Watch this space: stars of the PAD fair

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As international design fair PAD descends on London, three of the UK’s brightest new talents invite Holly Williams into the studios where they find their inspiration

This is the sixth year that the rather swanky PAD London fair has hit our capital – and for 2012, a new prize, with Moët Hennessy as patron, identifies five young designers under 35, working in the UK, whose work is particularly creative and inventive.

All the nominees will exhibit at the Mayfair show, and the winner will be decided by a jury, which features luminaries including Zaha Hadid, Tom Dixon and Jasper Conran, on 8 October.

“It’s very important that PAD reflects the freshest and most talented people in the design world,” says the jury’s president, the architect and designer Nigel Coates. “Normally PAD is able to show work only if a gallery picks it up – we thought this would feed a new level of talent into the fair.”

Those on the shortlist are certainly inventive: alongside those profiled here, there’s Kieren Jones, who crafts eggcups out of the ground-up bones of neighbour’s chickens (“It’s not as macabre as it sounds,” he insists), and Yuri Suzuki’s sound art installation, featuring a globeshaped vinyl record player. All seem concerned not just with the product, but in the experience it facilitates, the environment it exists within, or the making process itself. “Most, if not all, have a storytelling approach,” says Coates, “which is a broader phenomenon among [young] designers.”

Lola Lely, 33

As a final project for her MA in Design Products, Lely created a “fictitious community restaurant”. She persuaded strangers to come into the Royal College of Art and sit on portable stools, before she wheeled out a tall stack of pots, full of food. This was the “Potluck Restaurant”, and she’s creating a new version for PAD.

Lely, born in Vietnam but brought up in London, explains: “When we moved to Hackney, the way [my family] integrated into the community was this convivial culture they brought from Vietnam. My grandmother used to knock on her neighbours’ doors and bring food over.” The restaurant is Lely’s attempt to recreate that spirit through shared engagement with first food, and then each others’ stories. “All the objects I designed were devices to get people to interact. Everything is about getting involved; the spoons are very long, so it’s more comfortable to serve others.”

Collective experience is all well and good, but after graduating, Lely realised making furniture at home wasn’t going to please her housemates; now she has a studio space in Haggerston, east London. She can drill, saw and sand out in the yard; inside, moodboards of mounted materials provide inspiration. It ought to help with work-life balance, but Lely just can’t keep away: “I’m here seven days a week and I don’t leave till midnight. If there was a bed I’d probably sleep here.”

Will Shannon, 31

Will Shannon doesn’t just want to make a nice piece of furniture; “I’m also interested in where and how we get things made,” he says. Although he often exhibits these processes alongside the product – creating a portable potter’s hut with a working kiln, or a mobile Cabinet Maker, a bike with tools for constructing papier-mâché furniture – he also has his own workshop in Dalston. “It is a friend’s garden shed, but I like the man-in-the-shed vibe.”

At PAD, he’s exhibiting his Lunar Table, which is, he says, “basically found, leftover concrete dyed black for a table-top, with papier-mâché legs to make it look as though it has been carved from rock.” Illuminating it will be his pendant light – inspired by the location he sources its materials from. As planning restrictions prevent people in some areas of north London from building extensions, he explains, “A lot of people go down, digging out posh basements.”

This means excavating the London clay beds – and the clay that gets dug and dumped in a skip is, for Shannon, a material ripe for reinvention. “Locally sourced” may be the ultimate buzzphrase, but Shannon is interested in what exactly it means if you live in a city like London: “It is mainly the found, discarded, unwanted – old furniture left on street corners, or old materials.”

Kim Thome, 31

When photographed, what is most immediately eye-catching about Kim Thome’s Reflection range are those neon colours. But Thome insists he is “definitely not nu-rave” – they’re serving a functional purpose, highlighting his main material: semi-reflective, two-way glass. “Two-way mirrors and smoked glass creates two spaces, behind and the front, which made me want to play around with quite strong graphics, bringing them together in the space which [is] the reflection. This material makes you question what you’re seeing.”

At PAD he is exhibiting a table, mirror and a shelf, but these individual pieces grew out of an installation at Shopwork, a gallery in Peckham, south London. “It was really looking at interiors and spaces and our environment,” he says. “I’m excited about installations, not it just being an object or product; you broaden out and fill the space.”

Thome shares an office (with a chair of his own design to perch on while coming up with his next) with other designers at Mentmore Studios, a converted Victorian factory in London Fields. He also has a studio next door, where he does most of his work; when developing new items, it “needs to be full scale – it’s re-trying, re-trying, re-trying. I’m not too much of a delicate sketcher, it’s very much full-sized models.”

PAD London is at Berkeley Square, London W1, from 10 to 14 October (pad-fairs.com)

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links