More New Designers…


We had the enviable task of meeting as many of the exhibitors as possible during our visit to New Designers Part 2.  With so much talent and overwhelming enthusiasm from the designers it made it a jam-packed and exhilarating couple of days.

Having had an initial whizz round, so we didn’t miss anything, we went back to delve a little deeper and meet the exhibitors who stood out as having original sustainable solutions.


With three projects Robert shows how collaboration can benefit the design process. Trading knowledge between crafts-people creates new opportunities for innovative products that use traditional skills.

‘Knit Furniture’ combines knitting and carpentry. Having learnt a new craft himself at a knitting club, he used garment ‘upholstery’ to join the furniture. As no adhesives are used in the process, the product can be taken apart and have its garment changed.

‘Skep Manufacture’ is about re-purposing the obsolete craft of skep building, combined with modern materials and processes, to produce lampshades. Typically, a Skep is a type of medieval bee-hive constructed from coils of straw.

‘Production Partnership’ brought a sign maker and a seat weaver together, who are based six miles apart in east Kent. Products are manufactured using skills readily available in the area, which supports local industry, reduces travel and maintains a low carbon footprint.

Robert’s always on the look out for people to collaborate with and would love to run projects with other designers interested in a similar field.



We were fascinated by the  project of Josh Bitelli, from The University of Brighton. He’s inspired by the skills of workers – in this case road-workers, who labour stealthily behind the scenes to provide us with the national infrastructure we all rely on. If laid well, roads have a lifespan of fifteen years and Josh borrowed their tools, their know-how and materials to develop his Asphalt Collection.

The use of this very industrial material is speculative playfulness, spotlighting unsung heroes of our community and the lost potential of certain materials and skills.

Equally unusual – and inspired by another industry, this time the bakery – are Josh’s ceramic trophies, cast inside huge fluffy white loaves.



Matthew’s Water Transportation for Donkeys is a solution to water transport problems in countries such as Kenya.

Donkeys can often have a tough time, due to poorly constructed carrying solutions and the lack of education of the handler, leading to donkeys being mistreated when used for work. They are often overloading with improperly balanced loads, which can lead to painful sores and open wounds, causing great discomfort and pain to the animal.

With an adjustable textile saddle and a stainless steel frame, the product provides stability and comfort, with safety features that prevent injury. The shape of the frame ensures no weight is applied to the weaker spine of the animal, but is evenly distributed onto the stronger muscles around the donkey’s ribs.

As well as providing an instant solution to the problems, the product will help to educate the user and make the daily chore of water collection much simpler, safer and more efficient.



Craig explores the possibilities of using the powerful elements of nature to influence and shape objects.

His project, ‘System for shaping wood through lightning strikes’ consists of a 6 meter high stainless steel lightning conductor that, when struck, channels the current, splitting a piece of wood through an arranged set of steel forks, leaving a charred and battered form.

Situated upon isolated hilltops, the object focuses our attention on the unrestrained forces of nature and connects us with this fleeting moment of power.

A second project ‘System for recording the sun’s path across the sky’ is inspired by traditional Sunshine Recorders used by the Met Office. The sun’s radiation is magnified by a crystal globe, to scorch marks into hand turned wooden bowls.

The sun’s energy is recorded as it moves across the sky, each scorched path is unique. The process of the event becomes a ritual in itself and the piece can be used to mark a particular day or event.



Austin took part in The Juneau Ice-field Research Program 2011 and lived nomadically for 3 months on the glacier complex, assisting scientists as they travelled over 100 miles of challenging conditions and terrain.

Alongside The Great Barrier Reef, the Alaskan glaciers are the most temperature affected regions on earth. The areas act as reference sites, producing results such as those supporting the ban of CFCs and the removal of lead from vehicle fuel.

Austin’s role was to collect information and observe operations, with the aim of aiding future studies through design. His report identified significant expenses related to generating electricity and his proposal was to provide emergency access to electricity to avoid high risk situations on the ice.

Extreme conditions limit most small-scale mobile energy harvesting. His Glacier Charger utilises cross-country skiing, the main transport of the community, to charge devices on the go, so researchers can safely return to camp using GPS and communication devices.



Spyros has considered the ecological problem of oil-derived plastics. His lampshade uses artichoke thistle fibre from Greece and bio-resin, produced from waste cooking oil, making it 100% biodegradable.

The design not only has a unique aesthetic, but it also explores an opportunity for the development of ecological Greek agriculture.



An amazing fact: skateboarding is the number 1 cause of deforestation in North America, even ahead of furniture. It takes 60 years for a maple tree to become mature enough to make skateboards and typically boards have a very short lifespan.

Barry Liston, from The University of Edinburgh, designed the Grasshopper Skateboard, made from bamboo and bio-resin. Bamboo is a grass and can grow up to two feet a day. The more you cut bamboo, the more it grows – unlike hardwood trees, which, once cut, are gone forever.

Bamboo is more resistant to breakage, is lighter and, when Barry’s board was put through its paces, by Magnus Eriksen, the super talented Norwegian skater, it stood up to the challenge. Check it out here



One of the highlights of week 2 had to be the incredible wood and cardboard hydrogen concept car, winner of The Shell Eco Marathon. It beat 220 teams from 23 countries in Rotterdam and was watched by 15,000 spectators.

The aim of the competition is to travel as far as possible on just 1 litre of fuel. The winning team, from Aston University, Birmingham, UK, was a collaborative effort between design and engineering students.

Designed as an urban car of the future, they were awarded for pushing the boundaries of sustainable driving and car design.

Powered by hydrogen, the vehicle produces zero emissions. The body is constructed of a rigid plywood and cardboard composite and the tyre covers are bio-resin infused with hessian fibres. Plus, the entire structure can be flat-packed for easy delivery.