Part 2 of New Designers 2014 welcomed graduates from furniture and product design, visual communications, motion arts and theatre design. I was delighted to see Oliver Liddard’s Rethink Sink. In last summer’s dry spell, I could regularly be seen emptying water from my kitchen sink into the garden to revive wilting peas and beans. My efforts at grey water recycling would have been much more efficient with Oliver’s RSA Award winning design. Rethink the Sink uses two basins to make users visually aware of how much water they are using. The first basin is plug less, so you have to consciously pour or ‘throw away’ water into the second basin. This act enables users to intervene and recycle the grey water elsewhere in the home. The design aims to decrease water consumption by making us aware of the volumes we use. An elegant intervention.
After the abundance of blooms at Part 1, one of the first works that caught my eye was Sam Janzen‘s Eco-System Composter. Designed for an Electrolux Design Lab competition, the gravity-fed system takes food waste in, and fresh food out with the system sitting on top of a seed incubator. The green-fingered amateur was also in the mind of Joshua Keogh when he designed Cultivate, as a client project for Joseph Joseph. The self-watering system uses two silicone pots of different sizes making it easier to repot in the early stages of plant growth.
To propagate and cultivate plants, we need bees, and Jon Steven is a man on a mission to make bee-keeping more accessible with his eco-friendly and affordable Pine Hive. Made of economical pine, with hemp rope handles, the hive has the same internal dimensions as the National Hive, and allows interchangeability of pre-existing parts such as frames and mesh floors, reducing waste from potential upgrades, and is stackable, so it can be readily expanded.
For a splash of colour, Effie Koukia has developed paint and print products that are literally good enough to eat. Effie set out to replace the hazardous chemicals in spray paints used for graffiti with a safer and healthier alternative. The dyes and solvents used in the EXTRACT range are derived from 100% natural products and biodegradable. The paints are available in three formats (paint, spray paint and screen-print) and safe for users, including children, in case of contact with the skin, ingestion or inhalation. The hot pink on show was picture perfect!
Recycled plastic bags provide inspiration and material for Reiji Yamazaki‘s work. Heat is used to shrink the bags into a durable, flexible material that Reiji used to make colourful accessories. Wael Seaiby reminds us that one million plastic bags are used every minute around the world and around 93% of these bags end up in landfill. With PLAG, Wael recycles some of these discarded bags into hand-worked vessels, that would bring a vibrant splash of colour into anyone’s home.
At last year’s New Designers 2013 I enjoyed Kai Venus Designs‘ Bambureau, made of formaldehyde-free bamboo ply, so I was delighted to catch up with him at One Year On. This year Kai exhibited a cabinet of curiosities made of birch ply, up-cycled kitchen knives and ash chopping boards. The chopping boards are made from ash from Kai’s uncle’s farm that has been seasoned for several years, rather than months, revealing a deep grain and rich colour. The “Zero-Carbon Knives” are made from up-cycling used saw blades, finished with handles of hardwood off-cuts. The high-carbon spring steel used for saw blades is the same as that of Japanese sushi knives, so provides a razor sharp edge, which stays sharp for an exceptionally long time. You just have to clean and dry the knife as soon as you have used it so the blade does not discolour.
Kai’s knives would be perfectly complemented by Tom Hutchinson’s considered and elegant Obtineo Storage jars made in the UK from the finest solid ash, felt and glass. The glass is hand-blown at a works that can trace its roots right back to 1612. The felt, made of 100% wool, is from one of the last British felt factories. Each of Oliver Richardson‘s three Kitchen Totems provide further decorative function to the rituals of eating an egg, steak or evening glass of wine. Michael Papworth’s design project, sponsored by black + blum, looks to influence our drinking habits, designing a water carafe, based on black + blum’s charcoal products, as a functional table centre piece.
As my children grow, I am left with a litter of toddlers’ toys, so the future-proof design of Heena Patel’s baby walker that transforms into a smart Scandi-style occasional table really appeals. Hannah Knowles approach to changing lifestyles is to design modular, flat-pack furniture from everyday products such as pipefittings, ash dowels and pipes. The copper adds a sense of luxury to her affordable, functional and fixable occasional table.
Yonghui Hong’s stools are recyclable, biodegradable and compostable. An eco-friendly alternative to polypropylene, PLA (polylactic acid) is a thermoplastic derived from plants (corn, sugar-cane and tapioca roots). Yonghui designed two stools: the first, is injection-molded from Fibrolon F8530, a compound of PLA and natural fibres; the second, designed for low volume batch production is made from a composite of PLA woven with Biotex flax fibre shaped on a heated steel mould.
Monica Prieto Alzate won an Ercol design contest for her reinterpretation of a Windsor chair, Lucia. Her bijoux vanity set, Kyo (pictured right) suits space-constrained urban-living and her decorative laser-cut hanging solutions, Familia, would be an affordable hanging choice. A sensitive choice of materials and playful nature permeate all her work.
Daniel Brooks tackled another blight on life in a small flat, getting your clothes dry without the space or cost of a tumble dryer. His design, Numa, which won the Wilko Award for Innovation, is a heatless clothes dryer that can try up to 5kg of wet clothing 3 times faster than an airing rack, at a cost of 5p an hour. A top-mounted fan creates constant air flow, encouraging evaporation, and a dehumidifier then extracts the moisture from the air to prevent damp and mildew. Brilliant.
For a final decorative edge, Emilie Osborne, a paper artist, One Year On, displayed her three-dimensional surface designs. Made of paper that is 75% recycled and 100% recyclable, the geometric designs create optical illusions of shape, depth and perspective. The effect is decorative, dynamic and bang-on trend.
Image credits: Daniel Brooks, Effie Koukia, Kai Venus Designs, Monica Prieto Design, Purplewax, Tom Hutchinson Design