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Next gen designers turn isolation into inspiration

Wallpaper* and AHEC have teamed up with The Design Museum to launch a new project supporting and promoting the work of 20 next generation designers from 16 countries.

During extensive Zooming, video meetings and Insta-lives, Alessandra Fumagalli Romario observed people’s curated backgrounds, which got her thinking about ‘the importance of objects as extension of ourselves.

It goes without saying that living with a pandemic at large has had an effect on us all. What that means for us as designers and how it translates into design is something that we’re still to discover on the whole. Which is probably what got Wallpaper* and American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) to thinking: what would our next generation of designers come up with if asked to turn their experiences of isolation into inspiration? That’s where Discovered comes in.

In search on of an answer to the aforementioned question, Discovered is a new project—initiated by Wallpaper* and AHEC in partnership with The Design Museum—that is all for the support and promotion of our industry’s up and comers. With a focus on American red oak, hard and soft maple and cherry, the project brief invited 20 next generation designers from 16 countries—including three from Australia—to design objects based on our functional and emotional connection to everyday things and their personal experiences of living with a pandemic at large.

Ivana Taylor designed Reframe to trigger reflection on the multi-layered nature of any experience. The contemplative sculptural object is made of American maple, cherry and red oak.

Ivana Taylor designed Reframe to trigger reflection on the multi-layered nature of any experience. The contemplative sculptural object is made of American maple, cherry and red oak.

“Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and cultures our 20 talented creatives from 16 countries, give a truly global perspective on what it means to be a young designer today,” says Rod Wiles, regional director for AHEC.

Designers were guided by themes of touch, reflection and strength. Through their projects, they explored their own personal and cultural background, or involved their families into the design process. Inspiration came from mundane experiences and everyday life, the desire to connect with nature and the outdoors, and their personal responses represented both a desire for public connection to the affinity for isolation.

In conceptualising Corners Lamp, designer Mew Mungnatee was inspired by the traditional Thai vernacular of the padoga, manifesting her emotional response to the objects that surround her in the relationship between form, light and shadow.

In conceptualising Corners Lamp, designer Mew Mungnatee was inspired by the traditional Thai vernacular of the padoga, manifesting her emotional response to the objects that surround her in the relationship between form, light and shadow.

“This is a time when the next generation needs support more than ever,” says Sarah Douglas, editor-in-chief for Wallpaper*, who has played a mentor and support role for the emerging designers throughout the project, along with Wiles, David Venables (AHEC’s European director) and a global group of designers including Tomoko Azumi, Maria Jeglinska, Nathan Yong and Adam Markowitz. “We are honoured to partner with AHEC in launching Discovered – to ensure the designers of tomorrow have the platform they deserve,” she says.

The designs being created for the project are one-off functional objects and furniture pieces of varying scale, imagined for both domestic, outdoors or public realms. They represent how isolation has inspired the designers’ personal and creative journeys and help rethink the idea of domestic and public space for the future.

There is no front and back, no right or wrong to Pascal Hien's Migo 01, a multifunctional stool designed to represent change, uncertainty and adaptability.

There is no front and back, no right or wrong to Pascal Hien’s Migo 01, a multifunctional stool designed to represent change, uncertainty and adaptability.

 

Nostalgia for travel and social interaction guided designer Nong Chotipatoomwan to conceive Thought Bubble, a rocking chair offering a mix of relaxation and repetitive movement to enhance mindfulness.

Nostalgia for travel and social interaction guided designer Nong Chotipatoomwan to conceive Thought Bubble, a rocking chair offering a mix of relaxation and repetitive movement to enhance mindfulness.

The project’s development will be further chronicled through the dedicated discovered.global portal and promoted through Wallpaper’s channels. In consummation, the final pieces will be presented at The Design Museum in London later in 2021.

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