Graduate Roundup Part 2 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.

Tortie Hoare
Bucks New University,
BA Furniture Design and Craftsmanship Desk, keystand and stool
Tortie Hoare won the coveted accolade of the New Designer of the Year award for her boiled leather and wood furniture back in July. It's a technique that we have recently seen Simon Hasan perfect, but Hoare came upon the idea by looking at the way in which old French armour was made. All of the pieces start with a jig, which the leather fits on to. It is then boiled and when "frozen" with water retains its shape and becomes solid. Hoare then builds the wood to fit around the leather.

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Seongyong Lee
RCA, MA Design Products
Plytube
Even if Seongyong Lee's pieces are very appealing in their simplicity, it is the material – tubes made out of thin layers of wood – that is the real achievement of his work. "It's about making a lightweight yet strong material," says Lee. "It's a bit like industrialising bamboo, and the process of making it is similar to how you produce a paper tube." The furniture Lee has produced shows the material's flexibility and sturdiness. It is exactly this kind of innovation that makes graduate shows so appealing. You can look at his work up close at the Saatchi Gallery during the London Design Festival.

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David Amar
RCA, MA Design Products
Raymond
Named after Raymond Queneau, the founder of the literary movement OuLiPo and author of one of Amar's favourite books, this table is an ad hoc piece of furniture that is assembled by slotting a cast aluminium leg with a loop on top on to layers of scrap wood. "The idea was for me to come up with a tool that enabled me to write or compose an object, so I created this unit that also works as a locking mechanism," says Amar.His work will be shown at the Homework exhibition at Mint in September and a new venture at the RCA called the Design Products Collection will put the table in its debut collection.

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Harry Thaler
RCA, MA Design Products
Pressed chair
"It started with a flat sheet of aluminium that I wanted to make 3D," says Harry Thaler. Now he can make two stools and one chair out of a one square metre sheet of metal and, when bent into shape (by a machine), it is strong enough to sit on, resulting in this fragile-looking chair. It won him the Conran prize and he is currently speaking to a manufacturer about putting it into production.

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Nicola Zocca
RCA, MA Design Products
Shrink series
There is something very attractive about Nicola Zocca's wood and powder-coated metal sheets assembled with rubber bands. "It makes the perfect flatpack and doesn't need any screws or nails. Instead you slot the piece together and slot the rubber band around its joints and shrink it to fit with hot air," says Zocca, who is already improving on it by producing a lighter version in aluminium.

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Image

Andrew Penketh

 

Words

Johanna Agerman

quotes story

It's about making a lightweight yet strong material

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