There were more than 3,500 architect, interior and design projects submitted for the first ever Dezeen Awards.
The international Dezeen Awards will identify the world’s best talent, showcasing the most unique pieces.
A total of 207 interior design projects have now been selected for the long list including a revamp of a house built by Frank Gehry, a loft apartment in a former tank station and the offices of IKEA’s creative team.
The shortlist will be announced in August and it will be judged by a panel of leading industry figures, including Terence Conran, Je Ahn of Studio Weave, DH Liberty founder Dara Huang and India Mahdavi.
In the design projects category, a total of 171 entries were submitted including an array of quirky pieces such as a table cloth made from flexible concrete cloth and a garment that could allows humans to breathe underwater.
The category features industry-leading names such as Nendo, Barber and Osgerby, Marc Newson and Patricia Urquiola.
It also includes leading brands like Google and IKEA, plus rising talents such as Normal Studio, Tom Fereday and Envisions.
Other highlights from the list include a wax chair pockmarked by melting balls of resin, clothes that grow as a child does, a UV sensor that tracks sun exposure and a reusable tampon applicator.
Dezeen says the winners of each category will also compete to be named design project of the year – one of nine Ultimate Design Awards, a top tier of accolades that will honour the most outstanding design talent of the year.
The architecture long lists have also been announced and include Swiss firm Christ & Gantenbein, UK studio Jamie Fobert Architects and Mexican office Rojkind Arquitectos, while contenders for emerging architect of the year include US studio The Living and South American office MAPA.
For most artists the pathway into the art industry is through a university degree or foundation course, but junior designer Torsten Power took the apprenticeship route.
Torsten who has worked as a junior designer at Ocado is now venturing into the freelance world.
“After leaving school, I did an apprenticeship because at this point in my life I was really interested in coding, so I signed up to a recruitment agency in the hope they would find something in web development for me”, he said.
“I’m a strong endorser of the apprenticeship system but it is still relatively new in this country and therefore doesn’t always work entirely as intended.
“I was placed in an apprenticeship with an ad agency in Shoreditch to do some coding for a company”, Torsten said.
It was then Torsten realised coding wasn’t an area he wanted to explore and he decided to go into graphic design.
The 20-year-old said: “I never looked back after this. It is funny because throughout the whole time I was into the coding stuff, my granddad, who is an artist and designer, would always say I would go into something creative and design related.
“I kept telling him “no I want to code, I want to be a developer” and now design is the love of my life. My granddad obviously knew me better than I know myself.”
After finishing his apprenticeship, Torsten spent time practicing and producing designs, fiction companies and creating brand identities to enhance his portfolio.
He said: “It was tough and quite nerve-racking as I don’t have a degree or any other type of official design qualification and I got told by countless people that I was making a mistake by not going to university.
“There are many ways other than university to get your foot into the industry. Apprenticeships are a great route and I’m sure there are other methods that I don’t know about.
“The main thing I learnt is that you just need to find a way to make yourself look valuable and to demonstrate the passion you have.”
Torsten said the freelance route has worked well for him because his workload is “diverse” and each “project is different”.
“I just love the satisfaction I get when I’ve put hours of hard work into a project and then I get to see the final version in print or live on a website.
“Design is so personal; you get really attached to what you’re working on. Each project feels like my baby. I get to watch it grow from nothing into hopefully this beautiful finished piece that I’m proud of.
“The primary downside is probably that you don’t have the same amount of security as you would if you worked in a permanent position.
“Knowing exactly how much you’ll earn each month is reassuring and stuff like getting paid for annual leave is a luxury that I missed when I was freelance.
“The creative team at Ocado were great and I would often forget that they’re colleagues and not just mates, they were such a nice bunch of people.”
Torsten finds his main source of inspiration from online websites and forums like Behance.
He also reads design books and magazine, going to exhibition talks and creative meet-ups.
Torsten is currently working on setting up a minimalist illustration-based clothing brand, which includes designing t-shirts and creating brand identities.
“I’m also trying to get a large amount of the production done locally and I want to ensure we’re an environmentally conscious brand so we will not us any plastic in the delivery process”, Torsten added.
“Overall the project has been a challenge but I’m so close to getting it finished now so I’m getting really excited about it all.
“I hope to have the website up and running and the first batch of t-shirts printed by late August – hopefully all my work will pay off.
“I have also done some recent work for FADE – a fashion and art magazine.”
Torsten is hoping to do more personal projects and keep up with the freelance work.
