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Marcin Rusak’s Inflorescence and Other Artefacts

It may seem daring to open an exhibition on the eve of the annual design carnival that is graduate show season in London but Marcin Rusak doesn't have to worry about a lack of attention. It was a big year for the London-based designer, who kicked off his artistic career with exhibiting at the Victoria and Albert museum and securing the coveted Perrier-Jouët Arts Salon Prize for emerging talent within just a year of graduating from the RCA last year. His first solo show, "Inflorescence and Other Artefacts," is a display of dichotomies, constantly flipping between natural and synthetic, authentic and fake, beautiful and seductively grotesque, forcing viewers to form their own opinion about the value of the objects on display.
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The Top 5 Designers at RCA’s 2015 Graduate Show

It’s graduate show season in London, and though we’ll be featuring students from all over town in the coming weeks, we’ve found over the years that no show is quite as spectacular — or up our alley — as the Royal College of Art’s. With its esteemed alumni including the likes of Barbara Hepworth, Thomas Heatherwick, Tracey Emin, and David Hockney — not to mention some of our favorite contemporary designers, such as Max Lamb, Hunting & Narud, Soft Baroque, Fredrik Paulsen, and Hilda Hellström — Show RCA always boasts an impressive arsenal of postgraduate talent across a variety of disciplines.
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Lily Kamper, London Jewelry Designer

Though she studied textiles at London's Royal College of Art, Lily Kamper spent most of her time in the jewelry department experimenting with acrylic, resin, and offcuts of Corian. The lathe became her tool of choice, enabling her to machine pillar-like, geometric forms that could transform those everyday materials into vibrant, beautifully crafted pendants and accessories.

Kate Jackling, Photographer

We first came across the work of UK photographer Kate Jackling through a collaboration with COS that was endlessly re-pinned a few months back. That campaign — with its clothes draped over pink, yellow, and blue geometric forms — was so good that we had to know more about the photographer responsible for styling such a fun and playful set. Once we came across her website, we knew we'd hit the jackpot. Jackling’s photos are clean, playing with shadows and reflections to elevate product photography into something more artistic — photos that sell the product, yet also sell Jackling herself as someone who clearly understands her craft.
Objects made during the group’s “A Watery Line” residency and exhibition at The Tetley in Leeds last August, where they also held open studios and a program of workshops around the various forms of making.

Nous Vous, Graphic Artists

“It’s about making language visual,” respond the three members of Nous Vous when I ask them about their distinctly French name, which translates to We, You. “Well, it rolls off the tongue nicely, too,” laughs Jay Cover, who founded the London-based trio with William Edmonds and Nicolas Burrows back in 2007. “But aside from that, our external influences tend to be design manifestos where the process is conscious of the audience and collaboration.” We, You — there is a certain anonymity to their practice, reflected also in their European website domain (, placing the group nowhere specific, perhaps in an effort to avoid defining their collective body of work.

Week of October 13, 2014

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: a brilliant Belgian design fair, a predominantly Pomo Chicago auction, and beautiful domestic interiors from Berlin to Brooklyn.
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Rana Begum, Artist

With a studio based out of the UK, artist Rana Begum has exhibited around the globe, from New York to London to Dubai. And it seems fitting that a recent solo exhibition should take place at that latter city's Third Line Gallery, an exhibition space catering to contemporary Islamic art. Begum's Bangladeshi childhood informs much of her work, observing geometric repetition in traditional Islamic patterns and the way light activates the interiors of local mosques. This, combined with the conflicting forms and colors of urban society, can be seen in her most recent pieces, which mostly consist of creased sheet-metal panels, coated in bright mixtures of paint and resin, that seem to fold out from the wall. The three-dimensionality of her pieces causes light to bounce between the reflective panels and creates varying interpretations for viewers as they move about the piece. These subtle changes are what captivate viewers, ensuring each person has a completely different experience with every one of her pieces.

Peter Nencini’s Instagrams

Lots of people on Instagram tend to stop us dead in our tracks as we slavishly scroll through our feed, but Peter Nencini has been one of those arresting image-makers since before the app even existed. An illustrator by training, Nencini did away with the confines of pen and paper after graduating from London’s Royal College of Art in the 1990s and today creates everything from typefaces to ad-hoc sculptures. A keen photographer, he has always recorded the stages of his process, first with a point-and-shoot and now with his iPhone, and has long been the proprietor of one of our favorite inspiration blogs. So when I suggested he walk me through 8 Things for Sight Unseen, the stipulation was that it had to be images from his Instagram, and we’d be digging into his thoughts on the app. He asked me to choose the shots, and then he explained them: That is how it went down.

Hazel Stark’s New Textiles

It was only just last year that we were wondering what brilliance Hazel Stark would produce if ever she turned her attention to designing and making full-time, and already we have the answer. Having left her job with Ally Capellino earlier in the summer, Stark initiated work on her new collection, Naturally Dyed #1, with a long period of research into materials.

Charcolor Furniture, by Louie Rigano and Avantika Agarwal

Our first introduction to Louie Rigano, a New Jersey-born, RISD-educated designer who's now studying in the Design Products program at RCA, was a piece he'd made for the American Design Club's Trophy Show, back in 2013. Called Glittering Urn, it was a neo-classical form made slightly punk-rock by virtue of its material: a resin that had been almost entirely suffused with glitter. So it came as no surprise when we received an email last week from the designer — who describes his process as a "search for moments of unexpected accord between the spectacular and the practical" — of a new furniture collection he'd created in collaboration with fellow student Avantika Agarwal, which paired relatively simple wooden forms with an audacious coloring process. To create Charcolor Furniture's seared rainbow effect, CMYK pigments are literally burned onto the wood.

Week of September 8, 2014

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: marble, fake marble, and a marbled painting made with a broom. Plus, select highlights from the London Design Festival, which started today.
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Ricky Swallow vs. Matt Paweski, for Herald St London

As much fun as it is, as journalists, to the pick the brains of the artists and designers who inspire us every day, there's something we enjoy even more: being a fly on the wall as two of our favorite creatives spar back and forth about their craft. It's something we'll never understand as intimately as those who are makers themselves, and when those makers are as thoughtful about their work as Los Angeles artists Ricky Swallow and Matt Paweski are, it makes for a most excellent Friday read. Swallow interviewed Paweski in advance of the latter's solo exhibition, opening tomorrow at Herald St gallery in London, and we were lucky enough to nab a transcription of that Q&A. Read on to find out what makes a Matt Paweski, which direction his work is going in, and what the heck a "kerf" actually is.