Design in 2019 – what will furniture design look like?

As part of our series on design in 2019, Rosy Greenlees OBE, executive director of the Crafts Council, looks at what will happen in furniture design over the next 12 months.

What do you think 2019 will hold for furniture design?

As natural resources continue to dwindle, I think in 2019 and beyond furniture designers and craft makers will be looking to alternative materials, both in terms of being resourceful with existing options and creating new ones. Through the Crafts Council’s innovation programme I have come across some really interesting applications and adaptations of materials for the production of furniture and interior surfaces.

Raw Material is a workshop in India that uses marble rejects from their local quarry to produce furniture and homewares. Jorge Penadés’ Structural Skin project transforms leather offcuts from Madrid’s leatherworking industry into marble like structural surfaces. Introducing completely new alternatives into production, Tamara Orjola binds pine tree needles – currently discarded from mainstream timber production – into textiles and high-quality fibreboards for furniture, whereas Officina Corpuscoli “grows” biodegradable building materials with mycelium.

What was your favourite furniture design project in 2018 and why?

Iklwa by Mac Collins

My furniture design project of 2018 is Mac Collins’ graduate project from Northumbria University – Iklwa. Collins creates experimental, hand-crafted furniture and objects that celebrate the materials he uses and his own Caribbean, African and European heritage through imaginative narratives.

In the case of the Iklwa chair (named after a short Zulu spear) he has created an object which explores the forced migration of Africans during the colonial era. With its spear-shaped armrests and throne-like back, it gives powerless historical peoples a dignified, defiant and regal Afrofuturistic chair. After winning both the Belmond New Designers award and inaugural Cræftiga award in 2018, I look forward to seeing what he does next.

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