Leading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new futureLeading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new futureLeading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new futureLeading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new futureLeading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new future

Leading UK Craft & Design Organisations Merge - Design-Nation and Design Factory unveil a bright new future

Prestigious membership organisations Design-Nation and Design Factory are merging to create ONE leading portfolio and network. Going under the name Design-Nation, they will support the very best and most diverse UK-based contemporary craft and design. Bringing together partners, champions and investment, the new Design-Nation will strengthen business and creative development in the contemporary design and crafts sector across the UK.

The merger comes following a period of consultation this year, funded by Arts Council England.  Overwhelmingly positive feedback was received from over 200 members, funders and stakeholders, with many partners expressing an interest in co-partnering on new future projects and opportunities. 

Clare Edwards of Design-Nation says,

“I set up Design Factory in 2005 and take so much pride in the growth of Design Factory over the years.  From a small local support project to a highly regarded national network, Design Factory has become renowned for nurturing emerging talent and growing creative practice. 

Design-Nation and Design Factory are two highly regarded and successful brands however, we cannot sustain both and it is clear from our research that the name ‘Design-‘Nation’ truly represents the national and international context and has built a stronger brand over a longer period of time which has generated great goodwill. ”

A NEW unified organisation will offer innovative and fresh opportunities that builds on the complementary activities, goodwill and values across our programmes creating Britain’s leading resource for the celebration, support and promotion of craft and design.

By merging the best features of both organisations we can create a significant step change in how we deliver bespoke sector support, creating a strong ambitious and futureproofed infrastructure for craft and design across the UK.”

Now encompassing over 250 members, Design-Nation supports leading designer/makers such as Angus Ross, Gillies Jones, Gizella Warburton*, JC Middlebrook, Jennifer Collier*, Kate Bajic*, Linda Bloomfield, Lindsey Lang, Michael Ruh, Ruth Singer*, Stuart Akroyd*, Sue Pryke, and Wallace Sewell.  (*Design Factory members)

"With so many organisations in the Creative sector feeling the pressures of the current economic climate, I'm proud to be part of a team that is future proofing itself with this well thought through merger.  I feel that together we'll have a stronger voice, and all the members will benefit from having unified support from this proven team." - Angie Parker, textile designer and Design-Nation member.

“I’m really looking forward to how the new mix of members is going to boost my creativity; with new collaborations and a fresh look at exhibitions and events.  I’m excited that the merger will build on Design Factory’s excellent work so far and that it will continue to unite members from all over the UK, breaking down the North-South divide.”  Stuart Akroyd, glass artist and Design Factory Fellow member. 

“The merging of Design Factory and Design Nation will strengthen and build networks for independent creative practitioners. The network can be fully national, creating opportunities for makers across the country to work together, to be seen and heard. Design Factory has established a great model for supporting makers throughout their creative journey and Design Nation has fantastic links to industry. I am so proud to be a member of both, and now one, network.”  Jayne Childs of JC Middlebrook, Design Factory Fellow and Design-Nation member.

Over the coming months the team will be busy securing funding to sustain the future of Design-Nation. They will also deliver Member professional development events in partnership with Fashion & Textile Museum, Cockpit Arts & Wentworth Pewter, amongst others.

The next Design-Nation showcase will be at Top Drawer London 14-16 January 2018 at Olympia London

For more information visit www.designnation.co.uk or @Design_NationUK

For more information on Design-Nation and its membership contact: 

Clare Edwards - Director of Design-Nation

clare@designnation.co.uk - Tel +44 (0)1529 308719

For press enquiries:

David Gorrod or Alice Stewardson at Seen PR

info@seenpr.com - @seen_pr  - Tel +44 (0)1273 722 469


Notes to Editors


About Design-Nation

Design-Nation is an online portfolio that presents the best of UK-based contemporary craft and design and offers a one stop destination for retailers, manufacturers and press, together with industry professionals who want to commission, invest and source Great British design. 

Design-Nation was founded in 1997 by the late Peta Levi MBE, a writer, design champion and curator.  The baton was passed to leading British designer Andrew Tanner in 2012 and in 2014 Design-Nation joined The National Centre for Craft & Design and Design Factory as part of an Arts Council England national portfolio organisation managed by North Kesteven District Council and Leisure in the Community Trust.  In January 2017, Design-Nation was awarded Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England, to deliver a range of membership offerings and undertake research to explore a new future for Design-Nation and Design Factory.  The research has informed the merger and a new future business plan.


About Design Factory 

Founded in 2005 Design Factory has become a leading network for the support and development of craft and design practice.  The organisation has received over £1.5 million funding over the years and supported over 500 craft and design businesses to develop and grow their practice both in the UK and abroad.

Design Factory has built a highly regarded reputation for delivering bespoke sector support which will continue to be delivered through the new merged organisation. 


Images: Work by Ekta Kaul; Hannah Tounsend; Gillies Jones; Linda Bloomfield; Nigel Cheney. Photography and styling: Yeshen Venema & Mugdha Sapte, Work by Angus Ross; Melanie Porter; Anna Gravelle, Work by Gizella K Warburton, Sake Cups by ERADU Ceramics, Criminal Quilts by Ruth Singer

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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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