He said: “As someone who ended up doing a job I love so much almost completely by accident, I try not to set in stone too many goals for myself, as I know how unpredictable life is.
“However, there are definitely things I’m really interested in at the moment that I’m going to pursue.
“Branding is a huge passion of mine – I’m always mesmerised by the work of agencies like DesignStudio, Spinach, NB Studio, Snask and Bold. I’d also love to start doing more art direction. It’s such a fascinating area.”
When Bibiana Farenzena moved to England to study a Masters course in Design for Communication, she never expected to run her own design consultancy business eight years later.
The Brazilian-born designer is the co-owner of Upcircle along with friends Ophélia Gisquet and Mercedes Alvarez-Fojo.
Upcircle, which was launched in 2017, is a design studio based in London that offers sustainable design consultancy services in digital, graphic, furniture and interior design.
“We are all friends and we bring different skills to Upcircle. The idea behind our business is to promote the circular economy and the tree pillars of sustainability: economic, environment and social”, says Bibiana.
“Ophélia went travelling to South Africa when she discovered places and people that had the ability to design and create from very little resources, recycling and upcycling materials.
“The community had a creative and very clever mindset and it was then Ophelia had the idea of applying this into her designs too.
“The three of us decided to set up Upcircle using our different skills on projects, which support sustainability and recycling.”
She said Upcircle’s approach to projects focuses on design, the type of materials used, how they are manufactured and the impact it has on society.
Bibibana studied a BA in Visual Design at a university in Brazil, going on to study Digital Print in Textiles at Saint Martin’s College in London. She has also completed a Masters in Design for Communications at the University of Westminster.
The 32-year-old has a wealth of retail experience and has worked with Marks & Spencer, Asos, Body Shop and TKMaxx, to name a few.
Ophélia, 32, was born and studied in France where she did a foundation year in design in Toulouse, followed by an interior design course.
She studied a Masters in interior design and architecture and has worked on projects designing offices, homes and hotels across the globe.
Mercedes graduated in Business and Accountancy from the University of Barcelona and holds an MBA degree from the University of Westminster.
The Spanish-born business developer has worked in the construction industry for 15 years working on projects around the world.
Bibiana said: “Our extensive skill set allows us to work on projects together to promote sustainability and recycling.
“For example, we have worked on student accommodation projects where we use materials, which are recycled and sustainable.
“Many people do not realise but furniture in student accommodations usually have a life of five to seven years because the trend of interior design changes, so the contractors decide to refurbish it and the furniture ends up in landfills.
“But if we design with a different mindset by reusing the same furniture or recycling it, we can create a big positive impact on the environment.”
The trio are currently working on a project with PhD students at the University of West England to create a permanent installation to increase awareness about sustainable palm oil.
The set will include trees, ferns, moss and the furniture will be made out from offcut plywood (reusing common waste in joinery workshop). The joinery will be produced by a Bristol-based company who share the same values about sustainability.
Palm oil is one of the world’s widely consumed vegetable oil and it is used in everything from soaps to biscuits and cosmetics.
Bibiana said: “The aim of the project is to raise awareness about sustainable palm oil because production often comes at the cost of the rich of biodiversity in the rainforest.
“We want to change consumer’s decisions about palm oil and how it can be sourced in the future.”
Upcircle is also working on a project with the university to refurbish four external courtyards, adding manifestations on the floor which is an affordable and sustainable solution. Some of the furniture will be supplied by an outdoor furniture company named Vestre that has “strong sustainable values”.
Bibiana said: “Some of the furniture will be produced by Bristol Wood Recycling Project, who use recycled elements.
“It is a charity that offers free training to people who want to learn joinery or develop their social skills.
“We are also designing three new student accommodations with the aim to implement as much sustainable product and finishes as possible.”
In addition to the university projects, Upcircle is gearing up to take part in the London Design Festival in the summer.
Last year they had an installation called Roots Grow Love, which was a striking wooden structure containing plants to celebrate the love of gardening, to promoting Loughborough Farm and bringing the community together.
Upcircle worked with Loughborough Farm and a group of volunteers from different associations to build the structure which was made of recycling wood and plants from the farm.
The last 18 months have been a whirlwind for the team at Upcircle and there is plenty of exciting projects in the pipeline for them.
Bibiana said: “Our approach has been well received by the industry and we are very happy to see more companies working with us.
“We believe that Upcircle will have a bright future thanks to the great collaboration of each business partner and the hard work.
