Published on : Monday, November 21, 2016
In its next edition, MAISON&OBJET PARIS will pay tribute to creativity made in the UK with a brand new venture made possible thanks to the invaluable assistance of Sir John Sorrell, founder of the London Design Festival and the London Design Biennale. 6 star British designers from the worlds of architecture, fashion and design – Tom Dixon, Nigel Coates, Ilse Crawford, Paul Smith, Jay Osgerby and Ross Lovegrove – will sponsor a young artist whose work they wish to support. Their protégés’ unique creative worlds will be on show in Hall 7 at Villepinte next January.
Sir John Sorrell, the éminence grise behind Rising Talents UK. The founder of the London Design Festival and the London Design Biennale is a designer, an entrepreneur and a philanthropist all rolled into one. After an artistic education, he has devoted his life’s work to his belief that: “everybody is born with creative instincts and that the opportunity to express your creativity should be a human right.” To bring this utopian vision to life, he launched the Sorrell Foundation in 1999 with his wife Frances.
Over the last 17 years, the organisation has worked with more than 10,000 young people in the United Kingdom. Over the last seven years, the foundation has set up and run the National Saturday Club network, which aims to give young people aged between 13 and 16 the opportunity to study art and design on Saturdays at their local college or university for free. The Saturday Club: “nurtures talent, builds confidence and raises aspirations to inspire them towards further and higher education and careers that will be right for them”, Sir John Sorrell explains.
For the moment there are 50 clubs of this kind in the UK that can put young people on the path to a creative career, in particular in design. In Sir John Sorrell’s opinion, people are recognising that design has the power to induce social change and create economic growth and that it plays a particularly essential role in the success of Britain’s creative industries: “the United Kingdom has the largest design sector in Europe and the second largest in the world. There is a global demand for British designs.”
London-based artist and designer Zuza Mengham explores the relationship between traditional artisanal know-how and her new ways of making. Her sculpture/objects portray free and autonomous aesthetic worlds. Oversized neon and steel chandeliers are home to plants and minuscule geometrical sculptures made from resin multiply optical effects an infinite number of times. She has even sculpted the scents of Laboratory Perfumes into fascinating objects. Zuza Mengham’s art is in the same vein as the most inspired and inspirational new makers, but when all’s said and done it is hers and hers alone.
SWINE for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Exploration. Behind this acronym are Japanese architect Azusa Murakami (a graduate of the Bartlett School of Architecture) and English artist Alexander Groves (who studied at Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art). Both of them also studied product design at the Royal College of Art. As a couple, at the office, or out and about, these two thirty-something creators develop an approach that lies at the borders of design, fashion and architecture and which has drawn the attention of major names such as Veuve Clicquot, Swarovski, and Droog Design.
Through in-depth research into materials and industrial processes, they probe themes as varied as regional identity and the future of resources in the context of globalisation. Their creations have been exhibited at many prestigious institutions and events, including the Barbican, the Victoria & Albert Museum, New York & London Fashion Weeks and the Gwangju Biennale, curated by Ai Wei Wei. The force of their aesthetic manifesto has won them numerous prizes, including a nomination for the Design Museum London’s Designs of the Year Award 2013.
Marcin Ruzak from Poland now lives and works in London, where he has created his multidisciplinary studio. After studying humanities at Warsaw University, he followed the ‘Man and Living’ art programme at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. He finished his training with a course on product design at the Royal College of Arts in London. A son and grandson of flower growers, Marcin appreciates the beauty of flowers, but also the whole organic side to the plant world. He finds a natural source of inspiration in petals, pistils, leaves and corollas. He collects floral waste left behind by market flower stalls and, by a unique creative process, crystallises it in resin, thereby stopping the process of deterioration in its tracks. The resulting material is then cut into slices or sheets and sometimes even shapes using 3D technology.
The subtle motifs that are revealed in the material give the impression that the flowers have been fossilised in a very short lapse of time. And so was born ‘Flora’, an exceptionally sophisticated furniture and lighting collection. Marcin Ruzak has taken part in prestigious group exhibitions such as ‘What is Luxury?’ at the V&A, or at the London, Milan, Dubai and Miami/Basel design fairs. He recently has his first solo show at the Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery in London.
John Booth from Cumbria came across the art of découpage at a very young age. The budding illustrator moved to London in 2004 to study for a BA in fashion print at Central St Martins. At university, he constantly sketched characters from American cartoons following what was in fashion at the time. While on work experience with Zandra Rhodes and John Galliano, he designed jewellery and accessories. His style began to assert itself and draw attention. He illustrated menswear collections live on SHOWstudio and offers to work with fashion brands came thick and fast.
His career took on a whole new dimension when he was contacted by the Tate to reinterpret the work of Sophie Delauney, as part of an exhibition devoted to the artist. The series of works that he produced joined the museum’s collection. To his world of colourful silhouettes were progressively added expressive faces. He also went from 2D to 3D, as always thanks to the magic in his hands. The artist and designer also has a line of ceramics on show at Donlon’s Book Shop.
This studio specialising in the development of innovative surfaces and interior decoration is based in East London. Its signature surfaces comprise an assemblage of tiles creating motifs in frescoes whose geometric patterns are nothing short of hypnotic. Projects are designed in-house, materials are manufactured in England and, for the most part, pieces are completed by hand in their workshop.
Their skilful, trompe-l’œil-style works range from small decorative objects to artworks the size of buildings such as Perspectives, a strange, organic pavilion placed in the middle of a forest. Giles Miller’s creative world has won over major brand-names such as Hermès, British Airways, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Stella McCartney.
Sebastian Cox prefers the humble trees of British woodlands to imported tropical woods. After founding his workshop and studio in 2010, it wasn’t long before he decided to make the most of his country’s natural resources by creating pieces made from wood sourced from fallen trees and coppiced timber. His south-east London workshop celebrates the diversity and beauty of these natural treasures in simple, functional and understandable designs.
Whitened, sawn, kilned, woven, the patience of the craftsman turns his material, with all its nuances and imperfections, into sublime wooden objects, pieces of furniture or sustainable and unique kitchen elements. For this designer who is as brilliant as he is visionary, using age-old traditional techniques in contemporary design is neither sentimental nor nostalgic. Sebastian Cox sees a future built on the wealth of our heritage and an age-old knowledge of materials – two aspects that he is taking into the future using new technology and a ‘respectful inventiveness’.
Tags: 6 star British designers, architecture, brand new venture, fashion and design, Ilse Crawford, invaluable assistance, Jay Osgerby and Ross Lovegrove, London Design Biennale, London Design Festival, maison&objet paris, Nigel Coates, paul smith, Rising Talents 2017, Sir John Sorrell, Tom Dixon, UK, Villepinte