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New Designer Exhibition 2010 Showcases The Future

Published 10 July 2010

Have you ever wondered who the faces are behind some of the products we relish, use every day, or complain about? To be honest, I don’t very often, but a recent exhibition of graduate new designers and their work has definitely served to open my eyes.

Taking place at the Business Design Centre in trendy Angel, Islington, the exhibition (in its 25th year) offers graduates a chance to showcase their final projects, network with other students and industry big-wigs, enter competitions which could open career doors as well as giving them recognition in the form of several prestigious prizes. For the curious spectator such as you or me, I found it exciting and frankly, awe-inspiring, to see such a huge range of ideas and products that have been transformed from a few sketches into working, shiny prototypes – prototypes which we may find on our shelves in the not too distant future.

Universities from all over the country have taken place, from already famous institutions such as Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design to smaller or lesser known participants such as the University of Salford or the University of East London. Whilst the amount of money invested into stand presentation clearly varied, the quality and diversity of products was amazing; ranging from imaginative products such as room dividers that tell a story and mannequins that give style advice to people-focused games for those who are visually impaired or memory capsules containing keepsakes of dementia sufferers alongside more functional ideas such as miniature kitchens for those living in shoe-box size apartments or urban gardens in the form of tea sets, for those of us who are less than green-fingered.

Alongside products that tick the technical boxes – a newly developed iPod application for example – there were many stands and portfolios which clearly had an environmental or developmental focus, something which came as a pleasant surprise. Many students have conscientiously chosen to use sustainable materials or ensure their products will sell to the eco-friendly market. Additionally, I noticed that there were a number of models which were designed to be made and used in countries where certain items are not always readily available to the general public, particularly to the poorer sections of said states. A water-purification system in the form of an apple for children playing near (dirty) water and an easy-to-assemble Jerry Can school desk particularly caught my eye, due to their simplicity and ingenuity, both of which reflect the often resourceful societies which they are aimed at.

In a world where companies, especially larger Western corporations, seem to pay little attention to the “small fish”; the New Designers exhibition seems to offer some hope in the refreshing and considerate conceptions of these fledgling craftspeople. Whilst the exhibition will shortly come to a close, I would recommend that everybody should try to attend this or something similar (perhaps at a local college or the closest university), in London or elsewhere; to get a preview of what could, in future, potentially sit in your kitchen or garage!

The New Designers 2010 Exhibition runs until Sunday, 11th July at the Business Design Centre in Angel, Islington. For more information, exhibitors, and award winners, visit the official website here.