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North designers aim to wow London buyers

WORK by some of the North East’s most accomplished designers will be on show in London this weekend.

bench, bettina nissen

WORK by some of the North East’s most accomplished designers will be on show in London this weekend.

It will be displayed at 100% Design, Earl’s Court, one of the design platforms at the renowned London Design Festival.

The exhibitors were selected by Design Event North East, an annual festival in the region which this year takes place in October.

The festival, which promotes and nurtures creative talent across the North East, has been running successfully for five years. But this is the first time it will have a presence at the festival in the capital.

Eight North East designers and design firms have been selected to represent the region.

They are Aether and Hemera, AFID Design, Bettina Nissen, Dan Civico, Kate User Surfaces, RASKL Limited, Sarah Blood and Amy Levinson.

Examples of their work will feature on the Design Event North East stand at the 100% Futures sub-section of 100% Design from September 23-26.

This is the platform dedicated to potential designs for the future.

There the North East exhibitors will be hoping their creations catch the eye of some of the world’s most influential buyers, manufacturers and retailers from around the world who will be attending the London Design Festival.

Karen Stone, director of Design Event North East, said: “For the first time Design Event will be exhibiting at 100% Design with a group of designers who are a prime example of the innovation and creative talent being nurtured in the North East of England.

“We are so proud to be taking the best of the North East’s future design talent to such a high profile event where they will be exhibiting alongside big national and international design brands.

“Our designers will be showcasing their products as part of the 100% Futures platform. It’s an important opportunity not only for the designers and their businesses, but also for the region to be represented at such a large design arena.

“All the designers are truly gifted and their products are innovative and inspirational, which will make them a key feature of the 100% Futures section.”

Among the items to be shown off in London are the Mood Chair and the Heart-bit Lamp by Aether and Hemera, the Gateshead-based design firm run by Gloria Ronchi and Claudio Benghi.

They specialise in what they call reactive furniture, incorporating light which adds a new dimension to household items.

The Mood Chair changes colour according to its environment and the Heart-bit Lamp can either emit a functional white light or will flash red in conjunction with your heartbeat.

Michael Armstrong, who runs AFID Design, will exhibit his distinctive coat stand and sideboard.

Michael set up the company, which is based at the Mushroom Works in Newcastle, in 2005 and specialises in practical furniture made with good quality materials.

As well as creating bespoke items to commission, he develops products for manufacture.

German-born Bettina Nissen, who is also based at the Mushroom Works, will be exhibiting her rustic bench and fish gill-style bowl with cut away edging.

In her designs she likes to incorporate symbols from everyday life.

Like Aether and Hemera, Kate Usher Surfaces is based in The Shed, the new creative workspace in Gateshead.

Kate, who has a first class degree in textiles and surface design, will be showing off her luxury hand-finished wall coverings for children’s rooms.

RASKL Design Group are based in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.

They describe themselves as “a unique team of designer-engineers specialising in the production of exciting and innovative lifestyle products and custom design solutions”.

They will be exhibiting their Agranda Bench which has an extendable dining seat made with timber and metals.

Sarah Blood, another Mushroom Works tenant, exhibits around the world and will be showing artistic neon interior accessories called CariBoo! and Birdhouse for the Soul.

Newcastle-based Northumbria University graduate Amy Levinson has a fine line in cardboard clocks with which to wow the London browsers.

Dan Civico, who has a studio at 36 Lime Street, Newcastle, will be hoping to find buyers for his self-build chairs and tables which are sold in flat pack form and can even be used as wall art.

After their London adventure, the North East designers will return to the region in time to take part in Design Event North East which this year takes place at a wide range of venues from October 21-31.

The theme this year is Conversation and the event is funded by Arts Council England, North East and Northern Rock Foundation. Details on www.design-event.co.uk


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