Design Nation’s Eureka! to put retailers centre stage

Design Nation, the membership arm of charity Design Trust, is working with nine designers and four high-street retailers to create a series of products in a project entitled Eureka!

Under the scheme, retailers generated product design briefs and selected the designers they wished to work with from among Design Nation’s membership . The products, which will launch from the autumn, range from ceramic bathroom accessories to lighting and textile designs.

Retailers taking part in the project are Heal’s, The Conran Shop, Fired Earth Interiors and Crabtree & Evelyn.

The work represents an initiative by Design Nation to establish a stronger relationship between designers and retailers, says Design Trust director Peta Levi. The organisation has previously established networks for designers and manufacturers, but this is its first major retail-led project.

‘This is very much a pilot scheme and we hope to expand it, both in terms of designers and the retailers we work with. The plan is to begin work on a second programme in September,’ says Levi.

As part of the project, Heal’s has commissioned outdoor lighting and a computer work-station from BDM Design, a plastic wine-rack from Jasper Startup, and three rugs by Helen Yardley Studio.

Fired Earth Interiors is working with two designers – Jona Hoad is responding to a lighting brief and Studio Krassa is to design a full-length mirror. At The Conran Shop, Julie Haslam will design a range of digitally printed kitchen table mats and coasters.

Andrew Tanner Design is to create four ceramic items for Crabtree & Evelyn’s bathroom range, Katy Holford is designing four crystal items for its dressing table range, and Massimo Fenati is working on a wall-mounted hand-wash dispenser for the retailer.

The Eureka! collection will be exhibited at Furniture Works from 21-30 September before going on sale in other participating stores from October.

Design Nation is a group of 129 designers, selected for membership by a panel of industry experts. The organisation, established in 1994, offers business training and advice.

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