The selection of Design Week events in December

Things to see this month include a Yinka Ilori pop-up shop, an exhibition of ‘untraditional’ Christmas trees made by designers, and an introduction to the design companies emerging from the RCA’s Creative Brands Accelerator emerge.

Pop-up: Royal College of Art presents…

Jo Miller. Photo credit: Martina Lang

A two-day pop-up will showcase a range of 20 creative businesses created with support from the Royal College of Arts (RCA) Creative Brands Accelerator programme, which provides mentoring, commercial training and advice to RCA alumni.

Designs on display include homeware, fashion, jewelry, ceramics and textiles, including those by Folium, an independent artist-led publishing platform, Farphoria, a zero-waste brand that creates jewelry from plants dipped in liquid porcelain, and Official e- ternity, a digital fashion platform for trading virtual garments and NFTs.

The event will take place in the new RCA building in Battersea designed by Herzog de Meuron.

Introducing… takes place on December 7th and 8th at The Hangar Gallery, Studio Building, RCA Battersea, Howie Street, SW11 4AS.


Exhibition: Long live the Christmas tree! Harewood House, Leeds

Yasemen Hussein’s tree. Photo credit Tom Arber

Eleven designers, artists, creative studios and makers have created ‘traditionally non-traditional’ Christmas trees for Harewood House in Leeds, drawing on its history, setting and surroundings.

Phoebe McElhatton has created a stucco installation based on Robert Adam’s design for the ceiling of the home’s old library; Carnival costume designer Hughbon Condor has designed a large scale tree inspired by a winter festival; Juli Bolaños-Durman worked with carpenter Jonny Taylor on a tree made from recycled wood and local glass bottles; Yasemen Hussein designed a copper and crystal rotating tree that refracts the light throughout the music room; and set designer Simon Costin built a pagan-inspired tree using antlers and natural materials found throughout the property.

Meanwhile, composer and accordionist Martin Green has created a ‘Christmas Tree of Sound’ with Opera North.

Long live the Christmas tree! Located at Harewood House, Leeds, LS17 9LG until 2nd January 2023. Visit the website for more information and tickets.


Lecture: Still life at the V&A Dundee Plastic Lab

V&A Dundee’s Plastic Lab hosts a talk by founders Aaron Ziggy and Will Jenkinson of Glasgow-based design workshop Still Life, exploring methods of creating furniture and objects from locally sourced recycled plastic and Scottish hardwood.

Still Life built its own plastic recycling machines using open source designs from Precious Plastic. During the lecture, the two will present their processes and techniques, starting with collecting plastic and progressing through sorting, design, melting and refining.

The molds used during the melting and forming process and a variety of prototypes from various stages will be on display while Dundee-based furniture maker and designer Camilo Moistur will lead a Q&A session.

The session is free to attend and will take place on December 7th from 1pm to 2pm at the Plastic Lab, V&A Dundee, 1 Riverside Esplanade, Dundee DD1 4EZ.


Pop-up shop: Yinka Ilori

For his first pop-up conceived during the pandemic, designer Yinka Ilori is bringing an immersive retail experience inspired by West African architecture to East London’s Club Row. The shop offers designs from its recent collections as well as new product launches with products for the whole family. Ilori’s British-Nigerian heritage and the local London countryside are reflected in his signature colorful tableware and textiles, while a selection of homeware and lifestyle items aim to encourage playfulness.

The designer says: “High Street plays such an important role in our communities, but in recent years we’ve seen a sharp decline as many independent businesses struggle. With this pop-up, I wanted to bring retail back and create a fun, engaging space that tells a story. I want to start a conversation about the future of our businesses, how we are curating these spaces, and what experiences we can create to forge deeper, more meaningful connections.”

A percentage of profits will be donated to the charity Shelter for the homeless as the cost of living crisis puts increasing pressure on families this Christmas.

The pop-up store is located at 9 Club Row, London E1 6JX until 3rd January 2023.


Podcast: Design Emergency

Design curator Paola Antonelli and design critic Alice Rawsthorn, following the release of their book of the same name by Phaidon earlier this year, launched a podcast series “to explore the potential of design to help us build a better future.” .

The first guest of the podcast, which started on November 23, 2022, is the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye. In conversation with Rawsthorn, he discusses the challenges of responsible design on “the vast, complex and extremely diverse continent of Africa” ​​and traces his practice from designing friends’ homes to significant cultural spaces, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC and the present commissions the National Cathedral of Ghana and the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City.

The rest of the series, according to Antonelli and Rawsthorn, “will introduce you to the inspirational and brilliant designers whose success in tackling major challenges — from the climate catastrophe and the refugee crisis to ensuring that new technologies affect us positively, not negatively — us brings hope for the future”.

Design Emergency is hosted by Acast and is available on Apple, Spotify and other podcast platforms.


Banner image: Minelgaite Studios, introducing RCA.

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