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Monthly Archives: September 2009

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For this year’s London Design Festival, Mint will showcase its intriguing and thought provoking show Mint Escapes 2009.

The exhibition will present The Escapists of contemporary design as our modern day storytellers who use the medium of design and craft as the interpretive voice of imagination.

This project is in collaboration with Max Fraser author of the Annual London Design Guide 2009, which will feature an article on the Escapists among other groups of current design trends.

Mint Escapes will reveal the mundane as eccentric, and assert individual experience and creativity as being inherently unique. By approaching contemporary issues as narratives to be explored, the Escapists will contest established boundaries and offer us new insights into the role of the surreal in design.

Below, you will find a complete list of exhibitors for this year’s show.

Mint Escapes runs from September 19th to 27th, from 10:00 to 18:00 daily.

Miss it, miss out!


Fian Andrews

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This new body of work is Fian’s response to working in Jingdezhen, China between June and September of last year.  He has incorporated and subverted the traditional iconography of the region and combined it with his own gestural, visual language to create a strong figurative, narrative.

The pots are essentially portraits. The human scale and tactility of the pots help the viewer interact with them. It is the narrative generated by this interaction that Fian feels is important. It is this dialog which is at the root of his creative output. He feels that there is a strong time based element created by the 3 dimensionality of the surface. The viewer can never see all the ‘story’ in one go so they are forced to remember in there minds eye what they have seen, this is then influenced by what comes next, more like a film than a painting. There is also an interesting dynamic created by the curvature of the surface as the viewer moves round the vestal. The image bends and foreshortens in hard to predict ways.

Fian wished for this new work to explore the qualities of the materials, the clay, the glaze and the slips and have another layer of narrative contained within the marks, a story about his own interaction with the object and environment.


Shay Alkalay and Yael Mer

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Borrowing a technique used in fashion production, Raw-Edges folds and re-folds DuPont™ Tyvek® to create a series of plush seats.The method of pleating allows the flat, non-elastic material to become a springy, three-dimensional cushion when filled with soft polyurethane foam.


Penelope Batley

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‘I felt it important to capture a fairytale playfulness and childlike delight, reminding us of how much more exciting the world is when familiar things are not so familiar. This is mixed with an opulent, escapist and surreal aesthetic, blurring the divide between Art, Craft and Design’, says Batley.


Sally Barnes

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‘I am interested in producing work of a narrative nature which evokes a response from the viewer, allowing him or her to relate their own experiences to the themes I explore’, says Barnes.

Barnes’s work explores issues around the theme of human fragility and more specifically, the home and childhood.   The home has been described as ‘our family memory bank’.   It is the site of many of our formative experiences and memories and becomes synonymous with those.   However, the home is not a static place, over time its ‘structure’ changes as do its inhabitants and our feelings towards it.

These pieces are part of a body of work in which she has examined the concept of broken connections, the component pieces representing people or places we are no longer able to ‘access’.


Maarten de Ceulaer

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De Ceulaer designs are mostly based on one strong, simple and pure concept. With his objects he tries to bring comfort, beauty and enjoyment in people’s lives. He wants to surprise, create emotions, or give a subtle wink. He questions the world around him, and translates his answers in objects. Poetry, humour and the communication of ideas are very important aspects of his designs. But conceptual as they may start, he wants his designs to be more then just whimsy thoughts or clever but unusable ideas. A good concept in a good product is what he hopes to achieve

The shape and the weight of old irons make them very useful as book ends, the handle is perfect to pick them up and move them closer when you pick a book out, or move it further when you insert a new book. These book ends are casted in strong synthetic plaster, and coated with poly-urethane, to give them a perfect non-skid surface. This results in very iconic and beautiful objects to give some color and a touch of surrealistic humour to your book-shelves.


Lisa Connolly

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‘As a textiles artist, I have striven to create a very new style of portraiture using unconventional methods of stitch, in reaction to the classic old style of stitch that is banal and over produced. I hope my new and exciting approach to stitch will inspire people to consider letting go of the past and strive for a new juxtaposition of fresh design ideas in reaction to the dated superlatives’, says Connolly.

Connolly’s portraits feature girls with attitude. The ladies depicted look dark and sinister. They are a comical reaction to the classic portraiture of the grandeur. ‘I create unusual stitched illustrations with masses of black thread and calico, a lot of patience playing about with thread tensions is also essential!’, says Connolly.


