New Designers 2017

Yesterday the Design Insider team had the opportunity to visit New Designers, it was hot! Despite the lack of air conditioning we were blown away by New Designers Part Two and the level of design excellence demonstrated by this year’s design graduates.

Here we take a look at just a fraction of the student’s designs, this is the first of 3 posts which will look at the designers we spoke to at New Designers.


Mark Hedley will graduate from Plymouth University in 3D Design.  The concept for Mark’s seating range was to look at mass production methods including CNC bar bending in steel and applying that to hand batch production.  Mark’s wish was to make the most efficient process driven design that he could, increasing the number of bends in order to reduce the number of welds required, whilst retaining the integrity of the material.  Consequently Mark’s stools are efficient to assemble as well as being incredibly strong, this is demonstrated in the design of the footrest which Mark describes as ‘bomb proof!’   Mark’s chair is created from a single profile, a continuous length of 2.4 meters of steel.  Mark stuck with his brief to look at batch production and has produced a first run for 10 stools and 10 chairs, demonstrating his production knowledge and making skills.  With a wish to move into design for larger scale production it was imported for Mark that his work carefully considered every aspect of production, with a view to designing high quality, high volume, affordable furniture in the future.



When you visit New Designers you may question ‘what is missing?’ Well, in my opinion it is Bucks New Uni furniture courses that are missing!  However, the exceptionally skilled tutors from the furniture design courses at Bucks are now sharing their skills on other courses, including Contemporary Furniture Course Leader Neil Austin who is now the Fine Furniture Making course leader at The Building Crafts College.  On The Building Crafts College stand, sat in Bucks’ empty spot in the heart of New Designers, Neil introduced us to Rowena Edwards.  Rowena’s piece is called Foryd (Welsh for roam) and is a wonderfully engaging drinks cabinet.  The roaming drinks cabinet can be efficiently moved around the home, with a removable drinks cartridge which can be lifted out to be used and refilled, topped with a handy tray.  The key to the success of this design is Rowena’s innovative central weighted pivot system, this keeps the cabinet upright.  We were not the only ones to recognise the beauty of Rowena’s design: Rowena received the award for Stand Out Design, John Lewis popped one of their coveted ‘John Lewis Loves’ cards on the piece and Innovate UK selected the design to be featured in their upcoming seminar.


Alexander Hay will graduate from Northumbria University in 3D Design and of course we could immediately recognise the potential of Alex’s work in our own sector.  Alex’s design is a chair which offers the buyer an enormous choice of finish or customisation.  Alex selected woollen fabrics from Bute for his expertly made prototypes but envisages the buyer to be able to select from a variety of fabrics as well as veneers.  It is not only the seat which can be customised to the buyers taste, or to the specifiers requirements, but Alex has also designed his piece to be suitable for a selection of bases which are interchangeable using the universal fixings positioned on the underside of the seat.  Contact


It was a pleasure to meet the students and tutors from Sheffield Hallam University at our BCFA Open event in March and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the students’ final work at New Designers.  James Standaloft talked us through his design Communion, which is a lighting installation system for co-working spaces.  The lights can be removed from a central installation and taken to an individual’s workspace and through the use of assigned colours they can single their wish to collaborate or indicate that they require a period for concentration.  The lamps have a 3D printed defuser which also works as the switch to change the colour of the light.  James has taken into consideration the environmental impact of his design, allowing the user to disassemble the lamps at the end of their life for recycling.

Here are a few further images from our visit, please do share your highlights with us on twitter @DesignInsider1



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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