"To develop their concepts, participants were invited to think freely about their experience of living and working in isolation, responding to themes of touch, reflection and strength, and to channel their own experiences into a piece that represents our functional and emotional connections to everyday objects. The designers have considered ideas such as identity and cultural heritage, family and social ritual, the pandemic-induced need to adapt, and the inherent comfort of touch.” said Tim Marlow, Director of the London Design Museum.
David Venables, AHEC’s European Director, had this to say: “Discovered is a unique opportunity for us as we will be joining forces with the other AHEC regional offices in a creative project for the first time. This project has enabled us to give them a valuable learning experience on product design and development with sustainable hardwood.”
Despite the great personal and professional challenges faced by the designers, their tremendous passion shines through.
“I thought about the importance of objects as extensions of ourselves: from one side, many boundaries are created, from another, boundaries disappear, private and public are mixed together,” said Italian designer Alessandra Fumagalli Romario. This informed the Studiolo 2.0, inspired by the small spaces in the small studioli in Renaissance paintings and cabinets of curiosities, in which objects can be hidden or displayed.
Swiss designer Isabelle Baudraz recreated sensory and emotional connections to combat the feeling of isolation. Her Presenses collection includes a suspended mobile, a balancing desk object and a wall installation to spark tactile connection during insolation. “I was touched by the colour of the cherry and the texture of its grain. I also liked the fact that it was going to evolve and get darker with age,” she commented.
Mimi Shodeinde, from London, cast her mind over our domestic spaces. “In designing furniture for this new paradigm,” she said, “we should lean into the familiar and the comforting. We should seek freedom, connection, stability and strength.” Based on this observation and drawing on important cultural references such as the work of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth, the modernist architecture of Lina Bo Bardi and the aerodynamics of flight, she produced the Howard desk – the lightness of its forms meld with the rigorous construction and the weight of the hard maple wood.