As a design commentator trained in interior design at the RCA, I’ve spent much of my professional life in makers’ studios – so I’m very aware of the creativity and talent out there. I’m always frustrated, however, by the difficulty these people face in reaching potential clients. I also know architects and interior designers are always looking for ways to make their projects more distinctive and original, yet find it hard to discover new talent to work with.
My interest in bridging the gap – creating a space for makers to develop their work and for interior designers and architects to meet them – coincided with Decorex wanting to give back to the industry. Future Heritage, now in its sixth year, is the result.
I select creatives ranging from new graduates to established craftspeople who I think are some of the most talented in Britain today. They are all skilled makers, but offer much more than artisanal proficiency. All produce work that involves head, heart and hand, so is based on an intellectually rigorous idea, often involves an intriguing narrative and investigates a material, pushing the making process.
Future Heritage gives selected makers the opportunity to expand their horizons and work on a larger scale for the Decorex audience, which has the power of patronage. Interior designers and architects can not only buy pieces but also see how the makers might contribute to projects.
The craftspeople produce distinctive and beautiful objects, but they are also selected for their ability to work collaboratively with other designers on unique pieces for site-specific projects from hospitality settings, yachts, offices, hospitals and public spaces, as well as residential projects.
This year, the 13 selected people include James Rigler, who makes monumental ceramic furniture, Alice Walton, who creates wall pieces in fine ceramic, and Helen Stokes who makes perception-altering architectural glass panels. I also chose Fernando Laposse, who has rejuvenated Mexican villages by developing furniture and wall panels using sisal, loofah and corn husks, and Lynne MacLachlan who creates screens, lights and wall pieces using 3D printing. More traditionally silversmiths Anna Lorenz and Hazel Thorn both produce vessels, wall pieces and screens, whilst Hsiao-Chi and Kimiya Yoshikawa design spectacular lighting installations in neoprene and aluminium. All the makers are present throughout Decorex, to explain their work and how it might relate to visitors’own projects.