WHAT'S TRENDING AT NEW DESIGNERS 2024?

Designing for health and wellness, accessible and inclusive design and sustainable processes and materials are just some of the themes that are being explored by the next generation of makers who are currently preparing to exhibit at New Designers 2024 this June-July.

The work of these talented emerging designers not only reflects current trends but also provides an insight into the future directions of design and the world we live in – keep reading to discover some of the inspiring pieces you can expect to see at ND24.

(RE)INVENTING MATERIALS

The next generation’s dedication to environmentally conscious design is brilliantly showcased through the range of innovative approaches on display at ND – here are just a handful of the designers who are adopting circular principles, promoting ethical production practices and even developing brand new sustainable materials.

Emma Pearce from the University of Sussex has created Bioxi, ‘a biomaterial-based packaging company that works with bioplastics and mycelium material as an alternative to single-use plastic and wasteful packaging materials’

BA Jewellery and Silversmithing graduate Siri Hansen from the Glasgow School of Art redefines the value of discarded plastic by transforming everyday waste into jewellery through her project Plastic Metamorphism.

Emily Bourn (Northumbria University) has developed RE-JIG, ‘a service to empower the young rental community to configure, construct and recycle furniture’.

UCA graduate Kairo Woodgate’s project F*** Electric focuses on the environmental damage caused by the production of electric cars, looking at how older cars can be preserved and maintained for use into the future.

Rob Downward (Staffordshire University) has created a collection of furniture from a new sheet material made from compressed hemp and potato starch, and Eunjin Kim (Nottingham Trent University) has developed a game called Digmon, which ‘aims to create a significant social and environmental impact by leveraging tree planting as a nature-based solution to address flooding and enhance community resilience’.

Dani Middleton and Izzy Hillier from Falmouth University will be cycling to London from Cornwall for the show, emphasising the theme of low environmental impact which is shown in their work.

In ND Selects, our showcase for emerging design business and independent creatives curated by Louisa Pacifico, Rosy Napper bases her research on the sustainable development of waste-based ceramics. Her latest project, ‘ReCinder’, is a 100% recycled material made from discarded ceramic and waste ash that has been diverted from landfill. A greener alternative to industrially processed clay, ReCinder is suitable for tiling, tableware, furniture and lighting.

Selfish Customs specialises in sculptural pieces with a focus on materiality. The Suffolk-based design studio collaborates with local makers, repurposing farming by-products including raw fleece, reed and barley straw to create one-of-a-kind homeware.

Liz Willoughby focuses her work on ocean plastics gathered from Scotland’s coast. She highlights the unique qualities of these materials, striving for individuality and responsibility in her handmade pieces.

Judges for the ND Awards will be looking out for designers pioneering sustainable practices in their work – in particular Unilever who will be presenting the Dove Sustainable Beauty Innovation Award and the team at Ultrafabrics who will present the Ultrafabrics Sustainable Design Award.

Make sure to join Ben Lihou, Managing Director of Artichoke for a Talk on Sustainability in Furniture Design on Thursday 4 July and browse our full ND Educates programme here.

To learn more about how this year’s New Designers exhibitors are designing for the planet, check out our Earth Day Blog here.

DESIGNING FOR HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELLNESS

It’s inspiring to see the number of students who are demonstrating the transformative power of design in addressing real-world challenges with purposeful and creative solutions. We are seeing an expanding focus on works that are looking to enhance the future of our healthcare, as well as inventive solutions to improving safety and wellness.

Bournemouth University graduate Ben Harris has developed RespiRate – a device to support the monitoring of respiratory rate in emergency response, calculating and displaying a rate in breaths per minute in response to a button press each time a breath is observed to improve clarity and precision to emergency responders. Also from Bournemouth University, Chloe Davey addresses women’s safety with her project Hear Me Roar, an easily accessible wrist wearable featuring a light and sound deterrent and a vibration communicative function.

Megan McArdle (Northumbria University) has created Laplock, ‘a product designed to combat the gender disparity in the automobile industry’.

Falmouth University graduate Will Falch-Lovesey’s project KELPURE: Seaweed Solutions features a biodegradable pregnancy test made from a natural, circular and ecologically beneficial alternative to plastic to combat throwaway technology.

There are also many students designing with mental health and wellbeing in mind – learn more about some of their projects here.

INCLUSIVE AND ACCESSIBLE DESIGN

An ever-increasing number of projects are showing how design can be used to promote accessibility and inclusivity as well as how products can offer important avenues for understanding and supporting neurodiversity in our everyday lives. Learn more about some of these ground-breaking ideas below.

Product Design graduate Rebecca Brown from Edinburgh Napier University has created Footer, a sensory kit for neurodivergent people which helps to reduce anxiety and stress.

Erin Cox from Northumbria University’s product TACT Beauty is a makeup brand that promotes accessibility for the visually impaired and mobility impaired community, whilst Jude Finn Sorbie, also from Northumbria University has developed Poco – ‘a therapeutic musical device helping children with autism to connect with parents through sensory musical experiences’.

Falmouth University graduate Lil Orton’s project Sound Symmetry is an aid for sensory issues which are often attributed to ADHD and Autism.
The topics of Accessibility and Diversity in design are reflected in our Talks Programme, with highlights including a talk hosted by PriestmanGoode – Diversity and Inclusion in Design, as well as a panel on Neurodiversity in Design hosted by Disegno.

IDENTITY

Design is a powerful tool to help educate us about the experiences of others. Here are some of the graduates coming to ND24 who are using design as a vehicle to explore, express and share different identities and cultural experiences.

From the Northern School of Art, Kieran Harper’s project Building Blocks of Drag is inspired by his interest in drag queens and their costumes. Kieran says; ‘I am inspired by the use of flamboyant colour, and expressive print in combination with their presence on stage. I’ve also taken inspiration from geometric shapes within local architecture. As a designer who represents the LGBTQIA community, I wanted to be able to share my work for and with my community’. Also from the Northern School of Art, Scarlet Bentley-Fox’s project Grim Up North explores youth culture in the North-East UK, ‘using stereotypes of “chav” subcultures to narrate the beauty in paraphernalia and social activities’.

DJCAD University of Dundee graduate Mairi Noonan’s fashion and textile project Chan eil a-màireach air a ghealltainn – Tomorrow is not promised highlights the decline in the use of Scottish Gaelic in the modern world. Mairi says; ‘Punk ideology runs throughout the concept featuring anti-establishment ideas, the importance of cultural identity and the inherently political nature of how Scottish Gaelic has been repressed. This is reflected in my design choices using words and phrases integrated into the textiles to create a wearable manifesto.’

Anna Stark is also exhibiting with DJCAD, and her piece Itthon | Otthon – Home Here | Home There uses textiles to explore her experience of growing up between two cultures having family in both Hungary and Scotland.

To meet all these inspiring makers and so many more, join us at New Designers 2024 from 26 June – 6 July.

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