The four finalists are Alexander Mueller, Mika Ogarca, Douglas Montgomery and Michael Randall
Widely recognised for nurturing design talent, London retailer Heal’s annually brings together the work of the best up-and-coming furniture and homeware designers in its exclusive Heal’s Discovers collections.
But this year Heal's chose to set up a competition to seek out the design stars of the future who are still in education. In this hunt, Heal’s elected to work with The CASS, home of one of the UK’s best degree courses, in the search for design stars of tomorrow.
Heal’s visited The CASS to see the work of 22 third-year students, eventually whittling the shortlist down to four finalists.
To select an overall winner, Heal’s has thrown the vote open to the public for their views on these four finalists, left to right in the image:
The idea for Alexander’s limited edition coffee tables came about when he was folding and refolding a piece of paper to see what form and lines he could create, he then translated this method onto a solid structure. Partly inspired by the Japanese art of origami, each of these limited-edition coffee tables is painstakingly hand crafted by this young designer-maker. Having arrived at the basic shape, Alexander spent a great deal of time experimenting to ensure his design was structurally sound, as well as visually striking. Everything from the thickness of the wood to the colour and fit of the tongue and groove joints shows a commitment to craftsmanship - this is what stood out to the Heal’s judges.
Mika was inspired by experimenting with bending plywood through laser-cut technology. She quickly came to realise that this technique was best translated into lighting because of the pattern and light transmitted through the plywood. Having started out experimenting with laser cutting to make Christmas tree baubles, it wasn’t long before Mika hit upon the idea of making a pendant lamp shade. Lit from the inside, the organic twists of laser-cut birch plywood cast atmospheric shadows while also creating a sculptural centrepiece for an interior lighting plan. Citing Ron Arad’s sculptural approach as an influence, Mika says she just went where the material led her.
Douglas is inspired by the past; his favourite designs are located in the past or the very distant future and he wanted to create a hybrid of the two; a contemporary version. His resulting table combines the fine craftsmanship and techniques of days gone by with a distinct nod to the future. Taking its form from the cross-section of a classical column, Douglas Montgomery’s groove-edged Cog coffee table shows the ex-building trade professional’s passion for complex, tactile structures. With nods to both the Georgian classicism of Robert Adam and the futuristic vision of Marc Newson, Douglas’ work raises interesting questions about the use of decoration in contemporary design. Putting form back into focus alongside function, Douglas’ table revives design concepts and manufacturing methods that have been rejected in recent years, such as barley twisting, fluting and reeding.
The humble (and often overlooked) coat stand gets a new lease of life in the form of Michael Randall’s Totem design. Based around the concept of the Native American totem pole, which is used by some tribes to tell the story of their heritage, the piece is the outcome of Michael’s decision to reimagine everyday objects in the home. Fashioned from solid English ash, the structure has moveable pegs allowing each family to construct and adapt their coat stand to tell their own tale, making it both tactile and highly personal.
The overall winner will have his/her product produced by Heal’s.
The competition closes on 16th September and the winner will be announced on 18th September 2013.