New Designers 2023: sustainability and innovation as key themes

Get ready for an exciting Summer as the highly anticipated New Designers event makes its return, showcasing the talent of 3,000 breakthrough designers, makers, and disruptors

This vibrant gathering will take place at the Islington Business Design Centre, where creative minds will come together to share their visions for the future of design. The focus of New Designers 2023 will be on tackling important topics such as sustainability, innovation, mental health, and the cost of living crisis.

[ You can buy your tickets here – By using the code DWXND23 you will get a discount ]

For those attending New Designers with an eye for the latest design trends, the ND Selects section is a must-visit. It showcases newly launched businesses in the design industry, featuring innovative products fresh to the market.

Expect to discover fascinating offerings like the ceramics studio Lamunlamai from Bangkok, Martina Kocianova’s enchanting jewelry inspired by childhood memories of mushroom foraging, and Make Relief design studio, which combines traditional and contemporary manufacturing techniques. This year’s ND Selects has been curated by Louisa Pacifico, the founder of Future Icons.

Portia-A Portable Mentrual Cup Cleaner. BA (Hons) Product Design. Bournemouth University - New Designers 2023
Portia-A Portable Mentrual Cup Cleaner. BA (Hons) Product Design. Bournemouth University

New Designers wouldn’t be complete without its renowned talks and workshops program, ND Educates, which returns for 2023. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to hear from leading brands, designers, and industry experts as they share insights into the latest design trends and discuss key themes.

From a conversation with contemporary ceramicist Francis Lloyd-Jones hosted by Ceramic Review to discussions on Intellectual Property in Design with Stella McCartney’s Helen Newman and James Wood from Studio Wood, there will be plenty to learn and be inspired by. The full ND Educates program can be accessed for booking on the event’s website.

Sustainability in Design

Sustainability takes center stage in design as designers increasingly incorporate ethical practices, circular design principles, and the use of recycled or upcycled materials. For example, Erica Earle-Robertson’s jewelry collection ‘Kuruka’ draws on the traditional craft of Zimbabwean weaving, using sustainable methods and indigenous materials.

Sculpt, Emily Cross. BA (Hons) Product _ Furniture Design, Birmingham City University. @emily.cross_design - New Designers 2023
Sculpt, Emily Cross. BA (Hons) Product _ Furniture Design, Birmingham City University.

Peter Warrington has reinvented the kettle, addressing its high discard rate by designing an entirely user-replaceable heating element. Bournemouth University students will showcase innovative products that respond to water shortages, such as the Tundra water bottle, capable of melting, storing, and filtering snow.

Innovation in sustainable design is recognized and celebrated at New Designers through its highly anticipated Awards Program. This year, the awards highlight sustainability models, including upcycling and repurposing materials, as well as works that raise awareness and call for positive change.

Creative Conscience Ethical Makers’ Award and Anglepoise Abandon Darkness Award are among the standout categories, with winners receiving opportunities for further recognition and exhibition at events like Decorex design fair.

Dostag, Jon Hucklebridge-Key. BA (Hons) Product Design, Sheffield Hallam University. @hkd.esign
Dostag, Jon Hucklebridge-Key. BA (Hons) Product Design, Sheffield Hallam University

Innovative use of materials

The event also explores the innovative use of materials, with Birmingham University’s Emily Cross presenting ‘Sculpt,’ a furniture piece using adaptable felt as an alternative to typical shelves and entryway bowls. The Ceramic Review Initiative Award and Diana Porter Jewellery Associate Prize recognize ceramic artists and designers who push the boundaries of traditional processes and materials.

Inclusivity and social mobility

New Designers embraces inclusivity and social mobility, with projects like Natalie Sherlock’s ‘Tattwo Stories,’ aimed at eliminating tattoo discrimination in the workplace. Talks and workshops on Diversity & Inclusion in the craft sector and a business masterclass for freelance illustrators offer valuable insights and practical advice for aspiring designers.

Stor, Angus Thomson. BA (Hons) Product Design, Sheffield Hallam University
Stor, Angus Thomson. BA (Hons) Product Design, Sheffield Hallam University

Health and Wellbeing

The importance of health and wellbeing is not overlooked at New Designers. Projects like Carrie Slinn’s ‘Unpack,’ addressing mental health and wellbeing in university settings, and Harvey Mckellar’s park bench design encouraging positive human interaction and combating loneliness, highlight the role of design in improving our lives. Talks on managing creative jealousy and the Innovation in Healthcare Prize from the NHS Royal Free Trust further underscore the connection between design and wellbeing.

New Designers 2023 promises to be a captivating event, brimming with creativity, innovation, and discussions on crucial topics. It’s an excellent opportunity to explore the cutting edge of design and witness the talent of the next generation of designers who are shaping the future.


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