Design-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working togetherDesign-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working togetherDesign-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working togetherDesign-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working togetherDesign-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working together

Design-Nation at Decorex 2017: Great design from working together

Design-Nation, the UK’s premier membership portfolio for innovative design, will present five fantastic designers at Decorex this year, where the theme of our stand is collaboration and working together. Three of the five are new to our portfolio in 2017, while the other two are branching out into new ambitious projects, and the quality of their work is very strong indeed.

Working together has always been at the heart of Design-Nation’s ethos and programme and it’s a theme that is also close to the Decorex team, as they celebrate 40 years of this amazing event. Brand director Simone DuBois comments, "From the outset, Decorex has had collaboration at its core. From its initial partnership with the IIDA, it has brought trade buyers
and manufacturers together to form a community which is now the very essence of this celebrated event. Through design, art and fashion, collaborations between designers and manufacturers have produced some of the most surprising and inspirational creations to date. An understanding that generosity of time and knowledge is embraced within these concepts and shows once again that this is a theme at the very beating heart of our industry.”

Jacky Puzey is based in Bristol and creates extraordinary one-off machine embroideries, based on her closely observed and colourful drawings of the natural world, especially exotic birds. She was part of Craft Council's Hothouse programme in 2016 and has been pushing herself to take her designs from simple wall hangings to actual furniture. Her Decorex proposal includes new cocktail chairs being developed and made in close collaboration with upholsterer Leighanne Treadwell, founder of Bristol Upholstery Collective and pioneering social entrepreneur, as well as insider advice from Reloved Upholstery, Ercol’s favourites. Jacky is new to Design-Nation in 2017.

Strong colour continues with furniture by Coucou Manou, based near Bath, who make furniture in a mix of walnut and Valchromat, a high quality high density fibre board that is created ecologically from existing wood waste, dyed throughout so that the colour is solid. It is precision cut to designer Nell Beale’s specifications which she develops in consultation with the expert CNC mill. She then hand assembles, gilds and polishes in her rural workshop. Nell mainly works to order and was part of Crafts Council's Injection programme in 2015. Nell is also new to Design-Nation in 2017.

Other exhibitors include award-winning Allistair Covell, a Bedfordshire-based artist turned rug designer, whose highly colourful and painterly rugs were a striking feature of the Campaign for Wool's Woolly BnB last October in London. He works in collaboration with specialist weavers in Afghanistan and Nepal, who hand-knot every piece in fine Afghan and New Zealand wool. Their centuries-old techniques are brought bang up to date by Allistair’s very contemporary and
striking mark-making. Allistair is another new Design-Nation member in 2017.

Melanie Porter studied Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins and turned her talent for knitting to one-off statement pieces in giant Aran, cable, stripes and Union Flags. These designs are upholstered onto found vintage furniture, taking in everything from Arne Jacobsen style rotating plastic easy chairs to metal cinema seats and stately Victorian pieces. Subsequently Melanie's created many attractive home accessories, such as mini hand-knit fairy lights, pot plant holders, cushions, throws and DIY kits. She was also featured at the Woolly BnB last autumn, showing hand-knit-covered chairs and lamps alongside Allistair Covell’s rugs. For Decorex Melanie is launching a new chair range - still upholstered in her distinctive chunky and individually made hand-knits, but presented on frames creatde by Wychwood. Melanie and her furniture frame makers have had intense dialogues about unique designs thatwill show off her knits to best advantage, and still keep her beloved mid-century modern vibe.

Snowden Flood is a versatile product designer and also a shop-keeper. Visitors to her lovely shop at the Oxo Tower will know she also a big fan of vintage. American-born Snowden trained and then worked in textile design for many years, and only more recently has applied her surface design skills to items such as ceramics, prints, tea-towels, aprons and deckchairs. She has now returned to her design roots, undertaking a new project that draws from an exciting vintage textile design archive. Earlier conversations about a partnership project have evolved into a licensing deal for Snowden, who is creating beautiful new fabrics for upholstery. Her new chairs upholstered by Arlo & Jacob are very lovely and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be her launch partners.

Notes to Editors:

Design-Nation is exhibiting on Stand F17. Decorex is open 17 – 20 September, Syon Park, West
London. For more details of exhibitors see our Showcases microsite.

Decorex vistor information here.

Images: Loop Cabinet by Coucou Manou; Noah hand knit chair by Melanie Porter; Allistair Covell's Eclipse Rug; London Parakeet cocktail chair and screen by Jacky Puzey; Ira cushions by Snowden Flood. All images copyright and courtesy of the artists.

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Invest in a Maker, Glory in their Marks, and Share the Secrets of their ToolsInvest in a Maker, Glory in their Marks, and Share the Secrets of their ToolsInvest in a Maker, Glory in their Marks, and Share the Secrets of their Tools

Invest in a Maker, Glory in their Marks, and Share the Secrets of their Tools

As part of London Craft Week 2017, Design-Nation has launched an exploratory exhibition and accompanying microsite featuring twentyfour of its members, developed in partnership with design champion and journalist Barbara Chandler.

Barbara poses the question, “What makes every craftsperson unique?” Arguably, it's the “marks” they leave on their materials, from the big picture of shape and colour and overall texture, to the smaller details of lips, rims, spouts, cuts, joints, edges, seams, pleats, folds, stitches and so on.
And as we reveal, every maker has a different background, motivations, inspirations, and surroundings, all of which may significantly affect their work.

Design-Nation includes established and respected makers like glass artist MIchael Ruh Studio. Michael uses an array of metal calipers and other tools to scribe delicate lines on his hand-blown glass: marks that evoke windblown grasses on seaside sand-dunes and enhance the simple shapes and distinctive colours of his tableware and lightshades. Michael works constantly, with a kiln that is never off and says, “making is my language”.

Another well-known exhibitor is weaver and textile designer Margo Selby. While her product range has expanded over the last decade from just hand-woven scarves and accessories to include a wide array of textiles for interiors - bed linen, towels, cushions, throws, and floor rugs and runners - hand weaving is still at the core of Margo’s work. All designs start in her studio through her own work. Margo says, “my loom keeps me driven” and in recent years has returned to hand production of one-off pieces, created by simple passes of the loom with her beautiful wood shuttles, to make striking pieces that exemplify the unique Margo Selby approach to colour and composition. 

Like Margo, ceramicist Sue Pryke has created designs for major brands, but is happiest in her own studio making her own pieces of slipcast tableware. Sue’s deceptively simple and classic shapes in bowls, cups, spoons, jugs and teapots are created with careful pouring of liquid clay between a myriad of plastic jugs and moulds, to get the thickness of each piece exactly right. Later she adds colour: finely distinguishing hues of grey, blue, cream and other pastels. Certain shades of blue-grey are practically Sue Pryke trademarks now. “Just do what you love,” she advises and there is no doubt that many people love her work.
Design Nation Showcase Micro-Website
The physical exhibition is accompanied by a specially designed website, created by Design-Nation members The Unloved, in close consultation with Barbara Chandler. Each exhibitor is profiled with compelling images and designers, products, and of course the tools used to make their work.

To read the full interviews by Barbara Chandler please visit the microsite here.

The exhibition is at gallery@oxo, Oxo Tower, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH, until Sunday 7 May and is open 11am-6pm daily.

We are thankful for the support of Arts Council England and our partners London Craft Week and Coin Street Community Builders.

Images courtesy of the makers.

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