way the work was displayed and snapped some good ideas for different ways to hang our students work for class or exhibition use. How cute are these sketchbooks being held up by bulldog clips and the textile samples sandwiched between two pieces of acrylic and suspended by rope. In a great bit of curating interactive images were present throughout and played on iPads in most stands creating a new level of intimacy with the viewer, as only one or two people at a time were really able to watch the showreels and interact with the work. Whether intentional or not the iPads acted as a way to draw people in from across the building to look at the work closer and this is something we're definitely interested in experimenting with so watch this space!

New Designers Part 1 continues until the 30th June and is a must see. If you are unable to make it then consider the next group of budding potentials in Part 2 from 5th-7th July. For a full list of events check out the New Designers website. We can't wait to see what talents going to emerge next!

- Kirsty 


  1. Thank you for your amazing comments! You are fantastic! xoxoox

  2. You're welcome - We love your work and can't wait to see more!