Inspiring Ideas, From a Few of Britain’s Best Design Students

The Royal College of Art is currently putting on its Graduate Show, of work by departing students.

Why are European designers so much better than Americans? The profession has pondered the question for decades. A new show of graduate work from the Royal College of Art in London posits an answer: Credit should be given to the teachers.


In this case, the students in the RCA show were led by a scintillating lineup of professors, including Sam Hecht, the co-founder of Industrial Facility, which has made instant classics for Muji; Luke Pearson, of PearsonLloyd, which is best known for the their work designing Virgin’s aircraft cabins; Julia Lohmann, one of the most exciting young designers working today. Pearson’s class, dedicated to exploring function, was co-taught with the superb but lower profile Michael Marriott; Lohmann’s class was dedicated to abstract, experimental design, and was co-taught with artist Gabi Klasmer; while Hecht also explored the boundaries of function, with co-teachers Andre Klauser and Durrell Bishop, who are lesser know but enormously talented.

Wallpaper recently visited the show, and brought back an excellent round-up of the designs. Here’s a selection.

In Hecht’s class, Alex Hulme produced dinnerware with an unexpected bit of whimsy. Each bowl is crafted with varying thickness, so each produces a different note when struck:

Hecht bowls
Hecht bowls

Also from Hecht’s class, a set of reconfigurable wall plugs, designed by Min-Kyu Choi:

wall plugs by Min-Kyu Choi

Another one of the gems from Hecht’s class, Therese Glimskar created a full-length mirror that doubles as an ironing board:

ironing board mirror

Also from Hecht’s class, Il-Gu Cha produced these vacuum cleaner attachments that can also serve as brooms:

vacuum broom

One of Lohmann’s students, Ioli Sifakak, designed a dinner service molded in porcelain from her own body parts:

Ioli Sifakak dinner service

Also under Lohmann, Georgios Maridakis designed an ultra-minimal timepiece, which strikes a vase (or whatever you choose to put on the pedestal) in thirty minute intervals:

time vase

In Pearson’s class, Felix de Pass designed and office system with objects that can be hung from an elegant rail, as well as a gorgeous table lamp:

office system

Also in Pearson’s class, Lewis TaylorKai Malte Röver designed a table whose legs attach on grooves, thus enabling easy assembly. No more broken and wobbly furniture, every time you move:

groove table

Wallpaper didn’t note the designer here, who worked also worked under Pearson–maybe someone could help us out? Kai Malte Röver also designed this bike pump that doubles as a light, powered by the pumping action:

bike pump light

Check out the rest of the entries at Wallpaper.


About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.


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