Graduate Roundup Part 1 04.08.11

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This year's crop of graduates from the UK's design schools is an international bunach. Coming from as far as Japan, Sweden and Greece, it's a testament to the UK's continued international appeal to emerging designers. Their projects are thought-provoking, innovative and sometimes just beautiful. We picked our favourites for this roundup.

Lisa Johansson
RCA, MA Design Products
Compost distiller
Lisa Johansson is addressing the food versus fuel debate with her compost distiller. Instead of growing crops with the sole purpose of turning them into environmentally friendly fuel, Johanson uses a normal compost heap of food waste. She won two awards for her project, developed at the Royal College of Art. It includes three tubs for fermenting food waste, and a still that turns the waste into ethanol and plant food. "I've run my lawnmower on it," says Johansson. The compost distiller is designed for communal use: "As well as doing a good thing for the environment, it is also meant to bring people together."


Benjamin Newland
RCA, MA Design Products
Nomadic sound systems
"I've always been a bit of a music geek," says Benjamin Newland. And with his graduation project, Nomadic sound systems, he was able to bring that geek to the fore with a modern marching band of wireless speakers, vaguely resembling instrument cases, that cover different frequencies. "The biggest one, the one that looks like a drum, does the lowest, 20Hz, while the smallest one – the one you carry on a pole – does the highest, 20KHz," says Newland, who is now looking to collaborate with a musician to develop the project. Speaker manufacturers have already been nosing around.


Fotis Evans
London Metropolitan University,
BA Furniture & Product Design
Somerset House bookstall System
Fotis Evans won a competition to design a flexible bookstall for Somerset House last year, but when Somerset House didn't invest in making the prototype a full-scale model, he decided to go it alone. It's a flexible system inspired by bookstalls and flea markets and, we think, the Isokon Penguin Donkey. The construction is simple: a collapsible table that can be folded flat and two bookcases that can either rest on the table in two different positions or stand alone as small bookcases.


Hwang Kim
RCA, MA Design Products
Pizzas for the People
Hwang Kim's graduation project was the talking point of this year's Show at the RCA, not so much because of its look – a lo-fi TV show – but because of its message. "Nowadays a designer puts an idea into an object and produces it, they call it mass production. But what if you take away the object altogether, but keep the idea? Then it's mass communication," says Kim, who produced a four-part series called Star Pizza – a piece of propaganda he introduced into North Korea via Chinese smugglers. "It is meant to challenge an ideological status quo," says Kim. In the series a North Korean couple instruct the viewers on how to dance to pop music, make pizza, pack a suitcase and give Christmas gifts – explosive stuff in a country where the only pizza restaurant is for the political elite.


James Shaw
Kingston University, BA Product and Furniture Design
Spun metal table, Ball Joint lamp, Spun dustpan and brush
James Shaw's sleek and simple pieces are reminiscent of a young Jasper Morrison. "When you make simple objects like these, it's all about the detail," says Shaw. The project is an exploration of metal-spinning and celebrates this age-old process while creating a contemporary design that is suitable for mass production. Shaw will show more of his work in the Made In ... exhibition during the London Design Festival. As he won the 100% Design award at New Designers, he will also get a stand at 100% Design. Not bad.




Andrew Penketh



Johanna Agerman Ross

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When you make simple objects like these, it's all about the detail

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