Trends that matter: emerging themes at New Designers 2023
New Designers 2023 is almost upon us. With the UK’s top up-and-coming talents preparing to showcase their creative brilliance and innovation, a number of themes are beginning to unveil, capturing the spirit of our times and the power of design to solve real-world issues.
Many of these themes are also reflected in the ND Awards and ND Educates programmes – by shedding a light on these emerging trends, we aim to provide insights into the direction in which design is heading, sparking discussion for both professionals and design lovers alike. Get ready to be inspired by the ambitious visionaries coming to New Designers in a few short weeks, as they shape the future with aesthetics, functionality and sustainability in mind.
SUSTAINABILITY IN DESIGN
At ND, sustainability takes centre stage as a driving force behind innovative and responsible design practices. Morgan Griffiths Hagan from DJCAD, University of Dundee presents ‘A Garment to Trust’, a project which combats issues of overconsumption in the fashion industry by centring around longevity, durability and versatility.
Students from Bournemouth University will be showcasing products designed to conserve water, and we will even be seeing designs for a new electric hypercar by Anees Khan from Staffordshire University.
To delve further into this fundamental theme, don’t miss Design Week’s panel on Regenerative Design in Practice (Thursday 6 July) and Design Council’s talk on Climate Conscious Branding. Awards will also be presented at the show in celebration of sustainable design, such as the Creative Conscience Ethical Makers’ Award and the Decorex International Sustainability Award.
It’s impossible to list all of the fascinating designs which provide solutions for a more sustainable future – make sure you book your ticket to New Designers to discover them all!
INNOVATIVE USE OF MATERIALS
Each year we are blown away by the designs which push boundaries by exploring unconventional, upcycled and cutting-edge materials in ground-breaking ways.
Lauren Barltrop (University Centre Colchester) is one of the many designers now adopting circular design principles in their work, having designed menswear survival clothing using donated dead stock fabric from outerwear company ‘Lavenham Jackets’.
Weronika Turowska from Gray’s School of Art has created a tactile calming ball using sustainable materials developed by the designer herself. One of the materials has been grown by a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast using fermentation processes, with the other developed using chickpea water – aquafaba and algae, before naturally colouring the final product using charcoal and hibiscus plant.
On Friday 7 July, hear from leading materials experts on how innovative approaches and technologies can be employed to create products and solutions that are both environmentally friendly and socially responsible at the ‘Building a Sustainable Future: Innovating with Sustainable Materials’ talk.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
We are inspired by the pioneering concepts that find solutions to improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing – a poignant reminder of the power of design to improve individuals’ lives.
Sheffield Hallam students have created a number of designs focused on tackling health and wellness issues, from air purifying systems to an outdoor bench designed to encourage social interaction and a hospital bed storage solution. James Yeung (Staffordshire University) has designed an interactive children’s toy called ‘Mi Rai No Ko 未来の子’ using a blend of digital and analogue to disrupt addictive habits between children and tablets, consoles and smartphones.
A number of industry leaders will be awarding students who design with health and wellbeing in mind, including the Joseph Stannah Award which will be presented to an inclusive design that promotes independent living and addresses real life problems, and the NHS Royal Free Trust Award, which will offer the winning student exposure into the creative side of working in the NHS to transform how products, services and platforms are implemented.
TRADITION & CULTURAL HERITAGE
A number of designers are preserving and reframing cultural traditions in the present day by skilfully blending contemporary design with age-old techniques with captivating results. ND Selects exhibitor Make Relief is a design studio that produces unique objects and artwork, resulting from the combination of traditional and contemporary manufacturing techniques, and also in the ND Selects section is ceramic tableware designer Matkewalli, who celebrates family life and culture by weaving stories from her home. Don’t miss our ND Selects section to discover and buy from designers 1-3 years into setting up their businesses.
Laura Cruikshank (DJCAD, University of Dundee) creates jewellery which is informed by her love of traditional techniques such as lost wax casting, chasing, keum boo, filigree and chain making.
Lynn Zhang (Edinburgh College of Art) describes her jewellery design style as being a fusion of traditional and modern design elements. She draws inspiration from the rich history and cultural heritage of both European architecture and ancient Indian jewellery.
It would not be possible to capture the magic of these works in a blog post, so make sure you visit New Designers 2023 to experience the atmosphere of creativity and innovation at Islington’s Business Design Centre from 28 June – 1 July and 5 – 8 July.