Design Week’s pick of events in December

Things to see this month include a pop-up shop from Yinka Ilori, an exhibition of “untraditional” Christmas trees made by designers and an introduction to the design businesses coming out of the RCA’s Creative Brands Accelerator.

Pop-up: Royal College of Art Introducing…

Jo Miller. Image credit: Martina Lang

A two-day pop-up introduces a range of 20 creative businesses established with the support of the Royal College of Arts (RCA)’s Creative Brands Accelerator programme, which offers mentoring, commercial training and advice to RCA alumni.

Designs on show span homeware, fashion, jewellery, ceramics and textiles, including those from Folium, an independent, artist-led publishing platform, Farphoria, a zero-waste brand creating jewellery from plants dipped in liquid porcelain and Official e-ternity, a digital fashion platform for trading virtual garments and NFTs.

The event will take place in the new Herzog de Meuron-designed RCA building in Battersea.

Introducing… will take place on the 7 and 8 December at Hangar Gallery, Studio Building, RCA Battersea, Howie Street, SW11 4AS.

Exhibition: Long Live the Christmas Tree! Harewood House, Leeds

Yasemen Hussein’s tree. Photo credit Tom Arber

Eleven designers, artists, creative studios and makers have created “traditionally untraditional” Christmas trees for Harewood House in Leeds, drawing on its history, surroundings and environment.

Phoebe McElhatton has created a plasterwork installation drawing on the Robert Adam design of the House’s Old Library ceiling; carnival costume designer Hughbon Condor has designed a large-scale tree inspired by a winter festivals; Juli Bolaños-Durman has collaborated with joiner Jonny Taylor on a tree of recycled wood and glass bottles from the surrounding area; Yasemen Hussein has designed a rotating tree of copper and crystal, refracting light throughout the Music Room; and set designer Simon Costin has constructed a Pagan-inspired tree using antlers and natural materials from across the Estate.

Meanwhile, a “Christmas tree in sound” has been created by composer and accordionist Martin Green with Opera North.

Long Live the Christmas Tree! Is at Harewood House, Leeds, LS17 9LG until 2 January 2023, for more information and tickets visit the website.

Talk: Still Life at V&A Dundee Plastic Lab


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Located in the V&A Dundee’s Plastic Lab is a talk from the founders Aaron Ziggy and Will Jenkinson of Glasgow-based design workshop Still Life, exploring methods of making furniture and objects from recycled plastic and locally sourced Scottish Hardwood.

Still Life built their own plastic recycling machines using open sources designs from Precious Plastic. At the talk, the pair will introduce their processes and techniques, starting with plastic collection, and progressing through sorting, design, melting and finishing.

The moulds used during the melting and shaping and a variety of prototypes from different stages will be on hand to see, while Camilo Feuchter, Dundee-based furniture maker and designer will conduct a Q&A.

The talk is free to attend and will take place from 13:00-14:00 on 7 December at the Plastic Lab, V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ.

Pop-up shop: Yinka Ilori

Yinka Ilori Pop-up store. Photo credit: Ed Reeve

For his first pop-up, conceived during the pandemic, designer Yinka Ilori is bringing an immersive retail experience inspired by West African architecture to Club Row in East London. The shop features designs from his recent collections as well as new launches with products targeted at the whole family. Ilori’s British-Nigerian heritage and local London scenery are referenced in his signature boldly coloured tableware and textiles, while a selection of homeware and lifestyle items look to encourage playfulness.

The designer says: “The high street plays such an important role in our communities but in recent years we have experienced a steep decline with many independent businesses struggling. With this pop-up I wanted to bring retail back and design a fun, engaging space that tells a story. I want to start a conversation about the future of our stores, how we curate these spaces and what experiences we can create to forge deeper, more meaningful connections.”

A percentage of profits will be donated to homelessness charity Shelter, in consideration of the increasing pressure of the cost-of-living crisis on families this Christmas.

The pop-up store will be located at 9 Club Row, London E1 6JX until 3 January 2023.

Podcast: Design Emergency


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Design curator Paola Antonelli and design critic Alice Rawsthorn have started a podcast series “to explore design’s potential to help us build a better future”, following the publication of their book of the same title, out from Phaidon earlier this year.

Launched on 23 November 2022, the podcast’s first guest is Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye. Speaking with Rawsthorn, he discusses the challenges of designing responsibly in “the vast, complex and intensely eclectic African continent” and traces his practice from designing friend’s houses to significant cultural spaces including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. and current commissions the National Cathedral of Ghana and Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City.

The rest of the series, Antonelli and Rawsthorn say, “will introduce you to the inspiring and ingenious designers whose success in tackling major challenges – from the climate emergency and refugee crisis, to ensuring that new technologies affect us positively, not negatively – gives us hope for the future”.

Design Emergency is hosted by Acast and available on Apple, Spotify, and other podcast platforms.

Banner image: Minelgaite Studios, RCA Introducing.

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