In an age of increasing changes in, well, pretty much everything, it stands to reason that the way we think about, and use, the products that are part of everyday life is changing too. From books that make use of emerging VR technologies, to designers who juxtapose furniture and the human body, we’re seeing a blurring of the boundaries between who makes something, and who uses it.
In an attempt to explore how we begin mapping this new territory, It’s Nice That have partnered up with MADE.com to co-host an early-evening discussion titled Part of the Process, which will focus on the progressively more collaborative relationship between designers and the audiences.
In fact, MADE’s TalentLab initiative is a prime example of what we’re talking about. Designers and creatives can submit product proposals, which are then open to crowdfunding. Consumers can then place a refundable deposit of £5 to register interest in whatever it is that has piqued their interest.
In this way, the traditional barrier between aesthetics and commerce is broken down. TalentLAB was born out of the Made Emerging Talent Award – an annual competition for up-and-coming designers to break into the industry, and get their product made and sold.
The event in Shoreditch, London on 19 September will feature a panel of leading creatives and experts on the subject — and our own news editor Josh Baines on moderator duties. On the night, he will be joined by MADE’s chief creative officer Jo Jackson, Visual Editions’ co-founders Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen, the fantastically inventive product designer Guan Xiang, and the bill is rounded off with Hato’s very own Ken Kirton.
Each of our speakers brings their own expertise to the topic and you can find out more about each of them below.
Jo is Made.com’s chief creative officer, she has over a decade of experience in marketing and branding. The co-founder of award-winning design boutique and fashion label Beyond the Valley, Jo also spent nearly three years as managing director at Protein, where she was responsible for projects with clients like Nike, Microsoft, and Converse. At MADE she oversees everything from brand strategy and advertising through to building innovation within retail, social and advocacy campaigns. She’s also a massive advocate for the TalentLAB initiative.
With a practice that incorporates everything from exhibition to interactive resources via branding and art direction, London-based studio Hato are always worth keeping an eye on. You only have to look at the identity they crafted for the 2018 D&AD Festival to see just how the Hato team bring their audience directly into the design process. By creating, and providing an app, members of the public were able design 3D shapes, and these crowd-sourced creations were then used as part of a process that displayed a keen interest in co-creation, connection, and play.
Anna and Britt founded Visual Editions back in 2010, and for the best part of a decade the pair have been committed to agile problem solving and mastering the art of storytelling. Knocking down the barriers between creators and audiences is an essential part of the Visual Editions practice, and nothing displays that better than Breathe, a fully-interactive experimental digital book written by author Kate Pullinger. With Breathe, the reader is an essential component of the reading experience, and each reading is fully unique, resulting in a radical reimagining of what books are, and how stories can be told.
Central Saint Martins’ graduate Guan Xiang has marked out a space in which the relationship between human beings and the objects they encounter day in, day out comes under constant questioning. He creates furniture which forces the viewer to think: What if you had a symbiotic relationship to daily objects? If this symbiosis existed would we find more meaning and possibilities in everyday objects? In Guan’s world, chairs and humans become one.