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Our Top 5 From Show RCA 2014

As the summer solstice approaches, so too does a wave of graduate shows offering up the latest creative projects and design solutions from the leading sphere of design schools. In London, no show is more hotly anticipated than the Royal College of Art’s annual exhibition Show RCA, noted for its impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent. We couldn’t miss the opportunity to spot this year’s pool of emerging stars across the contemporary art and design practices. The show took place simultaneously across two campuses: Design Products in Kensington, which offered its usual heady mix of modern-day design solutions, and over at the Battersea campus, Textiles, Fine Art and Sculpture students refreshed the visual senses with investigations into color and material. Here are our top five “ones to watch” from the exhibition.

Kirsi Enkovaara

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Inspired by distorted reflections in the surface of water, Kirsi Enkovaara (Design Products) has developed a technique by which water and gravity dictate the marbled patterning of her objects. For Landscape of Gravity, Enkovaara fills the vessels with water and pigment, then visualizes movement by letting water drain out through a tap in the bottom. Manmade shapes meets nature’s gravitational pull, resulting in varying, one-of-a-kind patterned effects.

Gemma Kay Waggett

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Textile designer Gemma Kay Waggett immediately caught our eye with her concentric circles of color and reconstructed pattern. Her “Beyond Wicker and Woven” takes a fresh approach to woven structures, piecing together embroidered, printed, and bonded surfaces for a contemporary upholstery collection fresh in color and suited to both interior and outdoor environments.

Ying Chang

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Ying Chang’s Grid System is an adjustable table that allows for versatility across the archetypal workspace. The gridded metal frame offers a catalogue of possibilities to be explored by rotating the multi-purpose boxes and shelves to suit the user’s needs. With pullout options for laptops, storage nooks and ledges for tablets, it’s adaptable living made simple through the re-examination of or everyday surfaces.

Tino Seubert

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“Galvanized steel has always been highly sought after in industrial applications and in exterior architecture due to its resistance to corrosion, but never for aesthetic purposes,” writes Tino Seubert (Design Products). In his Regalvanize series, Seubert celebrates the natural crystalline surface texture that results from galvanizing, rather than hiding it — as is so often done — under a layer of lacquer. A shelving system, a pendant light, a selection of dinnerware and even a pair of sunglasses are united in their utilitarian functions and unexpected industrial aesthetic.

Zadie Xa

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Korean-Canadian artist Zadie Xa (Painting) works more like a DJ or music producer, layering and sampling pre-existing images and forms into visually arresting paintings and sculptural pieces. Visual stereotypes mediated by movies, television and general popular culture are referenced with explosive color and juxtaposing pattern play. Xa also employs a range of materials – the piece above incorporates acrylic, cotton, chewing gum, and candy, among other things.