Northumbria University design graduates jet to New York to establish new work

Graduates from Northumbria University were the sole European representatives at a high profile New York expo

David Irwin
David Irwin

Design graduates from Newcastle have jetted across to America to exhibit at the prestigious International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICCF), in New York.

Six graduate enterprises currently on Northumbria University’s Designers in Residency programme flew out with four members of staff to present their unique and innovative products to an international audience, from unique desk lamps to glass wares and fine metal workings.

Northumbria University was the only European University to exhibit graduate and staff work at the expo, which offers a platform from which graduate designers and young creatives can find their feet in the business world and raise their industry profile.

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) welcomes more than 600 exhibitors from 38 countries worldwide, each displaying an eclectic mix of pioneering designs and interiors products, from furniture through to wall coverings and textiles.

High profile gallerists, curators and shop owners all attend the show – vital audiences for ensuring products are seen in the right places.

Among the young innovators was David Irwin, an award-winning 3D Design graduate originally from Northern Ireland, who showcased a number or prototypes at this year’s ICFF, including a contemporary reinterpretation of a drum carriage clock.

Irwin, whose work is produced by Heals and Habitat, said: “The opportunity to present at the ICFF is just one of the many doors opened by the programme – to be showing my work alongside prestigious brands in the international design community was an incredible chance to connect and develop relationships with industry leaders and big name brands such as Heals London and Perceptual Studio.

“I connected with design brand Juniper at the 2011 ICFF show before they were established, and have since designed four collections for them – attending this year’s show allowed me to be present at the sales launch of my M-Lamp for them.”

Trevor Duncan, head of industrial design at Northumbria University, said: “Our Designers in Residency scheme has been a huge success to date. The programme provides a support for design enterprises to develop their own name and brand.

“Taking alumni to the ICFF is an opportunity to proudly display the capabilities of Northumbria’s young designers. It opens up unique international networking prospects for connecting and talking business with manufacturers, who they otherwise may never have crossed paths with.

“The response to the work has been great, not just complimentary comments feedback from press and public but business and sales leads for our graduate designers to follow up.”

Northumbria University’s high profile design graduates also include Sir Jonathon Ive, Senior Vice President of Design at Apple and Simon Butterworth, Director of Design for Ford Australia.

Past alumni who have progressed beyond the Designers in Residence scheme include James Harrison of James Harrison Design, Dan Ziglam and Elliott Brook of DeadGood Design, and the Vietnam based designer and manufacturer John Reeves.


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