Wednesdays, who likes Wednesdays? Middle of the week, middle of the road, nothing to write home about but oh this Wednesday, this Wednesday is a glorious one. Because this Wednesday marks the opening of the Design Museum’s fifth annual Designers in Residence exhibition and, showcasing some of the very best young and emerging design talent, the results are quite a spectacle.
Responding to a “thrift” brief (fitting in these straitened economic times), young designers were asked to investigate the notion that it is more difficult to produce a refined design for £10 than it is for £1,000, thus exploring economy and resourcefulness in an object, environment or an experience. And the four selected young designers responded in a bold, innovative and beautifully thought-provoking way.
Selected from a huge pool of entrants it was Freyja Sewell’s exploration of wool as a sustainable product, Lawrence Lek’s clever bending of plywood, Yuri Suzuki’s investigation into the realms of electronics, sound and design and collaborators Oscar Medley-Whitfield and Harry Trimble’s take on ceramics which wowed the judges and won them all residencies for such creative responses.
Freyja Sewell may have only graduated from Brighton University recently but her exploration of wool fibres produced as a by-product of the British carpet industry and then transformed into brightly coloured, sturdy (who would have thought the words wool and sturdy would ever go together?!) furniture clearly demonstrates her maturity and her potential as a designer.
Lawrence Lek similarly explored furniture in his response to the brief, investigating processes of natural growth and industrial fabrication through the somewhat strenuous task of bending plywood to form objects and environments. Including a series of beautifully rounded stools and a stunning pavilion, Lawrence’s sleek designs really do make his residency a no-brainer.
Stepping away from furniture and following their love of using local materials as a means of embodying local identity and heritage in their work, co-designers Oscar and Harry make fantastic use of the otherwise unused resource of Thames river clay to create a range of geometrically beautiful products.
And last but by no means least, the exceptionally talented Yuri Suzuki took a slightly more out-the-box take on the brief conducting a series of workshops demonstrating the concept of how things work. His project, complete with a circuit board of London’s underground, explores the notion that the current complexity of electronics make understanding their value and function difficult and as a result encourages consumers to purchase more products rather than repair old ones.
Holding their prestigious posts until January 27, these four are well worth knowing about.