Jozephine Duker

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The ‘In between’ curtain creates an intimate space on the border between private and public space. A connection between inside and outside is created by holes through which you can look outside and sunlight can come in.


Rebecca Fairman

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Fairman uses clay to draw and embed kindred skills of bygone days. The transition between soft and hard intends to induce disquiet.Attract and repel. The child’s quilt, which one associates with warmth and comfort, invokes the universal while bringing an intimate personal object into question.The absence of the body makes the object incomplete, yet implicates the viewer by invoking memories, time and place.


Folkform

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Stockholm-based Folkform is a design studio owned and run by industrial designers Chandra Ahlsell and Anna Holmquist. They work on their own independent collections as well as with clients. Folkform has a strong focus on new areas of application for material and material experimentation.

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Can something regarded as ugly become high status in another form or social context? How can we add value to a surface that is destroyed by time and everyday use? How do we highlight the beauty of the aging material? The screenprinted patterns on the new pieces were find behind the old layers of peeling wallpaper in an old flat in solna, outside Stockholm. Folkform documented this council flat from the 60ies just before renovation.


Danielle Franklin

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‘In school when the art class was asked to create a piece of work in any media of their choice, I always seemed to find myself alone at the back of the classroom, up to my elbows in clay, staring over the heads of my classmates who were all feverishly scribbling away with pencil and paper.  I enjoyed drawing the way they did, but my passion was clay, I loved taking a piece of clay and transforming it into exciting shapes and forms. Luckily for me my teachers were inspiring, and encouraged me take my skill to the next level’, says Franklin.

Her current work is a contemporary mix of cast earthenware objects dissected and rearranged into towering structures. The influence for these pieces were everyday objects, that could be found around the home, things that people take for granted or perceive to have only one obvious use. She uses a combination of bright primary colours reminiscent of childhood Lego toys, with an assortment of shiny enamel and matt body stains.


Erol Gemma

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Gemma’s practice focuses on photographic translations of reference books such as encyclopaedias, Atlases, dictionaries and more recently, faith books (of reference, e.g. the Bible). The last-mentioned offers interesting links to the photographic image in the sense that its followers perceive it as the utmost truth (dogma) but is subject to infinite and contradictory interpretations. The Bible underwent several processes of vulgarisation, through translation and illustration expanding its democratisation via technical progress and reproducibility.

It also bares the historical feud between iconodules and iconoclasts which finds its translation within our contemporary society of the archive, through the destruction of the WTC (as an image of hegemonic power), its reconstruction as memorial monument of light and through the conspiracy theorists attacking the official version of a terrorist strike and claiming that the images of the planes crashing in the towers are digital forgeries, dissecting every frame to find discrepancies and expose the New World Order conspiracy of the sun-worshipping elite of freemasons.


Caren Hartley

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Hartley works predominantly in metal – silver, iron and brass – following the theme of rebirth, simulation and object translations. She is fascinated by the lives of familiar objects, bits and bobs, bric-a-brac, especially those that are seemingly unremarkable or have fallen from favour. Through this process of rebirth, she explores how a parody of the original is created when material truths and untruths are interfered with.


Marie T Hermann

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Hermann is interested in the objects that we surround ourselves with in our everyday lives, their placements and our relationship with them. ‘I am interested in the dialogue between the functional object and the ideas generated when these objects are subverted. I am hoping to create openness and an element of ambiguity, so that the viewer will bring their own history and memories to the work’, says Hermann.


Soojin Kang

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The collection ‘A Continuous Chain’ does not propose itself as a fashion collection. Each piece has been designer as a non-identifiable item that you can wear anywhere on your body or place somewhere in your home. The collection seeks to consider whether this kind of work is fashion, art or possibly both.

‘A Continuous Chain’ conveys the beauty of traditional crafts and antique raw materials in a contemporary context and explores the emotional relationship between human and objects. The lack of the emotional and personal bond between the owner and personal objects has gradually emerged due to fast changing trends. Against the backdrop of the problem of disposable fashion, the collection aims to highlight the significance of ‘handmade’-crafted.

Hand-crafting  is a slow and thoughtful process that truly engages the maker into carefully giving great attention to the product. It is no longer a fleeting fashion item to be discarded after one season, but rather a personal story to be continued. ‘A Continuous Chain’ seeks to consider our basic needs and what we already have surrounding us and to use them wisely and beautifully. It is for this reason that hand-crafting was employed as the method and vehicle while antique raw materials serve as the object.


