New Designers Highlights Part 2: Graduates 2014

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Effie Koukia, Martin Tatchell, Dan Des Eynon

New Designers Part 2 showcases graduating students from furniture, product and interior design as well as graphics and illustration. Just like Part 1 , it’s an important springboard for young designers, who are exposed to leading industry experts and networking opportunities.

The following projects caught USP’s attention because they all key into trends we are tracking and the ever-important zeitgeist. As such, they may not be the most traditional design projects, but they are relevant.

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Illustrator Dan Des Eynon from Falmouth University plays with sweetness and darkness in his emotive images. His speculative illustrations for the Grimm Fairy Tales brilliantly capture the dark side of fairy tales (before Disney sweetened them up). His images have a bizarre balance of presumed sweetness with more sinister undertones that may be missed at first glance.

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Challenging herself to replace petroleum-based art products with safe and eco-friendly products from natural sources, Edinburgh University graduate Effie Koukia has developed EXTRACT. Using an entirely natural formula, she has created permanent, odourless paints that can be used for painting, markers and even in spray cans for graffiti – all aiming to improve the chemical footprint of art products.

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Marjorie Artieres from Central St Martins visualises the domestic kitchen in 2024 where 3D printers are commonplace. Food comes uniformly shaped, processed & nutritionally perfect, but takes away the pleasure and rituals of cooking. Her Note by Note project offers a new tool kit for recapturing the heritage of analogue cooking, that she feels has been lost with the rise of the digital kitchen. Her project acts as a provocation to technologists to rethink the future of cooking with passion and taste, rather than just necessity.

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Also considering the future of food, In-Vitro-Culture from Plymouth University graduate Martin Tatchell is a speculative project that takes us into a near future where the planet can no longer sustain global meat production for the growing population. Offering an alternative, his project grows meat in vitro – by science rather than nature. Proposing a machine that can grow food in the home, his project questions our daily diet as well as our perspective on future food.

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If DNA storage technology is commonplace in the future, what does this mean for us and our personal data? Provoking a discussion around this pertinent subject, Alex Tinkler from Northumbria University explores the possibilities that DNA technology affords. Using a combination of imagination and DNA fact, Tinkler’s speculative DNA Machine is a mysterious edifice to a possible future reality.

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Also graduating from Northumbria, Lydia O’Neill has created Digital/Balance, a speculative lifestyle guide for our future society where technology has taken more control. Digital/Balance offers a form of detoxification, encouraging users to reconnect with themselves and everyday life.  The project aims to encourage a more harmonious balance between the digital and physical as well as stimulating mindfulness and imagination again.

USP: Although speculative, these projects explore how we need to address future issues. As designers embrace societal shifts and technological advances, they offer a new take on how we will engage in our future. Taking a 360-degree perspective of sustainability can lead to more considered future thinking.