Biodegradable pregnancy tests, spiced egg homeware, modular trainers and ocean waste jewellery: what to see at New Designers 2024

New Designers returns to the Business Design Centre in London for its 39th edition from 26 – 29 June and 3 – 6 July 2024 (tickets available now). Championing the best up-and-coming talent the UK has to offer, it unites over 3,000 design graduates from more than 100 university courses across multiple disciplines. Alongside showcasing their creativity and innovations, this annual event serves as a melting pot for new ideas and trends – and this year is no exception.

Amidst a rich body of original concepts, here’s a round-up of some key thought-provoking themes in the graduates’ final-year work; from rethinking materials and making them more sustainable, to designing with clear purpose and the ongoing effort to enhance mental health and wellness.

Owlet Side Tables & Low Thatch Table by Selfish Customs


At New Designers 2024, emerging talent is pushing the boundaries of sustainable design with innovative materials and eco-friendly solutions.

Michael Dairo from London Metropolitan University

At London Metropolitan University, Michael Dairo repurposes old cardboard boxes to craft seating solutions, presenting the potential of upcycling in modern design. Meanwhile, Achille Nasard creates biodegradable beach toys using seaweed-based plastic, and Tereza Kupcikova develops a strong and durable material from wood shavings and seaweed-based resin.

Tereza Kupcikova from London Metropolitan University

From ND Selects, Rosy Napper bases her research on the sustainable development of waste-based ceramics. Her latest project, “ReCinder”, is a 100% recycled material made from discarded ceramic and waste ash that has been diverted from landfill. A greener alternative to industrially processed clay, ReCinder is suitable for tiling, tableware, furniture and lighting.

Rosy Napper, ReCinder

Dani Middleton from Falmouth University takes a deep dive into consumer hesitance towards bio-materials by incorporating mycelium, seaweed and moss into her designs to promote a circular economy. Along with her course mate, Izzy Hillier, Middleton will cycle 260 miles from
Cornwall to New Designers on 28 June, emphasising the theme of low impact and incorporating it into their transportation to the show.

Louis Wright from Falmouth University

While Josephine Drew from Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh has crafted a compostable bowl using discarded eggshells painted with a natural tempera made from egg yolk, water and paprika, Louis Wright from Falmouth University integrates living materials like
slime mould into costume jewellery, creating pieces that evolve with the wearer.

Siri Hansen from Glasgow School of Art

Siri Hansen from Glasgow School of Art redefines the value of discarded plastic by transforming everyday waste into jewellery through her project “Plastic Metamorphism”. Also inspired by waste, fellow jewellery designer Liz Willoughby – participating in ND Selects – focuses her work on ocean plastics gathered from Scotland’s coast. She highlights the unique qualities of these materials, striving for individuality and responsibility in her handmade pieces.

Also chosen for ND Selects, Selfish Customs specialises in sculptural pieces with a focus on materiality. The Suffolk-based design studio collaborates with local makers, repurposing farming by-products including raw fleece, reed and barley straw to create one-of-a-kind homeware.


Through their innovative projects, many students at New Designers strive not only to tackle pressing environmental issues but also to demonstrate the transformative power of design in addressing real-world challenges with purposeful and creative solutions.

Lewis Broughton from Bournemouth University

Lewis Broughton from Bournemouth University introduces “ModuRun”, a modular running shoe inspired by his work experience at Lacoste. By allowing the shoe to be disassembled, adapted for different terrains and fully recycled, Broughton aims to reduce the significant waste generated by discarded running shoes.

Emma Pearce from the University of Sussex presents “Bioxi”, a packaging company offering eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics. Utilising bioplastics and mycelium material, Bioxi provides a range of sustainable packaging solutions, from waterproof materials to flexible films. Additionally, Oscar Bussey-Jones from the same university has developed “SeaTag”, a remote tracking unit designed to prevent ocean pollution by tracing and recovering lost fishing gear.

Will Falch from Falmouth University

Healthcare is one sector that has inspired several students at the show. Palak Shah from the University of Westminster has created ‘Moon’, a period care brand designed to educate and empower through interactive branding. Meanwhile, Ben Harris from Bournemouth University has designed “respiRate”, a device that monitors respiratory rates in emergency situations, providing accurate real-time readings to aid emergency responders. Will Falch from Falmouth University focuses on reducing the environmental impact of single-use plastic medical instruments, particularly lateral flow tests, by developing sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Sophie Dorrington from Bournemouth University offers a portable food preparation device for adults with dysphagia, enabling them to prepare safe, pureed meals on the go. Taylor Balback from the University of Huddersfield presents “Mellow Adventures”, aiming to transform the hospital experience for children with graphic design that facilitates friendly, energetic spaces.

Chloe Davey from Bournemouth University addresses women’s insecurity with “Hear Me Roar”, an easily accessible wrist wearable featuring a light and sound deterrent and a vibration communicative function to enhance safety and solidarity.


At this year’s New Designers, a wave of graduates is set to reshape design with a strong priority on wellbeing, all aimed at enhancing mental health and addressing the challenges many individuals encounter.

Anna Rae from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee

Anna Rae from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, explores the interplay between mental health, colour and light in her project “Rae of Light”, drawing inspiration from personal experiences. Through the use of sunlight and vibrant colours, her jewellery and spectacles, crafted from dichroic materials, evoke a sense of childlike wonder, encouraging wearers to seek out the “hidden rainbows” in life.

Sadie Thorpe from the University of Huddersfield

Taking a slightly different approach, Sadie Thorpe from the University of Huddersfield brings to the show an initiative designed to alleviate workplace stress by integrating play into daily life. “Play is the Way” offers a simple yet effective strategy to navigate life’s challenges with greater
ease and positivity.

Jess Day from Arts University Bournemouth

Jess Day from Arts University Bournemouth has crafted a children’s book focusing on childhood anxiety. Through metaphorical short stories with illustrations, the book highlights emotions and behaviours associated with anxiety, providing informative narratives for children to understand alongside coping techniques.

With “MISO”, David Talhadas from Nottingham Trent University sets out to support individuals with misophonia, a mental health disorder affecting sensory processing. His exhibition offers an interactive experience featuring sound, tactile objects and augmented reality to enhance understanding and tolerance of misophonia.

New Designers ( runs from 26 – 29 June and 3 – 6 July 2024 at the Business Design Centre, London, N1 0QH. Click here to register for tickets and here for opening times.

For the latest news, follow New Designers on: Instagram @NewDesigners; X @NewDesigners; Facebook @NewDesignersEvent 


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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