New voices, outside the box

They are the young international talents, emerging on the design scene and from the contests dedicated to them

Bang Universe. Photo © Mattias Hamren
Bang Universe. Photo © Mattias Hamren

Some already have a number of creations in their portfolio, while others have only recently appeared on the international stage. What they share, besides remarkable creativity that sets them apart from the field of young designers, is a personal pathway that is just beginning, and promises to yield brilliant results.
Keep an eye on these rising talents as they freely move through the discipline with a taste for experimentation and contamination, while keeping faith with fixed points like technology, sustainability and tradition, carefully blended. Though the usual showcases have been lacking over the last year, there are many alternative digital venues and prizes, to recognize their talent. Imagination knows no limits!

Elina by Dirk Vosding
Dirk Vosding
Concur Prototypes by Mac Collins
Mac Collins
Elina by Dirk Vosding
Dirk Vosding
Concur Prototypes by Mac Collins
Mac Collins
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Dirk Vosding | Germany

“The design is reminiscent of clamp-on lamps for bookcases, but with way more charm – a small, simple but subtle product that looks equally good as a table lamp or bookend on a sideboard or bedside table.” These are the words of Eva Marguerre, in the name of the whole jury of the Pure Talents Contest 2021 of imm cologne, to accompany the second prize assigned to Dirk Vosding for Elina, an original transformable object that functions as a bookend when closed. If the glass disk inside is slowly removed, it creates a light source around the books and becomes a reading lamp.

Mac Collins | UK

A design approach that investigates and celebrates the intrinsic beauty of materials, while at the same time adding personal and cultural narratives. Pursuing this concept, Mac Collins, a British designer of Caribbean origin, uses design to explore his own identity. The importance he assigns to materials is clear in the project submitted for “Discovered,” the platform organized by the American Hardwood Export Council in partnership with the Design Museum to focus on new generations of designers, asked to create an object in response to their experience of a world sorely tested by the pandemic. Mac Collins has made the Concur seat in American red oak, as a place for thinking and reading.

Lab by Frase
Frase: Francesca Giulia Poli & Seppe van Heusden
Inheritance Collection by Stephen Kenn
Stephen Kenn & Beks Opperman
Lab by Frase
Frase_Francesca-Giulia-Poli-and-Seppe-van-Heusden
Inheritance Collection by Stephen Kenn
Stephen Kenn & Beks Opperman
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Frase | Italy and Holland 

We discovered them last year at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, and this year they were among the nominees for the Pure Talents Contest of imm Cologne. Francesca Giulia Poli and Seppe van Heusden work under the name of Frase. She’s Italian, he’s Dutch, and they form a balanced package of strengths and weaknesses: the result is pure, harmonious, durable design. Furniture, lighting, accessories: the starting point is always that of local materials, proximity of production, sustainability. As in the Lab collection, which combines metal and glass, both sustainable materials but opposite in physical appearance, to give rise to a series of perfectly cylindrical containers.

Stephen Kenn |USA 

Last year he won the Edge Award organized by the LA Design Festival, but his career in furniture design began well before that. Stephen Kenn Studio opened its doors in 2011 (Beks Opperman is the co-founder, and also his wife) with a specific focus on home and travel: the fundamental background was Stephen’s previous experience designing travel bags. In the passage to interiors he continued with the same approach to single materials and the curiosity to create simply formulated objects that serve a purpose.
This can be seen in the Inheritance Collection, where curiosity in design and research on materials form a winning combination. This seating line brings the usually inner structure of sofas to the outside, making it visible; the belting on the back and sides replicates a WWII Swiss Army ‘mule belt,’ utilized to strap provisions onto pack animals.

Maya Collection by Luiza Guidi
Luiza Guidi
Bang Paper Collection by Bang Universe, Photo © Mattias Hamren
Maya Collection by Luiza Guidi
Luiza Guidi
Bang-Universe-Fotograf-Mattias-Hamren-6-1-scaled
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Luiza Guidi | Brazil

Winner of the Pure Talents Contest 2021 held by imm Cologne (with an exceptional virtual prize ceremony), Luiza Guidi stole the show with her Maya Collection, a family of lamps composed of a minimal luminous LED frame; applied to the wall on one side, the lamps can be moved with a simple gesture as if they were doors opening onto a new dimension. Side by side, they create sculptures with emotional games of light and shadow.

“Beyond problem solving, I create for the poetic experience. I tackle difficult topics with a light approach and my designs consequently follow the same direction.” With Brazilian roots, Luiza Guidi is now based in Holland, where she took a degree at Design Academy Eindhoven.

Bang Universe | Sweden

“Design for us is energy, both giving and receiving. Bang Universe is constantly looking for new worlds, and we challenge ourselves by trying out new colors and concepts, regardless of it being a spatial environment or a product.”  The Bang Paper Collection fits perfectly into this ongoing research by the studio founded by Theresia Svanholm, who is also its art director, presented at the digital edition 2021 of Greenhouse, the well-known showcase for up-and-coming designers of the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair. The basic element of the collection (a series of furnishings and objects) is a cylinder made of 100% recycled paper, combined with wood for the pedestal and top. All applied without bolts. The result is an extremely sustainable product that is easy to assemble.