Charlotte Kingsnorth

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‘At One’: Inspired by the recent media coverage of the ever increasing problems with obesity and based on Jenny Saville’s fascination with the subject, ‘At One’ is a sofa which has been devoured by its obese occupier. Whilst oozing a disturbing and unsettling, almost sweaty appearance, there is an urge to sit upon its more enticing voluptuous form. It tells a story of a relationship between a person and their sofa and the evolution of their bond through time spent sitting together. Just as an ivy plant may slowly suffocate a tree with its entwining growth, the flesh has spilled, bulged and encased around the sofa until they have married into a new grotesquely beautiful form.

Kingsnorth was inspired by the concept of a new atmosphere or space being created within a piece of furniture with a sense of being hidden from the outside world, like a moth being cradled in its cocoon.

‘Felt Up’ is a chair which has been cut and folded in two places turning a flat piece of felt into a new space. When sat upon it envelopes the occupier, lulling them into a state of relaxation. The piece is larger than an average chair (90cm wide x 70cm deep), which has been designed to “allow the occupant to move inside the chair”. Its organic nature means it can be sat upon in many different ways.
The felt is 16mm thick and made from 100% natural wool, making it an ergonomically sound chair.  It also has the added quality of acting as an insulator from noise, which helps further to create a chilled space in which to sit.
Kingsnorth states, “My love for furniture has grown from a constant desire to manipulate different materials and mediums. I am enthused with the exploration of materials and forms where the outcome is unknown. I am excited by the unpredictable”.


Minja Kolehmainen

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Minja is inspired in furniture and objects from the past: their shapes, over decoration, luxury and reference to royalty. Her intention is to bring that to contemporary living. The elegance, femininity, simplicity, Finnishness and honesty are the key elements in her work. She is taking shapes and patterns from history, and “re- designing” them.

Illusion and detailing plays a big part in her work, ensuring that time has to be taken over it to fully understand and enjoy it. She doesn’t only want the pieces to be looked at, but also to be used and touched by people. It is important for her that one wants to touch, feel and admire it. She is trying to create interaction between the viewer and the piece and that is the reason why functionality is one of her key points when designing.


Kai Linke

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‘It was the aim of my work to develop a way of working, in which the given deformation of the product has not been forced by any force effect of myself but through the material itself. These goals of studies led me to the title of this concept “It wasn’t me”. Amongst others, one stool was rebuild out of felt. This stool form was filled with heavy liquid material. The wetness and own weight of the material changed the initial style of the felt corpus. After the material became solid the covering out of felt was taken away – a seemingly deformed stool remained’, says Linke.

This developed aesthetic style appears uncontrolled and builts a new element of design. The deformed objects appear unperfect, incomplete and blemished. Just as well as a human being is not lacking mistakes the products aren’t either. The products designed for the concept “It wasn’t me” appear lively and their material seams to be in movement. The developed forms of “It wasn’t me” test the sense of their users, as they are combining known and unknown likewise and are generating a new form language. Even though the products appearance is fragile and deformed, they are usable.


Solenne Morigeaud

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In her project entitled “Smoke and Mirrors”,  Morigeaud has been investigating how magical thinking can inform interactive and innovative design for the home. She created a collection of mirrors, glass and wallcoverings that blur and interact with our perception. The main piece of her project is called ‘Mystical door’. Morigeaud has glazed an antique door from the 19th century with etched mirrors, which creates an unexpected illusive effect. By involving both new technologies and craft, she has gaven a new life to the antique.The inspiration comes from ink stains, clouds, shadows and smoke trails – coincidental patterns that create an unforeseen imagery. Through her work, Solenne Morigeaud imagines the future of textiles as a way to encourage people to get into their imagination, too often forgotten. Her aim here is to create an evolving relationship between our possessions and us. In a society where products often do not last for long and tend not to carry any history anymore, she finds it important to focus on the longevity and the emotional attachment of a product, either by reusing old objects, or by creating emotionally durable designs. She believes that past and future are intimately related, and that it is today that we build our future.


Elizabeth Morrish

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This installation explores the nature of the printed interior as a façade, which builds narratives of place and identity.  Creating a composition of domestic surfaces within the space; mark making and representation is used to illustrate a sense of place.

