Shopping: Check It Out; Modern Ground

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Indy Lifestyle Online
IF THERE was ever any doubt that the parameters of contemporary art are widening, there is no more. For the first time, this week's 20th Century British Art Fair includes a contemporary design section.

Under the umbrella of Modernground, a showcase for both the budding and the established, 25 designers from a variety of disciplines - furniture, wood, glass, ceramics, leather, lights and jewellery - come together for the fair which prides itself on bringing together the traditional and radical.

A philosophy shared by Modernground's founder, Rachael Barraclough. "Modernground is about bringing together very popular British designers with new, up and coming talent," she says. "It aims to present the most original and exquisite of all the design disciplines, deliberately breaking with the tradition of keeping them separate - furniture with jewellery, sculpture with lights."

Founded six months ago, Modernground will house specially produced work by well-known designers like Bill Amberg - who has turned his hand from his signature handbags to produce a leather table - and launch finds from abroad.

Italian light designer Jacopo Foggini, whose stunning lights and installations are already a favourite of Romeo Gigli in Italy, makes his UK exhibition debut; as does lead crystal vase-maker Clarissa Berning whose work is so enjoyed by hip architect, John Pawson, that he commissioned 40 vases for his Hong Kong airport project.

At the other end of the scale is work from four graduates, including delicate, silver thread jewellery and draping, V-shaped dress pieces by Julie McCrabbe and a swivel cupboard by Andrew Cheetham.

Other items include furniture by modernist, Tom Dixon; lights by Tom Kirk; cement and silver bowls by Kelvin Birk; and a `jigsaw' table by Mark Harvey, the designer in charge of creating Modernground's forthcoming diffusion range.

It's an eclectic mix, united by Barraclough's sense of the beautiful: she spotted Foggini and his long and coloured resin rod lights while at the Furniture Show in Milan earlier this year; and stumbled on David Coterell's industrial-looking baskets, woven from packaging tapes while visiting Jim Partridge, maker of wooden-turned bowls, in Shropshire.

Modernground pieces will be displayed under a 3m Foggini light, installed in the ceiling. To find Modernground at the fair look for the jellyfish; Modernground lies beneath them.

Modernground is at the 20th Century British Art Fair, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7, 23-27 Sept

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