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British Design Council Turns 70

Tuesday 03 February 2015
Words Ailis Mara

And with their 70th birthday, the British Design Council looks into the future of British design by highlighting 70 British designers as ‘Ones To Watch’. The designers mentioned are spread across a large section of design fields, like the celebratory butter on the toast of design. Many of those selected have created designs to improve people’s lives. Fresh ideas from fresh designers promises a fresh year for British design.

The 70 Ones To Watch, chosen by the British Design Council and a panel of judges, can be split into six categories of design. Within the everyday living category is a foldup scooter that collapses to the size of an A4 sheet of paper, Neethu Matthew’s scooter design is basically just another folder to carry around, talk about savvy commuting. And you can say so long to awkwardly fiddling with the plug socket in the dark, Marjan Van Aubel Current Table design is made from low-cost solar cells which use energy gained from daylight to charge electronic appliances.

Tackling the contemporary topic of healthy living, Hyn Kyung Lee has been highlighted for creating Future Active Wear Collection for Older Adults, clothing with gentle exercise functions built into them that improve strength and flexibility. This section also shows Emily Tulloh, who has designed the Summerbug Trike, which provides back support for disabled children. This will allows them the mobility and freedom whilst riding a bike that will adjust as they grow too.

Recycling and reusing is of huge importance, and designers that work to make this easier should be highlighted. Including Wael Seaiby, whose brand PLAG uses recycled plastic bags to create beautiful objects.

In the Design for Social Impact category, we see designs created to make everyday life better. Ross Kemp has created the Rescue Watercraft, a one-man electric powered watercraft for faster beach rescues.

Living and working in cities, everyone can admit they feel the squeeze, and that isn’t just in their wallets. To help with this, Lee Clarke has designer the Community Rail, a space where you can store communal household gadgets with other tenants.

Finally, the Rethinking Reality category pushes the boundaries between reality and the virtual world and how this can be used to aid people. James Molkenthin’s Lungo Kettle gives blind and partially sighted people control in their own homes. The Lungo Kettle works via Bluetooth and a smartphone app to send push-notifications to monitor temperature and volume in the kettle.

Looking at this huge group of British designers paving a way with products created to help a greater good, not just in everyday life, but in the long run too, is inspirational and something that all designers should aim for.