Deliberately confusing conventional boundaries between decorative and functional, or interior and exterior surfaces, the installation attempts to question our aesthetic values. Seemingly incomplete as a room, it intends to form relationships across the space which describe a lifestyle aesthetic; one where the gentrification of industrial and functional aesthetics has opened up new forms of decorative in a search for authenticity.

My collection embraces narrative while maintaining openness and authenticity. It is inspired by the belief that the most humble and honest things in life can be the most luxurious. Kindling wood is drawn from an outdoor survival guide, mountains from antique maps and birds inspired by an arcade fruit machine. Applied across a variety of surfaces, the result is an understated yet imaginative landscape of imagery within the interior.


Takeshi Nagasaki

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‘The growing-pot is a re-product by the plastic flowerpot, which is left after planting. My grandfather used to grow the chrysanthemum in central Tokyo for many years. The housing environment of Tokyo enclosed by the building was unsunny. By putting two pots together one on top of the other he could raise the chrysanthemum. That was the way he did to get the sunlight. This slightest distance is a great help for the plants’, says Nagasaki.

The plant is seeking the sun. The pot is extending, spreading, reaching, breathing… while reflecting its figure. Together they will become one.


Orla O’Brien

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O’Brien’s collection of dolls attempt to recapture her magical childlike state of mind. ‘From my treasured memories I have crafted tangible figures which tell the viewer a story about the written past and my present self. Each doll was designed by establishing the characteristics of unique and individual people involved in my world. I developed the doll characters while focusing on giving each figure a personality while creating an image to reflect ones characteristics. An identity was reinforced by creating a passport for each doll’, says O’Brien.


Pour Les Alpes

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‘Pour les Alpes’ is a cooperation between artisan craftwork and contemporary product design. Based on that concept, the two designers Tina Stieger and Annina Gähwiler create products which are inspired by traditional craft mainly rooted in the Swiss Alps. ‘Pour les Alpes’ is looking for individuality with the focus on creating unique objects with a strong originality.

The three chests of drawers ‘Ehrfurcht’, ‘Neugierde’ and ‘Sehnsucht’ shown at the Salone Satellite 2009 in Milan are part of the ‘echos’ collection of ‘Pour les Alpes’, which has won an award in 2008 announced by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia. The chest of drawers are available in a limited edition of 6 pieces each.

The pieces of furniture have been created in close cooperation with traditional artisans such as a carver and two lace-makers from Grisons and a shingle-maker from Appenzell, Switzerland. Focusing on the idea of creating contemporary objects which can also be used in an urban context, the artisan craftworks were implemented in an abstract but subtle way. Referring to the themes reverence, curiosity and desire, which describe the designer’s personal point of view of the alpine characteristics, each piece of furniture has been elaborated with one carefully selected traditional technique. The crudeness of the hand-carved cavern of the furniture ‘Ehrfurcht’ for instance represents an archaic beauty which is only revealed by opening its drawer. The traditional technique has been applied in an unusual way, namely in the hidden part of the furniture.

Regarding the materials, solid wood such as Swiss pine, chestnut and spruce are combined with high-tech resin coatings and artificial fibres, intending to evoke interesting contrasts.

The unique objects of the ‘echos’ collection are a tribute to the Swiss Alps and their traditional culture. In a formal and symbolical way, the furnitures are referring to an identity rooted in the alpine culture. They are telling exceptional new stories, which awake familiar memories but still offer room for interpretation.


Ana-Maria Stewart Pasescu

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Originally from Romania with a background in Product and furniture design Ana-Maria has a passion for manipulating simple materials, she is intrigued by seeing something of a simple nature transform in her hands, she finds it captivating.

‘I was one of the 12 people chosen by Phillipe Starck to go to Paris late November last year, it is a reality documentary set to air early September 2009 ‘Design for Life’.

The brief we were given prior to being selected was ‘ if you could design anything having no boundaries what would it be?’ I came up with a noose light. The cable itself is manipulated around the light bulb to create different surrounds such as the noose. I wanted the cable itself to be the visual focus instead of adding ‘another lampshade’.

Phillipe Starck said it represented life and death but that depends on what relationship the individual has with the product as it is simply a loop with a running knot.’


Lisa Stockham

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Stockham’s work explores excess and adornment. The sculptures embrace the overdone and the theatrical, creating combinations that are fantastical, grotesque and beautiful.

Familiar objects and elements of modern day living are transformed into ambiguous and bizarre creations. Contained patterns disperse, the decorative detailing escaping, overflowing and multiplying.  In Fool’s Gold symbols of technology such as, computer keys or pixels become decorative details that are simultaneously emerging and dissolving within the work. The form is in transition, creating at once an architectural structure and an object turning to rubble.

