October 05, 2016
One of the raison d'être of Do is to support emerging designers and we do so mainly through our Do Masters programme. Over the past 10 years we've had the privilege of working with over 50 design graduates and we salute them all for their talent, hard work and boundless enthusiasm. They are all part of the Do family and they are all the best, but here are 10 designers for whom we have particularly fond memories.
Alicja's Plantation ceramic collars, designed for growing plants over recycled glasses, were a hit at the Royal College of Art degree show in 2014 and also at the Do Masters show of the same year. However, the hand-crafted collars were too expensive to attract much commercial interest then. Undeterred, Alicia has since outsourced production, put all her capital into inventory and threw herself into sales and marketing. Today, Plantation is a commercial success and we can barely contain our pride when we see them at major trade fairs and design shops.
David is one of the stars of our inaugural Do Masters exhibition in 2007 and his cleverly designed Plyrise modular shelf was a great commercial success for us. As orders mounted up, David worked hard with a can-do attitude and plenty of good cheer. Unfortunately, production and cost issues proved too difficult at the end and the Plyrise shelf became one of those products with plenty of admirers which sadly had to remain unrequited. David, though, will always be one of our heroes.
We fell in love the minute we spotted Ejing's beguilingly beautiful resin and fabric jewellery at the Royal College of Art degree show. We soon discovered that we were not her only fan, as a steady stream of customers came to the shop looking specifically for her hand-crafted works, many of whom all the way from China, where Ejing evidently has an avid following. Ejing has since set up shop at the Cockpit Arts workshops in London, where she continues to create unique jewellery designs.
Henry is an optimistic and easy-going character who was a well deserved winner of the prestigious New Designer of the Year Award at the New Designers exhibition in 2013. His collection of Muglexia mugs offers a glimpse into the mysterious workings of dyslexia in a quirky and highly original way; afterall, it is no mean feat to be able to express such a conceptual idea in something as mundane as a mug. After the exhibition Henry outsourced production successfully and was able to provide us with a consistent supply of mugs, which quickly became a hot gift item. We'd like to think that our sales helped to buy Henry more than a few cups of coffee during his post-graduate study at the Royal College of Art.
We see a lot of ceramics as part of the Do Masters programme but few were as restrained and refined as the Slipcast range of vessels hand-crafted by Jill Shaddock. Each vessel in the collection is hand-made using a layering technique, with each vessel bearing etchings of numbers on their sides representing the number of minutes each layer has taken to form; a visual celebration of the creative process. Jill has won numerous awards with her works, which sold well at Do and can now be found at various galleries and craft shops around the country.
Jordi's contribution to our inaugural Do Masters event in 2007 was hard to forget. The Less Lamp is an egg-shaped ceramic pendant lampshade that needs to be pierced with a specially designed hammer in order to release the light trapped within. There was endless fun and bewilderment at the shop as we urged customers to have a go at making their own designs by hammering away at the ceramic shell. We did go through quite a few display models as some customers proved to be less restrained than we had expected; but hey, it's all part of the interactive design experience.
We knew we had a hit on our hands when the first dozen or so units of Maja Ganszyniec's 6 Degrees modular shelves were sold out within days. We shouldn't have been surprised as the clever design featuring a single module with sides that slant at 6 degrees is capable of creating endless cool compositions, appealing to the practically-minded and design-focused customer alike. Maja eventually moved back to her native Poland from where she was able to supply us for some time from a local manufacturer. Sadly, the project eventually succumbed to the usual problem faced by almost all young designers: sustaining production at the right cost and quality. There is a happy ending to the story, as Maja is now established as a successful product designer, working for a wide range of customers including Ikea.
Marta has a background in architecture, which may explain her unique approach to ceramics, constantly testing the limits of the material. As part of her graduation project she created a series of Elastic Lights, connecting ceramic components with elastic ropes to create table lights with articulated ceramic shades which resemble radar stations. These colourful and sculptural lights are super photogenic and soon became a darling of the design press. Not satisfied with the critical accolades, Marta is working hard to improve the design and production of the light further. We can't wait to see the results.
Sena is, without doubt, our most successful Do Master collaborator of all time, her products having been continuously in stock at Do since the inaugural Do Masters exhibition in 2007. We are lucky enough to be able to witness her evolving style in the decade since her first product, the iconic Lemon Squeezer, which was made by casting a real lemon in porcelain. Her inspirations come mainly from the natural world, with vegetables, flowers and birds rendered in porcelain with her trademark whimsical and slightly surreal touch. We feel immensely proud to be able to bring her beautiful creations to a wider audience and we look forward to many more years of partnership to come.
We remember Victoria for her Domestic Landscape collection of carafes with their striking shapes (inspired by jerry cans) and bold industrial colours. We remember her excitement when the carafes were featured on the front page of Wallpaper* magazine, and we also remember our palpitations every time a customer picks up one of the fragile and super expensive vessels. Thankfully Victoria's carafes survived their stint at our shop unscathed and she has since carved out a successful career as an product designer.
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