Palm oil project at the University of West England
“Our values at Upcircle will be a plus for our designs and our clients. By producing a great design and having a positive impact in our society, we hope our studio will make a difference in the creative industry.
“At Upcircle we want to be part of this movement of start-ups that have new ways of working, changing lifestyles and perceptions about work.
“It’s time for us designers but also consumers to change the way we live and produce things. Slow design is about time and so is Upcircle.”
See more from Upcricle over at their website – www.upcircle.co.uk
Ikea has announced they are working with sports giants Adidas on a collaboration. The two brands are going to join forces to utilizes Ikea’s specialty (the home) with Adidas’ (sports) by fashioning and manufacturing a more practical way to workout at home.
Their starting point of their collaborative project will be research through studying, learning, and analysing how individuals integrate fitness and wellness into their homes and daily lives. Ikea aims to recognize and cater for what people want and need when it comes to exercising, sleeping and eating at home. Their new collaboration with Adidas investigates the links between living spaces and sport, and how both can be made in a way to help create healthy lifestyle.
At their public announcement, IKEA revealed it will work with Adidas on a collection of home sports equipment “for women, by women.” “Our goal is to make sport accessible to everyone,” Josefine Aberg, VP of Design at Adidas, said in a statement. “Working with IKEA, we’ll look at why some people are more active than others, especially young women, and explore what role the home can play in removing barriers to fitness.”
IKEA also announced further exciting collaborations with Lego, and Solange Knowles’ company, Saint Heron. Ikea and Lego have united to inspire ‘more play’. Whilst ‘more play’ is quite vague and open for interpretation, Ikea believes it is an ‘essential part of a better everyday life’. The partnership aims to improve and raise the chance for more play, and IKEA believe the first step is to make the home an improved living space and more fun place. Ikea’s collaboration with Saint Heron will explore architectural and interior design objects with multifunctional use.
Nathan Hulman is an upcoming and talented product designer, specializing in upcycling and working with found materials, which he brings back to life by giving them a new purpose.
Nathan graduated from Nottingham Trent University, having studied a BA in Product Design and has been working as a product designer since. Nathan explains, whilst he always loved fixing and creating things, deciding his career path was a difficult choice.
“I’ve always been interested in creating new things and solving problems but took a while in deciding what career I wanted to go down. Having taken applied science, geography and product design as my A levels, I ended up doing an art and design foundation course before deciding on going to university to study product design full time. Since then I’ve helped Constellations, a furniture and interior design company, come up with new ideas for their range of storage products through a graduate internship.”
Bits ’n’ Bulbs Was Nathan’s final project for his foundation course. The idea behind this project was repurposing and upcycling to create usable lights. Upcycling is a way to transform old things in a way that turns them into something new without breaking the product down into its raw materials. Instead, upcycling gives new life to an old object, and this is exactly what Nathan achieved with his Bits and Bulbs project.
In today’s society, more and more young designers are diverting their focus on to sustainable design and recycling/upcycling. Sustainable design is a new method of designing objects, the manufactured environment, and services to conform with the philosophies and values of social, economic, and ecological sustainability. The purpose of sustainable design is to reduce the harmful impact on the environment through clever and thoughtful design. Sustainable design must use renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the environment.
Bits ‘n’ Bulbs was Nathans first upcycling project so he says he had difficulty adjusting to the organic way of working and not having entire control over the finished product.
“I already had the components to use and hadn’t much control over what the finished product would look like, so it was a fun play on “form follows function” since it was reversed.”
Nathan adds the challenge was balancing the aesthetics of the components in a way that works functionally and had to overcome challenges to ensure the finish product not only looks good but is fully functioning.
“One of the lamps uses a kettle as the lampshade which was too heavy for the base, so I used the wire from the bulb to anchor it in down which actually worked well aesthetically. I learned to be a bit looser in my design projects and see where any mistakes or unintended outcomes take the project.”
Bits ‘n’ Bulbs inspired Nathan to continue his investigation in to Upcycling when he got to university and kept on working loosely without restricting himself. He explains how embracing mistakes can work in your favor, how you can capitalize on them.
“I was prototyping a desk lamp using foam, and halfway through I completely changed the design. A dent in the foam looked as if it could be a nice visual cue that the base is touch activated, and the loose stalk gave me an idea for how the lamp could be adjusted. In the end it turned out much better than I expected, and I found the unintended outcomes in finding a solution that don’t seem ideal can actually really help with coming up with new ideas.”