When a subject is pushed to its extreme the opposite may arise; luxury and glamour turn to disintegration, pleasure becomes excess and sweetness turns to nausea. Decoration is given energy of its own. It multiplies out of control like bacteria or fungi spreading over a surface. Giddy patterning and adornment show us a world where matter is continuously in motion and mystery can be found in detritus, decay and the mundane.


Klara Sumova

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The lamp is describing the process of the evolution from the raw material into the mechanicaly cultivated one. The main idea is to introduce the material- wood- in different stages of work progress. From the undressed piece of wood into the mechanicaly produced parts (stick, paper shader).

One of the main parts of the lamp- the stand- is made from the bark covered stem, which is suddenly lathed into the clear baroque curve. This raw piece of wood is replenished with machine cuted stock and than with simple lighting construction. Lighting construction is movable and   matched with the luminuous source max. 100W.  Whole concept continues with adding the huge paper lamp-shader witch has the fine structure of wooden bark.

The shape of the lamp reminds the traditional proportion. So there is also the emotional legacy  beyond the evolution one.

This idea is completed with the various sizes and shapes of the lamp.


Suzi Tibbetts

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An applied artist, Suzi creates object interventions, audio related works and spatial installations. Her work plays with content, form, functionality and material, where material stands to mean as much about what is heard as what is seen. Suzi uses a variety of media, and works in both two and three dimensions, to create a diverse range of pieces; experimenting with processes and materials plays a large role in the production of her work, and through this, she has developed a broad range of skills and techniques within craft, fine art and design. Current work is based on the theme of sound as encountered in our every day lives.

Through her latest pieces Suzi is demonstrating the difference between listening and hearing, and to celebrate the less significant sounds surrounding us that are so often overlooked. This work has led to the exploration of silence, and the need for audio escapism within our society. Suzi Tibbetts’s practice is firmly based within the field of metalwork and silversmithing, processes in which sound is a significant bi-product of construction.


Helen Uffren

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Her work revolves around the hyper-visual, hyper-real and over exposed world we live in. Visual experiences mediated by different optical  devices are at the centre of Uffren’s research. She focuses on surface depth, distortion and illusion, to create extra dimensions through a cropped vision.  The viewer becomes part of the work, pulled in and transported by the act of viewing. The brain sees through the eyes, editing and creating individual realities. Her optical devices act as portals to parallel realities and question the way we see.


Shan Valla

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Valla’s work is developed through making. Material qualities that may feature accidental marks or imperfections are explored and exposed, then transformed into beautiful details with a mixture of complex pattern and pure simplicity. Familiar forms afflicted with personal interventions sit alongside hand crafted unique objects in a playful juxtaposition of pattern, surface, function and material, through a series of work that explores a relationship between production and the hand made. Valla mainly works with glass and porcelain, creating pieces for the interior. From objects that can sit in playful compositions with other products, to pieces that used in multiple create tantalising installations. Purity and honesty of material is crucial, letting its natural characteristics depict the visual language of my work.

Glass Garden:

‘One day I went to the florist to buy some roses with big thorns. The florist told me that I couldn’t as the thorns are stripped when the flowers are delivered in the morning…..I decided to give the rose back its thorns by manipulating glass tubes and this was the beginning of a series of work that explores the natural characteristic of flowers stems and branches. Functioning as vases them selves, as objects that can be displayed amongst flowers, or standing alone, the ‘Stems’ create a tantalizing installation of a fragile garden made of glass’, says Valla.


Maxim Velcovsky

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Photography by Martin Chum

This experimental collection owes its existence to natural sedimentation of minerals on the surface of various objects. Each of them has been exposed for some time to the effects of mineral springs. This immersion took place at a site where a legendary thermal spring erupts from the earth. The spring, rich in minerals, bubbles out of the depth of the Earth in the spa city of Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad), Czech Republic. A leaf from a tree falling into the spring where it flows into a river turns into stone. Just like in a fairytale!

This natural process of wrapping objects into a veil of sediment was an inspiration for my new collection entitled Underground Souvenirs. Water covers the object with a film of minerals, as if the object lied hundreds of yards deep under the sea level for aeons. Symbolically, the objects, sculptures and various still lifes become the fossils of their time, waiting to be explored and examined.