Connected opens at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

By Elspeth Pridham
December 17, 2020

Showcasing the work of nine international furniture designers, the Connected exhibition will be at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour until 31 January.

It is said that from crisis comes great creativity, and that has been demonstrated with this exhibition. Featuring original tables and seating, Connected explores how designers and makers adapted their working practices during lockdown to bring sustainable timbers to life.

An impressive rollcall of international names participated in the project including Heatherwick Studio (UK), Jaime Hayon (Spain), Ini Archibong (Switzerland), Sabine Marcelis (Netherlands), Maria Bruun (Denmark), Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Maria Jeglinska- Adamczewska (Poland), Studiopepe (Italy) and Studio Swine (UK / Japan).

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), Benchmark Furniture and the Design Museum challenged them to create pieces for their personal use, to suit their new ways of living and working from home. They were also invited to record their creative journeys to demonstrate how they approached the brief and developed their designs.

With the designers relying solely on digital communication and video conferencing, the Connected exhibition reveals what extraordinary results can be achieved when designers and makers work together, even at a distance.

“The designers who frequent Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour are some of the finest in the world, and for us to be able to show them what Benchmark can create with American hardwoods is a real opportunity to talk about craftsmanship and the importance of making quality pieces in a sustainable material,” says Sean Sutcliffe, founder of Benchmark Furniture. “Some of the Connected designers really challenged us with their concepts and we feel the results demonstrate that our workshop can work to bring to fruition almost any idea thrown at us.”

Originally launched in September at the Design Museum, Connected has been enhanced for visitors to Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour with the addition of a documentary that takes the viewer on a journey through the entire process.

Another key design objective of the project was to ensure that the products are demonstrably sustainable. When considered as a group, the nine designs are better than carbon neutral. The total global warming potential (GWP), or carbon footprint, is minus 342 kg of CO2 equivalent.